Category

SEO

E-Commerce SEO Best Practices

By | eCommerce, SEO, SEOchat | No Comments

If most of your business’ revenue comes from online purchases, then you know well that ’tis the season for your best marketing performance of the year! While you may already have your promotions in place, and email and twitter blasts are well on their way, you’re not fully maximizing the return on your marketing efforts if SEO isn’t on your top priority list.

By tweaking your product pages and adding a few SEO-focused tactics into your online marketing strategy, you might surprise yourself with a jolt in holiday sales. Last week’s #SEOchat focused on the best practices to incorporate SEO into your e-commerce marketing strategy. Here are some of the highlights from what we covered:

Q1: When should a brand begin an SEO campaign for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays?

Q2: What does your content strategy look like for the holidays?

Q3. Let’s pretend you’ve been hired as an SEO consultant for a website that sells cameras and camera accessories. How would you begin competitor research?

Q4: Which area of the customer buying cycle do you execute on? Do you outsource anything?

Q5: Walk us through your auditing process. Our camera site sells 26 brands. Would you optimize every product page? Why/why not?

 

Q6: What’s the right balance of transactional and informational keywords you should target?

 

Q7: How would you recommend organizing category pages in the navigation? By BRAND, by TYPE or other?

Q8: What linkable asset would you create for the camera site to drive traffic and social shares?

Q9: What’s your favorite site to shop from for the holidays?

Trends in SEO are constantly on the move. Let’s keep up on #SEOchat! Join in every Thursday at 1 pm ET.

How are you using SEO as part of your holiday marketing strategy? Share your thoughts below!

The Keyword Challenge on SEOchat | How to Compete for Your Site’s Searchability

By | How-To, SEO, SEOchat, Strategy, Tools | No Comments

Keyword research, grouping, implementation, tracking, and measurement can certainly sound like an uphill challenge, but its also the starting platform for any online marketing campaign. The competition for being found by your top keywords can be steep but getting a grasp on new tools and tactics from other professionals can make all the difference for a steady climb to greater organic search outcomes.

Stryde administers a weekly Twitter chat Thursday at 1 pm ET for marketing pros and padwans alike, to openly discuss their strategic approaches and tips to digital marketing success. In a friendly space, we share and learn from one another about the trends and updates in SEO and marketing.

Last week’s #SEOchat discussed how to use keywords to compete for your site’s searchability. Knowing the exact terms that your audience is searching for allows you to optimize your content for better search visibility across all channels. Keyword insights can also reveal where you rank next to your competitors. In case you missed out, or would like a recap, here are the highlights from what we covered on #SEOchat:

Question 1: When starting off on a brand new SEO campaign, at what point does keyword research come into play?

Question 2: What are your favorite tools for finding keywords and phrases that you are already ranking for?

Question 3: How do scale the competitiveness of keywords for which you would like your brand to be found?

Everyone shouting out to SEMrush>>

Question 4: What factors do you consider in determining whether SEO or PPC is best to put your brand/clients’ dollars toward?

PREACH!>>

We skipped right ahead to…

Backtrack to Q6, keeping everyone on their toes…

Question 6: What is the average life of your kw list used across content, social media, & link-building?

Flash forward to Q8… no whiplash intended

SEO is always changing. Let’s keep each other up to date through chat! Be a part of it every Thursday at 1 pm ET. Find us at #SEOchat!

 

What topic would like to see on #SEOchat? Comment below and we’ll chat soon!

RankBrain Update

RankBrain: 5 Things We Know About Google’s New AI Aide

By | Search Marketing, SEO | One Comment

On Sunday, October 25, 2015, Bloomberg’s Jack Clark broke some serious news regarding how Google processes search queries. If you’re familiar with SEO, you know that any insight Google gives into its inner workings is as priceless as it is rare. But after posting better than projected earnings, Google’s executives were in the mood to spread some love.

After dissecting the article and the insight from Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google, here’s what we know about the company’s artificial intelligence advancements:

1. What RankBrain actually is.

RankBrain is the first glimpse into Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. After the written input is converted into numerical data, the computer can identify those strings of which it is unfamiliar with and hypothesize other strings that share similar characteristics.

“RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly.”

The key to RankBrain (and all artificial intelligence) is the ability to learn. This signal can identify patterns and insights once only detectable by people.

2. RankBrain is handling a large portion of Google’s search queries.

Google sees approximately 3.5 billion search queries every single day. Would you believe that 15 percent of those, or 525 million queries, it has never encountered before? RankBrain is a large contributor to processing those 525 million queries. And it’s doing a darn good job. The company found that turning RankBrain off “would be as damaging to users as forgetting to serve half the pages on Wikipedia.”

3. RankBrain outperforms Google’s search engineers.

Further proof of RankBrain’s efficacy lies in its ability to synthesize queries with a higher rate of accuracy than its human predecessors. Google revealed that in comparative testing of query ranking, Google search engineers were correct 70 percent of the time, while RankBrain enjoyed a success rate of 80 percent.

4. RankBrain is the 3rd most important signal accounted for within Hummingbird.

We know that the algorithm Google uses to process search queries is called Hummingbird, which understands both the context and the content (the keywords) of a conversational query such as this, meaning, the words “get people to” is equal to the keyword “traffic.”

