31 Expert Guides to Maximizing Online Brand Visibility – WPO

Given all of the changes Google has made affecting organic ranking factors (asking webmasters to disavow low-quality links, reducing the value of guest blogging, ignoring links in press releases, etc.),  the practice of SEO—optimizing owned content for search—is no longer sufficient for maximizing a brand’s online visibility.

This is not to say “SEO is dead” or that it no longer has value, only that it can no longer stand on its own. It needs to be part of a larger, coordinated strategy encompassing owned, earned and paid media: web presence optimization (WPO).

The original WPO model focused on content-sharing to maximize organic brand visibility; as the WPO framework evolved, it incorporated paid and industry (e.g., event sponsorships, community outreach, analyst coverage, trade association membership) components.

Today’s WPO model emphasizes the importance of fusing a solid content strategy with a comprehensive online distribution strategy in order to maximize brand visibility and credibility.

The Web Presence Optimization Model - WPOYet despite the analytical and strategic power of the model, WPO still largely remains the concept that everyone talks about, but no one names. It’s as if sportswriters constantly wrote about “contests in which opposing teams of five players attempt to shoot a round orange ball through a hoop with a net attached” instead of simply saying “basketball.” As indicated by the posts from Search Engine Watch and All Twitter highlighted below, that is starting to change, but only just.

How can social, PR, SEO, and online advertising efforts be coordinated to maximize brand visibility? How can paid, owned, and earned media be harmonized to achieve business goals? How can paid and organic content promotion channels be used together most effectively? What role does email play in extending online visibility?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in 31 of the best blog posts and articles about WPO (even if they don’t call it that) of the past year.

Beyond Search & Social: Online Marketing in 2014 by Search Engine Journal

Marcela De Vivo covers a great deal of ground in this thought-provoking and wide-ranging post, from the impact of social signals on organic ranking to earning (vs. building) links, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) based on your goals (e.g., “If your goal is organic visibility, your KPI’s will be based on increasing your rankings and organic traffic”), and the debate around paid, earned and owned media: all critical consideraations in a WPO strategy.

Convergence: Merging Disciplines Between PR and Marketing by InNetwork

Hessie Jones contends that while marketing and PR have traditionally been separate disciplines, due to social media, “these roles are converging in a big way,” so today brands need “a combination of PR and Marketing to stay on top of the conversation, and be ready to develop compelling content to engage and build advocacy,” and furthermore to pair “mainstream and digital media experts with creative specialists like copywriters, digital designers and video producers to uncover storytelling opportunities in real time, deliver critical business insights, engage influencers and customers and create the content that shapes news and conversations.” Which is to day: they need to coordinate the efforts of everyone involved in maximizing a brand’s online visibility and relevance.

How to build a robust content program by iMedia Connection

Writing that “Today, superb, consistent content best serves your customers and leads to increased loyalty and bottom-line results,” Deborah Hanamura explores a baker’s dozen considerations for content marketing strategy, including social, SEO, PPC (“Great Pay-Per-Click advertising requires great content. Create an impression versus multiple impressions”), and events—in other words, most of the key elements of WPO.

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Integrated Marketing: The Magic Formula for Success by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura Click (correctly) asserts there is no “one singular tactic that will help you achieve results” in digital marketing, but rather that achieving the objective of being everywhere your prospect look online requires an integrated marketing approach coordinating efforts across:

  • • content marketing;
  • • media relations;
  • • advertising;
  • • search engine marketing (actually, a form of online advertising);
  • • social media; and
  • • email marketing.

Add SEO to the list above and you’ve got WPO.

Integrating POEM: The Rhyme and Reason of Harmonizing the New Media Mix by iMedia Connection

Aaron Dubois explores the strengths and weaknesses of paid, owned and earned media (POEM), and advises marketers, “Throughout the planning process, take a step back and look at your brand’s overall marketing strategy. If the P, the O, and the E aren’t working in conjunction with each other – with a consistent brand voice across all communications – then it’s not likely you’re going to get as much out of your campaign as you hope to.” That’s another way of saying: adopt WPO, which coordinates efforts across these these three types of exposure.

Harmonizing owned, earned and paid mediaCreating a Multi-Channel Content Marketing Strategy by BlueGlass

Kevin Gibbons illustrates the POEM concept and recommends that marketers “have a fully integrated strategy, where everyone is involved towards having success across all of your owned, earned and paid media channels” in order to properly plan and execute to achieve online business goals (or in other words, adopt a WPO approach). He then provides further guidance regarding content creation, measurement, and audience targeting.

6 Reasons Social Media Is Critical To Your SEO by Convince with Convert

Jason Clegg offers “six reasons social media needs to be an important part of your website marketing and SEO strategy for years to come,” such as that social media enables you to “crowd source” your link building; social links actually drive traffic to your website; and “Google hates link building.” Though the post goes a bit over the top in spots (“link building as a direct SEO tactic is completely dead”—not quite true), Jason’s overall points regarding the SEO value of social media are spot on.

The PR Strategies SEOs Haven’t Learned by Siege Media

A helpful companion to the post above, Ross Hudgens here focuses on the value of PR for SEO: “Many PR companies still blast releases out to publishers that have no reason to receive them. Many SEO companies do the same with their outreach to bloggers. The best of both worlds will find the intersection, combine agility with empathy, and make for an extremely potent content marketing package.”

MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Benchmark Survey ResultsMarketing Research Chart: Integrating email and search marketing tactics by MarketingSherpa

Daniel Burstein notes that the chart at right “highlights one of marketers’ key challenges. They’re doing a lot. Even the least used tactic — digital asset optimization — is being conducted by 45% of marketers.” He then explains three ways that marketers can be more efficient by “SEO and email tasks to get more done in less time.” This type of coordination between different types of content promotion efforts is also at the heart of WPO.

The Evolution of Content In A Big-Content World by MediaPost

Writing that “‘big content’ is the definition of what content marketing has become: unruly, amorphous, exponential and everywhere,” Steve Kerho suggests that marketers should “think of big content as branded content that exists in multiple channels, across devices and…is no longer controlled solely by the brand.” Indeed they should, and efforts should be coordinated across these different channels to optimize visibility and engagement while maintaining consistent brand messaging.

SMO Guide for BusinessThe Complete SMO / SEO Guide for Business & Brands in Social Media by REALSMO
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Joshua Berg provides an indispensible and comprehensive guide to how social media and search work together; the principles of social media optimization, aka SMO (“Focus on the user and all elSEO will follow”–spot on); and the (possible) future of search.

The Aftermath Of SEO’s Death This Summer by Forbes

Writing that Google’s Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates “mean no more hat tricks, keyword stuffing, comment spamming, backlink image stuffing…Finally, Google uncovered the secret to blocking SEO tricks used to get customers on the infamous PAGE 1,” Eris Poringer provides excellent guidance on implementing a “comprehensive plan” for maximizing online brand visibility, incorporating social media, email, content marketing, native advertising, and other tactics. This approach isn’t SEM (paid search) though SEM is a key component of a wider WPO strategy.

