• Andreea Cojocariu

    This is also why there are what I call, intuitive keywords. These are phrases that your market uses naturally. It’s easier to use them in titles and in blog posts. And in all honesty, you should have a list of keywords to give you the freedom to still attract search engines to your post(s). But I agree with you. If you have to force a keyword in a title or content, it’s not worth it. You just have to compensate with a keyword or link elsewhwere.

  • tedives

    You’re right about titles, and my thinking has really been evolving on that of late.

    Grant Simmons ( @simmonet on Twitter ) told me something this past year, which may seem obvious but I think is really profound….

    If a searcher types a question, often they don’t necessarily want to see their question in the results, but rather indications of an answer, i.e. something *other* than what they typed.

    For example [who won the world series in 2013] brings up a bunch of results, but the one that really sticks out in the SERP is the second one.

    Red Sox Rout Cardinals to Win World Series – NYTimes.com

    Note the title doesn’t say 2013 or “won” in it, but instead actually conveys that it is probably a really useful response for that search.

    I would liken what you’re talking about to Paid Search, where a purely “mechanical” approach to writing ads is to put the keyword in the ad. Such ads will perform OK, and it’s a good start for campaigns…but if you can put some really compelling messaging together that stands out from the crowd you can usually do far better.

    If most of the crowd is doing things mechanically, then simply by being different you might stand out!

  • Robert Griggs

    I think these points are pretty much bang on. Keywords should never just be stuffed into titles or on-page content. If you think like your target audience and write in a manner that provides something of value, you should naturally incorporate the most important search terms. If you have to do “keyword research” you most likely don’t have enough knowledge of exactly what it is you are writing about in the first place.

  • http://www.contentstrategyhub.com Eugene Farber

    I think a lot of people have a misconception of the “duplicate content” problem. Duplicate content only really becomes an issue when it’s duplicate content within the same website.

    There are plenty of sites like LifeHacker that syndicate content from other sources and do just fine in terms of rankings.

    The real key is to not have multiple pages on your own site that are more or less the same.

  • Romil Tripathi

    very bad post ..

    duplicate content – any person know this
    title and meta tag – blog post and main site category title or so different thing person are using long tail keywords

    without using keyword you can not target

    many person say seo dead etc

    but without seo you can not rank a site

    and if you except my challenge then tell me

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    SEO as knowledge has one major problem for those who do it – it’s tiny.
    Let’s face it, 10 pages will be enough to print ALL general SEO postulates.

    SEOs found the way to gain importance in industry – they call almost everything related to web as SEO. It’s laughable in most cases )

    This is exactly what are you doing in this article.
    You write about Marketing. This is not SEO.
    Marketing is about relations between producers and consumers.
    SEO is about relations between web producers and search engines.
    These are two different instances. They are based on different knowledge.

    So, you write about the Marketing. Good.
    Your first suggestion is ” You focus on attention-grabbing headlines! ”
    And your own headline for this article is definitely attention-grabbing – “Just Say No To SEO”.
    But it’s totally misleading, since this article is not about SEO.
    You got my attention at first, but lost my respect later, when I read the article. You promised one thing, but gave another. You didn’t fulfill my expectations.

    Attention-grabbing headlines should be used with caution. It depends from your audience and many other factors. This is Marketing related matter and shouldn’t be misused as something related to SEO.

    You titled next chapter ” Design For Shareability “.

    But there is no a single word about design. Misleading again.

    Conclusion.
    Poor written article, that did more bad than good in your own marketing strategy.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    “SEO optimization”. Oh, Eric. That is so repetitively redundant.

  • Ilya W3B

    It seems that “Smart Blogger” is some kind of mutant cause he (or it) has six fingers on the left hand LOL)) And maybe that’s why he beat the other guy))

    And according to the article: thanks there are some great ideas!

    Also I’m confused with comments, especially the one about “design” from @JustConsumer:disqus. IMO Eric used “design” not as something related to “visual effects” or “graphics”, but refer to the intent or purpose of the content.

    And guys don’t take it so literally.
    All the best!

  • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

    Hi Eric, I know you know your “Shinola” so I hope you can clarify item #2 in your section on duplicate content. Assuming that the platform makes modifying the head on a single post impossible (or the place you are posting will not do it), thereby eliminating #1 and #3 from consideration, how does simply linking to the original content – most of which has been duplicated in the linked-from article – help with the whole duplicate content thing?

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Design is design.
    Content is content.
    Writing is writing.
    Marketing is marketing.
    SEO is SEO.

    There is no place for “IMO” unless you want to sell more of your service, pretending you know everything.
    As I mentioned below, the outcome of such approach is laughable in most cases.

