SEO for 2013 Checklist – New Rules for SEO

The world of SEO has seem some significant ‘changes’ with Google’s major and much publicized Panda and Penguin updates, along with the less known but equally important constantly-updated algorithmic changes being tracked by MozCast.  Countless articles, blog posts and podcasts have proclaimed major changes in the SEO world and along with it, numerous catch phrases like “inbound linking is dead,” or “link purchasing is dead,” and the  classic “SEO is dead.”  But the reality is: Google has finally stamped its foot down and assertively enforced the best practices it’s been encouraging all along.  Updates like Penguin and Panda simply codified these best practices by punishing the bad practices we’ve been told to avoid overwhelmingly depending on (or engaging in whatsoever) all along.  Here is a list of 10 SEO strategies to pursue in 2013 (not in any particular order).  They are not significantly different than in the past, but they overlap with one another in new ways.

  • Strong Branding (citations, using brand name in anchor text links, etc)
  • Very relevant and unique content
  • Optimized Meta Title tags
  • Guest blogging/authoring (Google AuthorRank)
  • Strong Branding (citations, using brand name in anchor text links, etc)
  • Highly optimized structure (use of CSS, Image ALT tags, link title tags, etc)
  • Link Purchases (Directories, enthusiast sites, etc)
  • Social Media links/citations
  • Sitemap(s)
  • Fast load time
  • Light code structure
Strong Branding (citations, using brand name in anchor text links, etc)
Branding has continually become a stronger factor in search engine ranking signals.  The stronger your brand, the higher Continue reading

Some Great SEO Links

Every once in awhile you run into some SEO-related content you just want to share.

  • Microsoft Excel for SEOs – Whether you’re a freelance or office monkey SEO (or like me, both), you really need to be on top of your excel game and avoid as much manual data entry and copy-pasting as possible.  After going through these tutorials, a few of my newly gray hairs have returned to black.
  • The Guru’s Guide to Online Success – A great collection on web design, SEO and SMO links.  It’s not often you come across a single page that links to so many useful resources (there are even book recommendations).  I’ll be going through these for awhile yet.
  • Time Management: 5 Tips You Need To Know – Excellent tips for people who have to manage multiple ongoing projects.

Website 101: The Essentials of Website Creation

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything.  I’ve been busy with several projects, one of which is a short Kindle book I published through Kindle Direct.  The book is meant as a guide for those who’d like to build a website but aren’t sure where to start and those with a website and no idea how to get traffic (as opposed to a seasoned internet marketer already familiar with the various internet marketing channels).

Website 101: The Essentials of Website Creation and Marketing

Website 101: The Essentials of Website Creation

Google’s update to Branded Site Links

Last month, in my Google’s Recent Updates: SEO Game Changers post I mentioned that Google now gave extra listings to site for their own brands.  I used Magnaflow.com as an example.  In this example, Magnaflow gets the first 4 listings.  The rest of the organic results consists of 6 listings, the first of which is Jegs.com.

Google site links for brands - Magnaflow old

Recently (August 16th to be exact) Google made a change to this.  Now, instead of extra search result listings, brands get site links underneath their homepage URL listing.  Following this, there are 9 organic listings, the first of which is Jegs.com. Continue reading

Google’s Recent Updates: SEO Game Changers

Over the last year Google has made some changes to its algorithm which really affects organic traffic rankings.  Typically Google’s changes are merely a shifting over ranking factors.  However, Google’s recent changes have, to a certain extent, changed the rules a bit.

Local Search has become more Relevant

Local listings now appear more frequently on non-geospecific-searches.  For example, merely searching Jeep Parts will show still show the typical listings but you will also see physical locations in Google Places.

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Using Site Search & Top Landing Pages to Increase AdWords ROI

Site SearchI recently came across another way to use Google Analytics and your own internal site search (if your website has one) to increase AdWords ROI. By checking the top landing pages from AdWords campaigns, then seeing what users search for on your internal site search, you can get a better idea of how to further tweak and optimize your landing pages (you can also use this to find the least converting landing pages and see what needs to be done there–but in this example we’ll simply address the landing page with the highest volume).

First create an Advanced Segment where you select Medium=CPC (click here to import the segment automatically).

Advanced Segment - Medium = CPC

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Increase AdWords ROI – Segmenting for Geography

Increase ROI by Geography in Google AnalyticsAnyone who’s dealt extensively with Google AdWords knows that it’s ease in setting up and quick optimizations at some point turn into a difficult tasks of finding a way to increase ROI.  At some point, after you’ve painstakingly filtered out low-converting keywords, increased your quality score, optimized your copy, etc. the low hanging fruit is gone and increasing the ROI on your Ad spend becomes much harder.

One of the more concrete, yet overlooked methods for increasing AdWords ROI involves filtering out regions with little/no conversions.  Thankfully, we can find out which regions (in this scenario, states) are costing money by way of clicks and offering little/no revenue in return. Continue reading

Calculate AdWords ROI with Ad Slot Position Segments

Google AdWords provides a “quick and easy” way to get visitors to your site. Setting up campaigns are fairly easy and the learning curve is small. But maximizing your ad spend takes time, patience, and planning. One of the often-overlooked methods for measuring optimal AdWords campaign success is seeing which Ad Slots tend to be the most profitable. If your CPC is high and conversions are low, it may not be the wisest thing to open the flood gates and bid with the expectation of holding the top slot.

Setting Ad Slot Position in Advanced Segments

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Click to Enlarge

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It’s Official: Google’s Algorithm Factors in Site Speed

While rumors have floated around that Google was now considering site speed as one its ranking factors, Google finally christened the rumor with an announcement on its Webmaster Central Blog.  They also list tools for helping assist those looking to boost the speed of their sites.

Using site speed in web search ranking

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

Read entire post here

One way I’ve always tired to simplify Google’s ranking factors for friends and clients is to have them think of Google’s business model.  Google’s dominance depends on its ability to return the most relevant results to its users.  If users stop believing that Google is providing them with the most relevant results for their searches, they’ll go elsewhere (essentially what happened to Yahoo! in the late 90′s). It’s not hard to imagine why/how returning sites with extremely slow load times wouldn’t be so beneficial for Google.

A Big Deal

Often times, SEOs debate over what are really minute matters, and they spend time debunking the same myths over and over that very few SEOs believe anymore.  But the core of SEO never really changes: Good content, and good linking (and the second one is largely dependent on the first).  Most of what SEOs debate are in regards to factors within these two.  How important is article syndication?  Which link directories are still worth purchasing from and how do I get new/better links?  How many instances of keywords can/should I add before I start to devalue the quality of my content?  What ratio should I use for top domain linking vs deep linking?

What this does is give SEO a whole new factor to consider, and it’s hardly a minute detail.  No doubt, a stronger market will now exist for people who can optimize site speed and designer/developers will be pressured more than ever to code in an organized manner.

Google Annotations: Track SEO & Marketing Initiatives

Google recently added the ability to add annotations to Analytics.  What this means is that you can now correlate trends with campaign implementations in Google Analytics (as opposed to having to cross-reference your trends in Analytics with whatever source you typically use to keep track of these changes).  What’s more is you can also share these changes with other users in the account.

Google Analytics Annotations

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