Until Sunday, all that was known about Hummingbird’s inner signaling factors was that there were ‘hundreds’ of them. While we haven’t gotten much more insight than that, Corrado did reveal an interesting piece of information about the signals within Hummingbird as a whole:

“In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.”

  1. ?
  2. ?
  3. RankBrain

5. ‘AI Wars’ are upon us.

Facebook and Microsoft (i.e. Bing) are already using artificial intelligence to personalize and broaden the capabilities of their search engines. Now that we’ve seen Google’s massive gains at the foot of AI capabilities, it’s only a matter of time before greater strides in AI are brought to the forefront.

STRYDE | Stop, Block, & Ban Referrer Spam 2

Stop, Block, & Ban Referrer Spam

By | SEO | 2 Comments

Over the last few months, we’ve noticed referral traffic spike to many of our sites hosted on WordPress. Awesome right?

Well, not after looking at good old Google Analytics:

referrer spam view in google analytics

What is Referrer Spam?

Referrer spam is a feebly devised tactic to increase traffic to a certain domain. The aim, according to Raven Tools, is to make that domain appear in your analytics (as shown above) so you’ll visit the site. In the screenshot above, you can see how an individual could easily click one of those sites.

Why is Referrer Spam a Problem?

First off, referrer spam creates a problem when it comes to validity of data. These ‘visitors’ alter key statistics you need to analyze to improve your site. The total volume of sessions and visitors is obviously misrepresented. But not only that, but demographic, geographic, and device data is impacted.

How Do I Block Referrer Spam?

There are a multitude of ways you can tackle the beast that is referrer spam. Let’s take a look from around the web at what experts have suggested:

Option 1: Google Analytics Filters

Tom Capper of Distilled outlines a great option that doesn’t involve access to the backend of the site, just access to the analytics. While it doesn’t stop the traffic that has already arrived, it does remove it from your view.

Georgi Georgiev of Analytics Toolkit also advocates for filters within analytics, and details a comprehensive approach to applying multiple retroactive filters.

Option 2: WordPress Plugins

In the WordPress Plugin Directory, there are a few options to aid in filtering incoming traffic. SpamReferrerBlock and the Semalt Referrer Blocker are two of the most prominent options.

Option 3: .htaccess File

Adding several lines of code to your .htaccess file will create a virtual barrier between your site and those spamsters. This option is typically regarded as the most invasive and it does require upkeep, but it’s the most effective option to eradicate referral spam.

We’ve provided a CSV below that includes the code we used to stop our referral spam across our sites. You can simply use the list or customize it to include only the referrer sites that are impacting your site:

Click the link to download the CSV: Referrer Spam Ban .htaccess file

You’ll also need to customize the line of code that precedes the list of spam sites:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.*YOURSITEHERE\.com/.*$ [NC]

In terms of bringing out the “big guns,” adjusting your .htaccess file tops the list. But, that also means that it’s serious stuff for you site. Ensure that your file is immaculate! Even one character out of place could take down your whole site.

For example, omitting that line of code with your site name as detailed above, will cause sporadic 403 errors across all pages of your site. Bottom line, make sure you feel comfortable with code before implementing this option!

Option 4: Any Combination of the Above Methods

If you’re especially concerned about referrer spam, you can combine any or all of the methods above to create layers of protection.

Does a Long-Term Fix Exist?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. While Google is aware of the referrer spam problem, no long-term solution exists beyond an overhaul of how Google Analytics tracks visitors. So, we are left to work with what we have at our disposal.

Don’t let referrer spam make a mess of your analytics. Stop, block, and ban it before it even hits your site. What’s your favorite method to stop spam traffic? Share it with us in the comments!

IMSLC Recap: When Ecommerce Meets Marketing Part 2

By | eCommerce, IMSLC, SEO, Social Media, Video | No Comments

As a sequel to part one of our December IMSLC review, today we’ll cover the last two presentations given at the event: Turning YouTube into a Revenue Channel and Ecommerce SEO for 2015.

But first let’s talk about how cool Christian Busath is…

Christian has collaborated and performed in videos that have been watched by millions around the world. Notably, he played the Fruit Ninja in Real Life, a video that has been viewed more than 27 million times. Altogether Christian has been viewed over 500 million times on the web. If anyone knows a thing or two about making YouTube a viable channel for revenue, Christian does.

Turning YouTube Into a Revenue Channel

Christian’s Presentation:

Christian’s Slideshow:

Christian opened by sharing  a mind-blowing statistic: 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute of every single day – which means competition in this space is incredibly high and viewer loyalty is quite low. To put it simply, knowing the right techniques for building out your audience before attempting YouTube is absolutely necessary. Otherwise time and money will surely be wasted.

Through all his experience, Christian has been able to pinpoint three common rules of viral videos:

  1. Create Incredible Content
  2. Be Consistent
  3. Collaborate

Sometimes it takes a network of people to put together a video worth going viral. But in the end, users don’t care how or why the video was made… they just care if it’s something worth sharing.

We all can agree that most people do not find commercials very shareable. Commercials are all about a company’s self-promotion. So when sponsoring content on YouTube, Christian has some simple words of advice – don’t make it a commercial! Make it a message that will resonate with people, either through humor or useful advice, and they’ll naturally pass it along.

Christian also shared the following insightful statistic: according to ComScore, 90% of online shoppers found that video featuring products significantly helped in purchasing decisions. Building an audience on YouTube is (obviously) not just about gaining a following – it’s about leading potential customers through the sales funnel.

