SEO remains the most cost-effective way to drive website traffic. B2B websites often receive anywhere from 30%-60% from organic search, with 50% or more sometimes coming from Google alone.
But SEO is changing. Directory links are worth less, social links worth more, site performance is increasing in importance, site age is decreasing…how is a digital marketer to keep up?
Discover how to use Google Analytics data, technical tweaks, website audits, keyword research, fresh content, social media activities and more for SEO success here in 20 more of the best SEO guides of 2011, a follow-up to 40 of the Best SEO Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011 (So Far) published last November.
7 Sure-Fire Signs Your SEO Sucks by HubSpot Blog
Corey Eridon presents signs that your SEO efforts may be headed down the wrong path, along with guidance for fixing each issue. Example: “2.) Content sounds like it was written by an SEO expert from 1999. There are lots of things from the 90s that are still quite magical in 2011: alternative music, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, boy band choreography. 90s SEO is not on that list.”
Using Data to Drive SEO Results by Search Engine Watch
Ray “Catfish” Comstock explains how to divide the SEO data analytics process into three main phases–performance reporting, opportunity identification (e.g., identifying new keywords, internal and external linking opportunities) and prioritization–what data to consider in each phase, and what actions to take based on this analysis.
18 things you need to know about SEO by Bing Webmaster Center Blog
Duane Forrester steps through the major search factors for Bing (though most apply more broadly), including crawlability (e.g., use a simple URL structure, avoid session variables or docIDs, include an XML sitemap and a robots.txt file), content hierarchy and on-page factors, as well as “black hat” tactics to avoid.
301 Redirects: Implementing Your SEO ‘Change of Address’ Card by MediaPost Search Insider
Explaining that “301 redirects are like a ‘change of address’ card for the search engines — they indicate that an existing page URL has moved and where the search engine can find it,” Janet Driscoll Miller shows how to create these vital page redirects on Linux and IIS servers.
10 Concepts Critical for Aligning SEO to B2B Marketing Strategy by Search Engine Watch
Derek Edmond asks 10 B2B marketers—including Dianna Huff, Stephanie Tilton, Elizabeth Sosnow (“SEOs have an opportunity to become better storytellers, instead of appearing to be simply ‘link-builders’ in the eyes of some of their clients”), and HubSpot’s Kipp Bodnar—for their thoughts on how “SEOs can better align with strategic marketing.”
Understanding Google’s new sitelinks by Pure Visibility
Eric Wortman explains what Google sitelinks are, how they work, when Google displays them, what this means for your company website, and what you can do to take advantage of this expanded real estate now available on page one of Google results.
Understanding key search engine ranking factors is vital for SEO success, and Google keeps this challenge interesting with its continual algorithm changes. Rather than focus on the current top ranking factors here though, Dan Deceuster speculates about the future and divides what he believes will become more critical ranking factors into six “v” categories: value, validity, variety, vision, volume and visitors.
The First 7 Items On Your SEO Audit To-Do List by Search Engine Watch
Frequent best-of honoree Eric Enge steps through the seven most important tasks for a one-day SEO site audit, starting with looking at Google Webmaster Tools information for the site and working through site stats, crawl issues and competitive backlink comparisons.
HOW TO: Guide to Performing Website Audits by Techipedia
Harrison Jones walks through a mix of art (content optimization, meta tags, website design) and science (canonicalization, microdata, website architecture, and use of the insidious nofollow tag) techniques for auditing and optimizing a website.
Bringing Down the House: How SEO is Like Blackjack by Content Marketing Institute
Brendan Cournoyer compares SEO to blackjack, with Google as the dealer (the “house”) and SEO practitioners as the various players at the table, some relying on skill and others trying less savory tactics to win the game—tactics that sometimes produce short-term wins but at the risk large losses in the end.
10 SEO Metrics you can’t live without by SEO Takeaways
In solid thought though slightly broken English, Himanshu Sharma details the three most important dimensions and ten most critical metrics to track within Google Analytics for SEO purposes, concluding that “These are the only 10 metrics you need to quickly and accurately track the performance of any traffic source or dimension.”
An SEO Checklist for New Sites – Whiteboard Friday by The Daily SEO Blog
Frequent best-of honoree Rand Fishkin steps through his recommended SEO checklist for optimizing new websites, beginning with accessibility and keyword targeting and progressing through considerations like content quality, design, usability and link building.
8 Durable SEO Elements by Search Engine Watch
How should SEOs cope with Google’s constantly changing algorithms, which can cause wild short-term gyrations in rankings? (Other than with alcohol?) Erez Barak believes that these eight elements remain durable through the Google chaos, including basic on-page optimization, quality inbound links, positive user experience (e.g. page load speed) and content freshness.
Ten things you didn’t know about SEO by The Globe and Mail
Noting that SEO is more difficult to control than email marketing or paid search because “Tracking, measuring and reporting results has become increasingly complicated, especially since factors affecting SEO change on a daily basis,” Krista LaRiviere of gShift Labs identifies 10 key concepts to understand for SEO success, among them keyword research, legitimate backlinks, quality content and social signals.
Are you placing too big of a bet on social media’s direct impact on SEO rankings? by ZDNet Whistleblower Blog
Stephen Chapman contends that social signals don’t play as large a role in Google rankings many people believe they do, as they should, and as they likely eventually will. Using data on several well-regarded and unknown SEO companies, he shows that keyword links, even as part of an unnatural link profile, still play an outsized role in rankings.
The 10 Google Panda ranking factors by The Web Citizen
Ilias Chelidonis presents an infographic showing the key ranking factors post-Panda, such as overall website quality and trust, brand indicators and social signals, as well as a timeline of the Panda rollout and updates.
How to Optimize PDFs and Documents for Search by Link-Assistant.com
PDFs are a challenge for SEO: they are the ideal method to present certain types of content (e.g. long reports), but offer few options for optimization. Olga Gabdulkhakova identifies five tactics that can be used to improve search rankings for PDF documents, such as including keywords in titles, making sure the text is indexed, and building links just as one would to HTML content.
Beyond SEO: Retaining the Visitor by Search Engine Land
Josh McCoy advises focusing on the user experience as much as SEO; it’s not enough just to get visitors to your site, what adds value is keeping them there and, ultimately, getting them to convert. Among his recommendations: quit using (or minimize the use of) PDFs; make sure links to external sites (e.g. your social profiles) open in a new window so you aren’t sending visitors away; and my favorite, “provide me with a main navigation that gives me a roadmap to an end goal that makes us both happy. There is nothing interesting about navigation queues like Home, Services, Careers, and About Us.”
Introducing the Controversial Theory of “Peak SEO” by Coconut Headphones
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Ted Ives compares keywords to crude oil, an analogy that makes some sense as the supply of both is fixed. Beginning with “Each keyword is like a tiny oil well, that will always give up some oil, but only with increasing effort over time. Eventually the keyword becomes too expensive to bother with, so you must move on. But what happens when there are no more keywords to move on to?” he notes that the situation is actually worse than that, as SERPS become increasingly cluttered with maps and the like, and more people try to get into the search field. Fortunately, Ted also notes several potential paths out of this conundrum.
Preparing For A New Era Of B2B SEO by Search Engine Land
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Writing that “as we move into 2012 and beyond, quality SEO is about having your marketing assets findable when customers are searching across the dimensions of the pre-, present, and future stages of the purchase cycle,” Brad Neelan outlines SEO strategy and execution for B2B marketers, including an outstanding B2B SEO Framework diagram suitable for presentations and posting on cubicle walls.