Social Media Should Not Be A Stand Alone Brand Tactic by Brand Cottage

The smart and engaging Patricia Wilson lists seven reasons why social media should not be a stand-alone brand tactic (such as, “Social Media is very hard to scale on its own”) and suggests that “social strategy works best as part of a larger integrated marketing and business plan.” Couldn’t agree more; it’s a vital component of a WPO strategy.

The B2B Marketing Guide to Paid Content Distribution by B2B Digital Marketing
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In this highly bookmark-worthy post, Eric Wittlake details almost two dozen options for paid content distribution, from advertising on the large social networks to content distribution services like Outbrain and Taboola to native advertising and sponsored posts on B2B publication sites. As long as you stick with reputable sites that keep up with Google’s latest guidelines, these are great avenues for extending the reach of your content and increasing overall online brand visibility.

Social Media AdvertisingHow to Amplify Your Content Strategy with Social Media Advertising by Content Marketing Institute

Observing that tweets have an average half-life of 18 minutes, Facebook posts have a half-life of 30 minutes, and keeping up with algorithmic changes in organic search is getting increasingly difficult, Dan Stasiewski recommends “creating an advertising flow to your content ecosystem.” Excellent advice, though not either/or; successful content promotion requires coordinating all of the elements of WPO.

SEO And Other Web Marketing Techniques: Tools Or Tricks? by Forbes

Roger Kay comes down rather hard on content marketing and SEO (“a rather polite term for another way to game the system”), but writes that he likes “the concept of inbound marketing because it relies on product quality…at bottom, inbound will only work if the product is good.  Effectively, the Internet is a fantastic channel to give an idea a chance to make it in the wild, but the virus only spreads if the content justifies the buzz.” True, which is why content strategy forms the base of WPO. But as noted here previously, even the “most epic content will FAIL without content distribution,” which is why coordinated sharing and promotion across channels is just as important as creating high-quality content to begin with.

When Keyword (not provided) is 100 Percent of Organic Referrals, What Should Marketers Do? – Whiteboard Tuesday by Moz

Rand Fishkin steps through a number of steps SEO practitioners can take to deal with the loss of organic keyword data from Google, such as using “keyword suggestion sources like Google Suggest, Ubersuggest, certainly AdWords’s own volume data, SEMRush, etc. to see the keyword expansions related to your brand or the content that’s very closely tied to your brand.” Running AdWords ads and examining keyword performance is another option.

Time for a New Definition of SEO by Search Engine Watch

Writing that “digital marketing tactics such as email marketing, paid search and search retargeting have very clear, undisputed definitions. The definition of SEO, on the other hand, seems to be just as unclear as the practice itself,” Krista LaRiviere suggests WPO (she actually uses the term) represents the evolution of SEO, and defines WPO as “an all-encompassing approach to optimizing an entire web presence for organic search including the website, social channels, blogs, articles and press releases.” Her ideas clearly resonated, as the post garnered 50 comments.

The Web Presence Optimization Cycle [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Allison Stadd showcases a helpful infographic designed to help marketers visualize “the steps to web presence optimization with the goal of helping you reach organic search success.”

The Web Presence Optimization Cycle Infographic

Getting less traffic from Google? Here’s why it may not matter soon by Jim’s Marketing Blog

Jim Connolly details three reasons marketers should diversify their efforts beyond just organic SEO, most importantly because “Google sends less traffic to sites than before…between August 2012 and March 2013, search traffic from Google nosedived an incredible 30%” to a collection of large publisher sites including The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. It’s not that search isn’t still an important tactic, but that it’s only one of several important elements in a brand’s total online visibility (the focus of WPO).

Relying on organic SEO? You’re losing customers! by Digital Growth

Building on the arguments in Jim Connolly’s post above, Luke Chapman illustrates how ads and universal search elements continue to push organic listings further down on the typical search results page, making even a #1 organic ranking less valuable than it used to be. To combat this, he recommends using social media, email, PR, blogging and blog commenting, and industry/community marketing—pretty much the range of WPO elements. And investing in SEM also helps maintain search visibility.

Google SERPs - More Ads, Less Organic

Is SEO Dead — Or Decentralized? by MediaPost

Musing about the decline of traditional SEO and the rise of social media optimization and paid search, Ryan DeShazer concludes that “In today’s marketing communications organization, everyone is an SEO…creative teams (now) include content discoverability and SEO into their work streams; technologists are building sites and apps compliant with known onsite SEO best practices; and UX specialists are including keyword research before developing user personas and journeys.” Hmm, coordinating the efforts of multiple disciplines in order to optimize web visibility…sounds familiar.

The 4 SEO Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know by iMedia Connection

Tony Quin reveals what he believes are four key trends in SEO that marketers need to understand, the most relevant of which for WPO is number four, “Traditional marketing tactics will boost digital marketing initiatives…Press releases, for example, provide branded mentions and links that will increase the authority of your website while also increasing exposure. Despite what some might say, email is still extremely effective in creating opportunities for awareness and sharing.” Creating compelling content is vital, but that content then needs to be shared using social media alongside “traditional marketing tactics.”

Inbound vs. Interruption MarketingInbound Marketing: 15 tactics to help you earn attention organically by MarketingSherpa

Daniel Burstein (again) serves up a list of “quantitative metrics, case studies, how-to articles and other resources to help you improve your own inbound marketing efforts by learning more about how your peers are effectively using these tactics,” including SEO, PPC, email, events, PR, blogging, content marketing, and other aspects of WPO.

How to optimize your emails for search by iMedia Connection

Noting “It might sound like a strange idea to optimize your emails for search engines, but SEO is a skill that email marketers better start working on,” Michael Linthorst explores the ins and outs of Gmail Field Trial, an “experiment in which Google includes a user’s Gmail inbox in his or her search results.” Engagement, content, and relevancy are keys to “email SEO”—and a solid approach to email marketing regardless.

Social Search Engine Marketing Throws Search Experts A Lifeline by MediaPost

Laurie Sullivan reports on recent research showing that “Social signals continue to make their way into search results—making social search engine optimization the next major trend in organic listing. Enterprise SEO requires a search across traditional techniques and social media channels.” This integration is, of course, at the heart of WPO.

Why Your Online Marketing Department Is All Screwed Up by ClickZ

Andrew Delamarter describes how marketing departments can, and must, sop operating in “silos” and coordinate efforts across paid, earned, and owned media: “Now is the time to stop thinking SEO, media, content marketing, web analytics, and Facebook posts and start thinking holistically about inbound marketing that brings it all together.”

Marketing in Silos is Screwed Up

Must evolve to:

Integrating Owned, Earned and Paid Media Efforts

If you build it, they will come — maybe by iMedia Connection

The brilliant and prolific Rebecca Lieb believes “The winners in content marketing will create not just quality content, but distribution strategies that will get that content ‘out there'” (i.e., WPO). SEO, PR, advertising, and social all have their role to play, but so do media companies.

Six Ways Internet Marketing Meets PR Online by SteamFeed

Because “the online world of content marketing requires knowledge of Internet marketing which includes search marketing, key word designation, html coding, link building, and the other tools and tricks of the trade,” Jayme Soulati outlines half a dozen ways for PR professionals to work with their Internet marketing counterparts to maximize online brand visibility and impact.

