The Adaptive SEO Approach (And How To Get More Conversions)

Ever notice how so-called “SEOs” are usually at the butt end of jokes?

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!

Image source - SearchEnginePeople.com


Editors note: Make sure you read all the way down to see Yomar’s great Sketchographic (or, as he likes to call it, Infodoodle)

So where do our fellow SEOs go wrong?

I’ve spoken to self-proclaimed SEO experts (don’t get me started on the fallacy of expertise). They each have a different answer for what the ultimate goal of Search Engine Optimization really is.

These answers include, but are not limited to…

  • Higher SERP ranking on Google
  • Increased brand awareness (and protecting your brand)
  • Greater organic traffic sources
  • More leads to your web site

The last answer is a little closer yet it still falls short. You see, good SEO should tie into a real Internet marketing strategy, whether you call your approach “people marketing”, “mass amplification”, “social networking”, or whatever.

Why?

Because even the best content will get you nowhere if you are not bringing the right people to it. I strongly urge online-only and online-focused businesses to move away from the numbers game that we may be accustomed to. Focus more on engaging people and less on marketing. In short, share your message with people that are really listening and really care.

The hard lesson we online businesses learn at some point is this:

“All that extra traffic is nothing to you if you don’t do something with it.”

SIDEBAR: I believe Seth Godin’s book, All Marketer’s Are Liars, advises us against departmentalizing marketing and that’s exactly what I’m saying here. SEO should be part of a greater effort and align with an overall marketing strategy so all those pretty numbers really amount to something.

A Little Introspection: What Are Your Goals REALLY?

Search Engine Optimization is a must for any online entity (unless your online presence is a mere virtual business card), but the scope of work and focus thereof depends on your goals. Before we proceed, I want you to ask yourself a few key questions and keep them in mind as you read on…

  • What are your business goals really? How does SEO fit into that?
  • Have you considered SEO heavily or is it an after-thought? How about social media?
  • Do your efforts lead to sales conversions, increased participation, or something else? Are you happy with that reality?

Believe me, we small business folks all have moments in which we get caught up in busy work, losing sight of the things that really build value. Redefining how you view SEO is a good place to start getting back on track.

The Truth Is In The Pudding

Before I get into all the wonderful things in the world of SEO and creating loyal, avid fans, allow me to share a success story and do a little exposition.

John Gordon of USA Corporate Services, INC. is a small business owner that truly excites me as a client and inspirational colleague. He focuses on relationships and his approach to Internet marketing is proof of that. John is great at being a greeter. Few people enter his web site without some sort of interaction with him. Before that can happen, visitors have to plug in, sign up, and commit to some degree. This is the beginning of the lead qualification-engagement process, a living system that we constantly tweak and adapt through our SEO research.

Together, we’ve been working diligently to identify the most popular off-page and on-page content, then figure out why they perform well (or not). From there, John makes it a point to reach out to leads personally and drive them through specific processes, based on their inquiries and ideas. He qualifies every lead and considers every contact significant – and it pays HUGE dividends! What’s great is that his site visitors come with a thirst for knowledge and John has helped quench their thirst with highly-targeted content. In this manner, SEO connects content to the right people.

Through thorough research and deliberate activity, USA-Corporate.com went through a more than threefold traffic increase recently, an all-time high for the site, while continuing to lower bounce rates. People are spending more time on the web site and asking for more information.

USA-Corporate.com Traffic Sources June 2011


For some, the above numbers may not be too impressive but considering that, not too long ago, the web site had a fourth of the total traffic at best, these numbers are not too shabby. The increase in direct traffic and return visitors has been commensurate with the increase in organic traffic, month after month. I believe this is the ideal with successful SEO work.

How does this happen? It’s all about those
opt-in rates and setting up permission-based
marketing to make your visitors
welcomed and keep them connected.

You see, John focuses on those that are really listening, rather than trying to amplify messages to uninterested parties and generate only lukewarm interest. Together, John and my team have made plenty of big plays in Internet marketing (not just SEO), but we continue to adapt to drive better results.

Let’s look at some of USA-Corporate’s winning strategies in a nutshell:

  • Track conversions via your traffic analysis tools (Google Analytics, Clicky, Twitter Counter, Lijit, etc.) to make your progress more measurable.
  • Identify your most popular inbound links, then reproduce the methods that worked there for other key content.
  • Identify your most popular pages and build off your core content.
  • Leverage your top content for prospecting and lead qualification.
  • Shorten sign-up/opt-in forms to increase participation and protect privacy.
  • Guide leads through specific qualification processes matching their interests and permissions.
  • Re-purpose existing content for different platforms and mediums (i.e. newsletters, article syndication, guest blogging, video presentations, webinars, etc.).
  • Target search engines and directories that are more prominent in your markets, especially when focusing on international business (Google is not the end-all, cure-all search space but it’s a great place to start).
  • Integrate social media to bolster you most compelling content (this is huge but this discussion will be for another time, another place).

The list goes on but the key thing to remember is that Search Engine Optimization sets things in motion, but the strategy attached to your SEO efforts is what really counts. Plugging your visitors into the most compelling content (say, landing pages, free consultation sessions, and freebie info products) is half the battle. The other half is doing the work to build the relationships. Treating SEO in a set-it-and-forget-it manner does little for you.

USA-Corporate.com Visitor Conversions June 2011


As you can see, we’ve started to build up some goals and plugging them into traffic analysis tools. Since we’ve started tracking conversions via Google Analytics, the numbers have been encouraging. USA Corporate Services, INC. still makes more profit with their offline efforts but their web site is finally becoming a useful networking and prospecting platform. It’s evolving into a community, not just an e-commerce solution or brochure.

Set real goals and get real conversions.

Let’s look at two of USA-Corporate’s landing pages:

  1. http://www.usa-corporate.com/international/setting-up-a-US-company-as-a-non-resident.php
  2. http://www.usa-corporate.com/us-inc/types-of-business-entities.php

Question: Which do you think is more successful as-is?

Answer: If you answered B, chances are you value visual appeal and dynamic design over usability and effective web copy. It turns out Landing Page A has lead to greater traffic AND opt-in rates. As we speak, John and company (myself included) are working on tweaking under-performing entry points.

We need to follow USA-Corporate’s lead and continue to adapt and evolve.

The New Rules Of Search Engine Optimization

John Gordon has really put social media to work and he’s only warming up! Facebook is one of the top referral traffic sources but, more importantly, it’s a great place to build those relationships I keep bringing up. By the time John’s followers get to the good stuff, they feel more inclined to really interact and support what he and his team are doing.

We can no longer ignore social media as a powerful pull system (a.k.a. inbound marketing). It brings curious online audiences to your offerings and puts your brand in front of them. Better yet, social media as a whole represents a collective of push AND a pull systems – they attract and reach out to people, sometimes simultaneously! Think of inbound marketing or pull as bringing customers to you (naturally)…

Push and pull systems

SIDEBAR: Apparently, some other smart cookies have similar thoughts about inbound marketing and how new media changes the business game. Check it out if you want more ideas on how to boost conversions for your business.

The challenge thus becomes spending your time where the people you want to work with are spending THEIR time… OR creating a community compelling enough to have your very own captive audience. Good SEO will make it easier to have people find your social platform and connect with the people you are hand-picking, filling your sales funnel with avid fans and great referral opportunities.

Redefining Search Engine Optimization

I look at SEO as a way to market what, really, is a powerful way to bring people to your web site and raise brand awareness without the usual grind of direct (e)mail, affiliate marketing, referral networking, local ads, and cold calling. We offer “SEO” to clients because that is what people are familiar with now but, really, we should go beyond what “old school” SEO has taught us.

We can no longer design and optimize online content with search engines and directories at the forefront of our thought. The social web has become more humanized and the Google’s latest moves are proof of that. The urgency to step up your Internet marketing game is here and now.

Now let’s see some of the rules at play…

Mr. Panda Knocked Our SEO House Down… Or DID He?

Some of SEOs are rather bitter about the recent changes to Google Search. I can’t blame them: now we have to change our approach completely to stay competitive. Of course, some are still reluctant to embrace social media, saying stuff like…

“Social media is just busy work.
It has no measurable value or ROI.”
Google would beg to differ.

The Evil Google Panada Algorithm Update


The Google Panda algorithm updates have been a huge wake-up call for Internet marketers. If you did not get the memo, you can no longer game Google to get your content in front of people. Good content and true social influence now trump link popularity and even click-through rates. This means we have to work harder to inspire our supporters to share, vote, link, and participate in ways that tell Google our content matters.

With Google Panda, there are no shortcuts but the good news is that we small businesses can still differentiate ourselves (and our clients) through authentic, persistent, and consistent activity.

With hundreds of changes slated for Google Search in 2011 alone, SEO will take a little more work than before (okay, maybe that’s an understatement). Of course, for those stuck in old ways, Google Panda seems evil or at least a smidge unfair. In actuality, Panda has leveled the playing field and presents us with many opportunities, even if you’re not tech-savvy.

Good-bye black-hat SEO.

Metrics That Really Matter

If you have at least a basic understanding of SEO, you know that lowering your bounce rate means more people are spending more time on your site. You may also know that focusing on long-tail keywords can help you capture traffic from more competitive search spaces while establishing a niche (or micro-niche) of your own. But…

“Are you aware of your ratio of new visitors versus
returning visitors? What are you doing to get people
to keep coming back?”

In my experiences, most Internet marketers as a whole tend to pursue the lofty goal of reaching massive traffic, perhaps for the purpose of increased ad revenues and/or eventually selling the web site. While that is great for most, it’s not good for those of us looking at conversions, improve audience/customer retention, and perhaps selling directly through our blogs and other web sites.

If we want to create avid fans and increase participation, we need to be able to engage your audience, no matter how big or how small it may be. For young start-ups, this can be intimidating, I know. It feels like there’s plenty of B2B support for pre-launch and well-established companies, but those of us in a formulation or reorganization phase are left in the dark. Thus, finding out what to focus on to get the results we want can be a tough order to fill.

EGADS – where do we even start?

True Engagement Versus Mass Appeal

Now, we can go down many avenues and discuss social proof, information products, the ubiquitous drip approach, and all that good stuff. I am not being dismissive regarding any of those wonderful things but I think what most people miss is the engagement part of modern marketing and new media alike. Quite simply, we get some attention and then we quickly lose it because we don’t spend a little extra time with the right people.

The Lead Qualification Process


Truly engaging your site visitors and sales leads helps us qualify them further and spend more time with the right people. Qualifying leads tells us if they’ll be better-suited for (but not necessarily limited to)…

  • Direct Business
  • Partnership
  • Trade
  • Referral Generation

Recognizing that relationship management is a constant process is crucial. Basic SEO helps bring us pre-qualified leads but it’s our job to continue building rapport. Sure, some of this stuff won’t generate direct sales BUT it’ll help us get there! Did I mention that an active community helps us with a lot of the legwork involved with Internet marketing?

Now, allow me to illustrate how an engaged audience goes to work for you…

Going Deep vs. Going Wide

Different Strokes For Different Folks

The important thing to remember here is that everyone will experience different results with different techniques, which leads us to this notion of an adaptive SEO approach. Really, that’s just fancy speak for “doing the things that work for you” (and your audience). It’s worth noting that we should throw away the old notion of demographics and placing people in boxes. SEO and Internet marketing as a whole requires some degree of a trial-by-fire.

A truly adaptive SEO approach considers the ever-changing search engine algorithms and competitive online landscape while, most importantly, catering to human audiences. Gone are the days in which you could stuff keywords, buy thousands of links, and just optimize for long-tail search strings to get your page at the top of SERPs.

Nowadays, social signals go a long way. At least, that’s what Google is looking at and everyone else is bound to jump on the bandwagon. If you look at social platforms like StumbleUpon and Squidoo, this has been the direction of search marketing for quite some time.

If all else fails, remember to Do, Analyze, Assess, Rework, and Repeat. Learn the metrics, interact with audiences, then retool your approach accordingly. If you pay enough attention, not only will you find great success, but you’ll be able to replicate it!

Adapt and Convert.

How To Optimize For Search Engines AND Get Converts (Without Being A Cyborg About It)

By now, I hope I created some great urgency for you. It’s important to understand the WHY of our efforts before committing to anything. Now let’s tackle the HOW of adaptive SEO. Here’s the basic operative model:

  1. Forget what the “experts” say you “must do”, but consider best practices to evolve your current efforts.
  2. Focus on long-tail keywords to attract specific visitors to the most relevant, compelling content.
  3. Establish specific processes for different types of leads, focusing on helping people and building relationships (the money will follow).
  4. Optimize inner pages to capture more of your audience and drive them through the established processes.
  5. Cross-promote between social platforms to increase the popularity of on-page and off-page content alike.
  6. Review your traffic analysis to build up your top traffic sources and engage audiences where they originate (i.e. StumbleUpon, Facebook, and Twitter) and on target content (landing pages).
  7. Tweak your top content to be as direct as possible and drive specific activity – ENGAGE!
  8. Monitor your direct and indirect competitors across keywords and concentrations, targeting their best practices and top referrers.
  9. Evaluate your site metrics so that you can focus on the most efficient methods and systems.
  10. Discover which keywords may have a negative impact, creating confusion or noise for your site visitors.
  11. Build relationships with your most loyal site visitors and key influencers so they can be converted into avid fans and supporters.
  12. Continue to engage your audience by giving them opportunities to interact with each other, provide feedback, and get involved.

In your SEO adventures, you’ll find things that work for you and things that don’t. This is where you’ll do things, get stuff done, and adapt your efforts for better, more consistent results. Again, it all starts with specific, measurable goals, but by now we’ve all heard the whole S.M.A.R.T. thing so I won’t go there (at least not right this moment).

There are many tools to get the job done out there but, in the end, just work with the things that you enjoy the most. Mr. Gordon of USA Corporate Services, INC. recommends the following:

I was practicing with an open-source program
called ‘Free Mind’ – it helps you do mind mapping.
What was useful is being able to put down the
thoughts of an arriving visitor. I found that our
pages only partially matched the questions of a
visitor so we only get their partial attention.”

The brilliance in that statement makes me swoon. John Gordon acknowledges the need to meet the need. He goes further by trying to see what people are most interested in and working content around those needs.

It’s so painfully obvious yet we all miss the mark sometimes. Don’t worry: I get over-zealous a bit myself. I understand.

Where Are Your Converts?

With so much content vying for attention out there, creating an avid fan out of a customer or even a casual return visitor can be tough. Now that you have found all these pearls of SEO and social media wisdom…

  • How do you (plan to) convert your audience using SEO?
  • Where is your core audience now?
  • Do you even know who they are right off the bat?
  • How dedicated do you think your core audience is?

It’s time to get cracking, my fellows!

– Yomar Lopez

This is a guest post, entered in the 2011 Unbounce Conversion Fest Blogging Contest. All opinions are those of the author.

Yomar Lopez is a retired (and elated) IT veteran whose diverse background has enabled him to bridge the gap between tech-savvy and practical solutions. His mission is to help small businesses and career shifters find true happiness and success in life. He enjoys writing, building communities, cartooning, video games, and eating good food, amongst other things. He prides himself on being very approachable, friendly, and mildly entertaining so please visit him at his blog, affectionately called Yomar.me.

Comments

  1. Oli Gardner says:

    I’m going to claim a FIRST comment here.

    Just wanted to give you some serious props for being the most active contestant in the community throughout ConversionFest. Really, really cool.

    Good luck – and I hope people dig your post.

    Cheers
    Oli

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Thanks bud! Do you ever sleep? ;o)

      It’s funny.. After four or five different drafts, and playing with different titles.. I almost don’t recognize the article. It’s so different once it’s live!

      I’m actually sitting here thinking, “Wow, this is some really good crap!” LOL

      Seriously though, I hope everyone finds it useful. I know it’s rather lengthy and covers a broad spectrum of information.. But I think there are some very worthwhile takeaways here.

      ENJOY.. Standing by for comments! (Extra coffee.. Check.)

      • Oli Gardner says:

        Haha.
        Just a quick reminder that you have the “3 days grace” period to send me corrections to any typos, mistakes or structural changes you need (now that you can see it live on the blog for the first time).

      • Oli Gardner says:

        Sleep’s overrated :) I’m just super stoked by how great this contest has become. Every day is exciting.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Speaking of which…

          I should probably at least get an hour or two of sleep.. But I’m super excited too. I’ll likely end up laying in bed brainstorming some more. That’s how I roll, Oli! B)

          (Yes, I pulled out the emoticon with the cool shades for this very occasion!)

      • Its good. Little crap, Yomar – and why I’m sharing it both far and wide. I have to think deeply on your section, and put the learning in “Unlocking The Full Potential Of StumbleUpon” to use. Thanks for the link, and the talk, this evening! Will be back at you soon enough.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Thanks for the plug and transitioning everyone to a VERY relevant article…

          http://yogizilla.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/how-to-really-use-stumbleupon-full-potential/

          You see, most SEOs think purely in terms of Google rankings and link building+keyword optimization purposes for the sake of improving those rankings.. But I feel there is a huge opportunity for those of us that embrace StumbleUpon now before it becomes the “in thing” to do.

          StumbleUpon’s recent addition of the Explore Box makes it more of a search engine than a social bookmarking site than ever before. With an active community of people looking for great content, we each can go beyond being content marketers and self-promoters by just sharing quality content.

          Thus, I feel the site focuses more on content curation, truly-social networking, and mutual sharing, whereas we see so much noise thanks to the screamers on Facebook. The transition should be natural for those that use Twitter to engage their audience in meaningful ways. Instead of “playing the numbers game”, we can make quality connections and build deeper, long-lasting relationships.

          As I say this, I’m only really getting started myself. I’m in the next phase of growing my StumbleUpon audience and really taking advantage of what it has to offer. I’ve been an active member since 2007 (and “lurking” before then) so it’s time for me to step it up. Even with a minimal effort, it has often far exceeded Facebook in terms of referral traffic.

          It’s quite magical for SEOs and non-SEOs alike, I’d say. 8)

    • If people knew just a “little” regarding Yomar and his wonderful personality, drive, passion & genuine joy for technology – he’d win based on principle. :D

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Thanks bro!

        Alas, we’ve seen how social influence doesn’t always translate into social scores.. That’s always a topic of contention, no?

        I’d like to think I truly help people out in all my passionate ranting and tangent-riding. One thing I can honestly attest to here is that this article alone has drawn in new business contacts and strengthened relationships for me.. So my call to action here has taken on a new life for me and others.

        I just did a few more searches.. I’m on the top page for “inbound marketing for conversions” (last I checked) on Google, as well as “inbound marketing with seo” and “social media and seo for conversions”.. The list goes on. Of course, they’re subject to change.. I need to start taking screenshots and frame them! Haha

        Are there bonus points for providing super-duper social proof, Oli? J/K.. Hey, can’t blame a guy for asking! ;o)

    • Plus, he’s a seriously terrific person and so supportive of people. Yomar rocks! His content is Amazing!

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        You’re much too kind, Janet, but I appreciate your sincere words and energy!

        I wish I had even 10% of your persistence. I don’t know many people that are as consistent as you are about reaching out to other sites and supporting others, even if there is “nothing to gain” in return. It’s rare that you find folks like you and Christian, who simply find the appreciation and joy people experience rewarding in itself!

        Now, I want to thank you for getting me to really give #tweetchats a chance.. For a while, I thought they would be mostly discordant, noisy shouting fests but I discovered otherwise, including…

        * Twitter chats are AMAZING for SEO value.
        * The chat transcripts are inspiring and help develop more content.
        * You get to meet like-minded people and have a more highly-engaged audience.
        * People that were previously “outside of your reach” connect with you via introductions in your natural/immediate market.
        * The highly-focused discussions coupled with the use of tags is an SEO nut’s dream come true!

        Everyone should check out #GetRealChat, #SMManners, #LikeableChat, #LinkedInChat, #EavChat, and #ToolsChat.. See which one is best for you!

        The best part about these chats is that I have yet to see anyone selling and, if someone plugs their own content, it’s because that door has been opened. It’s very natural.. Much like the SEO and conversion approach I am suggesting here.

        How’s that for a callback? =oD

        • Marie Payton says:

          I agree about twitter chats – a great way to make connections with others who have the same interest, learn a lot, and have fun too. I just recently started a #winechat with someone I met through the #usguys stream and it’s been a blast. No one should underestimate the amount of work it is to run a tweet chat!

          • Hi Yomar and Marie – I’ve seen people talk about Twitter chats before but I haven’t had much of a chance to check them out because I thought they would just clutter my stream.

            Is there an app for that? I’m a fan of anything Twitter and SEO.

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              I’ve heard of http://TweetChat.com but haven’t tried it. I know Janet Callaway and others love it. It uses Twitter API to grant access so sign-in is a snap. From there, you enter the hash tag of choice and you’re all set.

              You can also use HootSuite to add a stream using a hash tag. When I’m mobile, I use UberSocial to keep track of hashtags. Search the tag and sit back. It refreshes slower than I’d like at times but that makes it more manageable.

              There are tons of Twitter chats too.. @JanetCallaway can give you the skinny. One of the chats you may like is on Wednesdays at 10PM EST (GMT-5), I believe.. #toolschat

              Needless to say, the transcripts from these chats can often be very sexy for SEO purposes. ;o)

  2. Tommy says:

    Thanks for the post, it makes a ton of sense. It seems much easier to do keyword research and throw content built around the popular keywords but it’s more valuable to understand what value we can bring to the prospects, and designing content around it.

    I’m working on a file sharing web app for the french market, and the most difficult is to figure out exactly who the ideal target is and what kind of content they’re looking for.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      There you go, Tommy!

      We really have to look at SEO as a way for us to get useful stuff in front of the people that are looking for it.. On the flip side, you may attract leads that were not aware of a very real need. Through education, you create the urgency and provide solutions.

      This is why SEO is so powerful. People won’t always do very specific searches because they may not even be aware that something like YOUR thing exits. For example, you mentioned a file sharing web app.

      You have to consider what sort of searches the average person will do. If there is awareness of what you’re offering, then common terminology will be used; if it’s something relatively new or truly ground-breaking, a functional search will take place, most likely…

      “file sharing web app”

      -VS-

      “where do I find something that will let me share my music and videos via the web”

      Of course, proficiency with advanced searches is big too.. Some folks know all the operands and shortcuts, but you have to cater to the least common denominator.. UNLESS your target market is filled with geeks and techies.. Then that’s different!

      So, to answer your question, you’ll have to take your concept, break it down by the features, figure out what selling points and benefits to lead in with, then build viable keyword lists from what you come up with. From there, you can test the keywords and gather search data.

      Earlier, I showed you the simple description search string versus the long-tailed search string. Certainly, you don’t want to optimize for SUCH a long string but if you can take the keywords out of that string and come up with something between 5-8 words, you should be good to go!

      It can be tricky and I probably did not explain that clearly enough, mainly because there’s so many ways to approach your scenario. Fortunately, you have plenty of comparable solutions to look at, which actually makes it easier. Find the common ground there, then find ways to differentiate your offering AND perhaps coin some keywords for your own brand (in much the same fashion as Apple has done with “iPod” and “MP3 players”, which now are terms used interchangeably).

      Let me know if you have any other questions – I love to have my brain picked.. So long as you’re not doing it literally! ;o)

      • Tommy says:

        hey Yomar,

        thanks for the detailed answer – it’s very helpful!

        yes, the fact that there are already plenty of solutions means i can study the most promising SEO opportunities.

        Thinking of it, I think many people would not search for “file sharing” but for “online collaboration”, “exchange files with customers”, “ftp server problems”, “send files by email”, “problem email attachment”, and possibly “improve customer relationship”, “file date” etc.Quite challenging ;-)

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          You’re very welcome! You got me thinking about a few things here…

          You may be onto something there with the keyword ideas. I particularly like the “improve customer relationship” one because it focuses more on a benefit, rather than a feature. If people search that phrase often, they’ll be far more likely to buy, simply because they are now past the point of initial research (finding out features and comparing brands/entities).

          With that particular search string, you could expand upon it even further. Perhaps “improve customer relationship using X” or something to that effect. It’s always better to get the long-tailed keywords because you’ll rank for other searches so long as they keywords are in close proximity, but not necessarily the same order.