  • Ilya W3B

    I just meant that the word “design” has different meanings =)

    For example this one fits pretty nice: “to create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect”, taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/design

    And accoring to: “There is no place for “IMO” unless you want to sell more of your service, pretending you know everything.”
    I’m not trying to sell anything, and even more so, I’m not pretending to know everything.
    It’s just “my opinion” and nothing more.
    I hope you’ll get what I mean.

    Best regards,
    1w3b

  • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

    I agree that attention is the priority, but a headline can be attention-grabbing *and* keyword-rich. Between equally attention-grabbing titles, the one with the better keywords wins.

    If you’re a low-skill headline writer, focus exclusively on getting attention. High-skill writers should also consider keywords (while keeping their priorities straight).

  • Darren DeMatas

    Hey Eric! Nice post (as always) I think you are spot on regarding blog posts focusing on engagement (rather than on keywords). I also think you make an important distinction between non-ecom pages and regular blog posts….BUT…what about an ecom site with a blog? I think you can still do keyword research there (for blog posts) and use keywords in the heading tags. Here is an example: A client of mine was not ranking at all for a highly relevant “product category keyword.” I set up a little test on Adwords and saw that some sales were coming from that product category keyword….So what I did was create a buyers guide for that category and it was very popular with the audience and it also ranked very quickly. Rather than keyword stuffing product pages or category pages with keywords – I create blog posts about the products. Do you advise against this strategy of incorporating keywords into blog posts for e-com sites? I have found that it is a quick way to get rankings, help consumers better understand the product, and connect with them during the buying process.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    Every one of those things work together to make a well optimized website. Or they should, anyway.

    Design can be used to direct users to where we want them to go or to highlight parts of content (which is usually writing), and designing to improve written content accessibility is a pretty big part of SEO… and when all of that is done to improve visibility in search or elsewhere, it is marketing.

    Maybe your assessment of what is actually SEO has not evolved for a few years? You know: “Put keywords in title x number of times, put keywords in content 4-8 times, 2 in bold, 2 in italic…”

  • Chelsea Adams

    I’m on board with this, Eric, but I do think keyword research can be a great exercise for topic discovery and refine. Part of making world-class content — as you mention — is creating content that gets the reader’s attention and generates an emotional response. To that point, keyword research is a great resource that can tell you what people are searching for now, how they are asking for it, and, in turn, what *specifically* they want to know about the topic. Said another way, it can help you pint-point their exact problem so that you can offer a more exact solution with your content.

    I like the shift we are making as an industry away from plug-and-play SEO, but I also think we should be careful not to throw the baby away with the bath water.

    Smart topic!

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Oh, I see what do you mean. Probably you’re right, but it doesn’t prove wrong the main idea of my post.

  • Ilya W3B

    I’m glad that you get my point about the “design”, cause that’s the only thing I was trying to prove.

    The rest of your comment make some sense and for me it is what the article is about: sometimes it’s OK to forget about SEO for the sake of marketing.

    So, best wishes and good luck!

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Thank you for your question.

    Well, probably it has not. I never did SEO and honestly don’t know.
    During my 10+ years in web business I used knowledge of design in web design, knowledge of marketing in online marketing, and so on …
    It was not “pretty big part of SEO”, but pretty big part of web development. I don’t see any reason why associate it differently after the Panda.

    Probably that’s why I own noteworthy web projects.
    By the way, do you own noteworthy web projects ?

  • http://andynathan.net Andy Nathan

    Thank you for pointing out the larger audience factor on SEL! So many marketers just want SEO traffic that they forget the other 150 million sites that can deliver quality traffic.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    Well there you have it, then. You are here saying something isn’t SEO, yet you don’t really have the experience to know what it is.

    Maybe you thought the only thing being optimized was the code and not the content. Optimizing websites has always involved some elements of design, writing, development, content and marketing. All of those are part of effective SEO.

    This isn’t a new idea that only came up post-Panda. When I asked if your assessment of SEO was out of date, it was because a lot of people thought SEO was just about meta tags and keywords until they found out the hard way that it takes more than keywords and a few meta tags to really optimize a website. Well, I guess Panda does have something to do with how some of those people learned that they should have been looking at the big picture, rather than separating design/dev/content/marketing/optimization.

    And yes, I believe I do own some “noteworthy web projects”. I also help others create noteworthy web projects through various combinations of design, content, writing, development, and marketing. Why do you ask?

  • http://goettemoeller.com Drew Goettemoeller

    Por que no los dos?

  • http://alex-hemedinger.blogspot.com/ Alexander Hemedinger

    Yep. And welcome back to Disqus! :)

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    SEO by Google is exactly about things like meta tags. As I wrote below, this is about relations between website and search engine.

    Everything else you are talking about, existed long ago before SEO appearance. These things are about relations between website and visitors.

