Video Search Success;  Link Building;  Straight Answers from the Search Engines & SEO Pros

Farewell New York City.  As we are driving out of the city, as eager and I am to be going home, I can’t help but feel slightly sad to leave the city that I so love.  Nevertheless, I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend this conference and am excited to get back to work to share the outcome with everyone.

After two full days of sessions, day three was slightly quieter. Attendees and speakers were mostly laid back as a reflection of exhaustion from all of the information that has been thrown around during this time. Despite the laid back approach, I felt that day three had a lot to offer and some of the best sessions I attended during this conference came from today.

 

Day 3 – Session One – Video Search Success Stories

The beginning of day three started off with a discussion about videos. Video optimization and syndication is a great way to get more discovery and exposure within the SERPs. You can pretty much relate the average video watcher to Pringles “Once you pop you can’t stop”. How many times have you only watched just one video?

The panel of experts this morning discussed everything from keyword research for video optimization to personal case studies as to how utilizing videos enhanced their company. Below are a few of the highlights…

  • Videos are 53 more times likely to found in the search results when optimized correctly
  • Video universal search results have 41% higher CTR than plan text links
  • When using videos…what are they optimizing for?
    • You are optimizing for YouTube and other platforms which can directly affect three of the largest regular sources of views
      • Related video watching – Again who just watches one?
      • Search results within the specific platform
      • Google/Bing search results: Keep in mind you have to win YouTube first.
  • Keyword phrase research is extremely important when optimizing for videos.
    • There are places that you should and shouldn’t go when doing this research
      • Standard research does not cut it alone…you need to understand your user and look at real world data to pre-qualify keywords for the videos
      • Long tail keywords phrases are the key
  • Creating online videos: After the keyword research, do online marketing research: Review your competitors and find out what information your customers want to know.
  • Videos can be classified as Panda proofing your website…user stays more time on your website therefore, engaging better
  • Video sitemaps are important!
  • Snap shot images should be simple: do A/B testing for this. This can directly affect your click-through-rate.
    • The seventh spot can get more clicks than the third spot, just due to the thumbnail

 

Day 3 – Session 2 – Link Building Why You’re Doing it Wrong

Link building has always been a challenge for even the most professionals of SEO. It is the one thing that is always considered an afterthought, however, ends up being one of the most important things for our job. This session provided information as to what the common misconceptions are when it comes to link building to some tactics that we can utilize for our clients.

  • One thing that I found interesting about this session was simply the history as to why link building is now so important to our SEO strategy.
    • Back in 2002 Google only contained a very small percentage of the search engine market share.
    • Between 2002 and 2003 Google developed the PageRank system, which became the game changer for all websites.
    • To give you an example about how fast this industry is evolving…
      • Back in 2009 Matt Cutts was quoted saying the following about why Google would not utilize social media within their rankings: “It would definitely be the kind of system where people would try to abuse it”.
      • Just one year later….Google quoted, “It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings”
  • Six common misconceptions of Link Building:
    • Link Bait – may or may not succeed
    • Viral Marketing – once and down…may succeed once but might not happen again
    • Link Sculpting – waste of time to use no-follow
    • Cross-Linking – don’t buy a bunch of domains for links
    • Toolbar Page Rank – has nothing to do with
    • Directory Submissions – This is a waste of your time!!
      • If you can find one that is highly relevant…with only a few links on the page, it might be worth your time
  • Quality over Quantity! 4 crappy links is not worth one good quality link
  • Bad Press Releases are releases that contain no value to the reader and are littered with links
  • Guest Posting or Guest blogging is a great way to get very high quality links
    • There are two types of guest posting examples:
      • Vertical Guest Postings: Posting on relevant themed sites
      • Horizontal Guest Posting – Take a general topic and find a way to intersect it with yours
        • This will separate you from your competition
  • Finding places to post…
    • Searching online for potential guest posting gigs
    • Review Top Lists on sites like Blogs.com
  • Points to consider when requesting to be a guest blog poster
    • Check for existing writing guidelines before contacting
    • Send personal and individual emails
    • Use names whenever possible
    • Prove you’re not a bot
    • As a genuine question – something about themselves (bloggers love to talk about themselves)
    • Never assume they know who you are – there are people who have never heard of you…no matter how big you think you are
    • Include a potential topic idea and example post – They have no idea if you can write. Use the content that you have that includes the most activity.
    • DO NOT MENTION LINKS (But do mention edits) – Mention to them that you would request to review any revisions that are made before they post it. “I do not care if you make changes…I just want to review them before you make the changes”
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks when syndicating content