          One last tip: while advertiser competition and monthly searches usually are good indicators of how popular keywords are, I’d look more at how many other web sites come up with the search terms and how relevant THOSE are. Ambiguous keywords can be really painful.. It’s also tough to compete when there are millions, if not billions, of similar things out there (or you positioned your entity in that manner). 8)

        • Hi Tommy – another suggestion for finding the keywords is to interview people on the subject, namely customers of existing solutions, and listen well to hear the words they use to describe the problem they are solving. If you were in the US I’d suggest using HARO for some research too. Not sure if there is a French equivalent…

          • Yomar Lopez says:

            Absolutely!

            I’ve often said, “Just ask.” Poll your audience, ask your closest customers, and just do some searches.. The information is usually much closer than we realize.

            Now I have not used HARO. Is it like Market Samurai, mayhaps? Elaborate. 8)

            • HARO is “Help A Reporter Out” – a site to connect reporters and sources. When I had my site Life Of The Freelancer it helped me connect with hundreds of self-employed people. Topics are all over the place, but it’s a great spot for research.

              http://www.helpareporter.com/

              • Yomar Lopez says:

                Ah, yes.. I have heard of this before. I think one of my buddies that works for a major publisher in NYC may have first told me about it. I never really thought about it from that perspective.

                That’s pretty darn cool!

                What’s really neat about that is that tools that are marketed for specific purposes often have other hidden uses.. Like HARO. I mentioned in one of my latest posts that taking inventory of your tools and needs is one of the first big steps in SEO. Once you grasp what you have and where you want to be, the journey becomes less perilous. ;o)

    • When you’re building something targeted specifically to a French audience – how do you plan on scaling larger when that time comes. Do you offer your service in other languages and formats?

      • Tommy says:

        Hey Christian,

        scaling to worldwide audience is not in my immediate plans – and if it ever does, it would be a very nice problem to have :-) For now, I’m focusing on the french market because it’s small enough that the big guys have not attacked it yet, and I know how to reach it.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Smart man!

          There are also plugins that do a decent job of translating content so you can quickly repurpose what you already have for new markets and audiences. Of course, nothing beats having an expert in that market that speaks multiple languages and can bridge the gap.

          From the sounds of it, I think you’ll be having this “problem” soon enough, Tommy.. And I appreciate and admire your courage for sharing your challenges with us. I say that because some folks worry about commenting because of how it may negatively impact their credibility or brand. It’s an understandable fear but I say just get out there and engage.. no one is perfect!

          Heck, even when you have most of the answers, getting a fresh perspective is a great way to evolve our ideas and bullet-proof plans, no?

          Extra kudos for focusing on the smaller, less-competitive market first. Often, in tightening our scope, we develop a greater reach. That’s an SEO and Inbound Marketing truth right there!

          Please connect with me on Twitter, Tommy. I go by Yogizilla usually. It’s a name that has stuck for over a decade now.. A sort of personal brand, if you will.

          I’d love to stay in touch and hear how this information has helped grow your business further. Nothing gets me more pumped than hearing about little-known small businesses doing BIG things!

          Your success story is my success story.

          Cheers!

          • Tommy says:

            Hey Yogizilla,

            I’m already following you on twitter, that’s my profile here http://twitter.com/#!/toumhi

            And thanks for your comments – it truly helps.

            Good luck to you!

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              We are now officially tweeps, Tommy! I would have followed back sooner but one thing HootSuite is not good at is showing you follows/follwers.. UberSocial is a little better with this but, lately, I’ve had to do quite a bit of scrolling thanks to networking boost this article and other recent efforts have been. WOOHOO!

              I’m glad the comments helped. You inspired some related discussions, which is great. I think what you stated really applies to a lot more people than they may realize.

              You may also enjoy my latest article at http://yomar.me as it discusses our digital footprints. That may give you more perspective as well, bud!

              See you again real soon!

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Christian, what has been your experience with local product positioning? And, since we’re discussing the French market, how about international business?

        Are they are any tools you’d recommend for translating content, researching markets, and placing products locally and/or globally?

        I wonder sometimes just how effective Google Translate and comparable tools are for capturing international markets. I’ve done some work in this area but not too much. John from USA-Corporate Services actually gets lots of international inquiries from people wishing to do business in the USA from overseas so helping him with the SEO and Inbound Marketing there has broadened my horizons much more. Learning more every day!

        This also goes to show that there are customers and markets that we are not even aware of. Learning our offerings inside-out and internalizing a strong WHY can help shape our marketing efforts immensely.

        Can’t wait to hear your thoughts there! Anyone that can offer some insight and best practices is welcome to join here. I’m sure there are many ways to “get ‘er done”! 8)

      • Christian, aloha. What a great question. Even though it is always using the internet, how people search and respond no doubt varies from country to country.

        While I have no problem speaking English, it’s speaking SEO that does me in every time. With Yomar’s help, I may be able to prevent myself from stumbling too badly.

        Have a great day. Aloha. Janet

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          I would not be surprised if the next Google project would be expanding their translate button to simplify technical jargon and business/marketing speak. It’d be a hoot and actually someone useful. I imagine they could partner up with Urban Dictionary for more “data points”. ;o)

          Back to the matter of translate content, imagine if your content was more far-reaching than you originally planned for?

          Let’s see you do some searches and check your analytics, and you see that there’s a town in Malaysia filled with avid fans of the VERY thing you’re doing. Guess what? If you cater to them, you may very well have yourself some avid fans!

          Obviously, the trends in data points is not always going to be right in your face. You may have to scour inbound links (backlinks from others to your content) and do some “off-page” research; in other words, see what is going on in other parts of the web. The opportunity to help a neglected market is almost always there, though it could take months if not years before you can really nurture that audience and expand accordingly. =o)

        • I wouldn’t worry too much about “speaking SEO” Janet. As long as you have the language of your customers and optimize your content around that the SEO works itself out. Social media helps quite a bit too.

          • Yomar Lopez says:

            Exactly!

            As Robert and I (plus the other SEOs lurking out there) know very well, our jargon tends to be a bit off-putting to some. I try to break it down to layman’s terms as much as possible. Rather than focusing on the features, I look at the benefits and functions, driving home the real value, not the hype of it all. ;o)

  3. Yomar Lopez says:

    *** More On Partial Attention ***

    Towards the end of my article, I touched upon what John from USA-Corporate described as, in a few words, “partially meeting the need”. I’ve seen awesome SEO work that got sites ranking in the Top 5 on GOOGLE for several highly-competitive keywords (and not long-tailed ones, either).. But conversions were still weak sauce.

    What happened?

    They forgot that small is the new big. Sure, you want that authority to drive traffic, but you really want to bring the right people to the right content.

    Check the top searches that bring you traffic…

    How can you build off that and create more specific content to cater to the needs out there?

    Is there any ambiguity in the search terms?

    You want to target keywords that actually get searched but you don’t want to be too general. Imagine ranking #1 for the term “video game” but your site is about video game development.. and most of your visitors are looking for video game reviews or online gaming.

    Guess what will happen there most likely?

    People will leave as soon as they get there. If your bounce rate goes up, your top pages may soon be buried in the SERPs. I’ve seen it happen and it’s not pretty!

    In any case, I wanted to put in those additional thoughts. Those closing bits were very powerful and I did not do them enough justice for the sake of being a little more concise than I usually am… *AHEM*

    I really hope that gives someone out there a good ‘ol “OHHHH!” moment. I can’t tell you how many times people tell me, “Well, we’re getting much more traffic now but the phones still ain’t ringing.” A deliberate effort is needed for that to happen… But I’ll end that thought there, for the time being! 8)

    • It’s funny, because in the past couple of weeks my top search term has changed drastically – and into something I would have never expected. The top search term is now: smart boy designs. Interesting.

      I guess it’s a good sign though. People are interested. They want to know more. When you’ve got people searching for your brand – you’ve got that perfect platform to launch from. Show them what you do, what you care about -and convert them!

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Thank you for bringing that up because recently it’s come up in consultations and masterminding sessions alike.

        Are branded searches viable?

        I know there are huge fans of branding out there and that’s great but optimizing for brands should be secondary to other efforts unless your brand is that pervasive. Again, I go back to functional, qualified search terms.

        How do you attract people that may not even know what to call what you offer?

        What about the folks look for stuff but not knowing what terminology will get them exactly what they seek?

        This is where you can position content to be more relevant to searches, thus getting truly pre-qualified leads to your content, effectively leading to action and goal conversions, depending on what you’re trying to really get done.

        Hmmm.. That was a bit of a run-on sentence, eh? Don’t tell anyone. ;o)

        I’m glad to hear people are finding your site more and more.. I reckon that the 2011 Small Business Influencers Summit has something to do with the branded keyword searches, along with how many of us endorse you constantly.

        You also have to think that tweets are virtually all archived and indexed on several web sites.. So you’re building a personal brand and some backlinks, whether you want to or not!

        You’re sooo right about what happens when folks look for us specifically.. That leads to personal, meaningful interaction, allowing you to cut through the small talk and get to the good stuff.

        Of course, it also means solicitors and bill collectors can find you too if they really know social media well enough… *GASP*

    • This is a bit off topic but the same goes for PPC advertising – choose too big of a word and your budget can be blown in literally minutes. This happened to a friend of mine. Within 2 hours he spent more than a few thousand dollars. When you’re talking SEO though you can spend much more time and money optimizing for the wrong keyword (defined as not converting to customers).

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        This is very true and it’s all connected.

        PPC (or Pay-Per-Click) charges a escalating premium for popular keywords so, the more people want it, the more they’ll charge. You set a budget and, once your money is tapped out, the campaign is done.

        As Robert said, if you’re not careful, your budget dollars are gone in less than a day.. 2 hours is a record though. He must not have worked closely with his friend, the SEO professional. ;o)

        I’ve found many have enjoyed great success using SEO to find out which keywords drive the most engaged traffic, then use that for PPC campaigns. Of course, there’s different ways to go about this. Like I said before, SEO and PPC can go REALLY well together.

        Peas in a pod, right Robert? (I believe this was the subject of one of your topics a few months back, actually.)

  4. As someone who is about to embark on a new solo adventure, I can’t tell you how interesting, inspiring and energising I found this post.

    I truly believe in listening being the heart of a good business model. From understanding your audience and meeting their needs, right down to their experience of how and when that need is delivered…it’s always be about the user, baby.

    As such I’m a huge advocate of engaging with customers directly, asking them what they want/need, and then building value around ‘real’ needs as opposed to perceived needs.

    SEO soley as a ‘traffic’ aquisition strategy very likely still has a place, somewhere, with someone. It has no role in what I do. Engagement, conversion and a customer centric approach to ananlysis is where it’s at. My potential new audience is diverse – company size, location, market etc. Finding them, engaging with them, building relationships and giving each of them what they need is the next step in the journey. Can’t wait.

    Thanks again for a terrifc post.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Niall, that’s always a scary time but I can already tell you have the heart of a champion, as cliche as that may sound!

      You’ve said in a few words exactly what I was trying to convey here.. And it’s not just about SEO or even Inbound Marketing, at that. It’s about remember the “service” aspect of service provider.

      It may be tough to reprogram ourselves from old-money corporate ways but we need to spend more time doing this stuff:

      * Thanking people.
      * REALLY listening.
      * Being authentic.

      …And that goes against what traditional sales and marketing has taught us. Slowly but surely, the tricks people got away with are no longer working.. We see it in SEO and in sales, hence the bitterness. Haha

      Perceived need and value.. That stuff still has a place but folks have to think about retention; that is, how loyal and excited people really are. Making that initial sale is not enough. We need to make sure the value of what we do is never questioned by showing we care and conducting business with great integrity (again, a bit cliche but SO true).

      AWESOME closing there, bud. Yes, old-school SEO still has it’s place and, believe me, I am not trying to get into a heated debate about what is the “best” way to execute on Inbound Marketing services.. But, certainly, if you don’t at least make your clients aware of what they can do with the increase in traffic, the missed opportunities will be quite a pity.

      Good luck on your journey and feel free to visit me on Twitter, my blog, or wherever all the cool people prefer to go nowadays.. I’d love to hear how your business ventures are coming along! I feed off the success of my fellows so don’t be a stranger!

      • Thanks Yomar. Been reading through your blog since finding this post. Man, you are an inspiration. Definitely not planning on being a stranger.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Glad to hear that – that really means a lot to me! I’ve always enjoyed really making an impression on people over having a huge audience of people that are mostly only mildly interested in what I have to share (hence my “mildly entertaining” bit in the bio). Haha

  5. As someone who knows as much about SEO as I do about skydiving (scary and well, scary), you have this great way of clarifying not only how, but also the why. Its very evident that you are WAY above the average SEO douchebaggery.
    Thanx for all your efforts in sharing this amazing post.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      LOL! You always make me smile from the very first sentence, Laurinda. SEO can be very scary, especially for non-technical folks.

      In many ways, I am reminded of Information Technology. To this day, technical jargon has left so many people in the dark. It’s still a sort of boys club, riddled with elitist sentiment and salty-dog ways. Thing is, if people are more honest about how things work and why it is truly valuable (beyond the coolness/geeky factor), then less people will question the service providers thereof, right?

      I recommend SEO work for anyone that has online content and is trying to create their very own captive audience. Whether you come to me for the services or not doesn’t matter. I realize that everyone has different goals and personalities so we can’t all work together but that’s fine.. As long as I inspire folks to make the changes that will liberate their souls, then I am a happy camper!

      After all, we all deserve a fighting chance. I’m SO happy you enjoyed the article.. And I appreciate your help during my initial formulation phase. Admittedly, I was a bit salty due to all the people whining about the Google search changes and the constant bickering between SEO agnostics and so-called “gurus” alike.

      Can’t we all just get along? ;o)

    • Douchebaggery. Love it. Tell it how it is Laurinda – and let that passion shine!

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        I’d love to take credit for that term but I think I first heard it from Ruud Hein of SearchEnginePeople.com or Dino Dogan of Triberr.com/DIYblogger.net fame. Speaking of which, I owe them both some articles, which I’m slowly but surely outlining and refining, mostly in my head for now. Haha

        Anywho…

        I think that, in general, folks look at service professionals in douchebags until proven otherwise. It’s because we deal with intangible stuff and some of our fellows misrepresent or over-sell the benefits of Social Media, Inbound Marketing, and Content Development, to name a few sectors that are ridiculed at times.

        This is why we see some potential clients go the DIY or super-cheap overseas outsourcing routes. They’ll give up quality, convenience, strategic oversight, and accountability to save a buck.. Or just not have to deal with the douchebags.

        I know some find the word ugly but do some searches and, sadly, that seems to be the consensus. That’s why we have to spend more time focusing on individuals and not masses.

        I believe that’s what you referred to as People Marketing before, Christian, and I could not agree more. All this stuff reflects not just on SEO but pretty much all our industries, especially if we focus on B2B (our fellow business owners tend to be the hardest sells and biggest skeptics I find LOL). 8)

    • Laurinda, you are so right. Yomar does take some of the scariness–heck, downright overwhelmment (new word) away from the topic. With Yomar, you almost feel that you can do it! Thx, Yomar.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        It makes me soooo happy to hear that, my friends!

        When I wrote this, one of the biggest things I tried to do was call out the service professionals that turn us off to SEO and related services. Laurinda can tell you: I was brutal at first.. Because I am disappointed that there are folks that are so selfish and off-putting like that.

        I really love Inbound Marketing as a whole. It frees us up to focus on what we’re really best at and, while we’re busy, leads come in. How cool is that?

        That’s why I want to debunk some of the fallacies surrounding SEO and Social Media…

        No more overwhelmment (you need to coin that and use it as a hash tag, keyword, category, etc. Janet).

        No more running away from the proverbial boogey man.

        There’s an opportunity here for everyone to take their current strengths and combine it with SEO work for some really fun results. Most, if not all, of us are social media buffs in here so why not get the best of both worlds?

        Inbound Marketing-Social Media-Engagement-Conversion Party-Party, anyone? We’ll work on a better name later, sure… =o]

  6. Yomar, my man, great job!

    I have been amazed at the number of whiners out there who are kicking and screaming because Google is requiring SEO to grow up. Their goal is relevance. In summary, that is what you are advocating here, making yourself relevant to a targeted market and maintaining that relevance through the sales and retention processes. That begins with properly planned and implemented SEO. You make that clear. Thanks!
    I personally love that you are asking all of us to imagine a world where SEO is a respectable marketing tool that is about so much more than traffic acquisition. Conversions are what well implemented SEO should promise, not just SERP.
    Thanks for a thought-provoking and entertaining post. The sketch is priceless.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      You said it, not me. LOL.. My first draft totally attacked the negative SEOs out there, because it’s just bad news when you have people attacking the competition and potential customers alike. There’s no need for that.

      Relevance is huge and, with Google moving more towards social signals and metrics like bounce rate and average time on site, it’s clear that they want to see what makes people stick around.. And what does not. The writing has been on the wall for a long time; after all, social media is not as young as people make it out to be!

      I’m glad you noticed what I was doing.. Yes, change is needed. I have called out some SEOs on their erroneous ways but I am also letting people know there are AMAZING folks out there that can really help them stand out head-and-shoulders (decent shampoo) above the competition.

      Conversions first, SERP later. In fact, when you focus on engaging people, rankings actually DO go up because of the return visits and increased participation.

      Haha.. Glad you liked the sketch. I was going to ink it but I think the rough look to it gives the article a nice balance of polish and raw “uNF!”

      Keep on rockin’, brothah!

    • Google is forcing everyone to focus on content, their brand, relevancy. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Search engines are finally going to be a process of quality versus quantity.

      The one problem I think people are going to run into – is that the top dogs on search engines are still going to have somewhat of a monopoly. They’ll still rank high – because, of course, they have a depth of backlinks insurmountable, hordes of people who share their content, and more.

      That’s not to say it’s not possible with hard work and a big focus behind a project – but it will still be hard. Just because the Panda Update, doesn’t mean you can just right great content – and that’s all. You’ve have to be bright and brilliant, followable, and use all these techniques and thoughts you’ve mentioned in regards to SEO.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        You bring up some more wonderful discussion points here about SEO, Inbound Marketing, Social Media, and Content Development in one fell swoops, Christian!

        Those that seeing as being forced to do something remarkable probably miss the point and will never build a truly engaging, remarkable experience.. So there is opportunity for fledgling sites to capture the people they missed.

        I personally look for smaller sites to support as they tend to have more unique content and interactive communities. Large sites feel faceless and soulless to me most of the time.

        What’s great about those highly-engaging sites is that they’ll still get traffic, regardless of whether they show up in the most popular searches or at the top of Google SERPs. There are so many ways people can stumble upon wonderful content including, well, StumbleUpon!

        I feel that large corporations will focus more and more on paid search results (PPC) whereas the growing small businesses out there will focus more on free organic traffic-growing solutions (SEO and the activity, behaviors, and tools surrounding it).

        Which raises a good question…

        Do you generally go with a sponsored or paying result.. or with a more naturally-placed search result?

        I sometimes wonder about relevancy with keyword buyers. They may try to capture search traffic that’s not a 100% fit, you know? This is where refining your keywords for more qualified traffic is of the utmost important.

        I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. I know there are fans of PPC versus SEO.. I personally feel they go well together but PPC is usually for short-term campaigns and SEO focuses on long-term growth and retention.

    • Where’s the +1 button for your comment James?!

      It’s sad that SEO has devolved into being seen as a shady practice when there are many reputable people out there doing good work.

      It’s also amazing to me how well you can do when you work with and not against Google.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        James sure does leave amazing comments (stay tuned for our podcast, BTW.. shameless plug, yes)!

        You’re very right about that and it used to disappoint me.. But I’ve found ways to deal with the objections and re-position what we do so it doesn’t smell like the doodoo others are peddling. =oP

        Like in any sector, you can’t judge everyone by a few (or many) bad apples.

        Working with Google is the only way to go.. Where others see inconvenience, I see opportunity. You got to play up the rules of the game when the game changes. Besides, there ARE other search engines and they matter too. They’re just not as massive as Google so people forget about them.

  7. [...] NEWER!  My article is live and, let me say this: the support has been phenomenal!  Even more impressive is the fact that the conversation has been so positive and educational for everyone.  Come join us and learn more about doing business online.  If you dig it, share it forward. The Adaptive SEO Approach (a.k.a. Bringing leads to you, engaging audiences, and converting naturally!) –  http://unbounce.com/seo/the-adaptive-seo-approach [...]

  8. Kristi Hines says:

    The SEO industry needed to start making changes in their strategy a long time before Panda jumped in. Panda just forced the issue, although there are still plenty of SEO’s who just continue to defend their “tried and true” strategies because they don’t want to have to learn something new.

    It boils down to making your SEO strategy as organic as possible. There’s nothing natural about getting a ton of links on unrelated sites, but there is something natural about getting them on sites that rightfully should be linking to a particular resource in the first place. There’s nothing natural about having hundreds of crap articles spread all over a bunch of low traffic, low authority sites, but there is something natural about getting quality, unique articles on popular, authority sites.

    Plus, SEO’s (and their clients) have to let go of stats. It’s not about getting a PR 6 link on a domain that has less than 100 visitors a month, but getting a link on a popular site whose visitors will be interested in clicking on it.

    Great post! Now if the SEO will get on board… :)

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      You’re absolutely right, Kristi!

      The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Some of the other search engines are more forgiving with the spam and black-hat techniques, but Google is penalizing web sites left and right for the slighest of things. I know people that have had their traffic, and residual income, cut down to a third of what it was since the initial Panda update. OUCH.

      Organic.

      That’s certainly the operative word. Catering to humans, not robots, and being natural in our Internet Marketing efforts. That’s HUGE.

      Now, the traffic of a referring site is not as important as the relevance and the activity of that audience. I’ve seen smaller sites bring conversions versus bigger, more authoritative sites.. It really depends on the subject matter and how granular your positioning is, yanno?

      Stats still have their place. As you test methods, such as different headlines or landing page layouts, the stats will serve as metaphorical dip stick for progress.. But you can’t be obsessed with stats, either. Ultimately, if you see more visitors returning and participating, then you know you’re doing something right.. If the phones ring and your (e)mailing lists expand, even better. Those opt-in rates are gold on their own and having a very active audience provides SEO value on it’s own because now there’s quality third-party content complimenting your own.

      …And, don’t worry, I’m on-board and SEO is one of the main things “I do” these days. I promise to protect and serve my clients, Ms. Kikolani! =oD

      • Kristi, aloha. Your comments always add so much to a post. They make so darn much sense that I appreciate even more what is said in the post.

        Organic is such a great word to use to describe what SEO should be. Thank you.

        Lead on, Yomar!

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          I must admit, the word “organic” does make me very happy.. Especially if I get to use it in a game of Scrabble.. Or Words With Friends.

          I forgot to touch upon the matter of PageRank and link-building. Even now I am on discussion boards and social groups where my fellow SEO nuts are spewing off about the importance of Google PR and getting links from high-PR pages…

          Meow meow meow.

          That’s pretty much what comes to mind. Sure, it looks cool if you’re using the Google or Alexa toolbar and you see all these bars fill up and stats popping up.. But, again, that stuff does not have any real intrinsic value. It’s more for show than anything else, sort of like a Klout score.

          Okay, okay.. I kinda like Klout now and I’ll like it more when Topic Pages are released!

          Back to the point here, I think Google would be smart to be more open about what PageRank really means so that it becomes significant. For now, it’s just one of many metrics one can look at to say, “Hey, we must be doing something right because that changed!”

          That said, I’ve seen pages drive tons of organic traffic and have low PageRank.. So it makes me wonder if it has any value today.. And Google keeps changing that darn formula too!

          I’d also like to reiterate that there are three main types of traffic: organic, direct, and referral. I think they’re pretty self-explanatory. SEO focus on organic most with some referral but the ideal is to have a balance between folks going directly to your top content every month and folks discovering your top content every day.

          Okay now…

          *puts on a bucket as a helmet*

          I am leading the way.. And I probably have spent much too much of my life on the Internet…. I’m okay with that! =oD

    • You really put that well Kristi. Concise – and makes sense. We should be using your definition of SEO in more locations on the internet.

      Organic. The perfect word to describe future success in SEO.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Indeed!

        Organic doesn’t stop with traffic sources. I equate “organic” with “natural”. Grow your audience naturally and gradually.. In some cases, exponentially.

        I prefer the gradual grow so you can expand capacity, touch everyone individually, and just be more engaging.. I know I keep saying “attract and engage” but I feel that’s the underlying theme.

        SEO attracts the right people and your efforts thereof engage them so they come back or at least stick around longer.. Ideally, they turn to avid fans and bring some friends and now you inherit the trust amongst friends.

