Wow – there certainly has been a lot talked about this month on SEOmoz. Maybe it’s down to the Panda/Farmer update, or maybe because we’re now progressing much faster in the world of SEO, but believe me, I’ve had a long task trying to summarise this! This month I’ve simply picked out the best and most useful bits, and written a quick summary.
Google’s Farmer/Panda Update: Analysis of Winners vs Losers
With the recent algorithmic update Google launched, SEOmoz assumes that the following signals may have been used:
– User/usage data – click-through rate, time-on site, success of visit
– Quality raters – liked sites versus unliked sites
– Content analysis – readability, uniqueness, robustness, actractiveness
Within niches, web popularity can be become a blurred concept where it becomes mixed with authority ie. we link to websites with authority rather than some unknown new website. Popularity can be obtained with creative link-building, however the risks of popularity are now more enhanced with tweets and shares officially counted as a ranking factor. Website popularity and quality can be balanced- we all want to see and explore genuine web sites. Ultimately we really only care about authority and trust – it’s common sense and logical that search engines should base ranking on those two factors.
Conversion-Orientated SEO: When SEO Marries UX
SEO is a conversion and conversion is money.
Good SEO work on website + bad usability = bad ROI
Good SEO work on website + good usability = good ROI
In order to receive good ROI, a number of factors need to be analysed:
- Questions – goal of website, audience, website useful, visitors find what they need? Do research and tests to find out that you are meeting your objectives.
- Analytics data – who is your visitor, where are they from, technology using? Define goals and funnels.
- Gather data – put everything together.
- Landing pages – make sure they meet the R.E.A.D.Y framework: Relevant, Engaging, Authoritative, Directional, Yield optimal. Have a good design, website speed, message, and call to action.
Inbound Marketing Attracts Millions from Google, Salesforce, and Sequoia
Google, Salesforce and Sequoia have recently invested $32 million into Hubspot, the leading inbound marketing company. Inbound marketing involves a number of ‘free’ traffic sources whereas ‘outbound’ marketing includes the likes of advertising, paid branding, salespeople, cold-calling amoungst many other techniques.
When asked to share some recent data, Hubspot provided the following:
– Hubspot and its clients have so far not seen any impact from the recent Farmer update
– Twitter is their no.1 social media traffic source
– Linkedin sends the best converting traffic
– Facebook is their no.2 social media source & occasionally bypasses Twitter in traffic sent
What Keywords Do I Rank For
This concluded a more complicated question than it seems. Google won’t tell you, and some things are still a mystery to them. Analytics can give you a rough idea of how many keyword phrases were clicked on in a particular month, whilst Google Webmaster Tools can show you the keywords that drive search impressions, but not clicks.
6 Reasons why Q&A Sites Can Boost Your SEO in 2011 (Despite Google’s Farmer Update)
Some Q&A sites were not affected by the recent Farmer update and therefore this should still be used in marketing efforts. People are increasing asking questions into search engines (eg. where can I buy an iphone?) instead of putting simple keywords (eg. iphone), and therefore Q&A sites have become more popular over the last year.
Restricting Robot Access for Improved SEO
Think of Googlebot as a toddler. Restrict access to junk and hazards whilst making quality choices easily accessible with meta robots tags, canonical tags, x-robots tags and robots.txt files.
Exactly how powerful are Tweets & Retweets?
Tweets help with organic rankings. After a test was done between linking and tweeting, the tweeted page scored higher in Google organic listings than the linked one. Google claimed that links in tweets is not currently part of their new ranking system however they do use them as a signal in organic and news rankings.
Discussion Search as Competitive Intel
Five ways to leverage discussions for SEO and competitive intel:
- Competitors – search what their customers are talking about and then present your solution as an alternative. Learn about what makes their customers happy or unhappy.
- Keywords – query them in forums and discover popular threads. Use content for blogs.
- Own product/brand – opportunity to explain your product, present the best face you can and provide ‘off-site’ customer service.
- Product/brand related topics – contribute in these communities and become a known expert in these fields.
- Multiple competitor brand names – use ‘or’ separators and set the sorting to ‘relevance’ restricting to ‘last month’. An ideal place to present your solutions.
Presence in forums and Q&A sites are a great way of leading to greater brand awareness, links, sharing, tweets, and citations as well as bringing in a good source of traffic. Also try Boardreader and Boardtracker.
UGC with the Panda update
Google rolled out changes to its algorithm in an attempt to decrease visibility and rankings of low quality sites called the Panda (or Farmer) update. ‘Low quality’ is defined on search engine blogs as content that is shallow or limited, poorly written, copied, and generally not useful to users.
User generated content (UGC) can attract a substantial amount of long tail keyword traffic. A study of various UGC sites took place to see how they would be affected by the Panda update over a period of 4 weeks (2 weeks prior to update, 2 weeks post) against the same time year previous. The study concluded that UGC aggregated together can be very powerful for an SEO campaign.
Build Your Social Media Embassies
‘If my personal website is my digital home, then my social networking profiles on Facebook and Twitter etc. are my embassies. Embassies exist to maintain relationships with “distant lands”’.
There are 6 ways in which you can build up your social media ‘embassies’ without an international incident:
- Declare independence – the impact of social media is growing, but that doesn’t mean that you should surrender your entire presence to someone else. Have a permanent online home that you control. Social media embassies should be an extension of that home.
- Be a model citizen – your embassy is your face to the world. Some social networks aren’t for you – but remember that you’re representing your home country. Put time into your public profile. Connect with people and participate.
- Respect the locals – if you plan on never coming back, then you can be how you like. However, if you want to use that social network for a while, respect the locals, their customs and even their leaders. Listen first and then participate.
- Learn the language – every social network has its own language. Talking that language will only get you further. Know your hashtags from your emotions.
- Bring your credentials – what can you bring to the table? Know why you’re there and what you can contribute.
- Foster allegiances – social media sites are a place to build relationships. Blend business and personal relationships. Pay close attention to existing allegiances.
Information Architecture, Faceted Navigation & Duplicate Content
Information architecture is important from a search perspective in two ways:
- It enables the search engines to index all of the pages on the site,
- It provides suitable landing pages for all keywords (or search phrases) that you might wish to rank for.
Ensure that duplicate content is not created (i.e. the same content available via more than one URL) as this causes problems with ranking as you have more than one page from your site competing for the same search result.
Link Anatomy – Understanding the Value of a Link
Link builders tend to come from 2 schools of thinking: 1) pursue and take any link from anywhere 2) research and scrutinise every potential link opportunity. It is better to think like option 2.
Links should be assessed for the following: anchor text, trust, relevance, placement and outbound links. If your link is of a high quality, authoritative website, search engines will pay a lot more attention to the metrics of that link than that of a spammy website.
Google +1 and the Rise of Social SEO
Google states that with the introduction of +1, it will be able to help influence search results, and ultimately able to get you more organic traffic from Google. This could be how Google is going to reduce the emphasis on links.