Search Marketing Integration, a.k.a. WPOThe New SEO: Search Marketing Integration by Search Engine Watch

Brad Miller writes that while SEO isn’t dead, “the days of SEO as a distinct, independent discipline are certainly numbered. SEO is fast evolving into a more creative, diverse, and challenging profession.” He uses the term “search marketing integration” to describe the coordination of activities across social search, branding, PR, SEM, and others areas in order to integrate all your marketing efforts into “into one single, agile, engaging strategy.” That would be WPO.

2013 – Break the (Digital) Marketing Silos by The RKG Blog

As noted above in the introduction to this post, WPO is about coordinating the efforts of everyone on your team involved in content creation or digital marketing. As Todd McDonald writes here, “Imagine the insights available to those who successfully bring together PR, social, email, PPC, SEO, and other channels!  Each one can feed the next, providing ever-deepening levels of data and connections that will drive data-driven strategic marketing decisions.  SEO will be a cog in this machine and it will need the machine to work well in order to functional optimally.” He challenges marketers to smash their internal silos—a vital step (as noted above) in WPO, even if he doesn’t call it that.

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27 More Remarkable SEO Guides, Tips and Tactics

As noted in part one of the best SEO posts roundup for last year, with all the significant changes announced by Google in the past 12 months (at least six, detailed in a pair of posts below), “These are indeed “interesting times” for SEO professionals, with rapid and wide-ranging changes to the search landscape being announced at an accelerating pace.”

Top SEO Guides 2013The general consensus is that the practice of SEO is becoming more strategic, less tactical; more content-driven, less technical. The winners should be organizations that focus on providing targeted, relevant, high-quality content, as well as their prospective customers; with the (little lamented) losers being the spammers, manipulators and black-hat SEO types.

What techniques still work in the new world of SEO? Which need to be discarded? What new tactics and ranking factors are most vital to understand? How should SEO professionals strategically align frameworks for maximizing online visibility and business results?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best SEO guides from the past year.

Expert SEO Guides and Tips

9 SEO Myths That Won‘t Go Away Demystified By Google’s Matt Cutts by JoopRijk.com

Joop RijkNoting that in any field, “once a myth has been established it hard to get rid off,” Joop Rijk debunks nine SEO-related myths including duplicate content penalties (“Duplicate content is not considered spam and sites do not get penalized for duplicate content. Google ignores duplicate content and has a way to determine which page they should rank”—though it doesn’t always get this right) and the 100 links-per-page limit (“Googlebot can crawl more than 100 links on a page and there is no specific [known] limit”).

SEO Strategies for People that Hate SEO by Search Engine Guide

Brian DeanBrian Dean offers a handful of simple yet effective rank-improving tips from people not naturally inclined to SEO work, from a clever tactic for getting mentioned in link roundups (one of the few remaining manual link-building strategies that still work) to how to get featured on resource pages.

SEO Makeover for 2014: A Practical Guide for Businesses by Portent
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David PortneyDavid Portney presents an outstanding checklist of three dozen questions to ask and answer about the state of your site’s SEO, from content-related factors (Does each page have a page-relevant unique title tag? A page-relevant unique meta description? A clear and concise headline?) through links, navigation, and technical SEO considerations.

Top 19 SEO Experts Share Their Best Advice on SEO by Effective Inbound Marketing

Ayodeji OnibalusiAyodeji Onibalusi curates a big list of helpful SEO tips and tricks from SEO experts including Kristi Hines (“don’t get tempted to buy into cheap SEO services. If someone’s offering 100 backlinks for $5, then they’re more than likely going to get you spammy links that you will pay dearly for in the long run”), Neil Patel (see the next entry), Ann Smarty (“If you love each article you are publishing online, you’ll see genuine interest to your content”), Tadeusz Szewczyk (a.k.a. Tad Chef), and Jayson DeMers (see the “Big Picture SEO Strategy” section below).

11 SEO Changes That Will Give You Big Results by QuickSprout

Neil PatelNeil Patel shares 11 effective but lesser know techniques for optimizing search results, such as capitalizing on the internal-link building power of 404 error pages; creating dynamic infographics; using what he calls the “skyscraper technique” (this blog is an example); and incorporating “most clicked-through words” (such as “how to,” “tips” and “best”) in headlines.

Rethink Link Building for Best B2B Marketing by MLT Creative Ideas@Work Blog

Jeremiah SmithGuest author Jeremiah Smith notes that the old ways of link building are dead (at best, pointless), social sharing is critical, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) supports SEO efforts. He concludes the post with a five-step process for optimizing not just rankings, but also bottom-line business results.

In Search of SEO? Have Content, Be Social by BroadSuite

Daniel NewmanDan Newman details several ways in which the practice of SEO has changed over the past 18-24 months, particularly in terms of the role of content (and more importantly, the importance of business blogging: “Even the most optimized B2B site if just a static products and services website will have a hard time growing and sustaining traffic”) and the role of social sharing (“7 of the top 8 factors driving SEO are Social Sharing related and not traditional SEO drivers whatsoever”).

Search Engine Click Through Rate Optimization (+Infographic) by Marketing from the Front
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Brent CarnduffBrent Carnduff reports on some eye-opening research findings in this post which reminds one of a Geico commercial: Did you know that the top four organic search results get 83% of all clicks? Of course, everyone knows that. Okay, but did you know that “As searcher intent becomes more detailed or specific (long tail term), the click distribution across the first page organic listings begins to even out”? That makes, as Brent explains, CTR optimization as important as SEO.

New SEO Best Practices with Schema Markup #SESCHI by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Brian LarsonConfused by what a “schema” is or why you’d bother with one? Brian Larson helpfully walks through the history of this (no longer new) tactic, how it works in action, what the classifications are, and how to get started with schema markup tools, all based on a presentation by Anne F. Kennedy at SES Chicago.

Technical SEO for Nontechnical People by Search Engine Watch

Erin EverhartFor those confuzzled by technical SEO terms and techniques, Erin Everhart patiently explains “the basics behind what you need to look out for with technical SEO,” including redirects and status codes, canonicals, duplicate uppercase and lowercase URLs (though search engines should really be able to figure this out), and URL parameters.

150 Blog Posts in 50 Days: Why Were Marketers Mad? by Search Engine Journal

McKay AllenMcKay Allen details the results of a test to determine how a substantial ramp-up in content creation would affect search traffic, and the surprising response of (some) marketers. The bottom line is that while not all elements of “old school” SEO are dead, content development definitely needs to play a key role in go-forward search strategy.

Infographic: Companies with a blog get 55% more traffic by leaderswest

Jim DoughertyJim Dougherty showcases a very helpful SEO infographic, which visually steps through techniques and best practices for on-page and keyword optimization, technical SEO factors, social signals, Google+ authorship, and generating links from inbound marketing.

