Ranking well in organic search results becomes more imperative every day, particularly in the B2B world. According to recent research, 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. 93% of these decision makers use search to begin the buying process. And it isn’t just low-level minions conducting searches at the behest of higher-ups; 63% of C-level executives say they first turn to mainstream search engines to locate information.
That makes optimization more important than ever, and leads to questions like: How can SEO be used in online reputation management? What common SEO mistakes are critical to avoid? How important are footer links to SEO? How can PDF content be optimized for search? How does the introduction of Google Instant change SEO tactics? What are the crucial tasks to include on site audit and pre-launch SEO checklists?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in more than two dozen of the best guides to SEO tips, strategies, techniques and tactics of the past year.
SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners by KISS Metrics
Neil Patel provides an excellent and largely non-technical guide to SEO success, from keyword research and content development through meta tags, search-friendly URLs and link building.
For those without the time, inclination or webmaster jargon knowledge to read Google’s 32-page SEO Starter Guide, this blog post nets it out: choose the right keywords (based on your market knowledge, not so much what keyword tools tell you), optimize your site, pursue quality links, and unless you have such expertise internally—hire professional help.
SEO 101: Defining the long tail by Conversation Marketing
Ian Lurie lucidly explains the meaning of “long tail” in search with simple and compelling graphics showing that while individual “head” terms may get management salivating for top rank position, it’s the less sexy but more specific 3-word and longer queries that collectively generate more traffic and a much higher conversion rate.
What Is SEO, Really? by SEO Book
After providing an explanation of SEO, brief history of the discipline and recommendations on how to learn modern SEO techniques, Peter Da Vanzo concludes that SEO isn’t only about rankings—but it isn’t just about money either.
You WANT Rankings, But What Do You Really NEED? by Search Engine Guide
Frequent best-of contributor Stoney deGeyter elaborates on the “key components to a well-rounded optimization campaign,” including keyword research, website architecture, copywriting, on-page optimization, analytics and more.
Advanced SEO Tactics, Techniques and Considerations
The dangers of ranking No. 1 on Google by iMediaConnection
***** 5 Stars
Drew Hubbard quantifies both the value and risk of high rankings. On the value side, getting your site ranked #1 on both Google and Yahoo/Bing means you’ll attract (on average) 40% of ALL organic search clicks for that term. On the risk side, however, carefully choose which terms you really want to rank for. People search for different reasons. Ranking highly for an informational—rather than transactional—can end up drawing a ton of traffic to your site and putting a big load on your servers for no real business benefit. Ranking for high-conversion keywords is far more important (i.e. profitable) than just showing up well for high-traffic terms. Still, considering all of the worries that might keep an SEO pro up at night, this one is probably pretty low on the list.
How to optimize page Titles and improve click through rates by Web SEO Analytics
Vasilis Vryniotis runs through the basics of optimizing titles for search: make them brief, descriptive, attractive and branded, with the most important keywords up front.
25 tips to skyrocket your search engine rankings by Socialmedia.biz
Karan Singhal offers 25 tips that may not “skyrocket” your site’s rankings but should help, among them: understanding your target market and how they search, using internal linking with anchor text, utilizing keyword-rich URLs, and keeping your site’s content fresh.
12 Amazing SEO Infographics by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 Stars
Kipp Bodnar compiles an outstanding, highly bookmarkable set of SEO infographics suitable for printing out and posting in a highly visible location. Examples include the SEO Order of Operations (grab and include with the post?), SEO vs. PPC stats, and the ROI of SEO.
Search Marketing in a B2B World – PPC and SEO by SlideShare
Magnus Nilsson guides b2b marketers through search optimization in this online presentation, from recognizing the differences between how buyers search at home versus at the office, and how different types of business buyers search, to using analytics to measure what’s really important.
Do You Make Any of These 10 Simple SEO Mistakes? by KISS Metrics
Kristi Hines details 10 common SEO mistakes and how to correct them, such as focusing on link quantity over quality and not creating compelling, linkworthy content.
SEO Raises Awareness and Reputation Better than PPC by MarketingSherpa Blog
Adam T. Sutton reports on MarketingSherpa research showing that more marketers view SEO as “very effective” than PPC at increasing brand/product awareness (42% to 34%), improving brand/product reputation (29% to 19%) and improving PR (27% to 6%). For many if not most companies, PPC and SEO should both be part of the marketing mix; but it’s important to recognize their differing and often complementary strengths.