Day 3 – Session 3 – Ask the Search Engines

The third session of day three was an hour with the Search Engines. Representatives from Google, Bing and the new search engine Blekko was on the panel. This session was run by the audience and it allowed all of us the ability to ask the search engines all of those burning questions. Canonical tags seemed to be a heavy topic during this session. All of the panelists agreed that it was very important that when utilizing this tag that you make sure you are implementing it correctly. Other topics discussed during this session included:

  • Google Announced that their Reconsideration requests getting more transparent
    • They are doing more pro-active messaging for webmaster like Spam. Allows you to keep tabs on your site instantly
    • Birthday Google page….if you are logged into Google and have your birthday listed with your account, Google will provide you with a personalized Google birthday page (not really informative…but pretty cool).
  • Bing has a great webmaster blog. The representative from Bing does many of the posting within that blog
  • New tags that Google announced today are not in the other search engines yet, however, do not mean that they won’t be later.
  • When you have one page that has many variations of the URL use the canonical tag. Also use webmaster tools’ parameter tool
    • Could use the robots.txt files for saying you do not want the search engines to crawl after a certain area in the parameter
  • Canonical tag problems: don’t direct every page to the homepage
  • Golden rule..if it is working…don’t try to fix it
  • Understand where there is value in your business…Make sure that those URLs are the ones to get into the indexed pages.
  • Common issues you see with sitemaps:
    • Lack of cleanliness…Bing will lose trust in it if 1% of your URLs are wrong. Keep it clean
  • Google loves HTML 5 and they support it. Same with Bing
  • Fun quote from Danny Sullivan…talking about Microsoft Tablets “It’s like windows on a stick”

Day 3 – Session 4 – Ask the SEO

The last session of the day was an open panel with some of the biggest names in SEO. These names included Danny Sullivan and Vanessa Fox from Search Engine Land, Rae Hoffman-Dolan from Sugarrae SEO, Bruce Clay from Bruce Clay, Inc, Alex Bennert from the Wall Street Journal and Greg Boser from BlueGrass Interactive. Even though this session was not necessarily new information or tactic based, it was just an honor alone to hear what the best of the best had to say about search engine optimization.

Like the Ask the Search Engine session this session was lead by the audience. Many topics discussed during this hour were items 301 redirects, sub-domains and various tagging like canonical. Highlights include:

  • What to do with pages that have a short lifecycle: like job listings, real estate….SEOs are saying to let them get ranked and then 301 them up to the next category (this was much different than what the Search Engines were saying)
    • Most cases this can work…however, there are always exceptions. If there is 1000s of old pages begin 301 redirected it might cause some inefficiencies with the search engines indexing
    • This practice is really where the SEOs and the Search Engines differ. Mainly the SEOs believe that 301s are much better for the overall user experience where as 404s are not
  • Sub-domains…Are they considered as two separate entities
    • Search Engines and SEOs were mixed on this subject. Some agreed that they are separate to an extent where other agreed that they are in long run they point back to the same domain.
    • If you have junk…do not just move it to a new domain or sub-domain…just remove it
    • If Google likes your domain and you want to start a new site for a new product…use the sub-domain
  • Ecommerce sites…if you want to go international…it helps to have servers in the countries that you want to enter into…sites should follow the language of that country…and utilize the country domain. Be sure to set webmaster tools to that country.
    • People in the other counties are more likely to trust the .fr or .uk, etc….
    • If you have the TLDs do not 301 redirect to the .com
    • Google in almost all other countries is the dominate search engines
  • Panelists state that to optimize in Bing…is just as simple as the traditional best practices
  • Most important SEO factors remain the same across all search engines: content, title tags, links, anchor text and social media

That concludes my time in New York and SMX West.  It was a great experience to hear from these amazing experts.

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