Best Guides to Big-Picture SEO Strategy

6 Major Google Changes Reveal the Future of SEO by Search Engine Watch

Eric EngeInviting readers to “take a few steps back and understand the big picture,” Eric Enge looks at half a dozen major changes from Google in 2013–from keyword (not provided) to in-depth articles, and ties them all together concluding “the six major Google changes listed above are all moves that” take tactical data out of the SEO picture and “encourage more strategic behavior.”

How recent Google changes affect your SEO by iMedia Connection

Nathan JoyntSimilar to the post above, Nathan Joynt here reviews the major algorithmic and reporting changes made by Google over the past year, describes the impact of each on SEO efforts, and ties it all together in the end by stating, “one thing is clear: The value of an SEO strategy set on tactics involving direct manipulation of search results is becoming less effective…This is exactly what Google wants. They want inbound marketers and business owners to shift their primary focus away from Google and manipulative link and content schemes and concentrate this energy on each business’ target market and to create the best products, services, and content possible.”

5 Reasons You’ll Need to Increase Your SEO Budget in 2014 by Search Engine Journal

Jayson DeMersJayson DeMers makes the case that SEO will require more dollars in resources in 2014, for among other reasons, that “cheap” tactics like keyword stuffing and low-quality backlink building no longer work (and may even backfire); the increasing importance of social media; and the need to produce a steady stream of fresh content.

Best Guides to Search Engine Ranking Factors

The Future of Search: 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Released by Moz

Cyrus ShepardCyrus Shepard unveils results from the the Moz semiannual (see also the wrapup of this from Rand Fishkin, below) survey of SEO professionals on ranking factors, and predicts which factors are likely to become more important (e.g., authorship metrics) and less important (e.g., exact keyword match domains0 over the next few years.

Weighting the Clusters of Ranking Factors in Google’s Algorithm by Moz
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Rand FishkinRand Fishkin explains some of the key takeaways from the Moz semiannual survey on ranking factors. The top three factors remain the quality and quantity of backlinks to a domain; quality/quantity of backlinks to specific pages; and page-level keyword and content features.

Infographic: Every ingredient that contributes to search engine ranking by leaderswest
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For those who prefer their ranking factors in a colorful, illustrated format, Jim Dougherty (again) shares a bookmark-worthy SEO infographic detailing 200 Google ranking factors, from domain factors like domain age and history through page-level factors, site-level factors, backlink factors, social signals and more.

Best Guides to SEO in the Keyword (Not Provided) World

Overcoming Google’s Keyword ‘Not Provided’ Data by Web Marketing Today

Kevin WebsterKevin Webster outlines several strategies for dealing with keyword (not provided) in search analytics, such as benchmarking and optimizing search landing page traffic and performance: “The company should let go of the notion of ranking for a search term, and focus more on the idea of ranking for a search concept.”

Google ‘(Not Provided)’ Keywords: 10 Ways to Get Organic Search Data by Search Engine Watch

Jennifer SleggJennifer Slegg reviews the motivations behind Google’s move to secure search, how the change affected the practice of SEO, and 10 methods for “replacing the (missing keyword) data now that Google isn’t providing it,” such as looking at non-Google search data, Google Webmaster Tools reports, and analyzing on-site searches.

Best Guides to SEO for Panda and Penguin

Life of an SEO Before, After and Beyond Penguin 2.1 an Infographic by WordPress SEO Cloud Hosting

Berrie PelserBerrie Pelser presents a fantastically helpful graphical guide to SEO in the post-Penguin environment, which illustrates for example from spending time and money to obtain directory links (before Penguin) to spending time and money getting low-value links removed, and moving from article spinning to quality guest blogging.

How to Recover from Panda Dance by Kaiser the Sage

Jason AcidreIf your search rankings were mauled by Panda, Jason Acidre details seven techniques for recovering that lost traffic, including rich-snippet optimization (which “seems to be one of the best methods to use in responding to these recent algorithmic changes”), upgrading “evergreen” landing pages, and optimizing for local search.

Google Panda And SEO: Updated Tips For Online Marketers by MediaPost

Brian RauschenbachBrian Rauschenbach offers half a dozen practical tips for SEO in the post-Panda world, among them: “Ensure that links to your site are natural.  Panda likes links from quality sources but will come down hard on you (and may even exclude you from Google’s search results) if your site is inundated with overly targeted links, especially if they are sponsored…it’s clear that Google is looking to essentially reward companies and marketers who make a concerted effort to populate their sites with authoritative, useful, and shareable content.”

Best Guides to SEO for Hummingbird

5 Ways To Unlock The Benefits Of Semantic Search by Search Engine Land

Barbara StarrExplaining that semantic search is intended to make search results “more personal, more engaging, more interactive and more predictive,” Barbara Starr offers guidance on how to unlock its benefits, from optimizing content based on user intent rather than keywords (based on Google patents in this area) to fully leveraging Google+ and implementing appropriate semantic markup.

Hummingbird Unleashed by Moz

Gianluca FiorelliGianluca Fiorelli recommends taking using a philological (based on the original documents and observation of effects) method to adapt to Google’s algorithmic changes, and details the results of his “study of those documents and field observations” pertaining to Hummingbird, how Hummingbird works, how large the impact is, and most importantly–how to do “Hummingbird-friendly” SEO (e.g., follow technical SEO best practices, build the right kinds of links, and use analytics to optimize social media marketing efforts).

Hummingbird’s Impact On B2B Sites by Search Engine Land

Harrison JonesContending that “The new Hummingbird algorithm will revolutionize the way B2B companies market their sites in search,” Harrison Jones explains how Hummingbird works, how that is likely to affect search rankings and traffic for b2b websites, and how those sites can capitalize on the algorithm change to draw more–and more relevant–traffic from search engines.

Google Hummingbird Requires Brands To Step Up Content Development by MediaPost

Laurie SullivanSomewhat echoing the points made in the post above, Laurie Sullivan writes that “Search engine marketers need to put aside attempts to raise their brand’s Web site to the top of first-page query rankings through old-fashioned optimization techniques and focus on content,” and more specifically, that they should “Use objects, images, and videos, and with the correct semantic structure the content will get grabbed” by the search engines.

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Six Expert Guides to Dealing with Keyword (not provided)

In late 2011, Google began redirecting users who were signed into their Google accounts to the encrypted (https) version of the search engine, beginning the keyword (not provided) era. At the time, Matt Cutts assured everyone that the change would only affect single-digit percentages of all organic search traffic reporting.

Keyword (not provided) stormtrooper

Image credit: DealerFire

The reality was, of course, much different. Marketers, webmasters and SEO professionals quickly saw the share of (not provided) keywords rise to the 20%, 30%, even 40% ranges. Then, on September 23, 2013, Google dropped the hammer, encrypting all search traffic and thus hiding keyword referral data for all of its organic search traffic.

The initial response of digital marketing professionals was…panic. Even Rand Fishkin, while not quit declaring the death of search engine optimization, called keyword (not provided) the first existential threat to SEO.

Google’s move did not, of course, “kill” SEO, but it did force marketers to adopt a broader framework to optimize overall web presence. And it forced SEO and analytics professionals to get more creative in how they analyzed and assessed organic search keyword data. Here are half a dozen of the best guides to measuring organic search phrase results in a keyword (not provided) world.

