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Future SEO: Understanding Entity Search

data_humans_machines Last month, I asked you to imagine the future of SEO with a focus on Entity Optimization as I interviewed veteran semantic strategist Barbara Starr. We discussed an "answer engine" that uses relevant, machine-recognizable "entities" on Web pages to answer specific, well-refined queries. The Hummingbird Update On September 26, Google took another step toward becoming that answer engine with its Hummingbird update. In Danny Sullivan's live blog about the Hummingbird algorithm, he explains how Google is rapidly adopting semantic Web technology while still retaining parts of its old algorithm. T [...]


How Search Engines Work — Really!

how-search-engines-work For those of us in SEO (or aspiring to be), there are a lot of little details that fill our days. Server architecture, 301 redirects, 404 errors, title tags, and various other things. Sometimes, we forget to sit back and figure out what it all means. Add to that the fact that most SEOs were never trained, but just picked things up "on the job," and it's no surprise that most SEOs don't really know how search engines work. When's the last time you sat down and considered how search engines (like Google) really work? For me, it was last month, while writing the post about a recent Google W [...]


8 SEO Cleanse & Recharge Ideas For Fall 2013

cms-updates Whether you mark it by Labor Day or the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox, summer is coming to an end -- which makes this a great time to give your website an SEO cleanse and recharge the old batteries. Here are 8 things you can do to strengthen quality. 1. Fix Errors Listed In Webmaster Tools Both Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools provide diagnostic reports listing errors on your website. Both search engines alert you to technical issues that they monitor which might diminish visibility. [caption id="attachment_171382" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Google Webmaster Tools provides [...]


SEO Checklist For Startup Websites

Focus Your SEO on Revenue and Profit Startups have a lot going on. Staffing, outreach, overhead, paperwork, development, testing, financing -- and that's just before lunch. Regardless of the industry, startups are by their nature volatile businesses that are stuck bootstrapping much of the heavy lifting early on in their lifecycle. [caption id="attachment_141624" align="alignright" width="200"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] While entrepreneurs are experts in their given fields and may even know quite a bit about conducting business online, it's unlikely that they are worried about SEO considerations. However, you don't n [...]


Building An Enterprise-Level Search Marketing Team: Part 2

Image via Shutterstock [caption id="attachment_169230" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] In July, I began my two-part series on building an enterprise-level search marketing team. We left off with a review of the essentials for SEO, including all the technical and editorial factors that can hinder your website's rankings in the search engines. If you've followed my recommendations thus far, you'll have hired a reputable search guru, your hierarchy of team members is in place, reporting is approved and the Search Department is in sync with all the other internal departments compa [...]


Building The B2B Organic CRO Machine

target roi Over the last few years, I've watched the search marketing industry grow from being traffic-growth focused to being conversion- and usability-oriented. In the coming years, I expect to see an even stronger focus on usability and conversion. One thing that makes the B2B sector different from B2C is the fact that users rarely convert on the first visit due to longer sales cycles. Building a powerful B2B organic conversion machine requires a strong focus on intelligence, usability analysis and conversion optimization. A user who lands on a site the first time through search may not convert dur [...]


5 Critical SEO Mistakes Leaders Must Avoid

Seth Godin Quote It isn't easy being a leader in today's digital economy. The rapid shifts in technology and the way customers adapt to it has transformed business. Barriers between online and offline business have broken down. Capital alone is no longer decisive in determining success. Google's various offerings are a huge growth opportunity for B2B and B2C businesses alike. Even offline companies and neighborhood stores are dependent on Google because customers flock there. SEO is no longer optional -- it is mandatory. Hiring an experienced SEO consultant can be your most valuable business investment in 2 [...]


Long Tail Content For SEO — 2013 & Beyond

Buy or Leave Web Site There was the old way of doing SEO for the long tail. It worked for a long time, and lots of people made lots of money doing it. But those days are gone. What was the old way, you ask? In a nutshell: Research a long list of long-tail keywords Create a page for each long-tail term Give each page a title tag with the key phrase at the very start of the title tag Implement a header tag with the same key phrase at the start of it Write some simple blather type text that repeats the key phrase once or twice and arguably adds some additional value Focus the page on conversion Oft [...]


Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links Like A Techie

An Unnatural Link Warning from Google Webmaster Tools You've been in business for many years. You may have done it all on your own, or you may have enlisted the aid of unscrupulous SEO "services" to built links for you. Either way, you may be wondering whether you need to conduct a link clean up. This column contains a five-step process outlining how to determine if you have a problem, how to analyze it, and then how to clean it up. But first: Unnatural Links Warning = Problem If you get this message, you have a problem. Skip to step two. [caption id="attachment_166889" align="aligncenter" width="505"] An Unnatural Link Warning from Googl [...]


Building An Enterprise-Level Search Marketing Team: Part 1

[caption id="attachment_166535" align="alignright" width="277"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Several years ago, I was tasked with building an enterprise-level search marketing team for a top online retailer. Because of the lessons learned and results achieved, I want to pass this intel on to those tasked with creating a search marketing team from scratch. Your Foundation: The Search Guru My first recommendation is to start out with an organic search guru, an experienced person specializing in organic search. Search gurus are those with a long-standing history of getting results and [...]


