Hot At Sphinn: Overrated SEO Tactics, E-Commerce Product SEO & More

sphinn-logoSEO was the dominant theme on Sphinn again last week, thanks to a couple popular discussions and several SEO-related stories that resonated with Twitter users.

Two weeks ago, we asked about underrated SEO tactics. So, last week’s “Discussion of the Week” flipped the coin and asked about Overrated SEO Tactics? And there were plenty mentioned: XML sitemaps, HTML validation, buying old sites, keyword density, microsites and much more. Feel free to join that discussion today or just catch up on any comments you missed.

Our favorite comment of the week, though, came in a user-submitted discussion asking about keyword targeting strategies. Sphinn member Matthew Edward of Springboard SEO shared some advice here:

In response to your first question, my personal preference is to look at exact match data, as it gives you a better idea of search volume for specific queries.

As far as targeting numerous terms within a single keyphrase, you won’t necessarily rank well for keyword = ‘x’ or keyword ‘y’, just because you rank well for ‘x y z’. If you have some good content and optimization for ‘cheap mountain bikes’, it would be wrong to assume you’re an authority on mountain bikes in general.

In addition to those discussions, articles about e-commerce SEO tactics and link building were among the most popular content on Twitter last week. Here’s the full rundown of last week’s Sphinn activity.

Most Comments

  • Discussion: Overrated SEO Tactics? – Since we covered underrated SEO tactics last time, the "Discussion of the Week" this week flips that question around: What's the most overrated SEO tactic in your opinion? The floor is open!
  • Discussion: Keyword Targeting Strategy – I have been wondering about how to go about selecting keywords and how this is affected by Broad Match, Phrase Match and Exact Match…When choosing keywords are we supposed to select these based on their exact match? If this is the case would it be best practice to select, for example, ' Mountain Bike' and 'Mountain Bikes', OR would it be correct to select just the plural version because it contains 'mountain bikes' in the string anyway. Furthermore, would it be better to optimise for 'Cheap Mountain Bikes' as this contains three keywords? So in essence this would be targeting all three in one key phrase.Also, when optimising pages what is the best practice with regards to keywords and Link Building. Would you focus on exact keywords or Broad Keywords? If anyone could answer this question that would be fantastic. I have been looking for an answer to this for sometime but to no avail.
  • 6 Reasons Why Q-and-A Sites Can Boost Your SEO in 2011 (Despite Google's Farmer Update) – A lot of SEO predictions for 2011 were published in the end of 2010, while not many marketers mentioned the increasing popularity of Q&A;sites. I think that it could be a great opportunity to exploit this new rising phenomenon for our marketing efforts while it's still fresh.
  • Is the Huffington Post Google's Favorite Content Farm? – If Aaron's example is not "garbitrage" content farm content, then I don't know what is.
  • Redeeming the 9 Sins of Google Analytics – I've been working with Google Analytics since, well, before it was Google Analytics (remember back to the days of Urchin On-Demand?) and I've seen the product evolve time and again.  While everyone has their gripes with GA (I certainly have mine), I've seen time and again that people take shots at Google Analytics with uninformed ammunition.  There is a long list of myths circulating out there about GA – in this post I hope to dispel a few of them.
  • How To Use Twitter Search For Sentiment Analysis – Using the simple smile or frown allows you to access some basic sentiment analysis of people's tweets

Most Tweeted (not already listed above)

  • How to Write Product Descriptions that Sell, Boost SEO Efforts – Writing unique compleling copy that satifies the search engines and speaks to your consumers in a with language and voice they understand and relate too is a key aspect overlooked by many online merchants.
  • A Model For Link Building: Beyond “Great Content” – Reasonable thoughts, and advice, from Ross Hudgens. Grab some popcorn, then study the outlined link building model. Here's a tidbit: "Content isn’t everything. Content isn’t the only thing. Often, it’s not a thing at all. I would say 'content is king' is accurate, but only because there are only 44 current monarchs, the system doesn’t work everywhere, and those monarchies only account for a small proportion of the world’s population."
  • Only 10 Percent of Your Friends See Your Facebook Posts, And Only 1 Percent Like It – Interesting un-scientific study about how many people actually see and interact with Facebook posts. It doesn't take lurkers into account, but still makes for an interesting thought piece.
  • 12 Ways to Pick The Best Affiliate Programs – Sarah Bundy talks through what to consider when choosing which affiliate programs to join.
  • How To Motivate An SEO – Great stuff from Ross Hudgens: "Yes, if we work super hard, progress will happen. But we don’t know when. This means that the grind can sometimes wear on us.. that slogging away can sag on our eyelids. And that sucks. Why aren’t SEOs collectively known as the same group of unadulterated worker bees as those programmers on Hacker News? Why can’t we be"