12 Ways to Measure Content Effectiveness After Google’s “Not Provided” Decision by Content Marketing Institute
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Mike MurrayWhile many SEO writers offered tips on how to continue to get organic keyword insights after Google stopped providing referring keyword data last fall, this post is one of the best: Mike Murray steps through a dozen techniques for organic keyword analysis, from opening an AdWords account and using Bing/Yahoo data through tracking search rankings and analyzing organic search landing page data.

Search: Not Provided: What Remains, Keyword Data Options, the Future byh Occam’s Razor
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Avinash KaushikIn his typical thoroughly researched, profoundly well thought-out, incredibly detailed, and richly illustrated style, Avinash Kaushik examines the implications of the loss of organic keyword data; helpful metrics that remain available (such as Mutli-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, organic landing page reports, and paid keyword data); alternatives for keyword data analysis; and possible future solutions (such as “page personality analysis”). It’s a great deal to absorb, but worth reading and bookmarking.

Google Webmaster Tools Search Query Data is Accurate (and Valuable) by Search Engine Watch

Ben GoodsellYes, Google Webmaster Tools (WMT) data has become more valuable in the wake of the universal (not provided) issue, but no, it certainly isn’t perfect. Ben Goodsell does an exemplary job here explaining the value of GMT data for SEO analytics, the limitations of the data, and a “secret” workaround to get a bit more detail out of WMT reports.

(Not Provided) Changes the SEO Landscape by iMedia Connection

Dave MurrowDave Murrow steps back and takes a broad view of the keyword (not provided) issue, speculating on why Google may have made the change and recommending that marketers embrace not just new analytics tactics to deal with the loss of organic keyword data, but also strategic changes to website optimization overall.

Not Provided Keywords – SEO Reporting Without Keyword Data by SEER Interactive

Michelle NoonanMichelle Noonan walks through six techniques to help compensate for the loss of Google organic keyword data, inlcuding both the usual sources—Google WMT data, YaBing visits, keyword rankings—and unique ideas like reporting on referral traffic and looking for “unique markers to track” based on each specific client’s objectives and situation.

Ideas for Keyword (Not Provided) by LunaMetrics

Reid BandremerReid Bandremer lists 15 ideas for dealing with Google’s “keyword not provided” issue—including Google Webmaster Tools data, aksing users, and using paid data sources—but concludes that “There’s simply no magic bullet and no single one-size-fits-all solution to solving 100% keyword (not provided). Instead, what we have currently is a very complicated set of many different methods to uncover little gaps in insights left by (not provided).”

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28 (of the) Best SEO Guides, Resources and Infographics of 2013

Panda, Penguin, Phantom, Hummingbird. Disappearing keyword data. Personal / universal / local / mobile search. These are indeed “interesting times” for SEO professionals, with rapid and wide-ranging changes to the search landscape being announced at an accelerating pace.

Given all of this change, what are the best practices for SEO as we head into 2014? Which SEO strategies, tactics, and ranking factors still apply? How have SEO techniques changed in the post-Penguin world? How do you recover rankings if your site is hit by a penalty?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in more than two dozen of the best SEO guides of 2013 so far.

SEO Guide, Tips and Best Practices

The Latest and Greatest SEO Strategies by Bad Rhino Rumblings

Amanda DeSilvestroAmanda DiSilvestro and Nick LaRosa outline new SEO strategies, tools and resources. Among the strategies recommended are taking advantage of local search (e.g., by completely filling out profiles on Yelp, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, and Google+ Local) and posting frequently (“The more you post, the better chance you have for link building, sharing, and engagement opportunities—all important when it comes to SEO”).

Google Panda And SEO: Updated Tips For Online Marketers by MediaPost

Brian RauschenbachBrian Rauschenbach outlines three broad areas important to focus on post-Panda, and three types of activities to avoid, such as complicated sitemaps and navigation: “With Panda, Google has pretty consistently made it clear that simple navigation is best; websites that require too much digging to find desired content could be negatively affected.”

2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors by Moz

Matt PetersMatt Peters breaks down the latest study into high-correlation factors for website rank. While there is a great deal of data here, at a high level: backlinks remain the most important part of the algorithm (though quality matters more than quantity; on-page keyword usage is still fundamental; and social factors may be more correlational than causational with high rankings.

Weighting the Clusters of Ranking Factors in Google’s Algorithm by Moz

Rand FishkinFollowing up on the post above, Rand Fishkin presents the weighting of categories of ranking factors in Google, based on a survey of 128 SEO professionals. More than half of all the factors that determine a page’s rank are based on backlinks (e.g., quality of sites linking to the domain, anchor text distribution) or page-level keyword usage (content quality, relevance, meta tags, etc.).

The 10 New Rules for SEO by Business2Community

Rekha Mohan outlines a process for SEO in the post-Panda and Penguin world. The English is a bit rough but the information is useful. Most of what’s covered is well-trod ground, but the detail behind developing searcher personas and considering buyer intent are interesting.

SEO Reporting & Metrics: How to Prove Progress by Search Engine Watch

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere steps through a process for reporting on SEO efforts to a client, starting wih five key questions such reporting should answer for clients (among them: “What impact did these efforts have on the web presence for organic search?”), and proceeding through setting expectations, goals, and benchmarks, and driving action items.

SEO Best Practices – 5 Tips to Get You Noticed by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThe always engaging Debra Murphy details five tactics for optimizing rankings on Google, such as using responsive design to optimize cross-device user experiences: “This saves resources for your website and for Google’s crawlers.  A responsive design makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content while also helping Google’s algorithms assign the most relevant indexing properties for the content.”

How to Think Like Google by QuickSprout

Neil PatelOnce you get past the annoying pop-ups on this site, you’ll find a detailed and valuable post from Neil Patel highlighting attributes that Google frowns upon in determining search rank (e.g., spam (comment and otherwise), malware, duplicate content, low quality inbound links) as well as things Google likes: authoritative content, social signals, and adapting your website to user needs.

7 Awesome Competitive Niche SEO Strategies by Search Engine People

Dennis MiedemaWriting that “(in) SEO strategy for competitive niches…you need to win each of the small battles before you even think about declaring yourself the winner of the war,” Dennis Miedema recommends content marketing, local SEO, and industry networking among other strategies in industries with a high degree of SEO competition.

3 SEO Tactics We’re Easing Up On in 2013 by The WordStream Blog

Elisa GabbertElisa Gabbert suggests that over-optimized anchor text, anchor text through infographic links, and guest posting are SEO tactics to ease up on. The first is obvious; the second two are more controversial, as exhibited in the large number of comments generated by this post.

SEO Audit Tips and Techniques

How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit to Outrank Industry Rivals by HubSpot

Rebecca ChurtRebecca Churt details a process for performing a competitive SEO analysis, beginning with identifying key competitors (in both search and the real world) and proceeding through taking action on your findings: “Think about how you will use this information — whether it be for your content strategy, product or service positioning, social engagement tactics, etc. — all of which help with your SEO in the long run.”

