Panel: The Latest/Greatest SEO and SEM Tips
Experts: Andy Atkins-Krueger @webcertain_de, Bruce Clay @bruceclay, Seth Dotterer @dotterer, Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan
Moderator: Ryan Berryman
From the program: “How often should you update your website and social media content? What are the latest best practices for identifying and getting quality back-links? How will Google Instant affect your SEO strategies? What are the pros and cons of Google’s new lineup of AdWords formats? What are the keys to SEO/SEM success in multiple languages and countries? Take advantage of this highly respected panel of experts by bringing your most insightful, challenging questions.”
What are the trends you see with clients?
Seth: We’ve seen, over the last year, the end of SEO practitioner as technical guru and that’s it. Now they measure ROI and grow and do continual improvement. CMOs are demanding metrics like all other marketing vehicles. It’s a portfolio approach: money business keywords, speculation keywords, etc.
Bruce: It used to be more technical, mostly webmaster type people. Now finding more marketing-centric, not technical-centric, people. It’s not ranking, it’s traffic; it’s not traffic, it’s conversions. SEO is still critical, but it’s more of a marketing brick than the brick.
How important are keyword domains?
Bruce: Recently it’s become even more important. Google turned it up, then down, but the net is up. I own SEOTools.com, but I redirect it. A number of people offered me money, so I decided to build it up: put 8 pages on it. Ever since it’s #8 for phrase “seo tools” on Google. Nothing on it, no links. So I say an exact match domain name helps.
Andy: The latin characters have a unique benefit because they can be typed into any computer. .rf is redirecting to .ru.
Andy: The most significant thing is the keyboard. There are 15 different ways to input Chinese characters, which makes the whole process of search more complex. Numbers are popular in China because numbers are easy to type; it doesn’t take two steps to enter in a character.
What are major trends or might to come for SEM and SEO?
Danny: Social and search are connected. Google confirmed they’re trying to calculate a social rank and factoring it into web searches. Google and Bing get links from Twitter in the “fire hose” and links are nofollow free, which means the links count. These social areas are having an impact, “it really does.” They’re still trying to figure out how to do it, but they’re working on it. It’s similar to link building. You had people doing SEO and you had people doing link building; similar now to search and social. Continued verticalization of search is coming too. Google Places, for example, turned smaller listings and turned them into regular-sized listings.
Seth: Social strategy affects PR affects SEO and all the way down the line.
How would you suggest building out sites for domainers?
Seth: Different people have different strategies. Content is key on developing long-term terms.
Concern in the industry about Google placing their own ads for their own properties. What concerns do you see?
Danny: The anti-competitive argument has caught on. Most scenarios are unfounded. “The job of search engines is to point me to a destination, not to be the destination.”
Appetite for video search and optimization?
Andy: Many companies are now taking their videos and now localizing them for other languages. Asian countries, especially, appreciate videos.
Seth: Users are drawn to videos, they love them.
Bruce: Google giving you information about query behavior of other users. We’re finding if we optimize for fourth word — which is suggested — on a three word phrase, it stabilizes the page. Video on your page, versus text and images, has a 43% increase in conversion rate — we’ve seen.
Is there a different strategy for Bing than for Google? Focus only on Google?
Danny: “Only need to focus on Google, especially since Bing uses Google results.” (Joke) Both are important. If you’re doing the right things for Google, you’re probably doing the right things for Bing. On the PPC side, I’ve had a few advertisers ask why Yahoo’s terms are a bit broader than on Bing.
Seth: Just like any media buy, you’re going to have different demographics and conversions. Same is true on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Same as Firefox, Chome and IE differences, mainly because of demographics.
Danny: Recap of Google: Bing Is Cheating, Copying Our Search Results. Danny’s summary: it’s a minor use case.
Content farms, like Demand Media. What would you advise in order to produce content?
Seth: Google has created a marketplace where there is value to appear on their pages. Google needs to make sure pages are really relevant, otherwise their entire marketplace falls apart. What’s coming is a hatchet on bad content.
Bruce: Local results are showing up more often (20% of queries and growing). As local results show up, Google makes more money. Given that, we’re finding 3 results, then local results. It becomes compelling to be in the top 3 then. In order to be top 3, you need to be a subject matter expert. Mediocre content is becoming less attractive in the algorithm. Likes and replacing links in some cases. As those become more of a factor in the algorithm, mediocre content will not be recommended.
How important is mobile search?
Andy: Mobile is huge internationally. It reaches the parts of the world that doesn’t access the Internet via PC. 820 million phones in China, which is 3-4x the US number. India, Indonesia, Philippines using mobile phones where PCs don’t even enter the statistics.
Bruce: It depends on your persona of audience of keywords. If you audience is business, no mobile. If it’s social, it’s almost all mobile.
Seth: Fire up your website on a iPhone, an Android or a BlackBerry. It can be an eye opening experience.
Bruce: Look at Google Preview of your website in the search results of Google. If image is lower, it can affect your click-through rate. If you can’t read it on the Preview, you will get lower click-through rates.