        Again, this is not to discredit paid advertising, referral traffic sources, affiliate marketing, and the like BUT… SEO should compliment any and all of those efforts.

        Certainly, what Kristi and others have said about just buying bulk links is true. A handful of quality links can often work faster than a ton of junk links.. and it’s better for conversions because people actually participate and, you know, do stuff with and for you. =o]

  9. Yomar Lopez says:

    I have a question for everyone:

    What turns you off about SEOs?

    If you don’t see the value in SEO, why is that?

    Okay, that’s two questions.. but who’s counting? I want to get some thoughts on that as it relates to what we’re discussing here in BIG ways.

    I’ll also be using this article as a launch pad for a new series, which I will feature on http://yomar.me (a.k.a. Y3B) and Squidoo, for starters. You may also want to check out my SEO Paper.li –

    http://paper.li/f-1311865997

    …@iPullRank has some entertaining videos on there today. The guy is certainly an entertainer (@AnnaFSawyer has some comp)! ;o)

  10. Samir says:

    Wow this is one hell of a post. Traffic’s no good unless it’s actionable.

    Good job Yomar

  11. Yomar Lopez says:

    Thanks Samir!

    Actionable.. There’s another powerful word. If we’re not inspiring some sort of action, then something is wrong.

    A few mention seem to look at SEO as just building links and optimizing for keywords, but what about creating quality content with SEM in mind? That’s SEO and it’s Inbound Marketing. Really, the lines are more blurred than ever because social signals and compelling content are more important for SEO value now than ever.

    Which brings me to a question I just asked via Twitter:

    >>> What does authority and relevance mean to you in terms of Internet Marketing?

    (The answers are very different depending on whether folks focus on SEO, copywriting, and/or marketing… Yet they go hand-in-hand!)

    …I will likely ask this on Quora, LinkedIn, and/or Reddit to see what everyone thinks. The answers have been enlightening thus far!

  12. Yomar Lopez says:

    #SEO, #CRO, and #InboundMarketing is buzzing about all over the place thanks to this wonderful #ConversionFest contest the @Unbounce team has put together!

    I’ve been getting some really great conversations going in the Empire Avenue communities, particularly the blogging and marketing-related ones. There’s also been tons of discussion on Twitter and Reddit. Feel free to chime in – we’d love to have you!

    *** What I’ve Learned About Service ***

    The consensus seems to be that folks find most SEOs abrasive and manipulative. Thus, I understand why my fellow Internet marketers are opting to speak privately rather than attract trolls.

    I say, “Welcome the trolls!”

    That negative feedback can give us much-needed reality checks. Once you pick away the unconstructive critiques, the insight is quite useful.

    *** Digging Deep Within Ourselves ***

    Truth be told, it’s made me do some deep introspection. I know I have to work harder to avoid sounding salespitchy or, as some would say, smarmy.

    I genuinely like to help people and I think the call to action here is to establish a culture of thanking and caring, more than anything. When you position SEO as a way to help the little guys compete, doors start to open up. All of us consultant folks need to educate our audiences and show them the positive side of our respective businesses.

    Do you truly believe what you do will make a difference in the lives of others?

    Do you project that in all that you do?

    Truly remarkable SEO is about connecting with people that may have otherwise been overlooked. When we can find those lost souls and help them out any way you can, then we can say we are authentic in our desire to help. Of course, we have to make a living but we all know you can’t lead in with the sale.. After all, when’s the last time some “cold called” you and you really cared about their pitch, regardless of how good it was?

    What do you think?

    P.S. For those that are still on the fence about #SEO and don’t see how it really *IS* about managing your content and converting on goals, are you feeling a little better about it now?

    P.P.S. I’m absolutely loving the comments, especially those that disagree.. Please keep me in check! ;o)

    P.P.P.S. Yes, I am cleverly semi-optimizing this for more hits on keywords “adaptive seo”, “inbound marketing and seo”, and similar search terms. Right now, this page ranks #1 for “adaptive seo” out of over 3M pages.. I’d say that is social proof right there and I did it without spamming (and in just one day of the content being live, not to toot my own horn or be smarmy, of course.. *giggle*)!

  13. 602kid says:

    What a great article, I really enjoyed the read Yomar!

    If this was before the web and it was relevant with what I was doing, I would probably cite it in a paper, now I just link to it, share it, and engage with it. This is what leads to a larger audience, and a return on influence, and most of all trust. Showing up above the fold, is like getting out of the house and building meaningful relationships in and out of the neighborhood. Be fresh, provide different forms of content, try new things, lean how people are searching, encourage people to engage and speak the truth. Break free from typical search patters/routines, and discover new things, like new content by joy browsing. Don’t rely on one or even two search platforms, and optimize for social networks. Be creative and entertaining, provide alternatives, teach people search techniques. Otherwise send your content into space, let Huston know, and hope everybody owns a hubble scope.

    What are your thoughts on copywriting?

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I love the whole hubble scope bit.. That made me LOL for real cause it’s true. I sometimes scold my friends when they create so-called “labors of love” and then sell themselves short by not plugging it somehow.

      To me, it seems like a waste to have great content and not share it somehow. It’s also a bit selfish.. But I guess not everyone has goals, eh?

      You’re right on the money about searching and researching. In my engaging with and supporting others, I discover more about myself and refine my voice so that it becomes more unique and identifiable. It’s an ongoing process but, certainly, you have to balance getting out there with living in your head a bit.

      The more we experience on the social web, the clearer things become.. Old content can be repurposed and SEO becomes more positioning and engaging than anything else.

      With regards to copywriting, it’s part of what I do. I’m pretty good at it too, though there’s always more to learn. I’ve done plenty of ghostwriting and freelance work so, at this juncture, I’m looking to build my own brand up more, though I still have clients that I help out.

      It’s a delicate balancing act. I love helping others and that sometimes takes me away from the things I know I should be doing.. Really, if I put even half of the successful methods I employed for clients to work for myself, I’d be really rocking.. But it always works out that you sometimes want to take a break from the “day job” during your down time.

      I know you do web design but is writing something you are pursuing as well? If only CreativeMoonlighter.com was still around. That site was great.. Guru, not so much.

      Bringing it all together…

      I see a lot more overlap between #copywriting and #SEO than most. They always say content is king, and it’s true, but SEO is the queen that makes sure the king does his job right. ;o)

      • 602kid says:

        When I think of SEO, I think of the word, responsibility, and the ability to respond with relevant content developed for search. When I think of both Social Media and SEO, I think of three words, consciousness, unconsciousness and responsibility. This determines what kind of content you create and the action you take, and also what kind of consequence your action have.

        For me, SEO is about realizing the importance of discovery, and understanding of the technologies behind guiding those who are searching for what’s relevant. For me, Social media is about communication and connecting with those who share the same interests, and who are searching for you, all to build meaningful relationships around what’s important for growth. I totally agree SEO is the queen, (AKA) King Cong and King Content needs climbing lessons.

        I’m sticking with web design, I’m not very good at writer, but I’m learning, I just have a hard time getting my thoughts out through writing. I wish I was able to record an audio comment.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Good stuff here, Nate!

          If I had to go with one word to describe SEO, I think discovery is a very powerful one. That discovery is a two-way street because you get to learn…

          * What content people find most useful, significant, and relevant.
          * What makes content authoritative and credible in terms of both search engines and human audiences.
          * Which keywords and traffic sources are strongest.
          * Why some people stick around longer.. and return.

          Now, your typical analytics won’t give you all the SEO or SEM insight. You have to correlate that yourself and identify trends. There are tools to help but, regardless, human intervention and interaction is needed.

          So there we go again: the human part can’t be denied.

          Perhaps I should have gone with an anti-robot motif in this article? Just think of all the cool robot references and imagery I could have used! ;o)

          BTW, you are very good at expressing yourself in the written word.. And the way you view all this stuff really switches things around. I’m sure you’ve challenged plenty of thoughts about Internet Marketing right there.

          That said, audio comments would be cool, huh? Kind of like the ‘ol YouTube video responses, but without the distracting super-up-close headshots that scare us away. LOL

          Have you ever podcasted? It’s very rewarding and something I’m considering doing again.. I’m in the process of ear-marking potential guests for that, BTW.. *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

          • 602kid says:

            Thanks! I really appreciate it, Yomar!

            What you provide is most definitely authentic, and you have such a great understanding of what it means to be a true humanitarian. It’s all about being cool, with out the ego, and that you are! Sharing, sharing, and more sharing!! Not expecting anything in return, in my book gets the most return. This is the key that opens doors, …doors that lead to people who are conscious about what it means to share what’s truly authentic.

            I’ve never done a podcast before, but I’m definitely interested in trying it, for sure. I’m currently saving up for a new set up (computer/software) so I can breathe again. I’m not even designing right now, which sucks! I’m pretty much working with very little, trying to get settled in and organized. …Once I feel comfortable again, I will be able to fully engage and provide more value online. Can’t wait!!

            So when ever I get my life back in order, I would really enjoy working with you some how!

            On another note, I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind lately, and that’s dealing with that ‘ol saying “nice people, finish last”. All my life, I’ve been a nice person, a giving person, and it’s not that I let people take advantage of me, I just don’t fight for anything better and I sometimes cut my self short. Lately that’s been changing, but the reason I bring this up, is because, I started thinking about social networking …and how being assertive online, vs being assertive in person, and how dealing with people online vs people in person, how it changes a persons potential and it builds confidence, social networking is so rewarding and fulfilling, in a way that helps motivate and build grounds for change, and much faster. I don’t know just a thought, what do you think? I just realized it’s to much to think about right now! lol

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              Well, it actually aligns very well with this discussion because this is not just about SEO, it’s about creating content and becoming leaders that people want to follow (and that people are looking for right now).

              You bring up some interesting thoughts.. I actually stumbled across a similar discussion on Digg. Apparently, a recent Cornell University study determined that nasty people are more successful. I almost spit my coffee out when reading this.

              When I clicked through, I saw that it said that ASSERTIVE people make more money. HUGE difference. Now this teaches us something about work and life alike…

              I’m a nice guy and sometimes I’m TOO willing to help out and give out freebies, because I genuinely cheer on the little guys.. But I have learned when to say no and be tactful about it. You have to set boundaries and be selfish at times. Being assertive is not about being pushy or mean but, rather, knowing what your core values are and sticking by them. It’s having a sense of purpose and making necessary course corrections every day to reach your goal, purpose, or mission.

              So don’t stop being a nice guy if that’s who you really are.. but a little personal development can help you play up your strengths while being authentic in your ways. That’s important, bro.

              I’m glad you mention this because this has everything to do with my article and the underlying themes I’m trying to be a sort of thought leader on. I feel these are lessons we’re not hearing enough as people focus on money and material things, which is not necessarily what everyone will call success (especially if you’re killing your soul and alienating yourself in the process).

              Not to force the callback, but did you know that SEO can help you develop yourself, finding your strengths and establishing your very own voice?

              I think SEO work should focus more on research and interpretation of data. The technical aspects are only a small piece of the puzzle, though those are all fine and dandy. When you look at your traffic analysis, you can learn so much about your audience and yourself.

              When you do your homework like this, you’ll evolve and so will your work. Go at your own pace and don’t force it. Again, if you’re being sincere in your ways, people will listen and appreciate you for it.

              Hope that addresses all your concerns! I’m sure someone out there had the same issues but lacked the courage to ask it in a public forum.. and I understand. Not everyone is at the same level of readiness to bring about real change. No worries. 8)

              • 602kid says:

                You’re are right, I completely agree, and thanks for the input and advice Bro!

                Personal development and understanding what it means to evolve has person, by recognizing the dysfunctions that cause us to re-creating the same old mistakes, is very important. I’m learning so much, and it’s not about making money, nor obtaining material value, but what’s needed to discover and change for the better.

                I can totally see how SEO has helped me grow, and how it’s helped others.
                It’s about discovery, inside, and out, so it’s definitely true! In a lot of way SEO has changed my life, and has made me realize what I want to do.

                Those SEO’s who are bitter about the recent changes to Google Search, are the ones who need to be questioned about the morality of their SEO Activities!

                I agree with you 100% SEO work should be focused more on research, interpretation of data, and also social sentiment analysis. You are a great leader, when it comes to SEO, thanks again for being so helpful!

                • Yomar Lopez says:

                  Key take-aways there that I want to resound:

                  * Research
                  * Data Interpretation
                  * Discovery
                  * Social Sentiment

                  You essentially mentioned the behaviors that allow folks to adapt to a post-Panda world since we all know everyone mostly focuses on Google.

                  Surprisingly, there are still remnants of the old search engines. They’re still used too. Hotbot and Lycos are still around, for example, though even I forget about them at times. Still, even the slightest extra traffic is an opportunity to attract the right people and engage them, right?

                  You’re definitely right about the bitter folks out there. Google Panda whining is taking place practically in every forum and group I am a member of that discusses Inbound Marketing, SEO, and SEM. I’ve been doing different things for a while so to me it’s a non-issue and, even if some sites I optimize suffered, I like a challenge – that’s an opportunity to learn and evolve!

                  Going back to the key factors in a successful SEO effort, I feel that discovery is a particularly empowering word because…

                  * You discover more about your target market.
                  * You discover more about your current audience.
                  * You discover who your core audience is there.
                  * You discover more about yourself.

                  With all the benefits to SEO, it astounds me that the providers and clients alike devalue it. I blame the pushy SEO professionals that treat our services as if they are lemons being sold out of a shack on a dirt road.. And, by lemons, I’m referring to used cars (I thank Mike from The Entrepreneur’s Round Table group on LinkedIn for finding a metaphor that really works here – he should be joining us soon).

                  The value is immense here, folks, and SEO does not have to make your head explode or implode (depending how you’re wired up) with all the information dumps, technical jargon, and contrasting opinions on search marketing. ;o)

          • Stan Faryna says:

            Where’s my invite for the audio interview?! [pout] Hmpff!

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              I honestly haven’t set up yet for that just yet.. I’d like to have my new site up before then.. Though I could use archive.org…

              We should talk, bud!

              I have a long list of folks I’d like to sit down and have random geeky conversations with.. but I also want some sort of direction and underlying themes. I’m a humorous, upbeat guy but I can also be a bit of a sarcastic salty dog at times.. I’d love to have guests that can keep up with my crazy, rebellious ways!

              I’m thinking Aaron Biebert, Dino Dogan, Laurinda Shaver.. Well, I’ll stop there because the list will get long.

              And, to bring it back to SEO, I’ve found some methods for encapsulating podcasts to e-mail marketing, RSS feeds, and more.. Thus, providing some readable text for search engines. I’ve noticed rich media showing up more in searches, especially when it comes to images.

              What I’d like to do is set up a dedicate site or blog for the effort and have a rotating cast of co-hosts to keep it up consistently. We can have some fun photo galleries and connect worldwide via Skype!

              Oh man.. I’m excited! Let’s make sure we connect everywhere possible. I don’t get on Facebook as much as I probably should but I have you on there for sure, Stan. You can always Google stalk me… The names “Yomar” and “Yogizilla” are SEO’ed pretty well. ;o)

  14. Stan Faryna says:

    I got halfway through the first reading. I’ll be back. There’s much here for me to review. What I can say now is that I like how you have made a commitment to real. That counts a lot in my book.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m a noob. Nor would I say I’m smarter than your average bear. But I have been around the block. Just Google me. [grin]

    Again, I’m very impressed by your energy and commitment to be real. I’ll be back…

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Always keeping it real, Stan.. I love that about ya!

      There you go: living proof all around us. =o)

      Now, I’d expand upon the call to action “GetReal” (hi there #GetRealChat fellows). Sometimes, it’s not that we’re being insincere or sneaky, though I’m sure there are plenty of bait-and-switch artists out there.

      Maybe the issue is a lack of focus? Maybe we’re trying to be everything to everyone instead of focusing on the few that REALLY are looking for what we’re offering.

      I think we spend so much of our lives trying to please and impress the wrong people.. It eats away at us and we lose ourselves in the process…

      So, yes, the commitment to being real is the first step.. But embracing that SEO is more than just keywords and links will be part of a greater behavior and vision.

      I like to think about it is as killing the noise or anti-spam marketing.. Working with a few people closely at a time. After all, dispelling that notion that we SEOs are just good for spam and interruptions should be at the top of our our list.. And I’ve heard the same said about self-proclaimed social-media “gurus” too.

      Be real. We’ll leave it at that until you return, Stan! =o)

    • Stan, aloha. Loved that you said this. Though I did not leave a comment the other times, I have been back several times in an attempt to digest all this incredible info from Yomar.

      That it is taking you more than one visit makes me feel ever so much better about my repeat visits. Of course, Stan, I must admit I enjoy reading the comments and updates when I visit.

      With all the great comments and responses, this is a post that keeps on giving. Aloha, Stan. Janet

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Thank you for that!

        I always wonder who reads all the comments when they get to this point.. It makes you feel like there should be a way to filter comments and get to the parts of the conversation where you feel you can really add value, eh? I’m sure someone is working on a plugin for that.

        With these readable-text comment threads, a simple script can grab content from your favorite web sites and dump them into one place so you don’t miss anything. That’d be neat.. Though I reckon that’d also be redundant given e-mail subscriptions and what-not… But imagine having that depository of information all in one place.. I’m picturing something like Twylah, where the content is sorted out for you and you can tweak it a bit!

        Anywho…

        I’m still waiting for Stan to return but I’m glad you have, Janet. I was sitting here patiently, reloading the page every 15 minutes for the past week or so.. And then I saw your message pop up! Haha.. I’m kidding about the sitting here and reloading constantly, of course.. It’s more like once every hour.. Okay.. 45 minutes!

        I’m definitely excited here.. If you have any more questions about SEO, please share with everyone here. A lot of the conversations have started that way and it’s great having everyone else share their expertise too!

        These comments are like the prize inside a Cracker Jack box.. Without the sticky mess. =oP

      • Stan Faryna says:

        Big hug to you, Janet.

        I can’t say that Yomar Lopez has said too much. But he has said much. I also imagine he has even more insight to share on the matter. And, certainly, that’s good enough reason to follow Yomar back to his own blog.

        I came back three times to read his essay. Twice more after reading his essay to read the comments and make my own comments.

        Stan

        Recently on my blog:
        Empty-handed and Less Traveled Roads. And other social media DOHs. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          I’d like to think I struck a good balance here. This article was comprehensive but not as long-winded as my usual fare. ;o)

          The fact that people keep coming back is flattering and inspiring.. I hope it’s inspiring to you all too! Let’s face it: how often do we revisit the same post unless we really feel we are being engaged?

          I’ve actually gone back and re-read my own article because, even though these are my beliefs, there’s something about reading it as a third-party… It’s like it further programs it in your brain and soul.

          So I hope some of you can use this content here as a field manual to keep you on-task because I know sometimes we just need that little nudge every now and then to get us back on the right course.

          In my personal odyssey here the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to…

          * Increase my audiences.
          * Engage more people.
          * Influence more people.
          * Convert true believers.
          * Gather more social proof.
          * Inspire those struggling.

          Most importantly, I think I made some friends for life. It’s been quite the experience. It’s like my article came to life and touched many of us.. Myself included!

          Thank you all so much for the support and believing in this powerful message.

      • Stan Faryna says:

        Big hug to you, Janet.

        It’s nice to see you out here in the wilds.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          The wilds of Online Marketing.. It works.. If Online Marketing is the wilds, then SEO must be the dark cave that most dare not venture into and, if they do, mostly only peek inside… Hmmm.. The metaphor sort of works. =o]

  15. KiNgDeeM says:

    Love the doodle bud Still reading the post should be finished with it in a cpl months. ;]

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      It’s an INFOdoodle, Nick.. @aaranged gave me the idea when he called it an Infoscribble. Haha

      A couple of months? By then, the contest will be over. Sheesh.. Everyone is a comedian! ;o)

      Seriously though, I hope you learned a bit more about SEO and doing business online. I know you’ve been making some big moves and your content has come a long way, which is the start.

      Folks, @KiNgDeeM is one of the most selfless, active master promoters and content curators that I know. I invite you to check out this stuff. He’s a hoot and quite insightful when he’s not busy causing trouble! *wink*

      Nick, go ahead and skip to the last two sections if you want to get more to the HOW of adaptive SEO, engaging audiences, and driving results/conversions. This is the heart of Inbound Marketing, which encompasses all these fancy-smancy terms. 8)

      • KiNgDeeM says:

        HAHAHA You know I’m just messing with ya I will get to it tho charger went on my netbook and I hate using other ppls PCs. Thanks for the kind words bud. Me and Dave have been missing you even Ecomp too.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Well, you know how it is: during all my SEO work, I stumble upon great content and inspirational people, then I get lost down the proverbial rabbit hole. I have a few creative things I am going to launch soon, including the podcast I was talking to you about. I already have a name that I think everyone will love, especially my target guests!

          I’ll definitely try to unplug more so we can just unwind to some good ‘ol video games. For now, I’m happy we have social media to stay connected and at least be aware of what everyone is doing. We just need more folks in our social gaming clan to check in via these platforms and make their efforts and intentions visible.

          Did you see Tadija’s blog? He posted the link at n-o-f.net and, I must say, I am impressed with his SEO skills. It’s keyword-rich stuff but written in a manner that appeals to us non-robots. He’s a great writer so I’m glad he took that step and stopped being a new media agnostic. ;o)

  16. Stan Faryna says:

    Speaking as a former European national director of IAB and speaking with some tongue in cheek, I’d like to share with you some insight about greatest failures of advertising and marketing – failures which represented a tasty challenge for online property managers, agencies, and free agents.

    The big five (challenges) which deeply stimulated the online ecosystem are as follows:

    (1) Failure to sell things that people don’t need or want
    (2) Failure to sell things that are uncompetitively priced
    (3) Failure to sell things that correlate to disappointment
    (4) Failure to sell things that are associated with shame
    (5) Failure to sell things that do not command a market or distribution

    Second to spam, Search and SEO offered a convenient, affordable, and semi-effective solution to businesses facing the kind of core business problems described above. In fact, those businesses fueled tremendous growth of the digital ecosystem, the internet, and the online advertising and marketing industry.

    Sleaze (in a manner of speaking) powers the internet and it has done so – at least- since use of the animated gif. [laughing] Ironically, sleaze often continues to use the animated gif. All things considered, Search and SEO evolved as sleazy as the businesses they served. But as you are doing, online advertising and marketing doesn’t have to be salacious, sleazy, and slutty as it has been.

    The development of social and semantic infrastructure will be key, however. I encourage you to build your vision of a social web 3.0 – a vision that emphasizes a people web, a collaborative experience, and a use-ability that allows people to effectively manage trust, sharing, ideas, connections, relationships, and social action at greater scale.

    Best regards,
    Stan Faryna

    Recently on my blog: Do you love strongly? And other social media DOHs. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Those failures right there are powerful reminders for us. I’d like to touch upon the matter of pricing…

      I find that SEO helps you do some great competitive analysis, uncovering direct and indirect competitors alike. In doing so, you can see what is considered a “fair” or “reasonable” price for your offerings. Now pricing is a tricky thing. As a small business, the temptation may be to bargain price everything and that’s great, especially if you are an empathetic bootstrapper like myself, trying to make a tight budget work at times.

      The problem is that pricing is not the root cause of buyer objections and lack of loyalty. The issue here is making value and benefit abundantly clear over cost, both in terms of time and money (resources most to do not dispense with easily).

      How does this relate to SEO?

      Again, you can do your homework by searching keywords that make sense to you and then see what people are actually searching. Then combine the two and find a way to position what you have in a way that makes it stick out. Make sure it’s something that is sustainable and authentic.

      For example, you don’t want to position belly button lint as “organic cotton”. People will eventually catch on and it’ll kill your brand. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything. *chuckle*

      Back to serious biz speak here, sleaze is an ugly thing.. But unfortunately there are plenty of people getting results. Those big enough to throw their weight and money around are happy with the 1-5% conversion rates. They figure “it’s always worked” so they don’t mind making more noise and continuing to interrupt, invade, and push.

      I love your closing here because my future project does involve creating a network of resources that will bring honesty, caring, and authenticity back to how we interact and do business online. I realize that there will be pushback now due to all the social platforms out there.. Even back in 2002ish, when I first had these ideas, it was a saturated market in some ways and the need wasn’t as great.