How to Do an SEO Audit of Your Website by Entrepreneur

AJ KumarAJ Kumar outlines a five-step process for performing an SEO audit on an existing website, from checking on-page optimization title tag content and length to comparing the site’s backlink profile to that of competitive sites in order to “uncover link-building patterns in your industry that you should be paying attention to.”

10 Insights from a Lite SEO Audit That Any Small Business Can Benefit From by Search Engine Watch

Glenn GabeGlenn Gabe explains how even on a small website, a “lite” SEO audit can expose issues such as missing 301 redirects, broken links, site speed issues, and backlink problems (or simply a lack of relevant backlinks).

SEO Infographics

Infographic: How up-to-date are your SEO practices? by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Jim DoughertyJim Dougherty shares an infographic comparing “old” to “new” SEO practices, for example, the shift in importance from technical knowledge to marketing knowledge (unquestionable), from optimizing for search engines to optimizing for users, and from link building to link earning.

Infographic: 2013 SEO Ranking Factors, From SearchMetrics by Search Engine Land

This beautifully crafted infographic covers social, backlinking, technical and content-related factors in SEO. Among the key takeaways are that keyword domains and links have lost relevance, and that brands are the exception to many rules. Be cautious about placing too much faith in the accuracy of every factor, however, as advised in the (copius) comments generated by this post.

How Google Ranks Your Website – 200 Google Ranking Factors by Digital Information World
***** 5 STARS

This phenomenal infographic aggregates “the best information (available) about how Google ranks pages and websites,” with ranking elements divided in groups like domain factors, page-level factors, backlink factors, and user interaction among others.

The New Face of SEO: How SEO Has Changed [INFOGRAPHIC] by SEO Blog

Another excellent infographic illustrating the diference between “old” SEO (e.g., targeting a specific, narrow set of keywords based on search volume) and new SEO tactics for the post-Panda world (e.g., targeting a wider range of keywords based on intent and conversion data).

Post-Penguin SEO Guides

Google Penguin 2.0 vs. Black Hat SEO by SteamFeed

Brien ShanahanBrien Shanahan reports on high-traffic websites hit with Penguin penalties, including among several truly spammy sites unfortunately SalvationArmy.com, one of the most reputable and highly-rated charitable organzations, noting that “While Salvationarmy.com has many valuable links, it also appears to have thousands of links from low-quality websites.” He goes on to explain why these sites are penalized and how to recover from a Penguin penalty.

Winning with White Hat SEO in the Post-Penguin Era by SteamFeed

Brien Shanahan (again) contrasts black-hat SEO tactics (e.g., content spinning, link building, doorway pages) with whitehat tactics (creating useful content, social sharing) and details 10 white-hat techniques for achieving SEO success.

The Myth of Content Marketing, the New SEO & Penguin 2.0 by Search Engine Watch

Kristine-SchachingerContending that “Content marketing isn’t new. It’s just a new buzzword picked up by other industries that suddenly found out they could to ‘do SEO,’, but they didn’t want to ‘do SEO,’ so they tried to make it more special. It isn’t,” Kristine Schachinger positions content marketing as just another SEO tactics, albeit one that’s always been very important, along with on-page optimization, legitimate link building, optimizing site load speed, and avoiding or fixing crawl errors.

Penguin 2.0: PANIIIIIIIIC!!!…(or not) by Search Engine Journal

Matt BurnsMatt Burns explains seven changes to link-building tactics and their effects in the post-Panda environment: tiered linking and excessive keyword-match links are out, high authority and social links are, and guest blogging is in…for now.

It’s Time to Change the SEO Mindset by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 STARS

David HarryThe brilliant David Harry argues that SEO today is not about link building but rather about “Content + Outreach + Social + Promotion + Brand reach,” which incorporates content development, PR, social media, and online advertising. Sounds just like web presence optimization (WPO), though he doesn’t use that term.

How to Recover from a Search Engine Penalty

How to Recover from Panda Dance by Kaiser the Sage

Jason AcidreJason Acidre supplies seven tips for recovering from “Panda dance” penalties in search rankings, including improving low-performing landing pages (“Start with the pages that you believe are important and optimize these landing pages to mainly increase user dwell time”) and making updates to evergreen landing pages, such as lists of industry resources.

Phanteguin: A Phantom & Penguin One-Two Punch From Google by Search Engine Watch

Glenn Gabe (again) explains how to recover from penalties resulting from “Phanteguin,” the “one-two punch from Google” on sites hit by both Phantom and Penguin. He explains not just the differences between the two algorithmic changes, but also between Penguin 1.0 and Penguin 2.0, how to identify a Phanteguin penalty, and steps to take to recover lost rankings and traffic.

Google Panda, Penguin & Phantom: 3 Recovery Examples by Search Engine Watch

Glann Gabe (once more) presents three real-world case studies highlighting recovery from tanking rankings due to each of Google’s three most recent major algorithmic changes.

Step-by-step guide to my Google Panda penalty recovery by SME Pals

David MercerDavid Mercer provides a detailed, step-by-step account of a real-world recovery from a Panda penalty, from improving site speed and fixing broken links to redesigning the page template and disavowing low0-quality backlinks. Some of his advice will be hard to swallow, however, such as “stop syndicating content.” And anyway, isn’t Google Authorship supposed to take care of that issue?

Technical SEO

Speeding Up Your WordPress Blog’s Load Times by Find My Blog Way

Matthew BarbyMatthew Barby demonstrates how to measure page load time and then minimize it (focused on WordPress sites) using a variety of techniques, from compressing images and caching “everything” to setting up a content delivery network.

Reclaim Lost Link Juice by Capturing 404 URLs by Search Engine Journal

Noting that changing URLs to a more search-friendly structure can cause 404 errors, traffic loss and even reduced site authority, James Parsons details two methods for identifying 404 errors and correcting them, in this helpful technical post.

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37 Fantastic SEO Guides, Tips and Tactics

Considering that the average b2b website gets about 40% of traffic from organic search, with some sites getting as much as two-thirds of all visits via search engines, effective search engine optimization (SEO) remains a vital strategy.

But precisely what constitutes “best practices” in SEO is a continually (and lately, rapidly) moving target. Yesterday’s on-page optimization and link building tactics—even those used with the best, non-manipulative intentions—may get a site penalized in search rankings today for being “over-optimized.” (You can’t be too rich or too thin, but apparently you can be too optimized.)

So what’s a marketing manager, PR professional or SEO specialist to do? Keep up with SEO trends and changes. Optimize off-site content (for example, on YouTube and other social platforms). Use effective SEO tools and marketing metrics. Create link-worthy content. Use social signals to boost rankings. Learn how to do all of that and then some here in more than three dozen of the best SEO guides and tips from the past year.

General SEO Tips and Guides

When Search Becomes Invisible by MediaPost Search Blog

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan explores how online advertisers and search engine optimizers will adjust to a not-too-distant future “when the act of typing keywords into a search box to create a query becomes invisible? The act of searching for information will blend into voice-assisted programs, with geolocation targeting supported by data.” She reports on how Google, Ask, online ad platform vendors and others are simultaneously creating and adjusting to these changes in technology.

