KD Web Strategies Blog

November 18, 2011

My Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Takeaways from Internet Summit 2011

Filed under: SEO — Tags: , , , — kellyduffort @ 11:14 pm
Binoculars

Are people finding your web content? Do you know the latest SEO trends? (Photo by doraemon, Flickr, Available via Creative Commons License)

Jessica Bowman, founder and CEO of SEOinhouse, jump started Internet Summit 2011 for me as the first speaker that I heard during Tuesday’s Pre-Conference Intensives. She was a great example of a speaker whose approach is “You’re here to learn, I’m here to teach, let’s get to it!”

In addition to her enthusiasm (an extra important quality in the 8am time slot), she had tremendous knowledge to share. According to Jessica, quality content, now more than ever, is crucial to search engine optimization. (As a content person, I thank you, Jessica Bowman. That’s what I like to hear.)

Jessica reminded us that search results are getting more and more crowded every day. You’ve got to work harder and you have to stay up-to-date on what works and what doesn’t. One point that she spoke on, which was later echoed by Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski), president of SEO by the Sea, is the impact social media has had and will continue to have on SEO.

Jessica’s tips for gaining social authority are:

  • Automate minimally
  • Associate with people who will share
  • Mix up your sharing so you aren’t too predictable
  • Do not over expose the message, repeating the same message over and over again.

Later in the day, I attended the “Advanced SEO” session with four speakers. I learned something new from each and every one of them.

Lindsay Wassell (@lindzie), partner and consultant at Keyphraseology, recommended that brick-and-mortar businesses claim their local listings (e.g., establish a presence on Yelp) and then encourage and manage reviews. She also pointed out the increasing importance of posting images. More and more, images are appearing in search results, with and without the related content due to the greater and greater weight search engines are placing on images and videos.

Michael Marshall (@michaelmarshall), lead instructor with Search Engine Academy of North Carolina, spoke about the difference between on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization includes the steps you take to optimize your webpage as you are building it including title tags, alt tags, header tags (H1, H2), keyword density and keyword proximity, sitemaps (XML and HTML), usability and internal linking. (Note: Some of these factors are not used appropriately today.)  Components of off-page optimization include your activity, presence and mentions on social networking sites, search engine/directory submission, social bookmarking submissions (digg.com, de.li.cious.com) and article submissions. I had not heard of that division – on-page and off-page – and I appreciated the breakdown.

Markus Renstrom (@markusrenstrom), Head of SEO at Yahoo!, said that SEO is:

  • content strategy
  • accessibility
  • relevance architecture
  • user focused

Well, I liked everything that Markus had to say since he puts such high importance on content strategy and because he had the best accent – helps break up the day when you’re listening to speakers for 9 hours straight.

The slide from Bill Slawski that made me think the most was:

Google+   >   Twitter + Facebook

I love Twitter, I enjoy Facebook, but I’ve really been dragging my heels on Google+. Looking ahead to where search and social are headed, his equation make complete sense. If you’re not on Google+ now, you better get busy and join. (Look me up when you do…I’ve got some Google+ homework to do.)

Bill closed with a recommendation that really resonated with me as I start up a couple of new projects. Something I knew, but is always good to hear the experts reinforce: Teach and coach clients how to social network instead of networking for them. They are the subject matter experts. It’s more authentic when the content comes directly from them. Authenticity is very, very good for search engine optimization.

So… what was the best search engine optimization (SEO) insight you gained from Internet Summit 2011?

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November 17, 2011

My Facebook Page Takeaways from Internet Summit 2011

Filed under: Facebook — Tags: , , — kellyduffort @ 4:33 pm

I’m ramping up some work on Facebook Pages for a couple of clients. Instead of sharing my Internet Summit 2011 notes on the topic in an email just with them, I’ve decided to turn them into a blog post.

With a little luck, I’ll get similar blog posts on my search and analytics takeaways in the next couple of days.

As Matt Peters (@fracked), co-founder and creative director of Pandemic Labs, put it so eloquently, “NO ONE IS VISITING YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE!” You can have hundreds of people like your page, but you should know that, on average, less than 5% of them ever return.

Your Facebook Page is not a destination, as Matt explained. It is an important place from which you pump out content, but that content needs to be written with the goal of appearing in fans’ news feeds. The goal of getting them to “like” it or preferably “share” it with their friends. It’s golden content if inspires your fans to respond to it. “Engagement” (as we folks in the industry like to call inspiring people to respond and talk about what you post) is what you want.

Matt provided some excellent food for thought and provided some great examples on what qualifies as an excellent Facebook Page post. For your Facebook Page content to be successful, it should require:

  • minimal attention
  • minimal cognitive resources and
  • high emotional value.

Lisa Braziel (@lisabraziel), strategy director at Ignite Social Media, and Jim Tobin (@jtobin), president of Ignite Social Media, both referenced Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm in their social media presentations. Folks who work on the web know it and build content around it every day. Small business owners toying with the idea of a Facebook Page should know that it is the magic formula for determining whether your post appears on your fans’ (or friends’) newsfeeds. Every Facebook post is measured according to it and the three magic dimensions are affinity (engagement and interaction), weight and recency.

Matt Crenshaw (@mcrenshawATL), vice president of marketing and analytics for Discovery Digital Media, Discovery Communications, gave an interesting presentation that covered his company’s analysis of their Facebook Page postings, their fans’ comments and how Discovery Communications adjusted their Facebook Page activity as a result. Another part of their extensive analysis was a tactic that any small business can and should adopt. A few questions that I think are excellent starting points – and points to revisit every so often as you create and manage your Facebook Page content.  Determine:  “What is my competition posting? What is working for them? What isn’t working for them?”

If you made it to the Internet Summit this year, what were your favorite Facebook Page takeaways? For you or for your clients?

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