Despite constant change on the search landscape—personalization, localization, Caffeine, Google Instant—SEO is not dead, not even close. It is certainly changing though. How can you stay current and adjust? What basic SEO factors and techniques remain important? What common mistakes should you avoid? How do realtime platforms like Twitter affect search results? What trends should you be watching? How do you optimize non-text content such as video? Is duplicate content always bad? What does Matt Cutts have to say about all of this?
Yes, Rand Fishkin and SEOmoz are cited several times here (not surprising for a “best of SEO” post). No, he isn’t paying me. At least not yet.
10 questions to evaluate an SEO by Conversation Marketing
The brilliant and always entertaining Ian Lurie provides an amusing yet practical guide to separating true SEO pros from fakers and wannabes. Example (question #9): “Do you have partnerships with major search engines? If they answer ‘Yes,’ make sure they’re not calling you from prison: They’re a total fraud. Any credible SEO will make a sound like they just choked on a lemon and explain that no one has a partnership with a major search engine.”
SEO Stuff to Think About When Starting a New Website by Pure Visibility
Catherine Juon details five considerations to keep in mind when building a new site, such as keeping your design simple and writing “findable” content. Though nothing here is rocket science, it’s amazing how many sites still fail these tests.
SEO 101 Common Mistakes by David Naylor
Extensive list of common SEO mistakes made in strategy, market research, keyword research, content development, URLs, link building, coding and more. As David puts it, “If you’re a web designer who thinks that ‘good CSS = SEO,’ a writer who thinks that ‘good content = SEO’ or a developer who just thinks ‘SEO = bullshit’ then here are a few pitfalls to bear in mind if you’re considering using SEO as a way to bring your products to market.”
Twitter and Real Time Search by SEO Wizardry
If you spend any time on SEO, you’re aware that even though Twitter uses insidious nofollow links it nevertheless impacts search results. Pete Hollier explains how authority and relevancy on Twitter affects search.
Social Networking Becoming More Important For Google SERPS! by Massachusetts Real Estate
Bill Gassett explains how Google is incorporating social signals into search results. His bottom line: “Having connections, followers, friends at the various social media sites such as Twitter, Friendfeed, and others is going to help your SERP placement!”
5 can’t-miss SEO trends by iMedia Connection
Kevin Ryan details five search trends including the impact of social media, real-time results and rich media content.
How To Name Your Website’s Files by Daily SEO Tip
Naming your files in a more intelligent and strategic fashion than simply products.html or image0498.jpg is not only helpful for SEO but also more intuitive for human visitors. This post explains how to use file naming for both optimization and good, solid web design purposes.
Who knew the humble footer could be so powerful? Here’s a great explanation of how bottom-of-the-page real estate can be capitalized on to improve the user experience, enhance indexing, connect with visitors through social media and more.
What Does Google Social Search Mean for SEO? by Search Engine Watch
John Greer explains how Google utilizes social signals in search, what types of queries are affected and what sources of data are used to adjust results.
3 Skills You Need To Be An SEO by Search Engine Journal
SEO requires more than just geek talent. Danny Wong makes the case for why successful SEOs also need other talents including (perhaps most importantly) patience: “You also need to understand that your rankings in the SERPS will not always change overnight.”
Matt Cutts Interviewed by Eric Enge by Stone Temple Consulting
Eric Enge gets deep into the SEO weeds with Matt Cutts on topics like indexing, PageRank, duplicate content, “crawl budget,” link juice, 301 and 302 redirects, the rel=canonical tag, Session IDs, affiliate links, faceted navigation, HEAD requests, NoFollow and more. It’s great stuff, but don’t even try to read this post before your first coffee or Mountain Dew in the morning.
For those who found Eric’s post above just a bit too much to get through, Rand Fishkin provides a clever summary in illustrated cartoon format. Kind of like the Classics Illustrated comic book series (for those old enough to remember them). Rand’s post may miss a little of Eric’s detail but it’s much more fun.