4 questions to ask when hiring an SEO consultant by iMedia Connection

Louis RixLouis Rix recommends four questions that marketers ask before hiring an outside SEO consultant or firm, such as what kinds of reports they provide and how they build links (great question). His fourth suggested question is a bit tricky however, as even the author notes that “Nobody can promise you a No. 1 ranking.”

10 Elements of a Perfectly Optimized Page by Search Engine Watch

Gareth OwenGareth Owen presents 10 important elements for on-page SEO, though he acknowledges that “perfect” may be stretching things a bit (“It’s worth noting that the ‘perfectly optimized page’ above won’t be perfect for all verticals, or for all brands – not everyone has the ability to add customer reviews to their product pages”).

4 Enterprise SEO Trends to Watch in 2012 by ClickZ

Adam AudetteAdam Audette outlines four trends he sees in SEO, among them “Further Corporatization of SEO in the Enterprise: The trend over the last several years has increasingly shown SEO teams ‘go within’ at large companies. This is a trend I’ve long supported and recommended, for example in my piece on in-house SEO teams. In fact, for enterprise companies to realize exceptional results in SEO, they almost always require a dedicated internal SEO team. That’s the case today primarily because incremental gains are harder to achieve.” True perhaps, but this is not necessarily a trend in small to midsized firms yet.

5 big SEO changes you might have missed by iMedia Connection

Lisa WehrGoing beyond the usual SEO guidance, Lisa Wehr explains how to capitalize on mobile and local search, Google encrypted search results, and even Google+ and Facebook: “Where on a social site can you insert keywords? From Google+ profiles to Facebook info sections, you can display keywords and all of your business web properties (website, Twitter, YouTube, corporate blog, etc).”

SEO Strategy for New Domains by Search Engine Journal

Sujan PatelWriting that “When you first launch a new website, it’s a blank slate in the eyes of Google and the other search engines,” Sujan Patel serves up a five-step plan for gaining search ranking, from “make sure that your site is set up as effectively as possible from an internal SEO standpoint” to planning for ongoing optimization.

5 Best Practices for Global SEO by ClickZ

Crispin SheridanFor websites that are truly global in terms of their market targeting, Crispin Sheridan offers a handful of helpful tips for optimization, among them engaging in local link building: “Link building, whether through traditional efforts such as outreach programs or guest blogging, social media, and leveraging partnerships, will always be one of the strongest ways to obtain more favorable rankings. In addition to helping with rankings, the search engines will look at the origin of the links to help determine local relevance. For example, a Chinese site that has a large number of links coming from other China-based sites will have a stronger authority within the local China search engines.”

7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinReporting that nearly a third of b2b marketers “consider search engine optimization to be very effective — more than email marketing, content marketing, and most noticeably, paid search,” Daniel Burstein outlines warning signs that a company may be overvaluing SEO, to the detriment of considerations like providing valuable content and optimizing for conversions.

Create A YouTube Traffic Jam With These 4 Simple Optimization Tips by KISSmetrics
***** 5 STARS

Brian HonigmanWhile it’s not SEO strictly speaking, optimizing your YouTube videos for search is a great way to increase brand exposure, and to (indirectly) drive website traffic. Brian Honigman provides an outstanding, comprehensive guide to optimizing videos from tags and titles to playlists, annotations and channel branding.

Confirmed: Google+ Is Critical To Your Search Rankings by Sean Clark

Sean ClarkSean Clark contends that “Keywords (are) a thing of the past,” and that social media signals (particularly from Google+) are the future of search engine ranking signals. True? Perhaps. Carefully consider Sean’s arguments and those of his commenters.

DuckDuckGo Search Engine Crowdsources Plugins by Wired

Scott Gilbertson reports on DuckDuckHack, “a developer platform that allows anyone to add new features to the search engine.” The platform enables anyone to write plugins (to go along with current “goodies” like time-based queries and unit conversions) for the search engine and share them. Is this article really one of the best SEO guides of the past year? Maybe not, but it’s hard not to love DuckDuckGo.

9 Lessons from 1,000 SEO Questions by SEOmoz

Dr. Peter J. MeyersDr. Peter J. Meyers distills the answers to 1,000 private questions asked of SEOmoz into this compact summary of SEO  wisdom, such as “One-trick Ponies Make Good Glue…People naturally get comfortable with one aspect of search marketing (link-building, on-page, social, etc.) and then want to ‘perfect’ it, but at best they hit diminishing returns fast.”

Google Webmaster Tools: An Overview by Search Engine Watch

Simon HeseltineSimon Heseltine offers a helpful guide to the features in Google Webmaster Tools, from getting started through navigating the dashboard, messages, configuration, assessing a website’s health (e.g. through crawl errors), search queries,  internal links, sitemaps and more.

10 Myths That Scare SEOs But Shouldn’t – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin dispels myths that shouldn’t be keeping SEO practitioners awake at night, such as having a large number of backlinks from a single domain (unless the linking site is really spammy or the links were built manipulatively) or keyword density that’s “too high.”

10 SEO measurements every marketer should know by Biznology

Rob PetersenNoting that “80% of people who visit a website get there from typing a keyword in the query box of a search engine” (seems a bit high, your mileage will vary) and “90% click on websites on the first page” (of search results), Rob Petersen defines 10 imperative SEO metrics for marketers, from the number of keywords driving traffic to the number of pages indexed by search engines.

7 Small Business SEO Tips by Search Engine Watch

Adam StetzerAdam Stetzer suggests “seven small business SEO tips to help earn more business through traditional organic search rankings,” among them understanding that onsite SEO is necessary but not sufficient; that creating engaging content is critical; and that content marketing should be used to earn backlinks (“Quality content containing humor, information, controversy, politics or training usually brings backlinks – and is definitely considered acceptable SEO”).

SEO Tips for Panda and Penguin

Interview of Jonah Stein by SEO Book

Aaron WallAaron Wall has a long, detailed conversion with SEO expert Jonah Stein about the impact of Google’s series of Panda algorithm updates, and how to respond to penalties. One key line from Jonah: “It is short sighted to believe that any of the SEO niche strategies are going to survive if they are not supported with PR, social, PPC and display.” Which is pretty much what the web presence optimization (WPO) framework is designed to address.

What is your SEO Social Signals Strategy? by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere reveals, in her words, “how Google’s algorithm changes impact both backlinking and social signaling; how to build an SEO social signals strategy; how your SEO backlinking and social signals strategies come together in your content strategy; (and) how to measure it all.”

Google Plans SEO Over-Optimization Penalty by Practical eCommerce

Jill KocherJill Kocher provides some details about Google’s throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach to penalizing “over-optimization.” For example, one sign of over-optimization to Google is reportedly “Linking repeatedly from body copy to a handful of key pages with optimized anchor text. If 33 of my 100 pages link to www.jillsfakesite.com from the body copy with the anchor text “Jills Fake Site,” that should count as over-optimization.” Never mind that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for doing this, and it may improve the user experience.