      That said, I feel there is a need for more start-ups to help equalize things. When I think of this, Triberr comes to mind. Dino makes it a point to call out big brands trying to exploit the system. Him and Dan really want the resources to be used by small businesses, so we can go back to the days of excellent customer service and mama-and-papa-shops “where everyone knows your name”.

      So the elusive Web 3.0 is attainable. On the technical side, dynamic user-generated content is the direction of things. Allowing people to customize the experience while still maintaining a core experience as well is imperative. This where you can use methods like double opt-ins and dripping of information to not only qualify leads, but build trust and credibility.

      [ SEE "Lead Qualification Process" Infographic ]

      On the soft side, the side we really need to start focusing more on, how can we make social media more social? How can we educate and recondition people so they’re not worried about their privacy, being pushed around and manipulated?

      There is immense opportunity here to take CRM, SFA, Content Curation, and other things to more intimate levels, without forcing or rushing it. We need to create communities of reciprocation, collaboration, and thank yous. It’s collective economics meets new media. Individually, some of us are pretty impressive but imagine what we can do together, especially when we put aside “selling”, as we know it, for a little bit (or forever)?

      Lots of food for thought there.. And I’m hungry! (No, really, I am.. BBL!)

      BTW, you have quite the impressive background, bud. You rarely toot your own horn and are one of the most humble guys I know.. So it’s cool to learn more about you. We should Skype sometime.. It’s a great tool to keep ourselves engaged and bounce ideas around!

      • Stan Faryna says:

        Aligning value and benefit on both sides of the business equation (customer and online strategist/service provider) remains a challenge for the best of the best.

        Moving on.

        In fact, 1% conversion rates tend to be spectacularly rare. 5% conversions tend to belong almost exclusively to porn, prostitution, and abortions. If you have secret sauce for these kind of high conversions, it should be easy for you to pick up outsourced work from top agencies. Point Zero Five is par for the pros. Yup, .05% conversion. And wanna-bes, .01%. Feel giddy yet?!

        Small Armies.

        Communities remain key. But today’s communities remain almost irrelevant to the social web as long as they cannot intentionally and rationally exercise their will as one and move on clearly defined aspirations and decisions. Small armies that dictate taste, inspire, make a difference, and (unfortunately) intimidate is in the not so distant future.

        Join me in my recent conversation:
        Empty-handed and Less Traveled Roads. And other social media DOHs. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          I was being very generous with the 1% conversion rate, it seems.. But that just goes to show you that if we’re not making sure we “touch” everyone and treat everyone like a VIP whenever we can, the opportunity to connect may not come for a long while.

          Throw in the fact that the conversion process can be quite the ODDyssey.. You need to give yourself enough time to build up likeability, trust, and credibility. Some would throw in popularity but that is a fickle business partner, to say the least.

          Small armies. I like that… It shows the power of being united in a common vision, even if we differ a bit in other ways. Of course, some may confuse that for “group think” and run the other way.

          Is this how you envision Web 3.0? I think a true Web 3.0 (we’re not really there yet) will almost force us to change how we do business.. I imagine permission-based marketing will become tougher as the entire online experience become more custom-tailored to one’s particular tastes and needs.

          Of course, when customers shut you out, you can always attract them, yes? That spells opportunity for Inbound Marketers and SEOs alike, for starters. ;o)

          Visiting your post now, Stan!

          • Stan Faryna says:

            With every blessing comes the opportunity for evil. Web 3.0 will be every bit as awesome as it will be terrifying.

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              AMEN to that!

              So many of our fellows are still getting used to Social Media as we currently know it.. Imagine if we advance technology any further??

              I wonder how Web 3.0 will impact a lot of what we do, SEO and Inbound Marketing inclusive. I’ve shared some insight about that on 8PMwarriors.com and other places… But I’d like to ask you all:

              What do you envision Web 3.0 as?

              I agree that there will be some awesome sauce to enjoy with a side order of terror. I feel like we have to focus on education right now. Let’s help people figure out the etiquette and best practices of what we have available to us now before we look to the future.

              Web 2.0 is just fine.. We just need to tweak behaviors a a bit, yes?

              What do y’all think? =o)

  17. GeekyKait says:

    Great stuff! Very detailed and concise and I have learned so much just by going through it. I do agree that the most tricky part in creating a website is making sure that Google will absorb it to it’s full potential. It’s not all about the keywords, it’s about the content, the design (and I don’t just mean the appearance and the methods you are going to use in promoting it. Good job!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      First and foremost, I *love* the name! Geeks rock.

      #geeksunite

      I’m glad you found the article useful (and hopefully entertaining). I wanted to share so much more but figured I should be more concise than I usually am over at my main blog, which I affectionately called Y3B.

      Keywords are just one way to position your content and offerings, but placement in the right communities, channels, and circles (yay Google+) is even bigger now. The good thing about keyword research is that you can find adjacent issues. Google in particular uses a fuzzy logic algorithm whereas it’ll associate things based upon search habits. This is a great way to bring curious web surfers to the most relevant, significant content.

      Now, I’m biting my tongue avoiding the talk about how Google sets up technical profiles and all this stuff.. In a nutshell, there are buckets of related topics in the Googlesphere and you can be become an authority, a leader and major influencer, for these topics… It’s really neat how it all works but, no matter how much Google gives us a glimpse into their business, no one understands it 100% except the people that work there.. And maybe not even them (I’m looking at you Matt Cutts).

      BIG thumbs up for distinguishing design as more than just making things look pretty. Content, community, positioning, and presentation.. Those are four wonderful things in the Internet Marketing conconction, I’d say.

      I encourage everyone to find systems and models that work for them.. Make it all your own and then work with people that believe in your vision too!

      Thanks for stopping by.. Hope you bring some friends into the conversation. Mr. Keurig would like some people to sell coffee makers to…

      *points below*

  18. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly youre going to a famous blogger if you are not already Cheers!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Well, I sure do appreciate your cookie-cutter compliment here, Mr. Keurig.. And I think you for visiting to illustrate one of the key indicators of good SEO.

      You see, if your content is really pervasive, you’ll start getting more spam.. It can be annoying for some but it’s encouraging, if you ask me. That means some autoblogs and crawler scripts are eating up this content…

      Hello world! =oD

      P.S. I’m not big on fame and fortune. I just want to be able to be financially free so I can focus on helping others and churning out tons of fun content.. I am a creative at heart, but consulting is a great way to put my experience to real work while broadening my own horizons, I find.

      P.P.S. I find bots and entertaining but I must say: I’m glad it was a coffee maker review site that was linked and not, say, “happy pills”. *AHEM* I would not click the link, just in case. ;o)

    • Stan Faryna says:

      I like coffee. [grin]

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        I am drinking some right now. Now, if this was the old web, I could spam coffee coffee coffee about x20 and be able to rank for “coffee”.. Then draw in more coffee bots.

        Thank goodness it’s not that web anymore, right?

        I like the direction of search marketing. It not only discourages spam – it PUNISHES it! Now we can get back to quality content and wonderful experiences, with less sleazy stuff.. No more guys in trench coats selling us goods out of their pockets… Well, at least not in the nice parts of town!

        Instead, Klout is going to say that we are experts on quail hunting, corduroy pants, 5.4″ floppy disks, and banana splits. Can I get a few +K’s? ;o)

  19. I’ve often seen marketing online (using SEO) go one of two ways. The first is the business who spends a fortune (really, a small fortune) paying a team of people to manage their search engine optimization, advertising on facebook, and more. Call it brute force, whatever, type marketing – but they find success due to their “being” everywhere.

    The other, is a phenomenon I’m working with right now with another company. Basically, I’m the only one on the team working for their company online. We’ve chosen to focus more on social media, and have stayed clear of spending money on advertising. With an incredible product though, and fabulous service – the SEO has been taken care of. Blogs link in, members chat nonstop about us on facebook/twitter, and inbound links are pouring in. All with little work. But yes, lots of work went into a grand idea and product – but not as much work is going into SEO. The product is taking care of that by being great – and people talk.

    So, which do businesses want? Well, if were myself I’d certainly want the latter – as it’s more fun, more rewarding, and probably more long lasting then a brutal marketing attack.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I’m glad you touched upon these issues again, Christian, because the underlying theme here is that most feel there is a vast divide between SEO, Social Media, and the things that really make businesses ROCK!

      It shouldn’t be that way.

      Whether it’s the perception or personal experiences, I think it’s a shame when any service we offer is departmentalized. I mean, can you possibly departmentalize marketing at all in today’s world? Especially on the social web?

      Seth Godin is someone I keep bringing up because he warns us about these very things. He’s been doing it even longer than I have, and I’ve been involved with the web for quite some time (anyone remember Netscape Navigator beta or Quarterdeck Mosaic? LOL).

      I agree that building a pervasive presence is huge.. But I look at it more as not just being everywhere, but focusing where the people that you want to touch are. When you consider abandonment rates on web sites, especially the social variety, today there is a clear urgency there: we need to be more engaging and create a culture of caring, sharing, and helping each other.

      That’s why I’m pushing the Support-A-Thon hard. Those that want a place to sit some natural backlinks get that.. but for those that want more, REAL engagement, there’s that… And then we can cross-promote and take it to all the other thriving touch points, just say you suggest here, bro!

      What you mention there with your client is HUGE. Whether you outsource or do things in-house, delegate or DIY, you need to have one person that takes ownership and provides oversight. Without consistency, your brand, your voice, everything suffers…

      Peggy said the same thing here -

      http://12most.com/2011/08/16/12-transparent-ways-people-social-media/

      With that in mind, I am not saying you should not outsource Social Media or SEO operations. I *am* saying that we should work with people that believe in our vision and truly understand the culture of our business entities.

      This should be Marketing 101 but it’s not. This is why the authenticity movement has stirred so much debate. Savvy consumers are seeing inconsistencies between certain touch points and messages, and the actual experience.

      But I digress…

      Back to what you’re saying here! You’re right about indirect SEO work but it’s still a deliberate effort that got you there. Content development, product placement, positioning.. All that stuff is part of end-to-end social-focused SEO.. That’s the premise of my adaptive SEO concept here.

      Whether you call it SEO or not, if you are growing your business (and audience) organically via search engines, you are doing SEO. I definitely warn against strong-armed, brutal marketing attacks. They have low returns and cost a lot.. But I suppose that’s fine for large corporations that make up for the loss elsewhere.

      If you grab anything here from my usual passionate rant, it’s that SEO, Inbound Marketing, and Social Media are not mutually exclusive.. In fact, SEO should be treated from a complete Inbound Marketing strategy because all that extra traffic needs a meaningful purpose, opportunities to engage and participate.. Guess what?

      Social Media and SEO make a great combination.

      Don’t even get me started about how StumbleUpon, Twitter, Squidoo, and countless other social platforms are AMAZING as referral AND organic traffic sources. Having a strong community and good context attached is the winning combination there.. I may have mentioned this before.

      Oh boy Christian.. You are fueling the idea machine once again. Grab the WD40.. I may go into social overdrive over here! ;o)

      • Stan Faryna says:

        I enjoyed the exchange between you and Christian. Just sayin’

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Well, we like to party like it’s 1999. Darn.. We can’t embed video here. That would have been perfect!

          (I hear Prince fans love to leave comments too!)

          • Stan Faryna says:

            Just for the sake of keeping it real, I can admit to having a velvet painting of Prince when I was 14. [grin] I think i even had a perm too. Until a senior class hottie in my high school journalism class told me that I had to lose the jerry curls – if I ever wanted to get some love in high school.

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              I used to rock a trapezoid-shaped afro.. Mainly because it was easier to maintain when I was too lazy to keep the ‘ol military/crew cut going. This did not last long as I was in military school at the time and they were big on being well-groomed and blah blah blah.

              Jerry Curls are dangerous. You’re a brave man.. I knew a guy at a previous job that used to use TOO much jerry curl oil.. That guy probably caused the San Diego fires, I reckon…. o_O

  20. Drew Hannush says:

    Wow, way to poor your heart into a blog post. You have so much interesting information and so many fascinating insights I think you should be joining my bookshelf soon. Thanks for a lot of food for thought as I navigate these same choppy seas of the ever evolving SEO process. And thanks for not being “black hat.” I agree with you…the Panda updates are a good thing.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Indeed!

      If nothing else, the Panda updates will create more competition by allowing those more focused on the social and engaging parts of business, rather than the technical aspects.. That means everyone can have a solution to match their need, whether they go DIY, sub-contract, campaign it out, or just ignore the value all together.

      Me on your bookshelf? I’d love that! Truth be told, I’ve done some ghostwriting and I have friends like Laurinda Shaver and Dave Gallant that slap me up for not branding more and building a name for myself. For me, getting the message has taken precedence over profitability and building my personal brand.. but I’m learning to be selfish enough to build up an audience and reach more people, and make a living from that.

      I thank you for those kind words, Drew! I tell you: sometimes, this is just the thing our colleagues and clients need to hear. Some call it a “creative nudge”, I call it engaging and inspiring your “work-OUT buddies”.. That’s how my Support-A-Thon was born and I will be expanding upon it to give people SEO tools that kill the spam, strengthen relationships, and build remarkable content.

      Expect to see this all at a StumbleUpon, Twitter, and Squidoo near you (for starters)!

      One last thing.. Pouring your heart out.. I really believe in that. If you don’t have that elusive passion everyone is talking about.. If your mission does not make you teary-eyed at some point, then you will surely be shot down by the negativity out there and endless stream of skeptics and jaded cynics.

      Drew, you truly are an inspiration! Folks, you need to pay attention to LynxTo, this is a start-up that cares about people.. and, no, they’re not a client of mine! They’re just good people that care.

      …And Drew is no stranger to small biz. Here’s to your continued success, bud!

      CHEERS!

      (BTW, all this right here is adaptive SEO.. Better yet, I’m thinking social SEO would resonate with more people.. But adaptive SEO certainly got me to #1 on Google, so there’s something for the PageRank and SERP position junkies out there – HA!)

      —-

      Let’s connect on SU and Google+, folks:

      http://plusya.com/yomar
      http://yogizilla.stumbleupon.com

      You’ll note I changed the “branding” given the context, content, and audiences thereof.. but it’s still the same crazy, passionate guy you know and love! =oD

  21. Yomar,

    How can I thank you for such in depth information. It was a pleasure to read, logically organized and easy to understand. I also want to take a moment to applaud your generosity. I learned tons from the post and am even proud of myself because some of the points you made validated my thoughts exactly. For instance the engagement of truly interested parties and attracting them to a specific message. I see many people make the mistake of just shooting info out there with reckless abandon. it just becomes more noise.

    I’m looking forward to reading more from you. You have a fan here.

    Thanks again,

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I’m all about generosity and building a sense of community. Some would say to a fault.. So that there may be one of the best KUDOS I’ve gotten yet – thank you so much!

      While this article is a great read for anyone with online content, whether you’re a curator or marketer (or both), I was definitely hoping to help out the non-SEO folks. I know that all the technical aspects of SEO make heads spin.. So I wanted to simplify it and focus on the behaviors, because those don’t ever really change.

      Engagement of truly interested parties is totally it. I see folks with thousands upon thousands of people in their networks but can you really call that “true reach” when most of them are tuned out? Then there’s the matter of having readers or participants, which isn’t always one and the same.

      You can look at my blog over at http://yomar.me and I don’t have the amount of comments some of my fellows do but the people that DO comment are my greatest supporters, friends, and clients. So that’s great for me.. I am a visual person so I can look at that and know exactly where I am standing, yanno?

      When you shoot information out there with reckless abandon (WHAT a great way to put it), you certainly do add to the noise. I think the problem there is that we have folks that come from traditional sales and marketing backgrounds, jumping onto the social media bandwagon, only to exploit it.

      The social web came about to undo the many years of anonymity, sleaze, and creepy vibes that existed in cyberspace. Truly social sites should be treated like a small party in your own home. Would you bombard your guests with selling propositions the moment they walk through the door? Would you even ask them to see something before they can take off their coats and get comfy? I reckon the answer is “no” on both counts.. Yet that is exactly what folks are doing online.

      Taking the hyperbole a little further, SEO is like placing signs and having town square heralds in the right places to share messages with the right people. Now, when you get a random stranger visiting you at your home, do you welcome them with milk and cookies or do you force them to sit down for an Amway presentation?

      It really makes you think, doesn’t it? All this noise is exactly why people are turning off their radios and televisions. It’s why people are cancelling their cable and satellite subscriptions. It’s why people don’t pick up a newspaper every day like they used to. We’re tired of spin, hype, guilt, and fear tactics.

      I’d say that 8 out of 10 people are waiting for someone to just acknowledge them and make them feel welcomed. If more comes out of that, cool beans, if not, no biggy – thanks for visiting and remember you’re always welcomed here!

      I feel that my approach to SEO is far less cold than what most folks are employing. Perhaps I’m not raking in cash by heaps but I’m doing well for myself and each day is a better day.

      Good to have another fan. I have some links here in the comments and would love to connect more.. Feel free to pick my brain and if there’s any way I can help you, let me know, Lauri. 8)

      • Stan Faryna says:

        I liked this comment but there was no like button to register my like.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Oli opted out of the comment like buttons because it would throw of the rich-media-to-text ratio. That would be bad for SEO purposes. Currently, it’s about a 1:20 ratio which equates to a PageRank of 4 when you use base2 math, carry the one, include all PR2+ backlinks, divide by 5, and then dance a little jig.

          BTW, that’s me pretending to be like the other SEO guys. Oh boy.. I think I am getting rowdy due to the time – I have WAY too much energy for this hour of the day!

          I blame Stan for being so engaging. =oD

  22. Yomar,
    I couldn’t agree more that people are screaming into a tornado with noise out there. I can’t turn them off fast enough.
    I love the way you put it about having people in your home. I adore entertaining and now can look at SM as having a party.
    We met at a party. Remember, Dino’s Sunday afternoon group event. I loved it.
    I appreciate your offer. I was about to make the same to you. Maybe we should get together for a skype chat. I’d love to tell you more about what I do and find out more about what your focus is.
    Let me know.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      That metaphor hit me out of the blue one day.. Social media is all the rave yet most of us are doing it all wrong. They forget how we got to this point. We all need to learn new tools and systems because we kind of forced a paradigm shift. Customers stopped listening and trusting us.. And now some of us are grasping at the straws!

      Entertaining is great, whether you do it on home or on your blog.. and, yes, that Triberr party really rocked. Believe it or not, that was SEO at work too because, even though Facebook stinks for search engine hits, there were lots of links going up and the click-through rates were amazing. Dan Cristo knows what he is doing!

      I have a ton of Skype chats lined up this week so it’s going to be a fun week. Like I’ve told everyone else, I’ll be bouncing around between project work, creative exploits, tending to household matters, and promoting this article to folks that will find it most useful..

      Soooo…

      If you see me on Skype, just drop me a line. I’m easy to find. Just look for me by name or add Yogizilla. Should find me no problem. There are not too many Yomars out there, which makes for a great personal brand.. It also makes me a bit TOO searchable/stalkable… But there’s good sides and bad sides to everything, SEO included. *wink*

      Looking forward to our chat, Lauri – BTW, I left you some comments on your guest blog and your business blog. REALLY good stuff there.

      I highly recommend visiting Lauri at her place:

      http://successwithsaltar.com

      • Yomar,

        I’ll be stalking you, only in a nice way though, this week and from now on. I love your info, dedication to teaching and your humor. Very NY if you ask me. Love that, it’s home and I miss it.

        More than anything. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and the power you bring to everything you do. I’m watchin, learnin and lovin the message.

        Thanks for the comments, it always helps for them to roll in especially when you’re guest blogging. I really appreciate your support.

        I’m skyping you soon. Good luck with all those meetings.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Haha!

          New Yorkers UNITE!

          Speaking of which, if you have any NYC friends that’d like to help an NY ex-expatriate out, send them here to join the conversation. Haha

          Education and humor are two things I enjoy. That’s part of my style and I hope it’s helping me establish a voice that people can relate to yet still distinguish from the rest. This is how I engage people and it works for me.

          SEO professionals need to find a style that works for their clients. They need to internalize a client’s mission, vision, and goals. Without that recipe, SEO efforts will not align with other marketing and content development efforts which, to me, is utterly silly!

          (Yet they still execute on SEO in that way sometimes.)

          Looking forward to the Skype meetings for sure. I’m promoting this article hard all week but, once I take care of some SEO client deliverables today, I’ll definitely be reaching out to you and the other wonderful people supporting me here and helping to spread this very urgent message.

          We’ll talk shop and see how we can help each other out further. It’s going to be great – can’t wait!

          • I can’t wait!!! Call when you need a break.

            Until then stay cool.

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              Lauri and I had a wonderful conversation about SEO and ways to promote your content and grow your audience naturally. What’s interesting is that few folks mention what it took to get to where they are now. You see the end result but not the struggles to get there.

              With effective, end-to-end (socially-responsible) SEO and Inbound Marketing, even the smallest, newest web sites can grow a following. I just launched a new site and we’ve had over 1000 unique visitors in just a couple of months…

              http://balancing-life-works.blogspot.com

              We get some great comments, quality backlinks, and a ton of aside discussions about the subject matter discussed there.. With a very simple SEO approach, focusing on meeting the real needs of our audience and target markets alike.

              I feel this makes us all rethink the old ways of sales and marketing. Demographics and buyer profiles only give you a glimpse into habits and interests, but engaging people in meaningful, authentic ways takes that data much further.

              So imagine if you combine the tech-savvy data-gathering and metrics-interpretation of SEO with warm connections, a spirit of servitude, and the desire to educate, share, and inspire?

              Sure, it takes time, which is why there is opportunity for us. As Marcus Sheridan has said many a time over at TheSalesLion.com, laziness, complacency, and selfishness will always create opportunity naturally for us genuine, helpful, caring souls.

              What do you think?

              (Oh, and here’s the new blog for those that would like to see a softer side of me and meet our wonderful team and network of recommended sites and products… http://balancing-life-works.blogspot.com – We are beginning to monetize more so anyone looking for affiliate partnerships with a growing site, feel free to contact me.)

              • Yomar Lopez says:

                Whoops.. I just realized I linked twice. The perils of multitasking. Admittedly, I am writing some other blogs up and doing some SEO work… So I apologize for the repetition.

                That said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new site. I hope that the monetization efforts do not take away from the core experience. We’re hoping to connect little-known inspirational geeks with each other.

                This is a great place to guest blog and share some less techie, business-speak-ridden stuff.

                We look forward to welcoming you at our new home. =o)

              • Absolutely, business is relationship based. People buy from those who they trust, like and share values. That is the name of the game for success. As long as we manage those relationships we are good.

                Thanks, Yomar.

                • Yomar Lopez says:

                  Right on, Lauri!

                  I find that this is especially so with small businesses. People get more intimate with us because we tend to run solo or small-shop operations.. Thus, our businesses become like the Cheers bar “where everyone knows your name”, am I right?

                  For large business entities, I suppose they can get away with not being as personal.. It’s impossible to reach out to everyone individually when you have a wide audience.. But what about the core audience? I feel as if no one is too big for such interaction and warmth.

                  I can also compare *engaging* SEO and Inbound Marketing as a greeter at a store or event. You make sure you reach out to everyone personally and warmly so everyone feels welcomed. That can set the tone for the relationship going forward.

                  Can we really leave the content itself to do all the work?

                  Some things you can’t automate.. And imagine how much easier and perhaps faster it will be for you to convert a fan into a loyalist when you take those extra steps!

                  It’s like Anna Sawyer said in her guest entry: the communities we build can sometimes be like cults or religious organizations.. We need to make our passion and beliefs contagious.. We need to make believers out of people that would otherwise be strangers to us.

                  That takes a consistent effort.. Back to authenticity!

                  • It always goes back to that. Authenticity rules. It’s not about acting a certain way, it’s about BEING who you are. I love it.

                    • Yomar Lopez says:

                      Yes, be who you are.. Besides, eventually your real self will come through, so why play pretend? Might as well cut straight to the chase and focus on those that like you just the way you are. Forced-fit relationships are such a drag and generally unproductive. ;o)

                    • Yomar,

                      With all this SEO talk I decided to have a statistician look at my site tracking. We’re going to work together to see exactly what is driving traffic to my site. So far we’ve established it isn’t coming in because of media, guest blogging or article writing.

                      What we are looking at now are the actual key words. Some of my posts are written in direct relation to long tails. I’ll be curious to see if this is the key that opens the door.