For more interesting stats and insights from Christian Busath, take a look through his slideshow above. Or if you’re all about learning through entertainment, watch the video of his hilarious presentation.

Get Your Google On: Ecommerce SEO for 2015

Dave’s Presentation:

Dave’s Slideshow:

Our last speaker at December’s IMSLC was none other than our very own Dave Bascom – CEO of Fit Marketing and founder of SEO.com.

Dave pointed out that if you’re like most marketers, you probably hate SEO. What is search engine optimization anyway? Why is it so hard to understand? The truth is SEO is pretty darn important in today’s search engine-driven society, and the only people who disagree will simply fall behind.

The number one reason “good” SEO is so hard to accomplish is due to limited real estate. To rank in the top 10 of a search query can be a wonderful yet terribly challenging thing. So how can you win at the SEO game when it comes to ecommerce?

Dave suggests five major points:

  1. Pick the right targets
  2. Build a strong foundation
  3. Ongoing content strategy
  4. Get the right kind of links
  5. Keep on keepin’ on

Most people assume that successful SEO relies on point #2 – building a strong foundation of content that includes specific keywords and phrases. But SEO is a much more intricate system. Building a strong foundation also relates to things like proper URLs, site architecture, and indexing.

The SEO master closed his presentation by reminding the audience that optimizing your website is simply going to take a while. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Track your progress and keep working on it, and continually work on your strategy for tackling more competitive keyword themes.

For more details on how to become an SEO master like Dave, view his slideshow above for tips such as how to use Google’s own tools against them.

And don’t forget… registration is open for a special session of Inbound Marketing SLC in conjunction with StartSLC on January 30th. This event’s focus is all about startups and their need for digital marketing. Register for your free ticket today!

Top 50 SEO Experts

By | SEO | 18 Comments

Top50SEOs

Here we go again! Last week, we highlighted the Top 50 Content Marketing Experts. Now, as promised we give you Stryde’s take on the Top 50 SEO Experts. To compile this list, we used things like Twitter followers, frequency and quality of interactions in the social realm, breadth and depth of experience, as well as impact on the industry as a whole. By no means is this list exhaustive and it is listed in alphabetical order. Also, you’ll probably want to find these experts on Twitter. Click on the link names in each experts description, or save the time and subscribe our Top 50 SEO Experts list on Twitter.

1. AJ Ghergich, Founder of Ghergich & Co.

Like many members of the list, AJ Ghergich has been involved in the SEO industry since it’s infancy. For the past decade he has watched SEO spread into nearly every fortune 500 company. Today, Ghergich owns his own consulting agency and ecommerce enterprise.

2. Aleyda Solis, Owner of Orainti

Aleyda Solis is an International SEO Consultant in the truest sense of the word. Solis has 7 years of experience carrying out SEO for American, European, and Latin-American companies. In addition to her consultant agency, she is a co-founder of the marketing tool Tribalytics and a Moz associate.

3. Andy Beard, Product Manager at uQast

With opinion and attitude, Andy Beard captures readers attention with a casual yet extremely knowledgeable style. On his site, you can find him sharing his knowledge on internet marketing, lead acquisition, online business strategy and social media.

4. Ann Smarty, Founder of MyBlogGuest

In addition to MyBlogGuest, Ann Smarty also runs the aptly titled blog SEO Smarty. Smarty’s experience and expertise has been slightly overshadowed of late due to the penalties brought down by Google, however she continues to support her community and invites conversation on her Twitter.

5. Ash Buckles, Global SEO Manager at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

Ash Buckles ran a small but successful web development and SEO business for 10 years before moving into agency work. Currently, Buckles leads the global SEO efforts for IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel companies. He oversees analysis, strategy, and execution of global organic revenue growth. You can chat with him weekly using #seochat on Twitter, which he co-founded.

6. Bill Slawski, President and Founder of SEO by the Sea

Since 1996, Bill Slawski has been engaging in professional SEO and internet marketing consulting. Slawski stumbled upon his love for SEO nearly 20 years ago and has optimized a variety of sites, including pages for Harvard Business School, Johns Hopkins University, The American Psychological Association, Comcast, and Fearnet.

7. Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko

Brian Dean is no one-trick SEO pony. Dean believes that today’s SEO professionals must be well versed in the art of persuasion, user experience, and content promotion. He strives to make everything he publishes “insanely practical and designed to help get you more traffic, leads and customers.”

8. Chris Winfield, Entrepreneur and Digital Marketing Consultant

For over 14 years, Chris Winfield has helped the world’s most recognizable companies use technology and the internet to spur enterprise growth. Winfield began two of the most popular and well respected digital marketing blogs of the past decade and has contributed to numerous trade publications.

9. Cindy Krum, CEO and Founder of Mobile Moxie

Cindy Krum constantly brings fresh ideas to her clients. Krum authored the book Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are and continues to contribute to both online and print publications.

10. Craig Fifield, Co-Founder of Circloscope

With over 18 years of digital marketing and web app development experience, Craig Fifield is a true SEO and usability veteran. Further underscoring this experience, Fifield designed marketing apps for Microsoft for 10 years.

11. Dan Petrovic, Managing Director of Dejan SEO

Proving the true global nature of SEO, Dan Petrovic hails from Australia where he spends his time with Dejan SEO. To flex his academic side Petrovic also publishes numerous research articles in the fields of search engine optimization and online marketing.

12. Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor of Marketing Land and Search Engine Land

For over a decade, Danny Sullivan has been the go-to expert for webmasters, marketers, and everyday web users alike. Sullivan is a true SEO pioneer and his expertise is sought after by renowned media sources like The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and ABC’s Nightline.

13. Darren Shaw, President and Founder of Whitespark

For over 16 years Darren Shaw has tinkered with SEO and websites. Shaw’s true passion lies in local SEO and local search; and also in this breakfast cereal. When he’s not running Whitespark, he speaks at conferences like Mozcon, Searchlove, and SearchFest.

14. David Harry, Founder of SEO Training Dojo

David Harry has over 14 years of web development and marketing experience, with many of those years spent on writing and blogging. Harry’s goal in founding SEO Training Dojo was to create a SEO community where all teachers are students, and every student is a teacher.

15. Derek Edmond, Managing Partner of KoMarketing

As a Managing Partner, Derek Edmond is responsible for SEO, SEM, and Social Media for clients large and small. The list of mentions, quotes, and references for Edmond are quite extensive, so be sure to check out his personal blog on SEO as well.

16. Don DeVange, Principal at DSquared-Media

Don DeVange has been working with companies like Microsoft, PACCAR, MAsterCard, HTC, and others for nearly 10 years to help the firms build effective marketing campaigns. DeVange began DSquared-Media in 2011 to help firms see beyond the what of the customer and into the why.

17. Eric Enge, Founder and CEO of Stone Temple Consulting

Eric Enge has a ridiculously long list of accomplishments that only being in the industry for over 30 years will produce. These include such things as author, talk show host, and speaker. But perhaps the most intriguing tidbit about Enge is he has the incredible title of 1984 World Foosball Champion.

18. Gord Hotchkiss, Consultant and Author

Although Gord Hotchkiss describes himself as an “ex-search marketer,” we couldn’t leave him absent from the list. Hotchkiss’s voice is audible in every post on his blog, Out of My Gord. He’s been in the marketing business for over 3 decades, with 2/3 spent working in digital media.

19. Heather Lloyd-Martin, Founder at SuccessWorks

In 2010, Heather Lloyd-Martin developed the first SEO Copywriting Certification program. Still it remains the only industry-endorsed training program that teachers SEO copy-writing best practices to writers.

20. Ian Lurie, Chairman and Principal Consultant of Portent, Inc.

A lawyer by education, Ian Lurie launched an internet marketing company nearly 20 years ago. Lurie has the honest belief that “great marketing can save the world.” At Portent, he leads and trains his team on SEO, PPC, social media, and marketing.

21. James Agate, Founder of Skyrocket SEO

The whole of Skyrocket SEO’s team are experts in their field and are lead by James Agate. He has been featured on the leading online publications (Moz, Web Design Leader, Hubspot, and Practical ECommerce) Skyrocket SEO also sponsors popular events like Pubcon and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.

22. Jay Young, CEO and Head of Client Services at Link Fish Media and Co-Owner of Str0ud LLC

Jay Young‘s background in systems administration allows him to dissect the technical details involved with marketing. In 2007, Young began his foray into public speaking. Which keeps him fairly busy alongside his two firms and SEO Blog, SEO Blokes.

23. Jessica Bowman, Founder and CEO of In-House SEO

Jessica Bowman and her team at In-House SEO are known for helping in-house SEO programs to get up and running quickly, systematically, and profitably. While Bowman has many SEO skills, her specialty is helping companies leverage your existing resources and talent.

24. Joanna Lord, CMO of BigDoor

Eight years of digital marketing experience has allowed Joanna Lord to participate in almost every channel: PPC, SEO, PR, social media, CRO, analytics, content development, communications, and more. Lord has a strong voice in the updates on her personal blog and inspires people everywhere she goes.

25. Joe Williams, Founder and Chief SEO Trainer for Zen Optimise

Joe Williams began in the world of SEO ten years ago and strives to pull the covers back on the mystery surrounding SEO. Williams provides SEO consultancy for Qantas Airlines, EasyCruise, Maxim Magazine, PC Pro, and Auto Express.

26. Jon Cooper, Undergrad Student and Blogger at Point Blank SEO

While Jon Cooper might take the spot for the youngest SEO expert on our list, his ambition and entrepreneurial spirit completely warrants his addition. Cooper fell in love with link-building 4 years ago and hasn’t gotten enough since as evidence from his extensive blog.

27. Joost de Valk, Creator and Owner of Yoast

In May of 2010, Joost de Valk founded Yoast which focuses on consulting in SEO, WordPress optimization and online marketing. Yoast boasts some top notch clientele, including the Guardian, eBay, Disney Interactive and the European Patent Office.

28. Julie Joyce, Director of Operations at Link Fish Media and Co-Owner of Str0ud LLC

Julie Joyce is a woman with varied experience. In the past 8 years, Joyce has worked as a Java and ASP programmer, quality assurance analyst, technical writer, search engine management specialist, and SEO project manager. You’ll most likely find her working on her blog SEO Chicks.

29. Laura Lippay, CEO of SEOgadget

For well over 10 years, Laura Lippay has held roles from Technical Marketing Director for Yahoo Media, to SEO Specialist for CNET. Lippay’s web development background gives her a unique balance to internet marketing and bridges gaps between developers and marketers.