Hot On Sphinn: March 14 to March 20, 2011

  • Budget Conscious PPC Campaign Structure – A good foundation for your AdWords and adCenter accounts starts with your campaign structure.  There are many theories on the best PPC campaign structure, resulting in thousands of articles about this one step in setting up your PPC account.
  • 7 Essential Google Intelligence Custom Alerts That Keep Me Sane – As a data analyst tracking more than 300 websites, the numbers are simply stacked against me. It's hard to give each and every site meaningful attention. Thankfully, the vast majority of these sites don't require active analysis, but I still needed to devise some kind of system that would let me know when something was afoot
  • 15 Most Engaged Pages On Facebook – These rankings show that simply having a large number of fans doesn’t translate into having a high engagement rate. That seems to correspond with many brands’ focusing on the number of likes rather than addressing how to get repeat visits that also involve more time per session.
  • Restricting Robot Access for Improved SEO – A basic yet comprehensive review of how a webmaster can restrict search engine spider access to their website.
  • 13 Must-Have Tips for Local Search Marketing – Local Search is not a big mystery and there are a lot of super cool, reasonable and great ways for your company to start ranking in local search.
  • Farewell, Article Marketing for SEO. Drumroll. Please welcome Article Marketing for SEO. – An in-depth analysis on article spinning, link building, and every other evil that comes with taking bad SEO advice in the first place. Michael Martinez truly delivers food for thoughts.
  • Matt Cutts: The Greenspan of Google – "Cutts has earned a reputation as a kind of Alan Greenspan of SEO—a dispenser of vague pronouncements that send online businesspeople the world over into paroxysms of scrutiny." This BusinessWeek article mentions the Panda/Farmer update, and the fun SEOs have in trying to figure out every last ounce of meaning that might possibly be extracted from each word Matt speaks or writes.
  • Introducing Google Analytics, The Next Generation – Nice video overview of the forth coming Google Analytics v5.
  • Why User Experience Cannot Be Designed – We can design the product or service, and we can have a certain kind of user experience in mind when we design it. However, there is no guarantee that our product will be appreciated the way we want it to be. We can shape neither our users’ expectations nor the situation in which they use what we have designed.
  • Google Dance Updates [Infographic] – Those who’ve been involved in search marketing for a long time simply sigh when another Google update occurs. Major update or minor update, they know it’s simply time to do the Google Dance again. Here are some of the major Google Updates represented in "infographic" style.
  • 3 Tips to Use Paid Search for a Complex Sale – Good post with some deeper Pay Per Click considerations – When you're dealing with a niche and high value product, competition for active buyers in paid search can be fierce. And expensive. Consider this example from enterprise security…
  • Google Analytics v5 Unveils A New User Experience – New user interface in years designed for ease of use and more…
  • 25 Ways to Qualify Great Links – There are numerous types of links that exist on the internet. Paid, product reviews, sponsors lists, blogrolls, and we could go on till the cows come home. With Google placing so much weight on links, below are 25 ways to qualify whether the link you’re pitching, buying, trading, or baiting is a quality one.
  • EdgeRank – What Does It Mean for Brands? – EdgeRank got you down? You're not as visible as you were before on Facebook? Alex Smith shares some good thoughts on how to make sure you maintain what visibility you have, or get back what you lost.
  • Beat That Quote, Car insurance Aggregator! – Is Google screwing about with UK Car Insurance Autocomplete (or Suggest as we know it) results? Maybe. And there is data to suggest it. Rishi Lakhani investigates the impact of –possibly manipulated– Google Suggest phrases [brand + product] on search volume, and concludes those might make massive changes in increase revenue from the SERPs.
  • Money Making Email Insights – How the subject line can be one of the key elements of an email marketing campaign
  • Infographic: Owning Your Local Web Equity – SMBs are trying to make decisions amidst an onslaught of media buzz. This infographic provides a foundation for understanding the landscape and how to invest in long term marketing efforts.
  • SEO Audits – Strategic vs. Tactical – Alan Bleiweiss, a forensic SEO consultant, provides valuable insights into how to structure SEO audits.
  • Why SEO needs to be baked in – For new sites, or site rebuilds, it's worryingly common for search engine optimisation to be the last thing considered. This article discusses the advantages of build-in SEO from scratch.
  • Get Hundreds of Links to Your Next Blog Post, Guaranteed – Another great post from ViperChill outlining what it takes to get loads of links from your quality content.
  • SEO Lessons Learned at SMX West – Vanessa Fox summarizes all the valuable tidbits of SEO information which came out of SMX West this week. Topics include more on Google’s Farmer/Panda update, white hat cloaking, press release and article marketing, and link building in general.
  • How Foursquare & AmEx Are Putting a Fresh Twist on Loyalty Marketing – The pilot program started Friday and will run through Tuesday, March 15. Participating merchants have posted “Austin Unlocked” window clings to highlight their participation, and Foursquare users need only register their American Express cards to unlock this new type of special — the Loyalty Special.
  • Making Content Work for Social Networking – Many social media marketers claim that content is king and should be the focus of every social media strategy. However, which content should be placed on what social network is just as important as the content itself…
  • How to Track Highlighted Text on Your Site with Google Analytics – This post on SEOgadget gives up a hack to track highlighted text on your site (users highlighting what they read / copy) through Google Analytics Event Tracking. Written by James Morell and Sam George.

This is the latest in a weekly look at the stories that were “hot” on Sphinn in the past week. We’ll post these recaps every week.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Sphinn


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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