Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer is the creator of the 3-day immersive SEO seminar Traffic Control; an author of the O’Reilly books The Art of SEO, Google Power Search, and Social eCommerce; founder of the SEO agency Netconcepts (acquired in 2010); inventor of the SEO proxy technology GravityStream; and the host of two podcast shows Get Yourself Optimized and Marketing Speak.

Google Analytics

36 SEO Myths That Won’t Die But Need To

Every day a new SEO myth is born; unfortunately, not every day does an old SEO myth die off. The net result is a growing population of myths. These are nearly impossible to squash because the snake-oil salesmen of our industry keep perpetuating them — bringing them back from the brink, even. You can talk […]


Anatomy Of A Google Snippet

Let’s deconstruct the Google snippet in all its glory — from the Posts/Authors/Last Post line, to the document date, to the Keywords in Context (“KWIC”), to the ellipses, to the inside-the-snippet anchor links. But before we do, it would probably be a good idea to define the term snippet. Google defines a snippet as “a […]


Organic Search & Paid Search: Are They Synergistic Or Cannibalistic?

One aspect to search marketing that I feel doesn’t get enough attention and indeed is misunderstood by the SEO practitioner is the interaction between organic search and paid search. For years when teaching SEO workshops, I touted the synergistic effect of being at the top of both organic and paid results. I would encourage attendees […]


In The SEO Game, It’s All About Strategies And Systems

When it comes to SEO, folks tend to think of me as super-tactical (perhaps because, when presenting at conferences, I cram so many tips and tricks into my infamous 80 slide PowerPoints when I have only 10 minutes to present!) But in actuality, I’m really very strategic. My new title at Covario (now that Covario […]


The Science Of Scoring Your SEO

SEO is an art. (Hence, the name of my and my co-authors’ brand new book, The Art of SEO). Crafting copy that sells, as well as ranks, is an art. So is link baiting. But SEO is also a science. Crafting rewrite rules, robots.txt directives, and so forth is pretty geeky stuff. The science side […]

Link building

10 Last-Minute SEO Tips For Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday shopping season is coming up fast. Don’t worry, there’s still time to do some quick-turnaround SEO that can have an impact on your natural search traffic (and resulting revenue!) in time for Black Friday and CyberMonday. For many online retailers, November and December are the busiest months of the year. Of course, this […]


How To Choose Content Management Systems For SEO

Nowadays, a great many websites are powered by a content management system (CMS) along with a back-end database. And for good reason. It’s too unwieldy to code HTML on a page-by-page basis, as you expand your content offerings to the thousands or tens of thousands of pages (and beyond). Content managements systems to the rescue! […]

Link building

Link Economics 101: A Prerequisite For Advanced SEO

Links long ago became the currency of the Web, thanks in no small part to Google and its PageRank algorithm. Like anything of value, link authority is bought, sold, leased, bartered, brokered, swindled and stolen. The fact that links are valuable is widely accepted. But yet when pressed, can any SEO or link builder really […]


The Social Media Underground

Building links is a struggle we SEOs all face. Of the three pillars of SEO (content, architecture, and links), it’s the “link authority” pillar that i’s usually the weakest. Looking at sites individually, formulating your approach, sending personalized emails, picking up the phone to speak to the webmasters – it’s a lot of hard slog. […]


What?! A Search-Hostile Site That Still Ranks Well

What follows is a rant, which is something I rarely, if ever, do. It’s done in the spirit of fun, so don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy! I feel like the grandpa who laments in a crotchety voice to his grandkids: “Nobody ever writes letters anymore! They just sit on their computers and their cell […]


A Deeper Look At Robots.txt

The Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) is not exactly a complicated protocol and its uses are fairly limited, and thus it’s usually given short shrift by SEOs. Yet there’s a lot more to it than you might think. Robots.txt has been with us for over 14 years, but how many of us knew that in addition […]


URL Rewrites and Redirects: The Gory Details (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back from Part 1, where I discussed in detail how to implement URL rewriting with Apache’s mod_rewrite module — complete with example rewrite rules, the more common regular expressions and how to use them. If you recall, I was just starting to get into rewrite rules for 301 redirects using the [R=301] flag. (Incidentally, […]


URL Rewrites & Redirects: The Gory Details (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re dealing with a large complex website, rewriting your URLs from dynamic to static and placing all the necessary 301 redirects in place is – as programmers would say, nontrivial. The devil is in the details. Granted, the redirecting piece may not be quite as onerous anymore thanks to the advent of the search […]


Optimizing A Large-Scale Web Site? Do The Two-Step

The need for keyword research is pretty much a given. But applying that research on a massive scale is where things usually break down. If you’re dealing with 100,000 web pages, you don’t have time to touch every page. How can one do this scalably? The answer: programmatic optimization.


Tools of the SEO Trade

In SEO, success is as much about your toolkit as it is about your skillset. Without great tools at your disposal, your ability to get the job done is really hampered. At SMX East this month I presented some of my favorite tools on the “Tools, Glorious Tools” panel. (Download my Powerpoint.) What I came […]


Making Sense Of Google’s New Dynamic URL Recommendations

Google’s recent blog post recommending that webmasters avoid rewriting dynamic URLs caused a minor furor in the search marketing industry. Reactions ranged from nervous fears that sites with rewritten URLs should suddenly reverse out their extensive work, all the way to amazement and even anger that Google should recommend a halt to something that many […]


Redirects: Good, Bad & Conditional

Whenever you make changes to a web site, one of the most important considerations should be how to use “redirects” to alert the search engine to your changes to avoid having a negative impact on your search rankings. Whether you’re moving pages around, switching CMS platforms, or just wanting to avoid duplicate content and PageRank […]

Search penalties

SMX Advanced: Black, Blue, And Read All Over

Learning is a fundamental and highly adaptive function in human beings. More than any other species, humans are designed to be flexible learners and active agents in how we go about acquiring knowledge and skills. Yet much of what people learn happens without any formal instruction. Think about it. When we’re kids, we learn not […]


Supercharge Your URLs For Maximum SEO Impact

When optimizing URLs for high rankings, little attention is given to optimizing the URL for maximum clickthrough. Yet the URL undeniably affects searcher clickthrough rates in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), as demonstrated by MarketingSherpa in their eyetracking study published in the 2008 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide. Specifically, MarketingSherpa found that short URLs get […]

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