How to optimize your site for Google in 2010 by iMedia Connection
Jason Prescott shows how SEO, paid search and social media (including blogging) work together to not only enhance an organization’s web presence but also a lift in click-through rates.
How To Optimize Your Mobile Content by MediaPost Search Insider
Todd Friesen offers five tips for optimizing your site for mobile devices. Considering that one out of five Facebook users accesses the site through their mobile device and 30% of social media users access a social media site “several times a day,” mobile SEO can no longer be ignored.
Nine common SEO campaign mistakes by Econsultancy
In this cleverly written and creatively illustrated post, Jaamit Durrani details common SEO mistakes such as over-reliance on the home page and ignoring long tail key phrases. One minor quibble: SEO isn’t a “campaign,” it’s a continual effort.
30 SEO Problems & the Tools to Solve Them (Part 2 of 2) by SEOmoz
***** 5 Stars
It’s Rand Fishkin again (what a shock), this time presenting an outstanding list of SEO concerns and tools to deal with them, such as using GSiteCrawler or Xenu to identify crawl errors, and Backtweets to measure tweet activity to a URL across multiple URL shortener platforms.
Google Experts Answer your SEO Questions by Digital Inspiration
Wondering how to get more of your site’s pages into Google’s index? Or how useful article submission sites really are for improving your site’s search ranking? Amit Agarwal publishes a highly informative, straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth interview with several members of Google’s search quality team that answers these questions and many more.
Video SEO: YouTube Optimization and Universal Search Video Ranking Factors & Signals by The Fire Horse Trail
Terry Van Horne offers a detailed, step-by-step guide to “the nuts and bolts of video optimization.”
9 Expert SEO Tips for Small Businesses by Small Business Trends
Anita Campbell picks the brains of nine SEO experts including Aaron Wall, Matt McGee and Debra Mastaler for their best tips optimizing small business websites.
SEO vs. SEF by ClickZ
The prolific Mark Jackson explains how to use keyword research, content, information architecture and blogging to turn a search-engine-friendly (SEF) website into one that is truly optimized.
Whiteboard Interview – Google’s Matt Cutts on Redirects, Trust + More by The Daily SEO Blog
Scott Willoughby recaps an interview (video + notes) of Matt Cutts by Rand Fishkin, covering topics ranging from 503 status codes and PageRank to displaying geo-specific content based on user IP and chaining redirects (which is bad).
Normally a title like this would trigger my mental spam alert, but this is from Glen Allsop, so it’s legit. He describes how to use the fact that 20-25% of Google searches every single day are brand new and combine it with event news and trending topics (from Google Trends) to capitalize on these high volume, low competition searches to potentially generate large amounts of search traffic.
10 ways to screw up your SEO by iMedia Connection
Dave McAnally outlines 10 ways that companies often sub-optimize their web presence, such as managing social media activities independently from search, confusing real-world competitors with true competition in search, and implementing a CMS without applying best practices in SEO.
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by SEOmoz
***** 5 Stars
Must reading for anyone involved in SEO. This is an extensive but rich guide to optimizing websites, written in clear language, covering everything from how search engines work and the basics of search-friendly web design to common SEO myths and using metrics to track SEO results.
Ecommerce SEO Checklist by SEO Scoop
Rebecca Wright provides a concise nine-item checklist for optimizing keywords, code, content, images and links. Though written with ecommerce sites in mind, this is a good basic checklist for any site.
Matt Cutts Movie Marathon by SEOmoz
“Dr. Pete” Meyers presents his 10 favorite Matt Cutts YouTube videos, addressing topics like the importance of the meta keywords tag (per Matt: “I wouldn’t spend even 0 minutes on it, personally”), the impact of dofollow comments on blogs (moderate comments!) and an admission by Matt that “Good content is necessary, but not sufficient” (with a more detailed explanation in his video).