30. Lisa Barone, Vice President of Strategy at Overit

Lisa Barone has founded and grown multiple highly successful blogs and her voice has been consistently that of reason in the search world. Barone is known around the world for creating many of the best practices in social media, unified, and mixed-media marketing strategies.

31. Matt McGee, Editor-in-Chief at of Marketing Land and Search Engine Land

Matt McGee has worked with Search Engine Land for 7 years while consulting and training small businesses on topics like SEO, social media, and local search. McGee is no newbie to SEO, he begun in 1999 when Google was just appearing.

32. Matt Siltala, Owner/Founder/President of Avalaunch Media

If you haven’t checked out Avalaunch Media yet, you should. The firms “Team” page alone is enough to make you like them. Matt Siltala leads this team and is a true leader in the online search industry. His clients range from Ancestory.com to The Home Depot.

33. Michael Gray, Owner and President of Atlas Web Service

You’re probably familiar with Michael Gray’s “rants on SEO, the Internet, and media” on his Graywolf’s SEO Blog. Gray is an accomplished speaker, and has spoken at SMX, Search Engine Strategies, and PubCon. For just a few years shy of two decades, Gray has been involved with affiliate marketing campaigns, SEO, Social Media, and Blog Management.

34. Mike Blumenthal, Blogger, Speaker, Local Search consultant and Owner of Blumenthals.com

Mike Blumenthal has over 30 years of experience in the Internet realm and is deservedly dubbed “Professor Maps.” Blumenthal is the author of Understanding Google Maps and Local Search, as well as co-founder of Local U and GetFiveStars.com.

35. Paul May, CEO and Co-Founder of BuzzStream

Prior to co-founding BuzzSteam, Paul May was a Principal at Orr Ventures and has held senior roles at SupportSoft, AfterPoint, and BMC Software. May is a true “serial entrepreneur,” as he has spent his career in the exciting world of startups.

36. Phil Rozek, Founder at Local Visibility System

Phil Rozek takes local search personally. You’ll be hard pressed to find an individual in SEO who loves working with clients, connecting with other local-search enthusiasts, and writing on his blog more than Rozek.

37. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz

If you’re given the opportunity to use “Wizard” in a job description, you should surely take advantage of it. Rand Fishkin and his dastardly facial hair co-authored/co-founded the Art of SEO, Inbound.org, and Moz. Fishkin is an addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.

38. Rhea Drysdale, CEO of Outspoken Media, Inc.

For over a decade, Rhea Drysdale has honed her knowledge and skills in on-page optimization, online reputation management, and social media. A standout tidbit about Drysdale is that she doesn’t believe in “hats,” just in running an ethical and honest business.

39. Sean Si, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at SEO Hacker

Sean Si is a true modern Renaissance man. Between owning and operating the very popular SEO Hacker, Si spends his time as a blogger, entrepreneur, wedding singer, and motivational speaker.

40. Shannon Hutcheson, SEO Consultant and Founder of Blogology

Shannon Hutcheson has not let her diagnosis of Fibromyalgia stop her from fostering and sharing her love of SEO and social media. Hutcheson remains an active blogger and moderator at MyBlogGuest.

41. Tadeusz Szewczyk, Blog, Social Media, and Search Specialist at onreact.com

Based in Berlin, Tadeusz Szewczyk (or Tad Chef) has won the “Best UK SEO Blog” award in 2011 by the UK Search Awards for a British client blog. Szewczyk continues blogging at seo2.us and also contributes regularly to the Ahrefs.com blog.

42. Tamar Weinberg, Author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web

Tamar Weinberg is a digital and social media strategist who specializes in strategy and execution, blogger outreach, reputation management, video marketing, and, of course, SEO. Weinberg has been involved in digital marketing and the Internet since the early 1990’s, and has worked exclusively within this world since 2006.

43. Terry Van Horne, Founder of SEO Pros

To say that Terry Van Horne has varied experience would be an understatement. Since 1972, Horne has worked in Real Estate, as an Executive Chef, in Sales and Marketing, and finally in Web Marketing and Development. While Horne has officially left the SEO industry, his impact and contributions are still prevalent.

44. Tess Neale, Founder of For the love of SEO

Tess Neale might not agree with her placement on this list, as she is quick to clarify that she is not an “SEO rockstar.” However, Neale’s focus and determination in helping small business websites through For the love of SEO prove that hard work trumps any title.

45. Tim Dineen; Co-Founder and VP of Product Development at Recruitics

An Internet and recruitment marketing pro, Tim Dineen has years of experience developing products online. You can find Dineen on Twitter, chatting about search/SEO, social, recruitment marketing, analytics and jobs.

46. Tim Nash; Blogger at TimNash.co.uk

Tim Nash spends most of his day coding and writing in front a computer. TimNash.co.uk is Nash’s main blog where he touches on subjects from WordPress to E-Commerce and digital marketing.

47. Tommy Landry, President of Return on Now

From small startups to enterprise, Tommy Landry has over 20 years of experience in marketing and business strategy. Since 2001, Landry has founded three businesses, including RotoExperts.com, which is an internet business focused on fantasy sports.

48. Tony Adam, Founder and CEO of Eventify and Visible Factors

Along with founding Eventify and Visible Factors, Tony Adam acts and an advisor and consultant to many Los Angeles area startups. For over a decade, Adam has been involved in the technology industry at companies like PayPal, Yahoo!, and Myspace.