How To Evaluate A Potential Website Acquisition

There are a number of things to take into consideration when buying a website. For purposes of this article, I don't mean the usual business considerations such as price, terms, etc. Let's dig into how you need to look at this from an SEO perspective. You can also use this thinking to evaluate whether or not to keep a site you already own. What's Different? There are a few things that are different from a normal SEO audit. Some of the key ones are: You are not committed to the site. Make sure to stay dispassionate about the way you look at the site. Obviously, you are interested in the s [...]


Maps & Metros: Surviving And Thriving In Local Search

Last week I attended the SMX Advanced session, "Maps & Metros: Surviving And Thriving In Local Search," moderated by Matt McGee with speakers Mike Blumenthal, Mary Bowling and Mike Ramsey. It's extremely challenging right now to recommend new "advanced" SEO methods for local search within Google (this is my take, prior to going into this session). Things in Google have been in flux, transitioning from the old Google Places to Google+ Local pages, and changes have been unpredictable and frequent. Also, the local algorithms haven't seemed to have had a whole lot of additions, necessar [...]


From Microdata & Schema To Rich Snippets: Markup For The Advanced SEO

Last week, I attended the SMX Advanced session, "From Microdata & Schema To Rich Snippets: Markup For The Advanced SEO," moderated by Elisabeth Osmeloski with speakers Marcus Tober, founder of Searchmetrics Inc., Julia Gause, Director of SEM for Scripps Network and Stephan Spencer, CEO of Koshkonong LLC. Just prior to the session starting, Bruce Clay, the session's sponsor, told Stephan Spencer and I that he had some pages where he'd used multiple schema/markup types on the same page along with the data highlighter—simultaneously—with the result that Google is displaying different [...]


Removing URLs From The Index In Bulk

Need to remove URLs from the index? For a small number of URLs, this can be a relatively straightforward process -- when you are dealing with thousands or tens of thousands, it can be a lot more complex, especially if you feel a great deal of urgency about the matter. This is what I am going to focus on today: situations where the amount of content is massive and the urgency is high. It turns out that you have several options -- so let's explore what they are! Why Remove Content In The First Place? There are many possible reasons, but here are some of the most common: You published co [...]


8 Keys To A Successful Local Business Website

A company website is the core of most local businesses’ online presence. In fact, more than half of all SMB online marketing service dollars are spent on the Web presence category, including Web design and hosting, according to a Borrell Associates study released late last year. Yet, despite its central role, the vast majority of SMBs continue to struggle in developing a site that can be easily found in search and that provides the information, engagement and trust that consumers are looking for. A recent vSplash audit of the presence of 3.9 million U.S. SMB websites found deficiencies [...]


Programming Data Collection For SEO Research

Last month, I showed you three tricks I use when gathering data on websites. I used these techniques to download webpages into a local folder. In and of themselves, these procedures are not SEO; however, a search engine optimization professional working on a large or enterprise website ought to know how to do this. In this article, I'll show you how to: Make a list of pages inside a folder Set up a development environment Open webpages from a script and extract data If you learn these procedures, I am certain you will find legitimate opportunities to use each, together or alone [...]


Optimizing Your Digital Assets To Boost Rankings & Branding

Let’s say you’re responsible for developing revenues from both traditional and non-traditional advertising. You work with a digital staff of talented people to create lead-generating Web-based content, or perhaps you are in e-commerce and sell products. Maybe you’re a brick and mortar with a website, or perhaps a pure-play Internet business with no physical storefronts. Regardless of whether you are a newspaper (publisher), e-commerce (products) or franchise (services) site, performing well within the SERPs will always lead to new customer acquisition. By identifying and optimizing al [...]


The Informational Content Advantage

You may have heard that content is king, but the truth is that informational content is king. It's estimated that approximately 50-80% of search queries are informational in nature (pdf). Most websites have very little informational content on them, preferring instead to focus on driving a conversion. These websites are missing an excellent opportunity to capture search market share. Ratios of Informational Content In previous articles, I've written about the importance of theming content -- developing a strategy that truly plays to your customers' search intent. But usually, very little [...]


The Holy Grail Of Internet Marketing: Owning The Whole SERP

[caption id="attachment_155242" align="alignright" width="250"] Photo from drp.Used under Creative Commons license.[/caption] In many ways, taking charge of your search engine results page is like answering the age-old philosophical question, “Who am I” -- but for your business. You may still be in the dark about what motivates some of your personal actions, but if you’re a business owner, I’m pretty certain you know exactly what your business is all about. That’s the first step. Now you need to translate that into Google results. Sound easy? Didn’t think so. It’s a bit [...]


A Data-Centric Approach To Identifying 404 Pages Worth Saving

A critical part of doing a site or link audit is checking to see how many 404 (page not found) pages there are in a site. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an audit that lists the total number of 404 pages and advises developers to find appropriate pages to redirect these 404 pages to. That’s no big deal if we’re talking about just 20 to 30 pages. But, when a site has 404 pages in the thousands, and you tell the developers to fix these pages, you’re going to look more than a little ridiculous. So, how can you find out which of those 404 pages are actually important? Two [...]


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