6 Changes Every SEO Should Make BEFORE the Over-Optimization Penalty Hits – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Speaking of over-optimization, Rand Fishkin (again) here reviews half a dozen ways to avoid Google’s “over-optimization” penalties, including this on in-content text links: “go with logical, useful, change it up when you’re linking to pages, maybe a couple of times, in some spaces. You have a blog post and it mentions a page on your site that you want people to actually go to and that you think is useful in context. Great, link over there. Fine, use the anchor text. Maybe use a modified version of the anchor text, a little longer, a little shorter, a little more natural sounding, and you’re going to get these same results, but you’re going to do it in a much more effective way. You’re not going to be at risk of whatever is happening with this over-optimization penalty.”

The Rise of Content Strategy–What to do about Google killing SEO by Biznology

James MathewsonJames Mathewson outlines four ways Google is killing SEO, including semantic search: “How do SEOs traditionally optimize pages? By advising their clients to put keywords in strategic places on a page. When Google goes to semantic search, it won’t be as much about keywords at all, but on the meaning of the words you use. This might be the biggest SEO killer of all. If tuning our content for keywords our users care about is no longer an effective strategy, what is left for SEOs?” He believes content strategy is the new SEO.

SEO & Content Marketing: Getting The Most Visibility For Your Valuable Content by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll MillerObserving that “with recent algorithm updates, Google has noticeably placed renewed emphasis on unique, relevant, and timely content. Clearly there’s a marriage between SEO and content marketing,” frequent best-of honoree Janet Driscoll Miller explains how to capitalize in search on difficult-to-optimize content such as information that’s behind a registration wall, infographics and PDFs.

How to Identify Search Engine Penalties by Search Engine Journal

Reassuring that “Not all search engine penalties are permanent, and with a little detective work and remedial action, you should be able to restore your previous rankings and rebuild the flow of organic traffic to your site,” Sujan Patel (again) outlines a five-step process to determine if your site has been penalized, and it so, recover from it.

17 Ways SMBs Can Survive the Google Penguin Update Effect by ClickZ

Lisa BuyerFor those concerned about Google’s Panda update (which is to say, anyone involved in SEO), Lisa Buyer highlights a number of resources for help including guidance on optimizing beyond Google, including advertising, socializing, pinning, profiling, twittering, and more.

Backlinks Strongest Factor For Positive Search Rankings by MediaPost

Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “Content shared from Facebook and the amount of backlinks appear to influence organic search engine results most, but Google +1s have the strongest impact on rankings,” and that recent analysis of Google ranking factors in the post-Panda-and-Penguin era suggests that social signals will play an increasing role in site ranking.

6 Months with Panda: A Story of Complacency, Hard Decisions, and Recovery by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS

Glenn GabeIn this must-read case study for any site hit by Panda, Glenn Gabe explains how even a large, mature, well-respected website with a stellar link profile can get hit with Panda penalties, what caused this to happen, and the single most important thing that needed to be done to regain ranking and traffic.

7 Achievable Steps For Great SEO After The Penguin Update by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS

Chris WarrenThis post from Chris Warren would be a must-read for anyone struggling with search traffic issues in the post-Penguin era even if it only contained steps one (“Understand your link profile…The biggest risk factors are a combination of lots of low quality links with targeted anchor text”), two (“Learn what makes a good link…there is a lot of evidence that these high value links are really the main drivers of a domain’s link authority”) and five (“almost never change your URLs”).

Understanding Penguin 1.1: Be Safe from Updates in 3 Easy Steps by Search Engine Journal

Muzzammil BambotMuzzammil Bambot steps through some of the biggest negative factors in post-Penguin search ranking and how to correct those, from getting rid of paid links and excessive links from a single domain to having too many exact-match text links (solved by increasing the diversity of text link variations).

3 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Your Search Rankings by Social Media Examiner

AJ KumarAJ Kumar suggests strategies for using social media to improve search rank, but just as importantly to “future-proof” your site from still more Google algorithm changes by using social media to reduce your reliance on organic search traffic, for example by including “prominent social sharing buttons at both the top and bottom of each blog post on your website (or use a scrolling option that moves down the page alongside your readers).”

10 Ways Coding Can Help Your SEO by Search Engine Journal

Sujan Patel (once again) provides an excellent collection of SEO tips, here focused on technical factors that can affect rankings. Among his recommendations: use a search engine spider simulator to validate your code for spider-friendliness; create search-optimized page URLs; and combine script files to speed up page load times.

How Google’s Panda and Penguin are affecting your site’s rankings by iMedia Connection

Kent LewisKent Lewis does a commendable job of explaining how Google’s Panda and Penguin updates affected search rankings, and practical steps for avoiding penalties and regaining rankings (e.g., “Cancel or remove unnecessary footer links. Take it easy on the internal ‘SEO’ linking”), though his contention that “A minority of those sites (negatively affected by these algorithm changes) may be legitimate, but a majority of those impacted were consciously in violation” is questionable, particularly given the experiences of other experts noted above.

10 Old SEO Methods You Need to Stop by Search Engine Watch

Greg HabermannGreg Habermann warns against 10 SEO “techniques” that no longer work (or never really did), including Ezine Articles submissions, “news” release without any real news (produced just for links), link exchanges, thin content, and spider-unfriendly web design.

Top 1 SEO Tips for 2013 by SEOmoz

Pete Myers (again) shares his single most valuable SEO tip for 2013, writing that: “While I can’t tell you Google’s next move, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty – there’s more to come. So, how can you protect what you’ve built in 2013? I was going to write a long list of suggestions, but I realized that they almost all boiled down to just one idea. I’m not going to toy with you – my top tip for 2013 SEO is…”

Best SEO Infographics

On page content SEO Puzzle #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO
***** 5 STARS

Berrie PelserWriting that “SEO is a large and dynamic puzzle…to have a successful SEO strategy, you will need to all of the pieces of the puzzle together,” Berrie Pelser presents an easy-to-grasp infographic covering the basics of on-page optimization, coding, site architecture, social factors, reputation, links and more.

The History of Search Engine Marketing by Erik Holladay

Erik HolladayErik Holladay shares an infographic from Markus Allen that details the major ranking factors used by the leading search engines and the significant changes and upgrades made to ranking algorithms from Lycos and WebCrawler in 1994 through Google’s Panda algorithm update.

A Simple SEO Audit For Your Website by Soulati Media
***** 5 STARS

Jayme SoulatiJayme Soulati share a helpful infographic outlining the process for a basic website SEO audit, from content (fresh? Keyword-stuffed? Easy to read?) through technical considerations (navigation, crawl issues, broken links) to backlinks (spammy or paid vs. relevant and high-quality).

Infographic: The New Face of Search Engine Optimization by Marketing Technology Blog

Douglas KarrDouglas Karr presents an excellent SEO infographic contrasting what used to work in terms of keyword targeting, user experience, on-site content (e.g., “stuff title tags with keywords”), anchor text, directory submissions, news releases, and more, to what works today (e.g., “social traction correlates with links…Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the most important SM platforms to SEO”).

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