49. Todd Malicoat, Marketing Consultant and Internet Entrepreneur at StuntDubl

Todd Malicoat boasts 10 years of SEO consulting to enterprise firms as well as being self employed for over 7 years. Notably, Malicoat co-developed the SEO curriculum used at Rutgers University.

50. Vanessa Fox, Author of Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy

Vanessa Fox is an SEO consultant, blogger, and author. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because Fox has been named one of Seattle’s Top 40 Under 40, Top 25 Innovators and Entrepreneurs, and one of the Top 100 Seattle Women in Seattle Tech.

Who did we miss? Let’s try for a top 100 next time! Comment below with who you would add.

How to Solve Marketer’s Lovability Problem (Cool Things We Learned at IMSLC)

By | Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Search Marketing, SEO, Uncategorized, Video | No Comments

Marketers have a lovability problem.

At least that’s what Nick Salvatoriello, an Inbound Marketing Professor for HubSpot, told the 250 people who attended Inbound Marketing SLC on Thursday. He cited a study that showed marketers to be behind lawyers and stockbrokers on the likability scale (although they were slightly ahead of car salespeople and lobbyists).

Nick, who flew in from HubSpot’s Boston headquarters for the event, suggested that marketers combat their image problem by providing marketing that customers love.  This is the driving force behind inbound marketing, he said, because inbound marketing aims to treat each precious contact as an actual human with needs that need to be addressed.

Next on the mic was our very own Owen Fuller, president and founder of Fit Marketing. Owen explained how important it is for marketers to harness the power of good storytelling. Stories can produce visceral responses from your customers, and the experiences they have with you will be much more memorable.

To create stories, think of the problems that your customers are facing and identify the possible solutions. If you don’t know what their problems are, then you must not be listening.

We then got to hear from Abe Niederhauser, marketing manager at Orabrush. Abe explained how his company takes a data driven approach to its video marketing efforts. When they launched an oral care product for dogs, for example, they went through 55 variations of the conversion video, 245 variations of the landing page and 46 different price points.

Orabrush’s strategy has been highly effective. The company has over 42 million YouTube views, which Abe noted is roughly 1/5 of the views of giants like Old Spice and Pepsi but at 1/100 of the budget.

The last speaker at IMSLC was Dave Bascom, CEO of Fit Marketing. Although Dave is the founder and former CEO of SEO.com, his presentation was titled “Fire Your SEO Agency and Grow Your Search Traffic”.

Dave advised companies to think of SEO as a mindset, not a department. Three “non-SEO” tactics he suggested are 1) juicy content creation, 2) influencer outreach and 3) social media engagement. All of these tactics would be good ideas even if Google didn’t exist because they would increase direct traffic, exposure, leads and sales.

The event was sponsored by Utah Business Games and Signs.com. A big thanks goes out to them for helping to make IMSLC happen.

If you weren’t able to attend IMSLC, you’re in luck. We’re doing it again on May 22. We’ve already received a lot of great feedback from you and look forward to making the next one bigger and better.

Pandas, Penguins, and Hummingbirds

By | Search Marketing, SEO | One Comment

This is a guest post from Leigh Chesley at Salesfusion.

Keeping Google happy is a lot like pleasing a cat – what they want can change frequently and abruptly.

Major Google algorithm updates Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird have had a major impact on websites and SERPs over the past few years. The general rule that Google has given webmasters about these updates is this: If you are not practicing black hat search engine optimization (SEO), you have nothing to worry about.

That’s all well and good, but then a lot of people ignored everything else Google had to say. Even if you are confident that your SEO practices are on the up-and-up, here are answers to some of the most pressing questions about the menagerie of recent algorithm updates.

1. What is black hat search engine optimization?

If you don’t know what black hat search engine optimization is, how can you be certain your teams (or you!) aren’t guilty of doing it?

Black hat SEO is any unethical technique that is used to manipulate or break search engine algorithms to get higher search engine rankings.

 

Warning: This applies even if it is accidental!

It’s pretty obvious that unethical practices include presenting content in a way that breaks the search engines.

But what you may not know is that it also includes techniques that create a poor user experience because the site was optimized for search engine spiders, not for humans.

Even the most well-intentioned webmasters can fall into the trap of wanting to rank high on the first page and forgetting that it is even more important that people are able to navigate the website once they get there.

You might be ranking third in the search ranking, but if your content is difficult to digest it won’t do you any good in the long run anyway. Make sure your web copy and navigation is natural and intuitive. When in doubt, use A/B testing. In fact, use A/B testing regularly even if you’re not in doubt.

2. What are the updates?

If you know what the recent updates are targeting, you can make sure your site is up to snuff. It can also give you a clue about where Google is going in the future.

 

  • Google’s first Panda update targeted content, ad-to-content ratios, and content farms. It impacted about 12 percent of search results. These websites were considered to be lower quality, or “thin” in regards to content. Duplicate content, too many ads and poor writing were all targeted by the Panda update.
  • The Penguin update targeted keyword stuffing, inorganic backlinking and other false optimization techniques. This update knocked unsuspecting, well-intentioned webmasters’ sites out of the top of the search engine results.

Inorganic backlinking is creating links that are purely for backlinking and have little or no relation to the content on the website. This practice was helping some websites create a false level of trust within the rankings, gaming Google’s PageRank algorithm, which calculates number of links from credible sites as part of its measure of “trustworthiness.”