                      What do you think? Any ideas? Thanks,

                • Aw, this was a really nice post. Finding the time
                  and actual effort to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to
                  get nearly anything done.

  23. [...] campaign has been successful thus far but the marathon continues. As I promote my article on adaptive SEO, inbound marketing, engaging your audience, and converting traffic, I am making a deliberate effort to provide a strong CTA (Call To Action) and be helpful.  The [...]

  24. Holy monkey nuggets Yomar this is a fantastic post. I agree that the future of SEO includes social, and frankly anyone that doesn’t isn’t paying attention to the facts that you’ve presented. Social media has changed more than the way we do business, it’s changed search. Now to answer your questions:

    1. How do you (plan to) convert your audience using SEO?

    As you mentioned in your post, there always needs to be a goal. For me the goal of SEO is to know the language used by our ideal customers, and optimize all of our online content around that language. The connection with the customer, be it via a search engine or on social media, is goal #1. Without visitors there are no leads or customers. But at the same time, to be sure we’re not wasting money or time, we want to only “speak to” people that will actually become customers. Of course supports and fans come too. Increasing their ranks is an extremely close second priority.

    2. Where is your core audience now?

    Online and offline. Duh :P

    3. Do you even know who they are right off the bat?

    Based on current customer data you betcha. I started my business with an ideal customer in mind, and built it up from there.

    4. How dedicated do you think your core audience is?

    To what we do or what we can do for them? If you’re talking what we can do for them, the answer is very.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Robert, I love that you’re the first person to answer the rhetorical questions.. That’s actually awesome because I figured most would not have the gonads to go ahead and put it all out there. That speaks volumes about how genuine and open you are, bud!

      I tell ya: I really wrestled when naming this headline. Sure, the keyword-richness is a nice factor but I also wanted something that would really draw people in. Unfortunately, since it says “SEO” and not “Inbound Marketing”, the SEO agnostics are steering clear.

      I don’t blame them.

      There’s been a stigma attached to SEO work for so long because of how it was positioned. Most were playing up SERP ranking and link-building.. Get more traffic.. But there was no marketing strategy and conversions were a far-off distant thought. Heck, developing great content was an after-thought. Some SEOs still think, “Hey, let’s pack lots of keywords here!”

      It’s a real shame.. But then we got legit guys like you that make the rest of us look sexy again. Thank you for bringing sexy back, Robert!

      Now, back to business…

      In terms of core audience, I was speaking more in regards to the online side of things (smartypants haha). I’ve noticed from speaking with my colleagues and clients alike that most folks do not know where their core audience is. By “core audience”, I mean the folks that are really listening and taking action, whether it’s offline or online.

      That’s important to be aware of because that’s where you want to focus things. That’s where you plant the most seeds.. That’s also where you build some bridges to your other touch points that need some help.

      For example, if Facebook really works for you in spite of all the noise and distractions, it’d make sense to invest more time into groups, fan pages, events, and starting conversations there.. Then you can use Facebook to seed something like, say, Tumblr, Squidoo, or some other site that search engines tend to eat up when producing SERPs for us curious online seekers.

      Dedication.

      There I’m talking about loyalty and retention. If you have a dedicated audience, they’re coming to you more often than you’re reminding them to come back. Part of that is being persistent and consistent in your efforts. If you have a blog, that means sticking to a schedule or feeding the communities and platforms where your loyalists are at.

      The holy grail of dedicated audiences is knowing that, in spite of like content and copycats, they’re still coming to you. It also means that your audience will participate more or maybe just forgive you when you make the obligatory social web mistakes (it happens to us all at some point).

      So, to sum it all up, conversions manifest themselves in many ways and are contingent upon our goals. I hope that I created a greater awareness of how marketing today really works. Many of us have points of presence (touch points if you prefer) that we have forgotten about or mostly abandoned.. There may be stray sheep there (someone grab Danny Brown, please).

      Where are your leads coming from?

      Are you cultivating the land there enough, planting seeds on a regular basis?

      When do you expect to harvest the crops?

      Okay, enough with the metaphors. I think you get the gist of what I’m saying.

      I feel that sometimes folks just look at their main social media outposts and their primary web site/blog, then they forget about the conduits and funnels bringing people there. SEO plays a big part in all that.

      Overall, this article could have been called many things but I think the main take-aways are the same: build relationships, manage your channels, be active, generous, and consistent throughout your communities, check in with your key influencers and networks often, and just be the sort of business entity that attracts good things.

      Attract and engage.

      …I think I need to make that into a t-shirt.

      Who wants one?

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      BTW, LOL @ “holy monkey nuggets”.. I’d laugh if that ends up being one of the top referring search phrases that leads to this page. I can see Oli and gang shaking their collective heads when looking at the traffic analytics. ;o)

      • We have ways of making that happen BTW :)

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Yes.. Without buying links and using link pyramids, not that those are necessarily bad, either. *AHEM* I do prefer a more natural, content-focused, community-building SEO strategy myself.. How about all of you?

          (I know some of you SEO and Inbound Marketing folks are lurking.. Don’t be shy now.)

          ;o)

  25. Great article. The power of social media in seo is very real, a year and a half a go, one son launched a new site, through others linking to him through twitter and blogs, his site had a google pr 5 is less than 2 months and thousands of subscribers. Also job offers, speaking engagements etc.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Now THAT is an awesome story!

      I’ve seen that myself and, while I wish every story can be exciting, it’s not always such an “overnight success”. That’s why I advise clients and service providers alike to not treat SEO as a quick-fix. Be realistic in your goals while shooting for the stretch goals, of course.

      I reckon your son leveraged his friends to expand his reach and really engage people. Social media has a way of working that magic when you are truly passionate and genuine.

      Thank you for mentioning the bit about job offers because we always focus on the entrepreneurial and self-employment side of it all.. Companies are doing searches just like we SEO folks are and they’re placing more and more people every day in positions thanks to what they find online.

      In fact, the old paper resumes are all but obsolete now. That’s how much the social web and search advancements have come! These are definitely not the days when Hotbot, Lycos, and Altavista were the cream of the crop. Haha

      Thank you for passing by and sharing that powerful success story. You always hear about the bad stuff but more people should share the good news. Very inspiring to hear about your son’s success!

      Cheers!

  26. Easier to get quick results when your niche is new and you are providing great info that everyone is searching for and can’t find. Virtually no competition at first.
    He is an expert in his field, a new type of js programming. Jobs offers were coming in within 2 weeks of blog launch.
    What surprised us was how quickly he got the PR5 and it was all from others linking to him, through authority blogs with a high PR and twitter.
    He was wondering about monetizing his blog, nothing felt right so he didn’t.
    I agree, it usually takes much longer. He had the advantage of a wide open niche, which isn’t usually the case.

  27. Yomar Lopez says:

    Owning the search certainly helps out. That’s what I’d call SSME (Sole Subject Matter Expert) pull!

    True niches like that don’t really exist or they don’t last long so what SEO work does for you is help you position things so that you can build an audience up and get some momentum going once something really sticks.

    What helped your son out was the fact that he was an expert in a brand-new field.. And he was being promoted via mediums with a very fast pace. Once search engines and archiving platforms know that you a web site updates often, they visit more often to archive, index, and analyze data. Once in a while, all the added traffic from bots and crawlers will cause a web site to crash but they’re usually good about scheduling activity during low-traffic times.

    PR5, again, is amazing, especially in less than three months. Some pages do not do that in 2-3 years, let alone months. PageRank *is* a tough metric to go by since it is hard to forecast and interpret consistently across sites.. But it’s definitely boast-worthy to get there.

    PageRank is one of those areas some SEOs focus on too much but it’s a good goal nonetheless. Usually, you want to get a few natural links coming in from PR4 and up pages. A page can only inherit a up to the amount of the referring page’s PR. This is where the link builder’s get happy-pappy.. But, like I said, I focus on more than link-building.

    I’m glad you brought this all up because it’s one of those areas you just can’t ignore, even if you don’t agree.. PageRank has to come from somewhere to begin with if there is link juice going around to pass along some PR onto other pages, right?

    This is where educated speculation and constant trial-by-fire comes into place. Split-testing comes in handy here. Collect as much data as possible and start correlating activity with results. See what increases PR or lowers it. I’ve heard of tons of sites losing their PR completely after years due to the Google (EVIL) Panda algorithm update. It’s certainly fickle.

    Again, where does Google PageRank come from?

    The educated guess, because it’s not something I have focused on heavily and no one seems to agree on…

    * Average time on site.
    * Lowered bounce rates.
    * “Recursive” (on-page) backlinks from your top content.
    * Highly-focused traffic to the most significant content from the most relevant off-page sources.

    So, as usual, there are off-page and on-page elements to consider, things you don’t control as easily and things you can control yourself. I reckon that Google looks at the bounce rate in particular and then says, “What changed?”

    I’ve seen link builders focus on their home page and maybe one or two inner pages, likely landing or squeeze pages of some sort, which is good. I’d say link to more inner pages until you see what people really respond to. Lead in with your most compelling, remarkable content.

    Why?

    That lowers bounce rate by having visitors visit other content on your page. Now, the final page that people are clicking off your site with, that’s likely what Google says, “That’s what they came for so it most be an important page on the site.” Of course, all the other factors, including ones I did not even mention, are considered as well.

    Thus, the first page and last page visitors check out are given the most value. I’m tempted to get into the math as I’ve come up with some formulas that make sense for PageRank but I’ll behave.

    I also wonder if PageRank is a bracket system whereas your relative performance is compared to other sites? It would explain a bit.

    As an example, the following page gets tons of hits, especially via search engines:

    http://yomar.me/2007/01/15/running-a-gaming-clan-leadership-lessons-from-a-newb/

    It is at PR 1 now. Before the changes, I think it peaked at PR 3 or 4. What’s interesting is that the page ranks in the top 5 for a few related keywords. For example, “running a gaming clan” produces over 29M hits and that page is #1 on the SERP.

    Of course, this has not impacted PR. I’d say that PageRank is almost completely independent of keyword ranking which, again, makes sense logically. I think they’re looking at performance relative to the rest of your site more than anything else….

    I’ll stop there since this is the sort of stuff about SEO that makes heads explode. There aren’t always firm answers so you have to keep doing the process I suggested:

    Do, Analyze, Assess, Rework, and Repeat

    Cycle until successful!

    Now, about monetization, some would say that it makes a site look junky because most think of PPC ad campaigns and banner exchanges. There are many ways to monetize. I’d have him check out the Copyblogger or Problogger for ideas there.

    If your son does not want to be transparent or blatant about it, there are ways to monetize sites without displaying ads that don’t jive with your site’s design. I find that text ads aren’t as intrusive but everyone has their own opinion here.

    Affiliate programs and paid reviews can work. If he has the traffic to back him up, he can name his price and hand-pick what sites he wishes to work with. This will protect his integrity and not make his web site feel “sleazy” as some would say.

    It’s something to consider. In this day and age, I feel everyone should have some sort of residual income coming in to help save up for a rainy day and reinvest in their business efforts. A rare breed of people exists that lives solely off residual income.

    Of course, you can monetize other ways that are considered more “active”. That includes selling branded merchandise, eBooks, private label rights (PLR) content, etc. etc. I would not say I’m an authority on the topic but I hope that gives you a good place to start, Heidi. =o)

    • Lots of ways to monetize, my son doesn’t plan on doing so, other than the recognition as an expert. Not as popular in his field. You are right though on recurring income. Each time he speaks, or works as an employee, he is getting paid for his time. And his time is limited. If he had time he’d do a book deal for that recurring income.
      I have no problem with adding things to a site to create income. I’ve been following a few who are successful, picking up ideas. A more unique approach was having advertisers offering special deals to a membership of supporting followers. The group pays a small yearly/monthly fee to join and have access to free and discounted stuff.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Great examples there, Heidi!

        Speaking gigs count as monetization because it’s something you offer through your site. Even if you don’t, your site is building up credibility in select subject areas.. And that helps draw in leads.

        Seems like you son is super busy! I can relate. I’d be involved with a lot more projects and diversify my income streams more if I weren’t pulled in every direction.. But I enjoy every last minute of it!

        The last example you mentioned I believe would be considered a type of affiliate marketing and that’s really the best way to go for significant income and more targeted marketing. The mutual benefit is typically that your audience saves money AND you get commissions.. And your affiliates get new customers that would not have found them or bough something from them otherwise.

        Isn’t it great how the things we love to do can open up so many doors?

        • Not really affiliate marketing, although some of that is used on the site I’m thinking of. It is a podcast with over 30,000 listeners. The idea is that he is accountable to his listeners more than his advertisers. Advertisers he limits to those he and his board approves. He had listeners who wanted to donate money to help the cause, which he wouldn’t accept until he could offer things in return. So he offers special deals worth more than the cost of joining his support group along with access to several free ebooks, special videos

          • Yomar Lopez says:

            Ahhhh!

            That’s pretty neat. Sounds like a non-profit model where equivalent exchange drives the experience.

            I may have to pick your brain more on that. Collective economics is an interesting thing. Everyone buys in with a small fee and then, collectively, that funds bigger things. Makes sense!

            I’m a member of a similar group like that. It’s called the ECA and I love them because I got to be one of the founding members and we share a similar vision.

            One cause they were fighting for was Net Neutrality. That’s a bit of a controversial thing for some so most just join because of the discounts they get through sponsors and partnerships.

            The model works. I’m seeing more and more of it now. Klout has had perks for a few months and now PeerIndex has some too. It goes to show you that everyone is setting up outposts on social media, even if their site gets plenty of traffic (and in spite of this crazy notion of digital sharecropping).

            I believe we’ll see a shift soon in how large corporations will advertise online.. That may give us a little more room to breathe in other areas. My guess is that there will be more and more focus on Facebook due to the massive community. Once abandonment rates soar, the corporations will go somewhere else to smother us.

            It’s a vicious circle! It’s no wonder they’re throwing discounted and free stuff at us, right?

            (Yes, that was one HECK of a tangent.. You’ll learn that I do that often, Heidi.. Haha)

  28. Yomar, this is really great stuff!!

    I just saw you shared the link on Empire Avenue and I don’t get on there as much as I should. I’m going to go share this now.

    Wonderful post!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I truly appreciate that bud. I’ve been making diligent efforts to make sure I update all the touch points possible so that no one is missed. I know how crazy the Twitter and Facebook streams can get. ;o)

      I’d appreciate if you share via your social networks and have your friends do the same. More importantly, I’d like to see what your thoughts are on SEO and Inbound Marketing as a whole.

      The theme here is taking a more socially-responsible approach to SEO and Inbound Marketing using, you guessed it: social media!

      Can’t wait to see your thoughts. The comments have some interesting conversations going as well, including my exchange with Heidi Caswell regarding the ever-elusive Google PageRank performance indicator. 8)

      Thanks again for the support, bud – I have a good shot in this #ConversionFest contest, thanks to you guys!

  29. Stellar post, Yomar! I’ve been avoiding SEO for some time now. Hate to admit that. =P It’s just been so low on my priority list because it’s so intimidating to me, but I love your message in this post that SEO can actually be a relationship builder. If I think about it, people who find me through Google searches are the people who are searching exactly for what I may be able to provide!

    Thanks for reframing this for me! I especially loved your infodoodle! =)

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Exact-o-mundo!

      I know I packed a lot into this “tiny” little post.. *giggle* BUT it goes to show how so much of what we do is connected.

      People are doing SEO whether they want to or not, they just may not be optimizing for the right things. It’s the deliberate actions coupled with research, testing, and adaptation that makes SEO a lot more fun and effective than people think.

      But it’s like you said: there are SEO professionals out there that frame or position it all wrong. They may crazy guarantees and go a little over-board when trying to “sell” it. You don’t have to because, really, who wouldn’t want the right people to find them naturally?

      This is about a socially-responsible approach to SEO, which is something Inbound Marketers, Content Developers, and Social Media enthusiasts alike should all be excited about, just to name a few folks that usually are dismissive to SEO, thanks to some silly folks out there misrepresenting those of us that have been doing it for many years but learned how to adapt to new times.

      What you can do TODAY to get SEO in order for your content is just look at what content is getting the most traffic and what sources are bringing you those folks. If your bounce rate is high, that means they’re likely not getting exactly what they want or enough of it. Then you can go back to your content and tweak it with links to related content and feed the need.

      That’s a good place to start. You can also use the slew of tools available for free by Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I particularly like Google Anayltics, Set, and AdWords Keyword Tool.. Then there are the webmaster consoles for the three major search engines. The insight you get there is quite handy-dandy!

      SEO should not make your head explode. It’s simply a matter of focusing on a few things at a time or maybe even one thing at a time, and campaigning for that like you would with any other marketing efforts, right? If you have some really awesome content that’s not getting enough attention and you KNOW it needs to reach more people, that may be what you want to start cross-promoting on-page and off-page.

      Most of my competent SEOs will tell you that it starts with auditing your sites and focusing on the on-page/on-site optimizations… Then you can do all the other stuff.

      I’m glad you liked the infodoodle. I plan to do more of them.. I am WAY out of touch with my cartooning hobby. I’m a pretty decent graphic designer too though that’s not something I lead in with… And certainly not with a doodle or scribble. ;o)

      Hope you bring some more friends into the discussion! Really good insight here. Thank you for helping me tackle the biggest issues within the SEO industry.. Really, it’s common in B2B to have the bad apples leave a bad taste in our mouths…

      I’ll see ya on Twitter, Samantha! ((HUG))

    • Sam, I am in the same camp with you as far as not embracing SEO. To me, it is a “necessary evil” lurking “out there.” Sorry, Yomar, when I know its your passion and you do it so well.

      Like Sam, I appreciate the way you are breaking it down for us and demystifying it

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        I know.. We SEOs are the big bad wolves. Haha.. It used to bother me but now it tickles me.

        I’ve realized that a lot of the disdain or dismissive attitude towards SEO stems from the fact that people don’t realize they are already doing it to some degree.. Any time you meet a stranger via your content, without a referral from someone, that is SEO at work. They have to come from somewhere, right?

        Chances are it was a Google search that brought them.. And you may have made some really good content. Problem is, without a deliberate SEO effort, it becomes difficult to duplicate that success and have consistent results.

        So, let’s maybe look as SEO more from a market research and content development perspective? We’ll worry about the coding, keyword analysis, and technical dribble later, yes? =oD

        I’m glad I could demystify it some more.. I’m tired of hearing SEO referred to as a “black art”. I bet if you Google that there’d be lots of hits…

        Hmmmmm….

        WOW – over 4M hits.. And one article from Seth Godin. The irony here is that he agrees with most folks. For me, the end-goal for SEO is not getting to the top of Google searches. That’s nice but I’d say having actionable data to enhance your other efforts is even more useful.

        Seth suggests Google AdWords but without keyword analysis and some basic SEO work done at least, how do you know which words to buy?

        Say it ain’t so, Seth.. You break my heart.

        Again, not surprised.. Any SEO professional that makes guarantees likely is full of it. There are not guarantees but we can help you see things you may have otherwise missed and make the most out of your content.

        I’d say that’s a good deal, no? =oD

  30. [...] Please read on for some tips to make this work and more details about my own guest article promotion in our Support-A-Thon… [...]

  31. Keri says:

    Yomar,

    Wow – A lot of info up there.

    My takeaway is that we need to be thinking Optimize + Social + Dressing it up for our typical profiled candidate = SEO.

    It is intimidating to me, as Samantha suggested above. But this is a good guide. Love the sketch, by the way!

    My only challenge: Long-tail keywords. How do I explain that to anyone that asks?

    Thanks for your insights!

    ~Keri

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I know it’s a lot to soak in but I definitely urge you to check out the comments because others have more eloquently explained some of the aspects of the search and content marketing industry that I could not discuss given the scope of the article (and wanting to be more brief than usual haha).

      Focus on long-tailed keywords.

      That’s something you hear my fellow SEO professional profess a lot. Why is that? How do you position that for non-search professionals and non-techies?

      Simple.

      If they’re visual people, case studies are easy to build up or you can simply show them how many results a short search phrase turns up. Have them pick a two or three-word phrase that describes their flagship product or service. Then do the search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, or any other search engines they are trying to focus on, depending on their target market(s).

      Usually, when clients see the long list of results and how they’re not on the first five pages, it starts to make more sense.

      Now, if they don’t have the AHA! moment then, add qualifying words to that search. It can be local descriptors or words that describe in greater detail how they offer what they do (or what distinguishes it).

      Here’s an example:

      I search for “aluminum bicycles” and get over seven million hits.

      Well, I want to buy an aluminum-frame bicycle so I can stop driving my car around all the time and making the gasoline stations rich (LOL).

      Now I search for “buy aluminum frame bicycles” because I’ve already done the research but I want to see what’s out there. Still, the search gives me too many hits (over three million).

      Most of these sites are explaining how to best find a bike that suits my needs. Well, now that I think about it, I prefer downhill biking and taking dirt roads as shortcuts. A steel frame will be more durable, provide a better workout due to the weight I’m pushing about, and allow me a more flexible ride.

      I found some interesting sites to point me in the right direction but no one is selling and, if they are, they’re not local. Now my search is revamped again:

      “buy steel frame mountain bikes in the csra”

      Now I have 2500 results and they look like more of what I need. Hey, look at that – Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse is in Augusta, GA. That’s the city I live in.

      SOLD.

      Because this site was optimized for a long-tailed search, I now found this little shop in my area.

      Sure, there are easier ways to buy local but you get the gist of it. The point is that it’s hard for a fledgling web site to compete on smaller, more competitive search spaces. Usually, people are paying top dollar for paid advertising (often PPC, with a premium on the highly sought-after keywords, of course) in those more generalized search spaces.

      I know that may still seem intimidating but think about the level of readiness of site visitors that search for specific things and find them on your site?

      Now you have yourself thoroughly pre-qualified lead that’s ready to go deeper in the conversion funnel than most… Or maybe even “buy now”!

      Hope that gives you a better perspective on that aspect of SEO. Some may still try go the paid SEM route but I feel that the SEO research will help you have a more successful SEM campaign anyway so why not do both side-by-side and see what content and keywords perform best and why?

      BTW, I like the Optimize + Social + Dress formula.. I can be a bit of a data and math nerd sometimes so that gets me excited.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, Keri.. I’m sure others are thinking the same things but they’re shy.. Or worried I’ll write them a long book. *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

      Thanks for asking this wonderful question – keep the questions coming! =o)

      • Klaudia says:

        Big thank you Yomar for your post!
        Long-tail keywords – love them :)
        As far as I concerned (read some research) the way how we are searching has been changed over the years. It’s not any more 1 or 2 or even 3 words but all sentences/questions, etc. That’s why idea of long-tail keywords is just great.
        I always had problems with creating long-tail keywords but I believe that’s the right direction.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          I would say focus more on the long-tail keywords that match the type of questions your customers would ask or have often asked you. Filler and prepositional words like “the” and “with” don’t really count so it doesn’t hurt to include them to make your target keywords sound more natural.

          What’s interesting is that the keywords only have to be close to each other but not necessarily in one continuous string. The exception is when savvy web users put operands or advanced searches into play.

          For example…

          Google “inbound marketing conversions” with quotes and you get only a few results.

          BUT

          Google “inbound marketing conversions” without quotes and you get over 380K results. Guess what page is on the Top 5? *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

          Long-tail keywords can be tricky but I would say, for most, you’ll want to approach it from a more human perspective as I mentioned earlier. Questions and highly-specific, qualified product searches are two big ones.

          On the latter matter, you’d get better results optimizing for “eye glasses for people with big heads” than you would for, say, “eye glasses”. It’s not just a case of how savvy web surfers are getting but moreso the issue of ambiguity in keywords.

          There are better examples of ambiguity but, for now, I’d also say that we have to look at action-oriented queries as that helps further qualify leads and funnel traffic to the right inner pages and content. As I mentioned in another example here in the comments, someone searching for “red mountain bikes” may just want to see images and do a little research, whereas someone that searches “buy red mountain bikes in BLAH” has already come along the buying process and is ready to take some serious steps.

          With any sort of Inbound Marketing, play up your strengths. Some love the analytics, metrics, and data crunching of it all.. Others prefer surveys, phone calls, focus groups, and other market research. Then there are those that just throw caution to the wind and have fun creating content and, if people come, “Well HOT DAMN!”

          Haha… Still, if you have great content, why not do a little SEO and really put your Social Media to work. With all the outposts we set up on the social web, there’s plenty of places to go to gain insight on what our audience and potential audience members are doing, want, and/or need…

          Here’s a good example. You’re on Twitter, right? (of course you are.. we chat all the time!)