Noting that “The Internet can be a hostile place, with powerful companies paying handsome sums to hide negative content in Google search results…Unseen battles are waged every day to protect and destroy brands and reputations,” Peter O’Dowd demonstrates how companies and political figures are turning to content marketing and SEO to push negative mentions of them off the front page of search results.
The Problem with Footer Links in SEO by WordStream Internet Marketing Blog
Lior Levin writes that footer links generally don’t carry much weight with search engines: “Since the webmaster has heavily devalued the link, it only makes sense that the search engines would as well.” While footer links have valid purposes, important links should be placed more highly, and prominently, on the page.
We’ll Stop Screaming “Relevance” When You Start Listening by Search News Central
Gabriella Sannino demonstrates the centrality of relevance to search results by stepping through the process of optimizing a single page, from keyword targeting and meta tags to content development and link-building through guest posts or bylined articles.
The Art and Science of SEO Site Audits [Best of SEW 2010 #10] by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 Stars
Adam Audette outlines an extensive checklist and process for performing SEO site audits, including on-page and off-page factors, reporting, and audit tools.
Twitter & Facebook links affect SEO on Google and Bing by Web SEO Analytics
Another noteworthy post from Vasilis Vryniotis, this one detailing how search engine are using social signals to impact rankings and what type of information the search engines attempt to glean from links in social media.
Fundamentals of PDF Optimisation for Search by Bruce Clay
Explaining that “Properties to a PDF are what meta tags are to a web page,” Aaron Egan demonstrates how to use text, properties, tags and navigation to make PDF documents as search-friendly as possible.
The SEOmoz Internal SEO Pre-Launch Checklist by The Daily SEO Blog
Aaron Wheeler outlines critical (e.g., title tag, URL structure, image alt tags) and “worth double-checking” (robots.txt file, H1 tags, images optimized) SEO tasks to complete prior to launch. Danny Dover elaborates on this SEO “cheat sheet” in the accompanying video.
Google Instant and SEO
Google Instant: Fewer Changes to SEO than the Average Algo Update by The Daily SEO Blog
Rand Fishkin pulls data from a variety of sources to show that the introduction of Google Instant had only subtle impacts on search behavior.
6 Ways to Ensure Better Rankings in Google Instant by Search Engine Journal
Kristi Hines here offers a half-dozen tips for ranking better in Google Instant, though most are just good solid SEO practice regardless, such as thinking like searchers, keeping your online reputation clean and producing content in a variety of formats—not just text.
Google: Complexity is Good! by SEO Book
***** 5 Stars
Aaron Wall posts an entertaining and informative rant on how the increasing complexity of Google search (incorporating personalization, social signals, video results, Google Instant, etc.) has also led to a proliferation of bugs. A quote that every SEO should print out in a large font and tape up on his or her wall: “Sometimes you don’t rank because you screwed up. But sometimes you don’t rank because Google screwed up.”
SEO Planning for 2011 by Search Engine Watch
Eric Enge reviews some of the most impactful changes for search optimization in 2010 (e.g., May Day, Caffeine, Instant) and identifies four key factors SEO practitioners will need to focus on for search success in 2011.
SEO for Bing
SEO Tips for Bing by MarketingProfs
With Bing now accounting for roughly 30% of organic search in the U.S., John Pring provides timely advice on how to optimize for this search engine and differences from Google; while backlinks, pagerank and fresh content matter less to Bing, many of the same factors (keyword research and density, an XML sitemap) apply.
SEO for Bing: Don’t Ignore It by Search Engine Watch
Stating that “Google is absolutely watching Bing’s every move, and search marketers should be doing the same thing,” Adam Audette predicts that Bing’s market share will grow and provides several general (e.g., clean code, quality content) and specific (use XML sitemaps and keep them up to date) tips on optimizing for the #2 search engine.
Google Webmaster Tools and SEO
Beginner’s Guide to Google Webmaster Tools by KISS Metrics
Neil Patel (again) provides an outstanding primer on the functions and use of Google Webmaster Tools, from adding your site and uploading an XML site map through sitelinks, settings, identifying your best external links and keywords, and much more.
Google Webmaster Tools 101 by ClickZ
Ron Jones explains how to use Google Webmaster Tools to diagnose SEO problems and make improvements in different areas (HTML, internal links, keywords) to optimize overall website performance.