  • The Hummingbird update, on the other hand, was less about targeting SEO practices than enhancing the user experience, including mobile search. It has been described as giving an old classic car a new engine. Google is continually updating its search algorithm, looking for ways to deliver more qualified, relevant results. (You learn more about specifics here).

What should you do?

What that “Golden Rule” of search engine optimization says is true. If you’re not employing any unethical, black hat search engine optimization techniques, then your website is not likely to suffer from Google updates.

 

  • Backlinking is critical if you are trying to increase visibility for a website, especially if it is in a competitive space. However, backlinking needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully. The best way to approach your backlinking strategy is to pursue logical backlinks from credible websites.
  • Content is king – even in the search engine results pages. Write content for humans (after all, that’s likely your audience) and the search engine spiders will take notice. Go back and look at your copy to see if you can layer in a just a few words that will help your organic rankings, but don’t stuff your copy with buzz words. This is obvious, and is likely to hurt your rankings in the long term. Make sure to include natural keywords. Add in a few links to other credible websites.
  • Distribute press releases through credible online publishers and benefit from the backlinks you get through your PR. When you distribute press releases and create good news stories, you are naturally adding your keywords into organic search. You are also increasing your backlinks for credible sources that continuously have fresh, new content – something that Google loves.

So Google has a herd of animals stampeding through the SERPs. No sweat. The next time there is a new one on the horizon you’ll be ready. The bottom line is this – have a strategy around your search engine optimization plan, but make sure it is logical and humanistic.

Fire Your Black Hat SEO Agency!

By | SEO | One Comment

You’ve seen the emails- a company is guaranteeing that you can rank on the first page of Google for a small monthly fee. Sounds too good to be true!

It’s because it is.

Sadly, a majority of SEO companies practice what are called “black hat SEO” techniques.

Black hat SEO is a strategy that is used to manipulate search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) to rank a business through spamming the Internet.

Although these techniques used to work, they don’t anymore. In fact, they’re likely to lower your rankings or completely remove your site from Google altogether! 

And it’s not easy to get back.

Grizzly Bear Claw

Most sites will never recover from a Google penalty, and these penalties come fast and hard.

Once hit with a penalty you will immediately face:

  • a sharp drop in traffic,
  • a fast decline in sales and
  • having to start from scratch with your SEO strategy– possibly even needing to create a new website!

I know of one particular company that was hit with a Panda/Penguin Penalty due to a lot of low quality inbound links.

This e-commerce business went from making $1 million in revenue per month to making about $10,000 per month from repeat customers – on a good month.

Downward chart

The owner was faced with having to let go many long-time members of his staff while simultaneously trying to get the penalty removed AND working on a new (non-black hat) SEO strategy.

How to Identify a Black Hat SEO Company

Play at your own risk sign

Black hat SEO companies frequently state the following:

  • Promising you a specific # of guaranteed links.
  • Mentioning the use of social bookmarking, directory submissions, article spinning and guest posting on content farms.
  • Offering you a delivery time for specific results (example: you’ll rank #1 within 30 days).
  • Guaranteeing rankings and/or traffic (rarely legitimate).
  • Mentioning social curations (creating fake social media accounts).
  • Pricing less than $1k per month for a non-local strategy. This isn’t always true, but it’s almost impossible to run a business charging this little for quality work.
  • Mentioning a maximum number of keywords you can target.
  • Saying “your links will be removed if you decide to cancel your service.”.

If your SEO agency mentions any of these things, it should raise an immediate red flag.

Note: There are some companies out there that claim one or more of these items, but are legitimate (roughly 1%).

You should let the agency know, in no uncertain terms, that these practices must be discontinued and ask what their plan is for rectifying the situation so that you do not face a Google penalty.

Reversing Black Hat SEO Damage

Here’s how you can start correcting the issue:

  1. Put together a list of all inbound links (use a tool like Open Site Explorer or LinkDetox.com)

  2. Remove links from low PR sites (many times you will have to simply ask the webmaster to remove the link and hope for a positive response)

  3. If you can’t get the bad links removed, use the Google Disavow tool (this is a last resort option – Google doesn’t like you to overuse it)

  4. Start building up good high quality content on your website via a blog and your main website pages – remove any keyword stuffing or other spam tactics

  5. Put together a proper content marketing and/or public relations campaign that will help you EARN high quality inbound links).

Already Been Penalized?

If Google’s already penalized your website, follow the above steps AND submit a Reconsideration Request to Google.

Only submit the request do this once you have taken corrective steps.

Lewis Sellers, the founder of Pinpoint Designs, received a positive result from his reconsideration request and provides this advice:

“Spend time on your reconsideration request. Google must receive hundreds, if not thousands, of reconsideration requests each and every week.

Rather than sending in a paragraph, spend some time telling them what you’ve done wrong and most importantly, be honest.

Tell them why you you think you’ve been targeted, what you’ve done to rectify it and how it won’t happen again.”

When submitting your reconsideration request be sure to provide supporting evidence for how you have changed/updated your site (including which low quality links you have had removed).

Provide this information via Google Docs and not through a random link as the Google team may not click a link that looks suspicious.

The final step- fire your black hat SEO agency that got you into this mess in the first place!

Here’s My (Shameless) Plug…

There are many good SEO agencies out there that can work within the budget considerations of a small business – including us here at Stryde.