    SEO was added as the part to everything else, not vice versa.

    Since Panda SEOs lost most of the ability to manipulate Google. Why someone will buy SEO service, when progress can’t be seen and result is unpredictable ?

    That’s why SEOs had to adopt practices existed already long ago before the SEO era and announce, that such practices are part of SEO. Now it looks like SEOs have something to offer again.

    Well, SEOs probably can fool some farmers, but can’t fool industry professionals. Those who always used practices, you call now as SEO.

    Conclusion : things you are talking about are not parts of the SEO, but parts of the web development.
    Web development includes also SEO as the tiny part of the whole process.

    re : Why do you ask?

    I like to talk with people, who can backup their statements by real things done.

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    SEO by Google is exactly about things like meta tags. As I wrote below, this is about relations between website and search engine.

    Everything else you are talking about, existed long ago before SEO appearance. These things are about relations between website and visitors.

    SEO was added as the part to everything else, not vice versa.

    Since Panda SEOs lost most of the ability to manipulate Google. Why someone will buy SEO service, when progress can’t be seen and result is unpredictable ?

    That’s why SEOs had to adopt practices existed already long ago before the SEO era and announce, that such practices are part of SEO. Now it looks like SEOs have something to offer again.

    Well, SEOs probably can fool some farmers, but can’t fool industry professionals. Those who always used practices, you call now as SEO.

    Conclusion : things you are talking about are not parts of the SEO, but parts of the web development.
    Web development includes also SEO as the tiny part of the whole process.

    re : Why do you ask?

    I like to talk with people, who can backup their statements by real things done.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    If you think the positioning of design elements on the page does not communicate with Google or other search engines, and the “design” and writing of content don’t have anything to do with how Google ranks websites, well, I don’t know what to tell you other than “you are wrong”.

    You have already acknowledged that you don’t know what SEO is. You should probably try to learn a bit more about it if you are going to make blanket statements that contradict what any successful SEO practitioner who has been around longer than a year or two and continues to be successful can tell you. Those who, as you say, “announced” that all those things are a new part of SEO, are those who only recently figured it out.
    Maybe 10 years ago SEO was mostly about keywords and meta tags, but it isn’t 2003 anymore. http://www.google.com/intl/en/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

    Your assertion that “progress can’t be seen and result is unpredictable” is also very flawed. Progress and results are no less predictable now than in the past. Rankings, traffic, leads, sales and increased readership coming from organic search traffic are now, and have been very measurable for a long time.

    Content, site structure (which includes design), coding, and the impact those things have on marketing are exactly what needed to be optimized in the “old days” – mostly because developers and designers weren’t getting the coding, structure and presentation of content right in a way that would work for search engines. Since the duty of the search engines is to provide users with the best answers to their questions, smarter SEOs learned to do things that would help a site appeal to people as well as search engines. If you don’t believe that, just search for something like “for people not search engines” and I am sure you will find SEO blogs dating back several years before Panda.

    And no, I don’t feel the need to post my resume on here to prove something and make you look foolish. If you can’t figure out how to learn more about me and what I do every day, and for whom I do it without being spoon-fed a list of my accomplishments; I don’t think you will ever be able to understand what I am trying to tell you.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    If you think the positioning of design elements on the page does not communicate with Google or other search engines, and the “design” and writing of content don’t have anything to do with how Google ranks websites, well, I don’t know what to tell you other than “you are wrong”.

    You have already acknowledged that you don’t know what SEO is. You should probably try to learn a bit more about it if you are going to make blanket statements that contradict what any successful SEO practitioner who has been around longer than a year or two and continues to be successful can tell you. Those who, as you say, “announced” that all those things are a new part of SEO, are those who only recently figured it out.
    Maybe 10 years ago SEO was mostly about keywords and meta tags, but it isn’t 2003 anymore. http://www.google.com/intl/en/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

    Your assertion that “progress can’t be seen and result is unpredictable” is also very flawed. Progress and results are no less predictable now than in the past. Rankings, traffic, leads, sales and increased readership coming from organic search traffic are now, and have been very measurable for a long time.

    Content, site structure (which includes design), coding, and the impact those things have on marketing are exactly what needed to be optimized in the “old days” – mostly because developers and designers weren’t getting the coding, structure and presentation of content right in a way that would work for search engines. Since the duty of the search engines is to provide users with the best answers to their questions, smarter SEOs learned to do things that would help a site appeal to people as well as search engines. If you don’t believe that, just search for something like “for people not search engines” and I am sure you will find SEO blogs dating back several years before Panda.

    And no, I don’t feel the need to post my resume on here to prove something and make you look foolish. If you can’t figure out how to learn more about me and what I do every day, and for whom I do it without being spoon-fed a list of my accomplishments; I don’t think you will ever be able to understand what I am trying to tell you.