          HashTags.org

          Go there.. Tons of keywords and you can see what is trending. That gives you a whole new perspective on Twitter. There are countless other tools we can use too but that is a great one.

          I feel that, without SEO, we’re not unlocking the full power of our tools.. But I may be biased. ;o)

          • Klaudia says:

            big thanks Yomar! you are the SEO Guy :)

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              Shhhh.. Don’t tell anyone – they may stop being my friend! You can call me the Muffin Man, just cause it makes me giggle like a little school girl just saying it out loud. Haha

              Seriously, though, I’m glad I could restore your faith in SEO and give you a brand new way to look at it. It can be quite fun and productive if you play up your strengths and set realistic, worthwhile goals. 8)

    • Keri, aloha. Nice job on the takeaway. Using that formula, it does make more sense to me.

      Look forward to reading Yomar’s comments on long-tail keywords.

      Enjoy a great weekend, Keri. Aloha. Janet

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Aloha!

        It’s pretty much as Klaudia indicated: people are conducting searches with longer phrases to get more specific, relevant results. It’s also easier to sort out content with specific categorization than general topics.

        A simple example…

        Google “cars” and you get around 2 BILLION results. Now, try something like, I dunno, “foreign cars with silly names”.. See the difference?

        It’s a lot easier to get noticed in a less-crowded marketplace.. But that’s only part of the organic-audience-growing formula, of course – you have to plant some seeds via Social Media as well, as we know!

        I’d love to hear what you all think about content scrapers and protecting our intellectual property.. I feel that issue alone creates a greater urgency for us to become more “intimate” with advanced searching and SEO research, at the very least.

        Don’t worry: I’m not using scare tactics to boost sales for us SEO folks – Google “content scrapers google panda” to see some of the talk about the issues here. Some scary stuff and I’ve seen it first hand…

        As I mentioned before, several sites have “borrowed” this very article.. It’s flattering in a way. ;o)

  32. Yomar,
    After rereading this post and doing some research I have a question about monetizing. I’ve heard people say that we should be monetizing social media and I’m not sure exactly what they mean by that and how it’s done. Might you be able to shed some light on this?
    Thanks for your info and all the help you are offering the community.

  33. Yomar Lopez says:

    Monetization is a tricky subjection.

    If you get several “Internet consultants” in a room and ask them what the best way to monetize is, they’ll all have different answers.. Almost guaranteed.

    First, I will warn you about PPC (Pay-Per-Click) programs, unless you’re looking to advertise elsewhere. For increasing your residual income stream, PPC image banners and text ads usually don’t produce unless you have massive traffic or a VERY focused web site (a niche, as others love to call it).

    The reason content should be focused when displaying any sort of dynamic ad is that you don’t want a conflict of interest.. You also don’t want to discuss drinking glasses and have them offer visitors eye glasses. Very rarely do people convert like that.

    Now, I’m no expert on monetization, especially the residual kind.. I used to make some good money from Yahoo! but we know what happened there. Google AdSense is not bad. I look at that type of monetization as the beginner’s stuff. It’s good for earning money to reinvest into your business, save, and/or play with.

    Affiliate marketing is usually a better route. I would suggest hand-picking web sites that you can partner up with, regardless of whether they offer an affiliate program or not. The revenue sharing tends to be greater and you can endorse products you are at least familiar with, if not super-duper crazy about. As a courtesy, any time you plug an affiliate’s product, you usually want to indicate that it’s an (affiliate link) somehow.

    Your best bet, however, is to take your current content and repurpose it for new

    Now, the beauty of all this is that good SEO can bring people naturally to your biggest offerings. You can identify what pages are currently getting the most traffic and what people are looking for there.. If you can identify common target markets, chances are you can offer something that will really be of value to these lost visitors, even if it’s not exactly what they searched for.

    Using landing pages is gold here. Some folks will make their landing page into a review for a particular product or promotion, providing a single call to action more times than not. This gives you a 50/50 chance of success: to do this or not to do this?

    So, yes, it’s best to start off with a few really awesome offerings than a whole bunch of junk, yanno? Plenty of us commit the mistake of giving too many options or having too many things drawing attention at once.. People usually will just leave when there is that sort of noise and craziness going on. d’oh

    Some other things you can consider are eBooks, webinars, private-right label content (think creative commons but sold for exclusive use), and podcasts. With the latter, I know plenty of established shows that plug their affiliates during the show and they make a living out of it.

    Still, temper expectations because it takes a while to really gain traction. Also expect some kicking-and-screaming from your current audience since it’s a sin to try to make a living and do what you love, apparently. *wink*

    Here’s where I’ll be a hypocrite and say the best time to start monetizing is before you really need the extra income so, when it comes in, it’ll be “surprise money” – YAY! I really need to diversify my income streams across-the-board myself. I have some good referral and commission-based systems in place but need to step up my content with some upselling/premium opportunities, me thinks.

    It’s on the to-do list but, admittedly, I’m comfortable with all the projects and leads in my sales funnel.. I know.. I’m slacking!

    Hope that helps and I’m glad you asked that because SEO has a HUGE impact on monetization efforts, especially when we discuss what most assume when the word “monetize” is iterated: residual income.. You know, folks, the money that comes in while you’re sleeping… If you ever get any sleep that is. ;o)

  34. Reena says:

    This was really useful — thank you!!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Glad you enjoyed the info, Reena. Let me know if there is any way I can help you promoting your best content and awesome business efforts. I’m here to help you… And I LOVE having my brain picked (so long as I’m not in uber-multitasking-mode, in which case, I’ll definitely get back to you)! =oD

  35. SEO is evolving thanks to social media and Google understands the power of social search. Google knows that the users online today choose to visit websites and buy products based on their friends recommendations (Facebook, Twitter). Thats why they developed G+.
    By analyzing and paying attention to our visitors actions within social media,we can create quality content, so users can share our content. SEO has a found a new best friend in social media and we need to pay attention to that.

    Thanks for a great post!
    Robert (http://www.gplus.to/robsearch)

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      BINGO!

      Have you heard the recent news about +1 and Google+ being integrated even further. I was hoping for this sooner than later because now you can share your pluses with your friends on Google+.

      While we’re on the subject of Google, I rather like Google Buzz but I wonder how it will play into everything. Whatever you Buzz can be picked up by feed aggregators (hurray for content curation), search engines, and archiving services, adding more SEO value when done right.

      I love the bit of “a new best friend in social media”. This has been a relationship that has been behind-the-scenes for most.. but now it can’t be ignored! SEO and Social Media are married now, I’d say.

      What’s interesting is the jargon that goes around.. It can be misleading. Sometimes I catch myself doing it. SMO is something that comes up along with VMO and other silly stuff… But that’s all part of SEO because you’re focusing on organic growth, primarily via major search engines.

      Are there any terms you see mis-used in this industry, Robert? Anyone else encounter some jargon that makes them shudder at times? Come on, you know you want to vent about it! *wink*

  36. D Balhiser says:

    Yomar, Just had a couple minutes to skim your blog, but I like what I see. Definitely not the same old boring (and wrong!) SEO/SEM junk I so often read. I’ll be back to read more thoroughly when time permits.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it and look forward to your follow-up comments!

      I definitely tried to make this an SEO resource for beginners and seasoned Inbound Marketers alike. Making sure it did not read like a medical journal on the evolution of scab removal was particularly challenging since the techie in me wanted to get into all the little tricks and techniques. ;o)

      I’m certainly glad I did not do that!

      You’re right about all the SEO and SEM junk out there. Everyone is trying to push their own solution too hard.. I feel there needs to be more collaboration to bring uniformity and credibility back to the industry. I mean, when you do this stuff right, you can spread your message and make a living, no matter how crowded your market is or how small your business is!

      Who *wouldn’t* get excited about that? Well, if Uncle Bob, the used car salesperson is pitching… Yeah… I get it. =o]

  37. Martha Giffen says:

    This has to be one of the most thorough and thoughtful blog posts I have ever read! You covered every single area, including past, present, and future thinking about SEO. I learned a lot! Massive traffic means nothing if it ‘s the wrong traffic! Relational marketing and how many regular readers and ultimately customers is what it’s all about!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Relational marketing.. another great way to put it, Martha! You know, I wish more folks thought like you! I feel that we small businesses can’t afford to play the numbers game and turn off even one lead.. We deal in small; hence, small business! But that’s good.. It ensures we have avid fans while large corporations have customers bounce around all the time, looking for a better deal.

      Of course, there are some exceptions.. Apple seems to be great at creating avid fans, regardless of how many people argue against the quality of their products and complain about inflated prices. If nothing else, we could all aspire to weave stories like they do.. Except I’d hope we all keep our stories much more authentic and personal.

      Who’s with me?

      P.S. Yes, yes, and yes! Past, present, AND future of SEO and Inbound Marketing.. With conversions and engagement at the core of the overall strategy! That’s what I was going for by coining “adaptive SEO” – being able to adapt to changing times, needs, technologies… I’m glad that is really hitting home with everyone!

      P.P.S. Where can I find more wonderful commentors like yourself, Martha?

    • Martha, amen to your comment on “traffic means nothing if it’s the wrong traffic.” Well said.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        That’s one of my favorite take-aways here too, Janet.. I imagine many of us have or still do spend WAY too much time with the wrong people. We spread ourselves thin until there’s nothing left of us left to give.

        YIKES.

        That can be a painful existence. Believe me, I’ve been there before and it is not pretty. On the flip side, I’m not so caustic that I will cut people off on a whim. Instead, I’ll give them less and less of my time until they show that they really care. Hey, call me crazy but clients have to earn our attention the same way we must do the same. Sometimes, it feels good to just say “NO”. It’s quite liberating.

        Oops, I went off on another tangent.

        I just feel that the more we learn our audience and the traffic going into (and out from) our web sites, the more we can improve our already fantastic content until it truly becomes remarkable and, more importantly, findable. Now, as much as everyone is saying “social signals and quality content will determine organic traffic” I still see some amazing little-known web sites that have tiny audiences.. Yet there are sites with generic content bringing in hordes of people. That makes me sad.

        I want to change that.

        This week, I’ve had the opportunity of speaking with some of you about your conversion goals and Inbound Marketing plans. I’ve seen the little things help out already and I hope we can continue to work together to ensure your success.

        I’m thinking I will have to do an epic blog series just about the conversations that have taken place outside of this page. Some REALLY good insight there…

        Any way I can port that content over, Oli? ;o)

        (Again, can’t blame me for trying!)

        Lovin’ the luv, everyone!

        • Oli Gardner says:

          If you’re wondering if you can pull the content from here (post and comments) then absolutely. It’s in the contest rules, that you can repurpose the post 2 weeks after the final decision providing you give a link back to the original. So I would say go for it – you have a TON of content to work with here.

          • Yomar Lopez says:

            Excellent!

            Yes, I’d never use the same exact content.. But this could be the start of a good eBook, podcast, or blog series.. The conversations we’ve had off this page alone have been amazing!

            Repurposing content is very sexy in my book.. And backlinking to the original is no problem. That’s mutual SEO love, I’d say! 8)

            (I’ll be waiting for the full page dump in my e-mail box… J/K!)

  38. Great post! “Do, Analyze, Assess, Rework, and Repeat” I agree, it is an ever changing world and each niche is different.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Thanks again, Heidi!

      I would even say don’t focus on the niche.. Focus on what you love most so your excitement becomes contagious; otherwise, you’ll start to see your online content as a chore. You saw what happens there when people put the need before the passion.. Inspiration starts to lack!

      Thanks again for stopping by, Heidi! You should ask your son to join us and share his experiences.. I still think that is a fantastic success story and we could all draw some inspiration from it!

      • He is quite busy with a programming marathon this weekend. nodeknockout little sleep lots of work/fun

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          No worries. If he gets a chance, I think it’d be great to hear his first-hand experience. It’s always inspiring when you hear of folks come from humble beginnings and do big things. Some of the greatest stories in business started that way.

          One of my personal favorite stories of the sort would be Popcap games. That’s a truly humble bunch of people driving that business, I tell ya.

          Thanks for the wonderful conversations, Heidi!

  39. Yomar, aloha. As I mentioned above, I have read your post and comment several times. Slowly you are breaking down the doors of my resistance. You know part of what I think problem is, Yomar? I don’t like playing games of any type. Figuring out SEO falls into that category for me.

    While I understand why I need to do it, to me it is not “fun” to figure it out. Am I right that you like to paly games for relaxation and enjoyment?

    Because I believe in being honest, Yomar, I am going to answer your questions even though I know my response will not put me in a good light. That being said, since you visit my site, you already know the answer.

    How do you (plan to) convert your audience using SEO?

    This is where the answer is bad; I have absolutely no idea.

    Where is your core audience now?
    They are on their way to me from wherever they are now. Some from the offline world and some online.

    Do you even know who they are right off the bat?
    Yes, I definitely know that.

    How dedicated do you think your core audience is?
    Pretty dedicated as we connect on my blog, various social platforms as well as LIVE!

    Yomar, this post is positively stupendous. What an epic work it is. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into creating it. For ease of reference, it is now living on my computer.

    Thanks so much, my friend. Until later, aloha. Janet

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Oh, believe me…

      I know the pushback that comes when anyone mentions SEO or anything that sounds like it. On StumbleUpon alone, I’ve met people that specifically say stuff on their bio like this:

      “I like all kinds of stumbles except for anything salesy and even then I’ll look at it.. but, if you send me some SEO or Inbound Marketing garbage, I will kill a puppy.”

      Some of you may have laughed and others may be shaking your heads… But that was essentially a quote from a StumbleUpon page.

      You do bring up a good point. I do treat it as a bit of a game, but not in the manner of gaming the system and trying to cheat to exploit things (though I have the knowledge from over a decade of experience to do so). But that’s just how I frame it.

      Your constant efforts to leave comments on other blogs, interact on social networks, and take part in group chats all would be part of a very successful SEO campaign.. In fact, you ARE doing SEO.. But we’ll call it Inbound Marketing so it doesn’t make you feel yucky.

      The part that may be missing is the analytics. You see the engaging part of your audience but what about the abandonment rates, the drop-offs in between social outposts, and the average time on site? How high is your bounce rate? What do people come to your site for versus what they actually find?

      Those are more the type of questions that address keyword analysis, content relevance, and a whole slew of metrics which directly impact search engine traffic generation as well as visitor/lead engagement. The thing is that you use social media well enough to keep people highly-engaged. I reckon that most folks meet you elsewhere, fall in love, and go to your blog.. So they’re already “converted” when they get there. That totally works for you so the urgency to push harder on SEO may not be there.

      Of course, if you wanted to meet new people, people outside of our social circles and spheres of influence, SEO would be a good way to go. I’ve noticed that many of us have common friends on Facebook, even well before we met each other. Isn’t that strange how it works out? We need to get back into the habit of introducing people, just because.. This *is* the social web, after all!

      I appreciate your honesty in answering these questions.. I’m fairly certain you are not alone in these feels. I’d say most of us are using push/direct marketing methods and referral networking to fill the ‘ol sales funnel and increase our exposure. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

      I just see SEO as a great way to at least compliment our active marketing and engagement efforts. So much of what we do is serialized yet SEO sets up sources that will work in parallel with our other activities. I happen to think that is pretty neat! Of course, after the initial set up, there is ongoing work and you have to revisit your results as well as optimize new content… So it can keep you busy but it really depends on how aggressive you want to be with your SEO.

      I say start off with your absolutely BEST content and promote that hard. Do your SEO, integrate your Social Media, and enjoy the new guests at your party!

      By the way, I have a big, cheesy smile on my face with how you closed your comments…

      “It is now living on my computer.”

      That just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.. It’s like we’re much closer now, Janet.. A piece of me will always be with you.

      Now THAT rocks!

  40. jay says:

    Hey yomar we see so much these days people put on other youtube videos that are not even theirs, comments that they deserve to get discovered and they need help with starting themselvescas artists. Incyourcoppinion would this be considered spam, how can you prevent them from posting comments like that, and how can you, without being reported for abuse or spam your self, tell them that its wrong to do that and how they can take other approaches for better and more appropriate results?

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Ah, I believe what you are referring to is the ugly side of SEO and Content Curation: people that “borrow” content without proper attribution or permission.

      This sort of thing is really hard to prevent or report since you’re talking about intellectual property. There was a report that Google Panda actually made it easier for copied content to out-rank the original source. This is called “content scrapping” and it’s something that you here discussed on Google Webmaster Central:

      http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=3e3bfeae16a43603&hl=en

      I’m really glad you mentioned this because it’s a serious problem and there’s few ways to address it beyond fighting back with some clean SEO practice.. And/or spending lots of time and money to go the legal action route.

      Content scrapping can be particularly devastating to those that rely on brand power. As an artist, imagine trying to come up in the ranks just to have someone steal your credit and offset your hard work.

      One effective means for preventing easy scrapping and the negative effects thereof is to make Social Media a strong part of your Search Engine Optimization. With enough Social Media content and backlinks to validate ownership and cement authority, you have more on your side than the autopilot scrappers and “script kiddies”.

      Many social platforms allow you to validate or verify your account to make a brand completely yours. This is what you see on Twitter with the ‘ol blue checkmarks andwhat-not. Sometimes that can be a long, arbitrary process but it’s another step you can take.

      I’d like you all to think about these questions since this is really a rather big issue, especially if your content IS your business…

      Has anyone had similar issues with content scrappers?

      Have you even checked to see who is quoting your or borrowing your content?

      Do you actively check backlinks or use Google Alerts to at least see what is out there (creating a conflict)?

      • Yomar, aloha. Ever since I read this year, I have had a thought running around in my head. Unfortunately, it is not a pleasant one. What I decided to do is to come back and ask you about it so you could clarify it and, hopefully, tell me I am incorrect in my thinking.

        Quite honestly, Yomar, this is the first time I’ve heard of content scraping. If it is as I am understanding it, I am shocked and appalled. Pleas tell me straight out:

        1. What are the real risks
        2. Is there anything we can do with either SEO or Inbound Marketing techniques to undo or prevent the damage and risks?

        Do tell. Until later, aloha. Janet

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Great question!

          I think others are wondering the same but perhaps are too shy to go there.. Or don’t want to face the reality of the situation.

          As I mentioned elsewhere, there are some folks that think that anything on the open Internet is “public domain”.. Others just don’t care. Scrapers will grab content off popular web sites and put it on their own, essentially stealing some of your traffic and audience.

          If you don’t care about organic growth and focus more on referral or direct traffic, there’s still a risk here. It can be damaging to your brand and credibility, to say the least. I’ve seen branding conflicts whereas newer sites essentially steal your identity. You can also be mis-quoted or have your ideas taken out of context, which could lead to some ugliness.

          Content scrapers are sometimes black-hat SEOs, automated bots, or “script kiddies” that set up content farms or autoblogs with the sole purpose of drawing in massive traffic. They take that traffic through monetized links, affiliate banners, landing pages that lead to upsells, and all sorts of stuff.. Usually, they focus on residual income streams so that, in essence, their efforts are disembodied and there is no real way to trace activity back to them.

          What’s worse is that a lot of the sites are overseas so legal recourse is not usually feasible since there are no real laws being broken.. It can get ugly quickly.

          *** What do you do if someone steals your content? ***

          Counter-SEO tactics work here. Since you own the original source, you can update your old content or repurpose it for serialized follow-ups…

          - Tweak and republish old articles.
          - Write eBooks based on your original content.
          - Create videos based on your original content.
          - Podcast to promote your original content.
          - Optimize your content for better keywords.
          - Sell or give away branded items.
          - Build links from quality, relevant sites and active social media outposts.
          - Continue to network and engage your audiences.
          - Share your content via social bookmarking and content curation sites before anyone else can (StumbleUpon, Squidoo, Delicious, and Paper.li are good places to start).

          All these things will help you re-position your offerings, protect your brand, and solidify your IP ownership.

          I like to think about the re-position and re-purposing of our content and intellectual property as what Steve Jobs did with Apple for many years. They always focused on smaller markets (a’la long-tail keywords) to engage people better and build avid fans. When they started to lose ground, they re-positioned, re-purposed, and played up their strengths.

          SEO is the same way and, like any true marketing effort, it’s about meeting a real need, helping the right people find you, and finding authentic ways to stand out.

          Back to anti-scraping techniques…

          In short, you should be aware of your links, content syndication, and search activity. From there, you can take extra steps to promote and protect your content. The more involved you are on Social Media, the more SEO value you are creating.. And the data you need for the research side of things is likely already there for you to just absorb and act upon.

          Let me know if there is anything else you need help with or if you need more clarification. I know it’s a lot to soak in, especially if this is the first time you’ve heard of all this.. I’m sure you’re not alone on that, Janet! 8)

          • jay says:

            Thank you for that response it gave a lot of insight but my question now is how do u stop someone from commenting on your work to check out their own work because we know that if we block or report their comments as spam it usually back fires on us greatly.

            • Yomar Lopez says:

              Ah!

              That’s a good question too! More and more sites are allowing comments to be filtered or closed completely. This would prevent the backlash that could happen from spammers.

              The thing about it: comments help grow your content organically. It keeps your pages fresh so that they keep showing up in search results… Soooo, do you really want to shut down comments all together?

              Moving away from basic SEO benefits, comments help build conversations and engage everyone. More people participate when they have options to do so.. Some folks just want it to be about them too, yanno. =o]

  41. Yomar Lopez says:

    Let me show you all a quick way to search for your content online. Typically, an attempt to change the title won’t be done so that’s a good place to start…

    I Googled “The Adaptive SEO Approach” without quotes and got 1.6M+ hits. With quotes, I got a little over 2,300 search results on Google.

    The first couple of pages is pretty much all my content and expected mentions of the article.. But then there are quite a few of sites that are “briefing” my content. This is a gray area. Sometimes, even an abstract can hurt your search rankings due to redundant content but it’s worse when the full article is featured.

    Fortunately, it seems like Google continues to tweak search algorithms so my content is still at the top of their SERPs.

    Give it a try with your best content. Do you notice anything out of place?

    It’s a real simple technique but I know that it’s something many take for granted. A lot of the time, this unauthorized syndication and quote of content is done by scripts/bots.. It’s all automatic and the web sites do not really have any administrative presence.

    Content farms tend to do this: they launch tons of web sites and have little or no unique content.. It’s quite alarming but I have faith that Google will do right by us creatives as we thrive on our intellectual property and/or art. Hope that gave you all some good ideas!

  42. Daisy says:

    Great article!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Thank you!

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on our latest discussion: content scrappers and how they may be stealing YOUR content.

      You see, that’s the dark side of SEO.. When your content attracts search engines, the bots tend to follow. That’s where the autoblogs steal your content and, sometimes, do not properly link back to and credit you.

      This can hurt your site’s traffic, tarnish your reputation, and bring your credibility to question.

      Any thoughts? 8)

  43. Klaudia says:

    ok so yes, I read your post one more time – because I found it very important and a good source of knowledge. I believe it’s a good start-guide for small business owners who wants to “take care” of SEO by themselves.

    …now I stopped by the push-and-pull system and 12 steps operative model.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Glad you found it that useful! Have you printed out the 12-step process, yet? How about my infodoodle? Haha

      Speaking of push-and-pull system, do you have any particular favorites on the listed items?

      Perhaps you have tools of your own you prefer?

      Do you push (outbound) or pull (inbound) market more?

      I’d particularly like to discuss more about the content scrapper stuff.. Because sometimes we can attract bad traffic too. I notice this happens a lot with the hot search terms as content farms and autoblogs try to drive traffic and increase their residual income streams.

      It’s concerning yet very fascinating… Are you are aware of your digital footprint? Do you know who is talking about you and which content of yours is being borrowed?

      Some food for thought… 8)

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        BTW, the proper term is “scraper”, not “scrapper”.. I’m thinking in fighting terms or something. Maybe too much MMA on the noggin’ or this is sleep deprivation at work! Hey, the excitement here is just too much.. I feel that I may miss out on something if I pass out. =o]

        Anywho, just wanted to clarify that for those that are big on using the proper terminology and what-not. 8)

        • Not sure where I heard it, but Google is cutting down on scraper site by letting us report them. http://technorati.com/technology/article/scraper-sites-beware/

          • Yomar Lopez says:

            Yes. They do have that but the turn-around is reeeeally slow. If you sift around the Google Webmaster forums, there are very long threads of people asking when they will get their problem fixed.