We strictly adhere to “white hat SEO” tactics and pride ourselves on delivering outstanding, long term results for clients.

We’re more than just an agency; we’re your partner in the world of online marketing.

[Crash Course] 10 Ways to Improve Your Google Rankings

By | SEO | No Comments

Google recently updated their advice on how to rank better in the search engines by saying:

“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.”

The advice used to be:

“In general, wemasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”

What does this mean? In a nutshell: If you want your site to rank well you should focus on improving your site rather than generating lots of inbound links.

 

10 Ways to Improve Your Google Rankings

Rand Fishkin, well-respected SEO specialist and founder of Moz, says you can achieve this through the following ways:

  1. Make the page more relevant
  2. Make the page higher quality
  3. Make the page more well-cited
  4. Make the page more accessible
  5. Make the page’s listing in the search results more compelling
  6. Make the site the page is hosting on more relevant
  7. Make the site the page is hosted on higher quality
  8. Make the site the page is hosted on more well-cited
  9. Make the site the page is hosted on more accessible
  10. Make the site the page is hosted on a more recognizable and compelling brand

This list isn’t the kind where you can pick-and-choose which one or ones you want to do.

You should view Rand’s suggestions as a checklist of what you must do to improve your SEO. The best advice is to go down the list and tick off each point. And then go back to the beginning and start again because a site optimization is never-ending work.

 

You Can Do This

Is your head spinning looking at this list?
Are you unsure of how to go about doing any of these things?

I’m here to help.

The first thing to do is realize that this list can be broken down into three major categories:

  1. Page-specific work (numbers 1-5)

  2. Site-wide work (numbers 6-9)

  3. Branding work (number 10)

Breaking the list into categories can make the work seem much less intimidating to someone who isn’t strongly familiar with SEO.

That doesn’t mean the work is any easier though. SEO is a very technical form of marketing which means there is on-page and coding work that has to be completed for the best results.

If you do not have at least a basic working knowledge of HTML, it would be best for you to skip the rest of this post and give an SEO specialist a call.
Our number is 801-214-1531 (there’s my plug-of-the-month).

Everyone else, read on…

 

Page-Specific SEO Work

Rand suggests to improve a page’s rankings we should focus on making the page: more relevant, higher quality, well-cited, accessible and ensure the site-listings are compelling.

To make your page more relevant you should:

  • Pick a keyword/phrase that you want to focus on for the page
  • Optimize the URL structure to include that keyword/phrase
  • Use that keyword in header tags when appropriate
  • Use the keyword in the copy where appropriate
  • Add images to your page and make sure they are named using your keyword
  • Add alt tags to the images that use the keyword
  • Ensure your meta title and description uses the keyword

To make your page higher quality you should:

  • Avoid keyword stuffing aka “writing for search engines”
  • Focus on writing high quality content that readers will find interesting, helpful, and engaging.
  • Include helpful images, graphs, charts, etc. to interest readers. People are visual! Don’t forget that.
  • Make sure the design of the page reflects your brand standards
  • Avoid spammy words, phrases and other negative attributes. This is usually very obvious to the common reader.

To make your site well-cited you should:

  • Attract organic inbound links through high quality content
  • Reach out to the press and related industry blogs to mention your company. This could be through product reviews, mentions, guest posts, etc.
  • Ask low quality, low PR sites to remove their links to your site (if there are any).
  • If you’re a local business, you need your business to be listed in respected directories like Google+, Yelp! and TripAdvisor and many niche directories.
  • Use social media sites to attract traffic/social signals to your page

To make your site more accessible you should:

  • Ensure your website is accessible to people with disabilities
  • Include ALT text on all of your images
  • Make sure it is easy to get to the page through your website’s navigation

To make the site listing more compelling you should:

  • Write a descriptive title using your keyword
  • Write a helpful description that uses your keyword
  • Make sure the description accurately reflects the information on the page
  • Have a marketer/copywriter look over the description to see if it can be made more exciting while retaining clarity

Site-Wide SEO Work:

The second aspect to improving your site’s ranking in the search engines deals with site-wide SEO work.

According to Rand we should focus on much of the same things we focused on with pages by making the site: more relevant, higher quality, well-cited and accessible.

The way to do this is to go through your website and optimize it page by page using the tips above.

As always you should have a strong focus on:

  • Writing high-quality content
  • Including images and other things that make copy more appealing
  • Never keyword stuffing a page
  • Making each page relevant to the focused keyword
  • Including alt text on images
  • Adhering to all accessibility standards
  • Writing compelling, clear meta titles and descriptions
  • Ensuring navigation is easy to use

Basically, if you focus on very high-quality content and all usability standards and then promote that high quality content, you should see increased traffic and rankings.

 

Branding Work

The final tip Rand provides for increasing Google rankings is: make the site the page is hosted on a more recognizable and compelling brand.

In fact, branding touches all aspects of this checklist, but is most heavily focused on in this last tip.

The most important thing to remember here is that high-quality content matters but some people judge a book by its cover, which means design can be equally as important.

Make sure that your site is well-branded and doesn’t appear to be spammy. You can absolutely build trust through design and you should. High-quality websites prefer linking to sites that sound AND look credible.

 

Your Thoughts

Are you having any trouble with SEO?
Let us know in the comments below and we’d be happy to help!
We check our comments many times per day. So, feel free to reach out.