Learn How Google Works: in Gory Detail by PPC Blog
***** 5 Stars
This phenomenally popular infographic (5,756 tweets as of the time of this writing) precisely what happens between the time you post content to the web and the moment someone first finds it on a Google Search. It also includes trivia like the fact that Google has 36 data centers worldwide that cost up to $600 million each.
25 Ethical Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Search Engine Rankings by The YOUmoz Blog
Why Duplicate Content Is Good For You by Search Engine Journal
Huh? Doesn’t duplicate content (almost) rank up with their with link buying as an SEO no-no? Not necessarily. John Hargrave presents a case study on how a great piece of content, duplicated word-for-word on a popular website, went “megaviral” boosting search engine rank and traffic for both the original and duplicated content site.
How to Optimize Your Site for Search by Inc. Magazine
An excellent primer for those fairly new to SEO and helpful review for experienced pros, this article covers the basics from keyword research and placement to link seeding.
9 Steps to Diagnosing Lost Search Engine Traffic by High Rankings Advisor
A sudden drop in search traffic can cause heartburn for any website owner. Instead of reaching for the Prevacid, check out this post where Jill Whalen outlines a nine-step process for determining the cause of the decline and then rectifying it. One familiar example: “Review and filter out ‘brand’ traffic. Most websites get a lot of Google traffic from people who’ve typed some version of the name of their company as their search query…If you receive fewer visitors for your brand, this could be caused by a decrease in marketing and advertising.”
Prioritize and Summarize – Final Step of the 8-Step SEO Strategy by The Daily SEO Blog
The finale of a 10,000-word, eight post series on SEO strategy from defining your target audience and identifying their needs through prioritizing efforts and presenting your action plan.
SEO: The Road To Strategy by MediaPost Search Insider
Gord Hotchkiss muses about how a truly effective SEO strategy needs to reflect overall corporate strategy, noting that “SEO tactics that are grounded in the day-to-day business and the strategic objectives of the company will always outperform the ‘links for hire’ and ghostwriter content creation that still flourishes in this business. Is it easy? Hell no. Is it worth it? I believe so.”
6 Ways to Learn SEO by SEOmoz
Rand Fishkin (geez, this guy almost needs his own “best of” post) defines six levels of SEO knowledge, then walks through six training methods (e.g., free online guides, published books, conferences) and explains who can benefit most from each method and a ballpark estimate of the time required.
The On-Page SEO Cheatsheet by Conversation Marketing
The Challenges of Measuring SEO Success, Part 2 by Search Engine Watch
Ray “Catfish” Comstock explores the impact of personalization and localization on search results and advises SEOs to focus on average rank per Google Webmaster tools and optimize for “share of voice” rather with than an obsessive focus on top search spots.
How to measure SEO for maximum impact by iMedia Connection
***** 5 Stars
Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this is just a post about analytics. John Faris describes in concise yet comprehensive fashion how to create actionable search ranking reports then act on the data to increase productive traffic through content gap analysis, behavioral keyword targeted, competitive link analysis and other tactics.
Rand Fishkin (again!) confesses via Danny Dover to five SEO mistakes his group has made over the years. #2 is indeed a bad one. #3 still seems like a good idea, especially if it improves the human user experience.
A Minimalist Guide to SEO: Get It Done in 6 Simple Steps by KISSmetrics
For those without a lot of SEO experience, a small website and a tight budget, James Chartrand prescribes six basic SEO tactics that can help improve search rankings and traffic.
aimClear’s 2009 Daily Training Link Library by aimClear
And finally…if the resources above aren’t enough to sate your appetite for SEO knowledge, grab a cup of coffee and a comfortable chair. Marty Weintraub shares his team’s “list of over 1,500 search industry articles, ideas, tweets, tool reviews, notes, snippets and snark” they use to stay current on SEO practices and trends. This is a remarkable list of resources from experts like David Harry, Rand Fishkin (what a shock), Jill Whalen and Debra Mastaler.