            I imagine they have quite the backlog of such requests ever since the first Panda update.

            Regardless, I almost forgot to mention that route. You definitely want to report such sites if they infringe upon proper citation and quotation guidelines. It’s one thing if they take a snippet and link back to you but a whole other thing if they’re taking the whole kit-and-kaboodle and displaying it as their own.

            The good news is that it’s easy to identify the suspect sites since they generally have very little user interaction and no unique content at all. Discovering duplicate content can be as easy as Googling the headlines/titles.

            Good catch there, Heidi. 8)

  44. Keri says:

    I know it happens, but I don’t really understand why someone would utilize a “scrapper” method to improve SEO. Probably because it is not my nature to do this.

    It is logical that this could attract traffic. But you mentioned above – “bad” traffic. Would be inappropriate traffic, in my opinion, as the visitor would be led there and eventually not be satisfied because they would not receive the service that they thought they would.

    Scrapping is for people without merit.

    ~Keri

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Exactly.

      The issue here is that some use SEO to bury good content. Some folks hire black-hat SEOs to do this. Then there are the content scrapers, the folks that scrape the Internet for stuff to put on their autoblogs and content farms. The benefit, to them, is having free content and traffic without having to develop tons of content themselves.

      They feel like it’s hiring free help. Some folks really think that anything online is “up for grabs” or “public domain”. I often hear from our peers that their content was stolen or at least mis-quoted.

      I really recommend setting up Google Alerts. It’s free and you can have Google e-mail you for specific keywords.

      Setting up alerts for branded searches including your full name, business name, and titles of top content is a good strategy. That’s also part of an intermediate SEO approach, whereas you’re being proactive and focusing on the research side of it.

      With that data, you can update your content to have it stand out against the copies. Link-building campaigns work here as well, though I recommend focusing on quality sites from relevant sites rather than going for bulk link purchases or some crazy link pyramid scheme. 8)

      Thanks for keeping the conversation going, Keri – great thoughts here. Certainly, bad traffic is no good to anyone (that’s rather punny). I understand why scrapers steal content, though I obviously don’t agree with it.

      Let me know if you find anything interesting while Googling yourself. For example, how many times does “Keri Jaehnig” show up on Google. I bet that could show you some interesting stuff. Remember to use the quotes to get more exact matches.

      • When I Google myself, I find out that I am a geology professor at Ohio State, which is horrible, since I lived in Michigan for 2.5 years (Go Wolverines!). Then again, I am also a neurosurgeon in California. :)
        Your social media experiment is an inspiration, Yomar. I’m looking forward to seeing the end results.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          LOL!

          I just tried the search with just your name (no town, industry, or professional qualifiers) and I found a Facebook profile.. And apparently you’re wearing no shirt..

          WHAAAATTTT??

          Don’t worry: it’s not really you. But this should show folks what happens when they do build a name for themselves and forget the little things. Heck, I’ve even had some questionable stuff come up so every now and then I start optimizing to get back on top of the junk results.

          Michigan, eh? I always liked the Wolverines, mainly for their team colors, truth be told. I keep learning more about everyone. This is great!

          Truly, this is a wonderful social experiment.. We’ve touched upon so many tangent issues that now I feel like I have to spend the next two years just developing follow-up content. Haha

          BTW, now that I know about your geology skills, I know who can help me with what may very well be my weakest subject. ;o)

  45. Beautifully said, Yomar! I’m always quick to say I’m not an SEO Expert (remind me to share my “expert” vs. “Expert” theory sometime) Reading your post reinforces just how much there is to know about SEO. As a communications professional, I’m heartened to hear your comments that the future of search is about genuine, organic interactions not automated, one-time efforts. In my mind, this is something to celebrate and dovetails perfectly with the ways I encourage people to use social media.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Danke! ^_^

      What’s more exciting is that your love for Social Media will naturally cover some important SEO bases so YAY! The one part most miss out on is the search and market research. It’s amazing the stuff you turn up when you pull a Katy Perry and Google yourself. LOL

      But seriously…

      Just today I found a wonderful community of gamer geeks and consumer advocates. It was perfect because I love forums as a communication medium (it’s a much more conversational format than your typical social network)… and I got to meet new people!

      I think I just made some friends or, better said, pals that may eventually become friends!

      It all happened because I was checking for backlinks and specific search terms that match my personal brands, top headlines, and domain names. Pretty neat!

      GREAT point about the one-time effort bit. You can set-and-forget some things but, if you’re not monitoring and “dipsticking” often, something is bound to fall through the cracks.

      Sooooo… This “Expert -VS- expert” thing… I think it may be what I feel about expertise as most refer to it today. I use the word sparingly so I am quite curious to hear your thoughts on that.

      Feel free to share it here or on Skype, if you prefer!

      BTW, I’m quoting you on this because it is BRILLIANT:

      “In my mind, this is something to celebrate and dovetails perfectly with the ways I encourage people to use social media.”

      Celebrating OUR success.. I really like how that sounds. That’s what I think of in reading that.

      I’m SO glad you finally made it to the party, Angela!

  46. DeAndre says:

    Finally, someone knows what is REALLY going on.
    I REALLY hate when some businesses put irrelevant ads on famous content just to reach a wide yet random audience. (ex: an auto insurance ad on a call of duty trailer on youtube.)
    That is why some people need to truly understand how to use Search Engine Optimization.
    (But then again, a wide yet random audience does seem like a good idea to some extent.)

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Relevance is key.

      I feel that folks broadcasting and going for large markets and crowded spaces are purely “going wide”. It may work for some but the rest of us have to work much harder to have people care what we’re doing.

      We’re seeing more and more product placement leaking into new media, not just social media specifically. Thing is, most of this “new media” is not really NEW.. It’s just new to the old-money companies that have been clinging on to old ways.

      So don’t be surprised if your favorite AAA video game titles have more ads and subliminal messages in them. I find that indie game development will also help small businesses out because we’re in the same boat: trying to focus on a specific market, one person at a time.. Many of us are also boostrapping efforts so it’s a good opportunity to trade services when you’re on a tight budget.

      But back to what you’re saying here…

      You’re right about SEO helping in this sort of effort. That’s the ideal of it all: trying to draw in the right people and minimizing noise (and confusion) factors. That’s the more simplified approach that I trust won’t make people roll their eyes when they hear “SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization”.

      Thank you for sharing your sentiment on SEO from the consumer/customer perspective. That’s a side we often don’t stop to really understand.. It’s like we forget we are customers too. *shrug*

  47. JJ says:

    Woo. I like the beginning of this. Reminds me a little bit of Dino, back when Dino was still blogging at DoganDogs and hadn’t totally ditched us little dog people for the bigger, cooler social media folks.
    In short, blunt and to the point, with a sarcastic albeit frank panache that puts a smile on my face.
    (BTW. I’m an ass, yes, but All Marketer’s are Liars? Really? Did you really have to put an apostrophe there?)
    Anyway, telling you that you are long winded is moot, but lovely; you are long winded. ;]
    Actually, although SEO as a whole is irrelevant to me (in the way that all I need is to be listed on Google Places, and move from there) the content was actually interesting, in that SEO seems nothing more than a new spin on an age old practice. You add some math (I love math), which means numbers, statistics, and internet-whatevers. (I have the best, smartest, most up-to-date tech talk stuff, can’t you tell?) and throw them into a mixing bowl.
    Our marketing doesn’t use the internet much, but still uses the same push-pull, relationship building, and throw-the-math-at-the-marketing concepts. There difference therein is that our marketing goes through vets and through word of mouth, rather than the interwebs.
    So, at the end of the day, I still pay some moderated attention to the SEO SMO wannabes and the genii. Both, believe it or not, have advice that should be taken. Or, perhaps to the former, disregarded and put on the list of Never-Try-This-Because-It’s-Stupid.
    An interesting note, just because the subject is in my head, but a growing trend in my area is that if a dog trainer has an active facebook page/company page, they are much less likely to be taken seriously as a professional. I think that it’s hard for some professions to get that just because other professionals can do it and make it work, that doesn’t mean that they can. Thoughts?

    BTW, lovely article =]

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      WAHAHA!

      Oh boy.. I was waiting for this and I’m glad I did, JJ! Yes, I’ve noticed some typos and oopsies here and there; alas, the 3-day editing period is done and over with soooo…

      I guess it’ll make things more fun!

      You make a good point about folks that do more business IRL. Haha.. I try to make it a point to remind folks that Internet Marketing is not for everyone. It still can help you with local business, though.

      The simplest SEO/SMO effort could help you rank higher for local searches and bring in otherwise oblivious customers. That’s the sort of stuff you can DIY or have someone provide as a cheap, volunteer, or trade service.. I know you have mad connections, yo.. So that’s up to you! =o]

      Now, your question.. Hmmmm…

      I feel that anything we do outside of our core business and specializations can be misconstrued if done excessively. Eventually, people will wonder how you spend your time or if you’re merely a jack of all trades, master of none.

      I personally feel a Facebook page is more for folks that focus more on branding. I prefer a more personal brand over an avatar-style brand, if you know what I mean.. It reminds people they are dealing with real people, not some holographic image they can’t touch.. Or smack.

      So, should everyone jump on the Facebook bandwagon? Probably not.

      I’m not going to be dismissive to those that have made Facebook work and love it as a social media outpost for their business.. I feel Facebook is more for fun, family, and friends (hey, lots of F’s there… and proper use of an apostrophe, no?).

      So, I agree, in my long-winded way that I know you love and miss dearly at times! *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

      Really, Facebook seems to draw people in due to the massive audience there. They’ve become their own self-contained community practically. Facebook search will find everything on their social network and on their web. Pretty neat.

      The lure of 750+ million users is hard to pass up for some but, again, I go back to the whole matter of whether you are marketing or engaging, broadcasting or reaching out to people individually in meaningful, authentic ways. That makes all the difference.

      Who knows, maybe one day I will eat my words and make a Facebook fan page. I’ve had colleagues that almost convinced me to do so.. It’d be nice to integrate it into my other social media portals and what-not.. But I would not expect this effort any time soon.

      One last thing (I promise): I find that Facebook takes a loooong time to cultivate. You need to plant seeds little by little and hope you get a good harvest. There’s just too much vying for everyone’s attention there and most have learned how to tune us business-speaking folks out. d’oh

      Hope you enjoy my comments as much as I have yours. This is why you’re part of my “comment brigade” list on Twitter! =oD

      • JJ says:

        I think there’s a big difference between someone who is a primarily internet-focused business having a facebook page … Or hell, I know an equipment company who has a facebook and a twitter (http://www.signaturek9.com/) and actually gets numbers, repeat customers, etc with that as a marketing technique.
        The problem, I think, comes in when you’re a consultant. Can you imagine if you had a psychiatrist who wanted to be your friend on facebook? Excuse me, but that’s just weird.
        I think the same applies for a number of consultants who deal with personal issues – be it in your head or with your dog – and I don’t think (or appreciate) facebook as a marketing gimick. (With the exception of a few that I like, and who seem to be able to pull it off. I think there are very few who can.)
        The problem comes when your clients want to connect with you, I think. For a consultant of our variety, a professional boundary has to be maintained…and most people just can’t seem to hack it.
        I mean, I don’t think you can imagine how much harm I’d be doing my business if one of my clients found my blog. Our kind of consulting is touchy at times, and people have ideas and beliefs that I could insult just by stating my position. It’s sketchy; and it wouldn’t end well….Which is why none of my clients know I have a blog. Or even what a blog is.
        Marketing is tricky, ne?
        And I think that was an appropriate apostrophe.

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Now that’s a whole new slant on this age-old debate.. I mean, well before everyone became a Social Media “Expert” folks were arguing that you can’t be “friends” and work together. Things have just been amplified a lot more now, thanks to the speed of technology.

          Professional boundaries.. Yes, there is a need for that in some industries. You also can’t force everyone to be authentic and transparent just because that is what you believe in, so there is certainly a powerful revelation there.

          I would definitely be weirded out if my doctor or dentist friended me on Facebook unless, of course, we were chummy already, preferably outside of the work environment. Even then, you got me thinking more about this.. Maybe some folks just don’t want to be “probed”?

          Thing is, if you’re on any social platform, you essentially made a decision to give up anonymity and privacy to some degree.. So it almost feels like it could be a moot point.

          Perhaps the better questions would be…

          * If you are profitable, successful, and can sustain that, is it necessary to draw in new customers?
          * If you build strong relationships without the aide of the social web, is there any added value left?
          * Will there be mutual value by connecting with a client or service provider via social media?
          * What are the legal and privacy risks with being connected, transparent, and/or social?

          Those are rhetorical questions, of course.. Everyone’s answer will be different but it all boils down to what your comfort level is.. and if you’ll be infringing upon anyone’s rights or “personal bubble”.

          It may also be worth noting that the equipment supplier clearly doesn’t have a delicate business whereas you and your fellows do. I’d say the closer you are with your clients in a professional sense (i.e. they reveal lots of stuff most would not even know of), the less likely you are to want to take that extra step via Web 2.0/3.0 because then there’s the risk of having awkward moments.

          Do you think there is any way around this or are some industries inherently limited to local outreach by way of print ads, word-of-mouth, direct mail, and referral generation (not that any of those things are bad or exclusive to offline efforts, either)?

  48. Lisa says:

    LOADS of incredible info here. I know so many people who can benefit from this post. Spreading the word across all of my networks. Thanks!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Lisa!

      Can’t wait for your friends to come join us here. If you peruse the comments, you may find a conversation that addresses something you’ve been inquiring or wondering about recently. I encourage you to do some perusing!

      Some of the tangent issues we’ve touched upon:

      * Monetizing your online content and use of SEO to drive up residual income opportunities.
      * Protecting your brand and intellectual property from theft and improper citation.
      * Using SEO for research purposes and understanding your audience better.
      * Identifying referral sources and keywords to meet real needs more and attract interested, right-fit visitors.
      * Interpreting metrics for actionable insight.

      We have a fine selection of experts here and this virtual round table discussion has been nothing short of amazing thanks for people like you.

      Many whole-hearted thanks from me to you!

  49. Stan Faryna says:

    It’s cool how the blog post and comments replicate your contest entry. Does the contest entry also replicate the comments made here?

    • Stan Faryna says:

      DOH! I thought I was at your blog. Sheesh! I clicked the link on your Twitter thinking it would take me to your blog. Conclusion: I’m going back to bed and restart the day.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        No worries! The comments are appreciated though they only count for points if they add value to the conversation and are relevant. Either way, I truly dig everything you are all adding here.

        Plus you’re cracking me up, Stan! ;o)

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I did cross-promote via a couple of my blogs.. Cross-promotion is great and it’s even better when done by third parties because then people do not scoff at the shameless self-promotion. Of course, the SEO value is great because it’s extra backlinks.

      I did drop on one or two searches I was in the Top 3 for here. Oh well. No biggie!

      Thanks for the comments and constant entertainment value, Stan! ;o)

  50. Stan Faryna says:

    I know time is running out on the contest, but then again, you may be crazy enough to consider it.

    How about some stand up… performance art SEO?

    How about doing three acts where you and (let’s say) three beautiful assistants (volunteers from the audience) show off every step of your magic act on taking them up two steps closer to their online dream.

    You can kick it off here by getting people to sign up for the lottery. Three lucky winners will be chosen at the conclusion of the unbounce contest. Of course, the real magic will continue on your blog. Think an individualized mini-series for each of the lovely assistants where you take them from where they are to two steps closer to happiness.

    What do you think?

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I’m totally thinking that.. I’m all about having fun with the work we do. I’d likely go for a podcast format first, though.. And maybe some of those Xtra Normal videos for poops and chuckles. ;o)

      Can’t wait to expand upon my current content.. I’m glad we’re on the same page here, Stan! You are keeping the idea machine fueled for sure!

      Keep on rockin’, bud! =oD

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      BTW, a quick shameless plug but James St. John (a.k.a. @stjohnmarketing) and I have been brainstorming a new podcast. We’ll be asking guests from the Conversion-Fest Blogging Contest (commenting parties inclusive) to join us on the show and take part in discussions in between episodes. We’re excited to build upon all the value that everyone has grown here on Unbounce.com as part of this phenomenal contest.

      One thing folks have often asked is if rich media is good for SEO purposes. The sort answer is yes.

      Image, video, and audio files are all encapsulated so that they are displayed in text-based streams and can be easily identified + categorized. When curious web surfers perform searches (or Stumbles) for specific types of content, there is great opportunity to capture a new audience with premium content.

      Honestly, I love writing so much that I don’t keep up with YouTube, TwitPic, Flickr, Tumblr, and all that jazz.. but I’ve seen results driven by StumbleUpon first-hand. I’ve also had great success with clients by doing rich media marketing campaigns.

      Give it a whirl on Google. See how different the sites are that show up when you search for certain types of media. Multimedia searches are interesting and you can see that it’s an opportunity to re-position and re-purpose your content too… 8)

  51. Yomar, aloha. Happy Sunday. Since this post is providing such invaluable threads, I want to ask another question so that all your great answers will be in one place.

    The importance of backlinks is always stressed yet I know that not all back links are created the same. For instance, you can go to Fiverr, page $5 and get a zillion backlinkes. Yet, do those backlinks really matter? i would guess not.

    So then, Yomar, my questions to you is:

    What exactly is the value of link building and distinguishing quality backlinks from junk backlinks?

    Do tell. Thx so much. Aloha. Janet

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Backlinks have lost value over the past few years but link-building campaigns *are* important because…

      - They help you draw in referral traffic.
      - They help you build up organic traffic.
      - They help your pages rank higher.

      Typically, you purchase one-way links and the price you pay depends on the relevance of the referring site. Authority in terms of PageRank is also something that adds value, as Google PR can be passed on via quality links, so long as the referring page does not “farm” too many backlinks.

      The more quality, natural links pointing back to your content, the more search engines can see a hint of your significance but this is a scenario, again, where you want more quality than quantity.

      It gets a little crazy at times soooo…

      Links are good and, the more the merrier.. But links from authoritative sites have more value. That means you ideally want to get links in places with active communities, as this encourages people to actually click through and reach your content.

      The quality of a link is determined by a number of factors but junk links are easier to identify:

      * The site does not serve any real purpose other than linking to other pages.
      * The page does not provide a focused enough context or enough content to give the links real weight.
      * The anchor/descriptive text used to label the link does not flow naturally with prose-formatted content (i.e. a directory, list, or portal page).

      You get the idea.

      Examples…

      A natural link from a popular blog would typically be more valuable than a paid link from a higher-PR page, just because the active community will increase click-through rates and you’ll see real results, not just an increase in PR.

      It’s enough to make your head spin at times, I know.. I’d say some SEOs focus too much on link-building and don’t do it right. Things like disembodied testimonials, reviews on sites with no real participation, and directory submissions are lower value backlinks in my opinion, though they help generate some traffic and increase search rankings. 8)

  52. Yomar, aloha. Just thought of one other thing and I am not sure if it will be answered when you respond to my linkbuilding question.

    What is/are the best things to do to increase page rank? While my Alexa rank hovers around 70K my page rank is 3.

    Thx so much for your tips and advice. Have a great day Aloha. Janet

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      The quickest way would be to get natural links from pages with high PageRank and tangent subject material. Again, significance, relevance, authority, and popularity are four major areas to be considered when studying links and the sites being connected thereof.

      How PageRank is calculated is often a mystery since Google constantly retools the calculations there… But the one thing that remains true is that a page can pass on a portion of it’s PR to a target page.. But the amount inherited in this manner can never exceed what the referring page’s PR is.

      I would not worry too much about PR as you can still drive organic traffic and have a low PR. PR is more of an advanced aspect of SEO that you’ll want to focus on more, do split-testing, and really try to tweak content until you get it right.

  53. Yomar Lopez says:

    I’d like to ask everyone what their experiences have been with link building. It is a valuable strategy, whether you do it deliberately or not.

    Think about all the times you comment, interact on forums, use a Twitter hash tag, and publish a blog, you are creating backlinks. If you look at your analytics, you’ll see referring sites and chances are the big ones are Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Facebook.

    So…

    What has been your success with link building?

    What is your primary link-building strategy?

    What results have you driven?

    Do you ever pay for links? What have been the results with that effort?

    Paid links are interesting. Most sites offer bundled links that help out a bit depending on your goals but there are also paid links in the form of professional reviews, online press releases, and product listings.

    Anyone that has any experience with this stuff is particularly encouraged to join the conversation. If you’ve considered increasing your link-building efforts, we’d also like to hear from you as well.

    Looking forward to your thoughts!

  54. So, because of you, I have been thinking more about SEO, but I’m really lost as a very, VERY new beginner to this area. If you could give me 3 tips on where to start. Like at the VERY BEGINNING, what would they be?

    • Dorien Morin says:

      Good one Laurinda! I want to know, too! The ball is back in his court.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        No pressure, right?

        Laurinda knows what she is doing as I still have trouble being concise after many years of S&M and writing. The attempt is now under way so stay tuned.

        This should be, as they say, rather “epic”. ;o)

        /me brainstorms the short-and-sweet “Basic SEO For Noobs: In A Nutshell”

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      3 tips to jump start your SEO *and* not go crazy – from the VERY BEGINNING!

      1. Check your analytics/site stats to see what keywords and sites are bringing people in. Draw some lines and figure out what is in common with those things in terms of underlying topics and subject matter categorization. This is your list of current keyword performers and topic authority.
      2. Check the same data across your primary web site and social media outposts, looking for the content that performs the best. Your top pages and outposts should be used to cross-promote the target pages (i.e. places where conversions start to happen).
      3. With your top content, keywords, and referring sites in mind, you have an idea of how the Internet perceives you in terms of relevance and specialization. From there, you can figure out if the content that is performing is really where you want to focus on…

      - If It Is: All you have to do is create more content like it using different mediums ideally to keep people coming back. This can also lead to upsell opportunities for premium content, if you’d like.
      - If It Isn’t: Consider editing the content so that it better represents what you’re really about OR add links to the articles that go to what you feel is your best stuff and represents you best.

      In essence, this process will help you gain insight into what sort of people are visiting your site and figure out if you are projecting the right message to your audience. Looking at your bounce rate (the higher the number, the quicker people are leaving your site) will help you determine if your content really is a match for what people search for or if visitors are getting there and mostly saying, “Oh, that’s not what I wanted.. Bye.”

      A good example of mis-matched traffic/image would be if you use an image of your favorite comic book hero in a blog post and draw in some comic book geeks. Well, your blog is not about comic books so now they are disappointed. Problem is: this ends up being a keyword or category that generates lots of traffic.

      At such a point, you figure out whether you keep building upon that content to feed the need.. Or optimize and tweak content to draw in the right crowd.

      Okay, I tried to keep it down to the basics and I hope I did a good job! Let me know what you think, Laurinda. 8)

  55. Dorien Morin says:

    I am joining this conversation rather late and I’ve been ‘bedazzled’ by the comments and language used as I feel a total rookie on SEO after reading all the phenomenal responses to this great article. It took me 45 minutes to read through the comments, even longer than the article (which I had to read twice to fully grasp) Yomar, you are amazing. I’ve heard you loud and clear and it looks and feels like I have some homework to do.

    To make it easy for myself: Can I just comment on the back link questions you posted today? ;)

    I am working on back links and I’ve had only so-so results. I’ve never paid for any back links but I’ve just gotten started, so that might be in my future.

    So far, most of my back links have come from linking with my local social media customers and from articles I’ve linked from.

    I really don’t have that many, so I need to step up the game! I’ll be watching for more people with experience to join this conversation.

    You have a great night!

  56. Reed says:

    I must say i am very impressed. Glad to know there are still understanding individuals within our local society- if you know what i mean.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Understanding is a powerful word.

      For several years, salesmen and marketers alike have tried understanding the consumer but, really, they were assuming. They tried communicating with customers but it has mostly been screaming.

      So, when I see folks like Scott Stratten and Seth Godin urging businesses to wake up, I get excited because we are not alone.

      Believe me, it’s an ongoing effort and takes deliberate action, especially when so many “experts” and “gurus” are pressuring us because we supposedly “have it all wrong”.. And, yes, that exists in our local society very much, as we both know firsthand. ;o)

      I’m glad this message is inspiring people so much! The softer side of business and technology is often overlooked and undervalued. It’s great to see many of you feel the same way. Again, I remind you all..

      You are not alone.

      Make sure your customers feel the same way in everything you do – #ENGAGE!