  • Winston

    Oh, do tell us what these “noteworthy” projects of yours are! Save us from all of this nonsense about putting together quality websites and content that will rank higher in google searches.

  • Winston

    “If you can’t figure out how to learn more about me and what I do every day, and for whom I do it without being spoon-fed …”

    Do you really think he doesn’t know how to click on the commenters’ names?

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Well, if I should learn, what the SEO is, then you should learn what does web development mean. And what part does SEO take in web development.

    If you think, that Amazon or eBay or Pinterest or Twitter or Google or Ask.fm or ….. thousands more were created thanks to SEO, then I wouldn’t recommend anyone to hire you, even as a SEO.

    re “And no, I don’t feel the need to post my resume on here”

    Did I ask you? I trust your word regarding this matter even you are SEO.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    Did I say that Amazon, eBay, etc were created thanks to SEO? Nope. I said nothing that even vaguely resembles that.
    Please do not pretend I said something I did not say.

    And yes, you did ask about “noteworthy web projects” as a way to back up my statements.

    Don’t drink and post.

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Oh, so it’s possible to create something without the SEO leading role … And how did they do that ?

    P.S. Ok, I checked your background ))
    So, you worked as Graphic Designer in Printing industry till mid 2009.
    From 2009 you became a SEO.
    Websites :
    Company Website
    RSS feed
    Google+

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/nickker

    Bye Bye Nick, nothing to talk about.

  • Jeff Guest

    “I like the shift we are making as an industry away from plug-and-play SEO, but I also think we should be careful not to throw the baby away with the bath water.”

    Good call. I too like the direction it’s going in, and I think Google is pointing us ever more in this direction, aided by voice search?

  • marioalza

    Thanks Eric. I appreciate so much your posts, always clear and useful. In this opportunity, you have gave me a very clear idea about how to avoid the duplicated content when I have partial access. I hope to meet you at the next SMX West Conference :)

  • jeff

    I’m really interested in being able to learn this year how the rules of basic marketing,(those like natural laws of gravity) apply differently. I expect both some absolutes and some brand new medium related…especially as applied to your points of infoverload.

  • Pete

    This is a really good article. I think sometimes people want to rank so badly that they forget the key to ranking. Be informative, be constructive and write about something that you have a passion for. When your passion flows through on your writing, people share and enjoy the read. Rankings will come.

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Novem Harder

    I believe having a great content that is relevant and useful to your audience will bring you the benefits of an optimized blog post even your goal is for branding and visibility of your products or services. Lets just focus on providing useful content.

  • Henley Wing

    Hey Michael, I’m writing a post interviewing search marketers(I hope I can call you that :) on what keeps them awake at night. Wondering if I can include you in it?

  • http://www.seobooklab.com/ Ram Babu SEO

    Thanks Eric, we can never rely on a technique that works today.

  • http://image-editing-services.com/ Sophie Borwell

    Hi Eric Enge,

    Here is stunning explanation about the “canonical tag”. Just confused that what happens if i use canonical tag to copy other author’s blog or article into my website.

    Which steps will Google take against my website or it’s fine to do the same as i’m using canonical tag?

    Expecting the answer of my curiosity with best possible explanation.

    Thanks and Regards
    Sophie Borwell

  • Sabih Ahmed

    Precisely, you have highlighted the most essential part of SEO thing. What I have seen that people are using so many practices, and they are trying hard to improve their SERPs, anyhow. Thing is, it all depends on industry to industry. Sometime, it works to put keywords in the heading but I totally agree with you that eye-catching headlines should be used because it will drive more conversion.

    If there were, Keyword 1 | Keyword 2 | Keyword 3 – Domain Name in the headlines, then it would look SPAMY, completely.

  • Sabih Ahmed

    You didn’t get his actual words :)

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Sure. You can use the contact form on SEO Theory to reach me.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    You never did have anything to talk about, but that didn’t stop you before.

  • Jonathan Jones

    Search Engine Over Optimisation (SEOO) =P

  • Jonathan Jones

    Search Engine Over Optimisation (SEOO) =P

  • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

    In the case of a buyer’s guide, I always put that on the eCommerce website, itself, in a Resources section and link to it from product or category pages where applicable. If it’s something that helps people make a buying decision, I want it right there on the eCommerce website. If it’s something that helps gain an audience that may someday want to buy from the eCommerce website, I put it in the eCommerce website’s blog. (Of course, a blog post about the resource article is not totally out of the question!)

  • http://www.rankinstyle.com/ Jacques Bouchard

    I dunno, Eric. Last time I tried, a solid article title still had an SEO punch to it that was worth pursuing.

  • http://www.rankinstyle.com/ Jacques Bouchard

    except — accept