  57. Tremendous insight. Not only in regards to the technical aspects but also into what makes a successful business enterprise tick! You’ve taken a technological situation and given it the human touch.

    Your work is educational, well written, consise, thought provoking, and extremely useful!!

    Thank you.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Thank you Cynthia!

      I’m glad you could finally make it over here. You nailed it right on the head (and in less words than I could possibly pull off, no less):

      There has to be a balance between soft skills and technical skills. Too much of one without the other makes for a bad-tasting concoction. Again, this is why there is much disdain for us SEOs, as we tend to be very technically-proficient but not so big on the people side of business.

      I invite you to peruse through the comments when you get a chance and see if there is anything you’d like to pick my brain about. We’ve gone off on a few tangents here but it all relates to the underlying theme I’ve tried to convey here, really.

      Thanks again for stopping by – I know you’re quite the busy gal! Don’t forget to let me know if that tech fix we spoke of fixed your issue. Catch you on FB (you really need to get “Tweeter” and join the rest of us nerds)! ;o)

  58. Hi Yomar,

    You’re an SEO wiz and obviously you know what you’re talking about. I like the way you present the information contained here with all the data and resources in support of your discussion content. I’m certainly glad to connect with you here and good to know of someone to keep in mind should I need to tap your brain on this topic.

    Much Aloha to you!

    Nelly

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Hi Nelly!

      Thank you for the kind words – it’s always nice to hear that people believe in and appreciate you (I don’t think many of us hear that enough in the world today)!

      I’m super-duper glad to hear that you liked the balance between text and supporting materials. I worked hard to strike that delicate balance, as sometimes I feel there is so much material to cover, no matter how much I tighten my scope.

      “SEO Wiz”.. That’d make a nice title to describe me quickly.. The danger in that, as we know, is that SEO doesn’t describe the bigger picture like Inbound Marketing and other terms do.. A few words may be all we have before the elevator pitch even comes around. I know SEOs are not alone on fighting stigmas and bias.. But it’s interesting to see how perception can impact the relationship from the beginning, no?

      Thank you for the wonderful comments again. Feel free to stop on by should you have additional questions or insight. 8)

      Aloha!

  59. Dave says:

    Excellent post Yomar.

    I will admit, I am a beginner at best when it comes to SEO, which is why I surround myself with experts on the topic..

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      We can’t know it all but the reality is that SEO is one area where constant learning and adapting is required, hence my title here. You know you can always pick my brain, bud.. I’ll be more than happy to help, albeit with a delayed response at times. LOL

      I think my quick SEO tips for Laurinda are good for folks that already have something they’re trying to get to perform better now. Of course, when you launch content with SEO beforehand, it’s a whole different angle to work….

      Regardless, I’d say there are few things we can reach mastery in without having to constantly brush up on the changes in that field of study. Inbound Marketing as a whole is still rather young and elusive for some, I’d say.. It’s understandable. We’re just used to knocking on doors and staying on the grind, right?

      Thanks for the comments bro – let’s go on a peer support spreed (without spamming, of course) today! =oD

  60. Yomar Lopez says:

    With all the wonderful conversations we’ve had here on as well as Twitter, Skype, SU, and other social media outposts, I think it’s time I blog about some of the topics here. In particular, discussing digital footprints, “virtual resumes”, and content scraping seems to be something that really resonated with everyone.

    Stay tuned!

    http://yomar.me

  61. Karla Campos says:

    I am speechless Yomar and that is rare! This article is so awesome that I am going to print it out and hang it on my wall. Panda is not evil ( I know you agree), it’s based on a concept we learn in grade school, no Johny you already submitted that report for your last homework assignment you can’t submit it again this week lol

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      LOL!

      Now that I’ve gotten to get to know you, I totally get what you’re hinting at there, Karla.. Gigolo has so much good content and you never seem to be without great ideas from what I’ve seen. I’m going to have to carve some time out to soak the awesomeness all in!

      The way you compared Panda to grade school not only made my laugh quite heartily, but also made me nod my head in emphatic agreement. Our ideas will often be congruent to others so why make matters worse by regurgitating the same old stuff??

      Mr. Panda is not such a bad guy at all. He’s great at parties, honestly.

      P.S. Bonus points for being one of the best examples here on effective link-building strategies and engagement.. That’s all socially-responsible/aware, adaptive SEO right there! Guess what? I visited your site right away, in spite of all the craziness going on around me and trying to divert my attention… KUDOS!

      (We should connect on Klout so I can officially +K you!)

  62. [...] for you, whether you want it or not. Getting the right content to rank high on SERPs is part of the countless benefits of strategic, socially-responsible/aware, adaptive SEO.. But we’re not here to discuss that right now. [...]

  63. Thanks Yomar!
    A very good and descriptive post what SEO is all about. I will definitely print this post and then I will get back to you with some questions. /Mattias

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Looking forward to it, Mattias!

      Since I know you’re quite the authority on Google Analytics, I encourage you to share how you use the data to provide actionable insight. Are there any things you particularly pay attention to correlate results with activity?

      Feel free to link to supporting materials too. This has become a bit of an all-in-one content development and inbound marketing resource, thanks to everyone’s selfless contributions!

      Thanks, everyone!

      (And I’m glad you finally got a chance to make it, Mr. MattGron.. I know you’ve been in vacation mode.. Lucky duck!)

  64. Carolyn says:

    Wow, great article. Your knowledge of SEO is broad and deep, thank you very much for sharing your insights on this important topic with us!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      You’re very welcome Carolyn! Again, I extend an invitation to pick my brain about the topics herein. What I’ve found to be particularly interesting subjects for all of us:

      * Distinguishing quality standards for link building, content development, and social (media) efforts.
      * Identifying and battling content scrapers and intellectual property theft.
      * Executing basic SEO as an ongoing effort, especially if you’re not technically-inclined per se.

      Lots of nuggets of knowledge and wisdom alike here. It’s quite a bit of information to sift through but the conversations are well worth joining.

      Let’s get to know each other better and brainstorm a bit, shall we? =o)

  65. Deeone says:

    Wow Yomar, You really broke SEO down man. I am highly grateful, since I really haven’t understood how to go about using it. I’ve heard several people mentioning it, since I’ve started blogging, but never fully understood how to incorporate it into my blog. I’m still not 100% clear on a lot of it, but at least now I have somewhere to come to find more information about it.

    Great post man, and I’ll definitely be coming back for a visit. ;)

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Thanks Deeone!

      What you’re saying here really resounds what mostly everyone has said. The insight has been amazing because I’ve found most do not really understand SEO or they are just plain dismissive of it.. Either way, a major reason for this seems to be the off-putting professionals in the industry and the way folks tend to over-complicate it by making it seem like magic, not science.

      I tell you, if I hear “SEO is a black art” one more time, I may just scream. LOL

      Again, the reality is that you are doing SEO if you are following ongoing themes on your site and supporting fellow writers and bloggers. Your blog has quite a good bit of inspirational, thought-provoking content that revolves around self-improvement. That’d be something to optimize content and plan follow-up materials for.

      For these very reasons, I barely touched upon the technical aspects as that’s what we are always subjected to anyway. Content and people first. I think that’s an easier pill to swallow, something we can all get behind, right?

      The clarity will come with time.. And by visiting my blogs and chatting with me often, my friend. *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

      The comments here alone are quite useful indeed. Great questions that really help give SEO a meaning that is exciting for more of us, not just us nerds and techies. ;o)

      • Deeone says:

        Ah ha!! Yomar, you have made 6 months of trying to understand SEO, simple in a day. It’s not that others haven’t explained it incredibly, but we all learn differently; and you just happen to teach it in a way that I could grasp.

        I saw that you were retired military, would that be Navy perhaps? Just asking. I knew a couple of IT personnel back when I was in the military, and whenever I had techie problems in the office, they’d come and explain what the problems were. Needless to say, you took me back to my Kearsarge days. :)

        Anywho, back to the topic at hand, I think I may have a better understanding even more so now. Especially after your response to my comment.

        I’ll definitely be heading back and putting you on the blogroll. Great to meet you bud… well, cyberly anyways. :D

        • Yomar Lopez says:

          Well, that’s good to know.. I know I can get a little TOO detailed and, for some, that is a turn-off. Haha

          There are definitely many incredible SEO authorities out there that are humble, helpful, and honorable. All very important qualities in B2B, I’d say. We need to hear more about those folks and redeem the “street cred” of our industry for sure. That’s part of why I wrote this article because, really, there were a whole slew of other topics that I could have gone with (and may have resonated with a lot more people too).

          I definitely know what you mean about everyone learning differently. I am a visual person so I really need to use more images to support the written word. I stepped it up on this guest blog more than I have on my own articles, truth be told. Sometimes, I just want to stay persistent with getting quality, useful, and fun content out there.

          Good guess on the Navy. How did you pick up on that? That is weird! I actually don’t talk much about my brief military stint because it’s nothing to write home to. I did go to a military/private school and considered the military path but it just wasn’t for me, though many of my friends love it.

          I’m retired from IT.. Sorta. For some, I’ll always be the “computer guy” so it’s still something I offer here and there just because the demand is so great. It’s a nice value-added service, at the very least. =o]

          What’s funny is that I still have friends in the military so it’s like I am an honorary member. Sometimes, I wish I did stick it through but I got injured and it made me rethink my career paths, you know? Again, not something I often discuss but I’m touched by how insightful you are, Deonne.. I’m taken back and you had me “stuck on stupid” for a second. Haha

          Yes, back to the topic at hand (though I appreciate tangents as much as you seem to as well haha)…

          It’s really cool to hear that this will be one of your field manuals going forward. As I learn and evolve the art and science of SEO myself, I think I may very well creating some expanded/premium content including books, webinars, and videos. Time will tell…

          Got you followed on NetworkedBlogs, bud, and I’m adding you to my comment brigade folder.. Better add you to my Twitter list too! =oD

  66. jay says:

    And another question, this one is from my friend. How often should u update and add stuff to your web site to keep it fresh but at the same time not over whel people?

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      You’re on a roll, Jay!

      Google uses something called QDF (Query Demands Freshness). There’s a lot of math involved but, basically, fresher content within a search space gets priority.

      This goes back to relevance, which is a deeper area than most realize. Advanced search engines like Google look at relevance to a topic and current times, amongst other factors. Social signals also give search engines hint that tell them what’s similar and how much of an impact it has on people when they find related content via search.

      It’s mostly fuzzy logic but somewhat accurate regardless.

      So, to answer your question, quality is still more important but quantity is huge too. In terms of your audience, you definitely do not want to overwhelm them with multiple updates in one day. You should give yourself enough time to promote your best content, line up other content, and do some networking as well, of course.

      There’s no magic number but most bloggers would say three to four updates spaced out throughout the week is good. You can even do one update a week. Just do what you can keep up because you’ll be setting an expectation with your returning visitors.

      While some folks can get away with daily updates, I would not recommend this, whether you’re doing videos, blogs, podcasts, or whatever. I mainly feel that quality is bound to suffer and you’ll spend less time on other pressing matters by doing this.. It may also take the joy out of what you do as well and you don’t want that! =o)

  67. Lynn @povprod says:

    Wow! As a very new student to social media, this information blows me away! SEO is one of the areas that I really want to focus on and understand and I no doubt will be referring to this often when I have an even better understanding of it all! Will also refer to the comments/answers you provided to Laurinda. Will be a great starting point for me!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I’m glad you’re excited about it, Lynn!

      For traditional marketers, I always say look at SEO as placing very attractive signs in all the right places. You garner attention and draw in people that are actually looking. This works more efficiently than just passing out flyers to people that will likely just throw them out anyway. =oX

      I think that’s something everyone can get excited about!

      When you review the conversation between Laurinda and I, I think we’ll have a lot to chat about. I can’t wait Lynn.. I’ll be waiting here.. With the refreshments. ;o)

  68. You totally hit the nail on the head. So many people are looking for a solution to a problem that they don’t even know what it is. Adding SEO or an other tactic to your business marketing without having a marketing strategy and plan is complete crap. Thanks for standing up and being a voice to all the marketers and real business people in the world!

    You ROCK!

    Blessings,

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      The GREAT Edward has spoken! =oD

      I like to call a spade a spade, as they say.

      I give my traditional marketers some grief sometimes because a few have not caught up with today’s world and the technology thereof… but I also feel that there are many wonderful tech-savvy talents out there that do not bring in enough soft skills to round out their offerings.

      To dismiss the value of creativity, strategy, leadership, project management, communication, and engagement would be proverbial professional suicide.. Yet our fellows do this sometimes.

      The reality is that you can’t departmentalize marketing. It’s everyone’s job to become one with a business entity’s vision and mission. If all you aim to do is “make cool stuff”, I reckon you’re missing the point.

      Now, tell me: do you prefer to do more one-on-one promotion and engagement or do you enjoy broadcasting.. Or perhaps “attraction marketing” (everyone has a different name for it).

      Looking forward to your thoughts!

      Thank you for the rockin’ comments, Edward!

  69. Yomar Lopez says:

    Hi Lauri!

    It seems we made the nested messages angry at us so I am quoting you and responding via a new thread…

    “Yomar,

    With all this SEO talk I decided to have a statistician look at my site tracking. We’re going to work together to see exactly what is driving traffic to my site. So far we’ve established it isn’t coming in because of media, guest blogging or article writing.

    What we are looking at now are the actual key words. Some of my posts are written in direct relation to long tails. I’ll be curious to see if this is the key that opens the door.

    What do you think? Any ideas? Thanks,”

    Statisticians will usually look more at the data points and help graph, calculate, and interpret the raw data. This can be quite handy and a seasoned SEO like myself will offer this as part of their services if you love the data nerd aspect of it all (who doesn’t). Good call getting a specialist on the job, Lauri!

    I would look at what Google Analytics reports as your top content for the past three months or so. Compare that with your top keywords, the ones that bring in the most traffic (but not necessarily rank the highest in terms of SERP position and/or density). That should be enough to start to see some trends.

    I reckon that data alone will help you correlate activity with results, as I keep reiterating (it’s *that* important). You know, Google Correlate can help you pipe in data and identify more patterns and connections. I am still playing with it more myself but it’s fairly easy to learn if you are already comfortable with Google Analytics, webmaster tools, and the like.

    Now, I’d be surprised if you weren’t getting some traffic from the guest blogging as that is a very popular method for driving referral traffic in the blogosphere. Comments also have immense value, though I find they work better with more plain-text commenting platforms using CommentLuv or KeywordLuv (VS. Disqus or LiveFyre, which are each great for their own reasons).

    Let me know what you think, Lauri. We’ll try to hammer this out more and see if anyone else can relate or provide some insight. 8)

  70. 602kid says:

    Hey, Yomar!

    Just looking over all the comments, and you’re a perfect example of what it means to engage and provide value. This is what it’s all about, this is what builds trust, which turns into inbound links. You provide original research, you answer question, you provide alternatives, and solutions. I not only see this here, but on every other site, including your own. This is the key strategy! It’s about developing memorable content, that people can gain from, interact with and share. Who you are as an SEO, is inspiring! Can’t wait to see what’s next! Thanks for sharing all the great insight and for being a true SEO. Have a great week Yomar!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Thank you Nate – that means a lot to me.. and I really can’t say it enough!

      Providing alternatives is the thing that really sticks out for me from what you said. We need to be humble and remember we’re not the only “Coke in the desert”. We also must be humbled by the fact that expertise is a fallacy since we’re all students in the school of life.

      I’m glad that I can project that in an authentic, memorable way. It’s great helping others and not having to push a hard sell.

      This article here is just to show you that there’s good and bad everywhere we go but whom we engage with can make all the difference.. That’s how I have wonderful people like you in my networks and inner circles. True friends and supporters. It’s fantastic!

      Rock this week out, bro.. and I’m still waiting patiently for you to get on XBL. We can talk shop and shoot some things virtually.. not a bad deal, I’d say! =oD

  71. Yomar Lopez says:

    Thank you all for the continued support and excitement here. I’m still seeing lots of buzz (and scrapers “showcasing” my work) going around about the article so that’s pretty darn cool.

    All though this is primarily a contest entry, I do appreciate the interest even now that he social scoring round is done. Keep the wonderful questions and insight coming in. I recommend searching this page to find some of the wonderful conversations started by…

    - Laurinda Shaver
    - Janet Callaway
    - Christian Hollingsworth
    - Nate Martin
    - Lauri Flaquer
    - James St. John
    - Robert Dempsey

    …And many others. You all have been wonderful!

    Be sure to connect with me via my other social media and blogging outposts. I’d love to chat-and-share via Skype, Google+, Twitter, and StumbleUpon.

    Yomar Lopez, at your service here! 8)

  72. [...] 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 [...]

  73. Yomar Lopez says:

    Thanks to all the wonderful feedback and questions I’ve received, I will be developing new content to help everyone out. I have a series of podcasts and books slated to address the following issues:

    * Pricing and value of SEO and Inbound Marketing.
    * Repositioning SEO as a Social Media, lead generation, and research/listening strategy.
    * Re-evaluating the etiquette of engagement and reciprocal exchange via Twitter, blogs, and more.
    * Bridging the self-imposed gap between what some will call SEO, SMO, and Inbound/Pull Marketing.
    * Reinforcing the urgency of proper social media manners (YAY #smmanners chat) so that we don’t become sharks or robots as we grow our creative, personal brand, and business entities.
    * Using StumbleUpon to engage others and grow your audience/brand naturally, without being a spammer (see previous mention about social media manners.

    There are many more implied topics and tangent issues thereof. Any ideas you have for the aforementioned will be greatly appreciated!

    *** BTW, here’s a disclaimer for those that get apprehensive of self-promotion and sneaky marketing… ***

    Yes, some of this content will have some self-serving purposes but, more importantly, I hope this will give you all the posture to not beg for business or under-sell your services. I know it happens a lot in the business.

    I’m reminded of the video “F#$@ You, Pay Me.” on Vimeo. That’s definitely a must-see for those of us in the service history, especially us creatives because we do not always deal in tangibles so clients may under-value what we do or just try to play hard ball to save a buck.

    Looking forward to the conversations here as this all relates to SEO. Again, it’s about being engaging and really doing something with that natural/organic growth.

    I feel that, all too often, we see small business boom with growth and then they lose themselves. I hope that the tips here will keep us humble.. and human. ;o)

  74. Yomar Lopez says:

    For those looking for a fresh take on SEO, check out these two articles. One of them is my own creation and the other is by someone I regard as one of the leaders in Inbound and Online Marketing alike:

    http://searchenginepeople.com/blog/b2b-seo.html

    http://dempseymarketing.com/journal/search-engine-optimization-defense/#comment-2351

    The underlying theme here is to remember people. Whether you’re looking to build stronger relationships or work with the right people, stepping back from the technical aspects of our business offerings can help us hone in on the often-overlooked “softer” side.

    I look forward to your thoughts, gang. 8)

  75. Knikkolette says:

    This is seriously a great post and a great site… I’m hooked and will be back for more! :) Keep up the great work Yomar ~ you’ve got a new fan!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I’m actually a bit surprised the article did so well considering there are people throughout social networks that literally say, “Please share anything OTHER than SEO stuff with me – thanks!”

      Haha.. I was tempted to do an article on Inbound Marketing in general, perhaps sprinkling in more of a focus on analytics and How-To stuff.. but I like to go with more fire-in-the-belly stuff. Can’t feed my tech hunger TOO much or else I go nerdy on y’all! ;o)

      Well now.. Let’s see how the judge round goes. Word has it Oli is scoring the entries as we speak.

      *crosses fingers*

  76. [...] may also enjoy a similar SEO article I wrote over at Unbounce.  There, I delve more into the technical aspects of SEO, without sounding like the dude from [...]

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      If you haven’t seen the SEO Rockstar video I embedded over at SEP, check it out. The link is above! Also, word has it that my name links to my Twylah trending tweets page. ENJOY! =oD

      (Hey, a little self-promotion never killed anyone!)

      Once I work out the kinks with XtraNormal, I’ll follow up the SEO Rockstar video with what I tentatively have named “Social Media Rockstar VS. SEO Bot”. Should be a hoot.. and perhaps even enlightening! ;o)

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  78. SEO is not the Everest neither it is a way of reaching there, so why should I worry about SEO and its approach. If you are a search engine optimizer and you know A-Z about optmization then you should enjoy your industry. You should know your vision and make a plan to achieve them, do it in manner ways and yes, if you got some thing new you should share with others too.

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Hey Anuj!

      I honestly don’t know how to respond to this comment as I don’t know if you meant to be excited or disdainful for what I had to say here. To be clear, everyone has their own SEO and overall online marketing style so, if it works for you, great!

      What I am suggesting here is that smaller businesses may do better to focus more on relationships and deeper engagement. Social media facilitates this so why not?

      Thus, I like to go beyond the technical SEO that we see all over the place. We know about load times, image optimization, meta tags, link building, PageRank, Alexa ratings, and all that good stuff.. But, if we don’t bridge the gap between the technical and soft side of our business, the missed opportunities will be bountiful.

      So, that’s all I’m saying here.. And I gather you believe in engagement as well or else you would not be here. Sure, the value of a backlink on an article that is appearing at the top of Google searches does not hurt but there’s more intrinsic value in “reaching out”, not just having “reach”, building “influence”, or growing massive traffic (and other numbers).

      Hope that puts this all into perspective. What I am suggesting here is a socially-responsible, socially-aware SEO approach that adapts to changing times, rules, and audiences.. In simple terms, it’s what Robert Dempsey (and perhaps others) would call the “New Social SEO”.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such good insight. I agree that we should all take pride in our industries, regardless of what public opinion may be. Often, the pushback we get from current and potential clients alike resides in semantics (framing, positioning, jargon, etc), not a question of value or “ROI”.

      I also agree that sharing is important. Transparency helps build credibility and gives you the posture and appearance of not being desperate or aggressive.

      Great thoughts here. Thanks again!

  79. [...] in different flavors so we can think of ROI in terms of hard numbers all the way. This goes back to my concept of “going deep” versus “going wide”. Quite often, it’s the lurkers, the often quite and mostly invisible supporters, that help us [...]

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      Hi Yomar,
      This is a great article, really make me think about my SEO and if it is good enough.
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      • Yomar Lopez says:

        Glad to hear it, Rick!

        Keep in mind that today’s SEO goes beyond coding, analytics, and link building.. We’re talking about corporate intelligence, market research, and the agility to pivot. Persistent SEO allows you to actively listen and build value, rather than peddling lies and misdirecting leads only to disappoint them.. that’s how adaptive SEO differs: it’s more about the strategies than the tactics. 8)

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  90. Greg Holbert says:

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    • Yomar says:

      Agreed.

      With SEO specialists and firms, you’ll typically get results but prices can be inflated. Some focus more off page and others on page. Some are more about content marketing while others are more about technical proficiency. It’s rare to get all the skill sets together so, really, you have to find a provider that understands your goals and measures success in ways that are relevant to your needs.

      I’ve seen many firms that product junk keyword pages and force keywords, which makes your content look sleazy and can very well tarnish your brand. Like with any marketing, ensure relevancy and quality by being authentic. Sadly, the hardcorr SEO folks may not get this at times. I hear and see it all the time.. but there are plenty of exceptions, too.

      I say commit to a flat rate first and do a trial run. Temper expectations as two months may be how long it’ll take to really see some action.. maybe sooner, maybe later. Ultimately, you need good content and landing pages on your site to empower your SEO folks. 8)

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      The whole notion of SEO being bullshit or ineffective saddens me, especially when the purveyoys of such ignorance stick to print ads, cold calling, and other methods that, if they’re lucky, will convert between .2-1% of the I me. These methods still have their place but when time and/or money are in short supply, SEO is a great place to start building momentum and learning more about your marketplace, competitors, and your own business.

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    • Yomar Lopez says:

      I love what you said about joining forces. Collaboration is key. All too often, online marketers desperately hang on to a tiny market share rather than baking a bigger pie to share, as Guy Kawasaki would recommend.

      SEO can and should be a collection of strategies rather than tactics. It’s such a great way to identify best practices, customer pain points, collaborative opportunities, and high demand topics. Sadly, we still business owners and clients relegate SEO as optional “stuff”.

      This article is very much a call to action for my fellow SEOs to employ complete solutions and drive value. Simply ranking higher on SERPs is not enough. How does your content build trust and proactively support and empower potential customers? There is a lot of potential here for setting higher quality standards for content, customer service, and the trust dynamics thereof,

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