Today, I was asked to look into SEO conferences in the United States. Here’s a listing of the major ones.
- Get listed, with a link to your site in local or category-specific directories. Local directories include Yahoo! Local, Google Places, and Yelp. To find category directories, do a web search for <your topic> directory. For example, if you’re a realtor, try Kansas City realtor directory, or Brookside business directory.
- Be sure each page has a unique title that makes sense out of context, and fits in about 60 characters.
- Take a few minutes to summarize your page content via the page/meta description. Do so in about 160 characters.
- Make your web content conversational. Be sure it answers your visitors questions. A great book on writing for the web is Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works. I also have a post on Writing for the Web.
Agenda for SEO 101
- SEO & why it’s important
- SEO Factors
- Tools for SEO
- SEO & WordPress
SEO 101 Slides (PDF-file)
Use SEO tools to evaluate your progress
Online SEO Tools
- SEOmoz Tools – A comprehensive suite of SEO tools (some require paid subscription)
- Yahoo! Site Explorer – Examine who’s linking to your site.
- SEOmoz Term Target – Assigns a letter-grade to a page that represents how well certain keywords are targeted.
SEO Browser Extensions
- SEOmoz Toolbar (Firefox and Chrome)
- SEO Site Tools (Chrome)
- Quirk SearchStatus (Firefox)
- SEO Quake (Firefox, Chrome & Safari)
- SEObook – SEO for Firefox
WordPress SEO Tools
- All in One SEO Pack – Allows you to customize just about everything related to SEO.
Learn more about SEO
- Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF file)
- SEOmoz Search Engine Ranking Factors – Report from collective wisdom of 37 leaders in the world of organic search engine optimization.
- SEOmoz Beginners Guide to SEO
- SEO Infographics from Elliance – Learn SEO visually with these infographics.
Changes to search engine result pages mean big wins for SEO
Domain stacking, went live about two weeks ago, allows the same domain to appear in top 3 results. For this to happen Google must consider your site a brand. It’s a great way to filter out competition.
Additional metadata, you can now embed ratings for your content, number of reviews, price range. When a page is about a person, you can also embed companies, titles. The big one is thumbnail images. Having a thumbnail has a big impact on the number of click-throughs.
Winning Rankings in Local Search and Maps
This is one area where Google isn’t the dominant player, as they are on the rest of the web. The importance of local search is more important than ever before, especially if you’re targeting a specific region. Google is already doing some geo-location based on your IP address and returning local results, when available. Local does have the potential to push organic listings down.
One of the best research tools is Google Insights, which allows you to narrow down by location. The algorithm for local is vastly different. In tests, restaurants with Flash web sites are ranking in local results. Local Search Ranking Factors is a report which is updated yearly.
Claim your place: It’s important to claim your places, to ensure the search engines and local directory services know they have the correct info for your business. There’s so much bad data in local data, verifying data goes a long way for ranking. Only 2 or 20 million have claimed their Google places page. The other 18-million were fed from Acxiom, InfoUSA and Universal Business Listing.
Use the name of the business in the title, along with one-two descriptive keywords.
Example: name of business, North 45; provide a keyword or two, such as North 45 Pub, but don’t overdo it, such as North 45 Pub – Drink beer, meet local area singles.
Fill out as much information in your listing as possible. Include links to your site, photos of your business, special incentives, etc. If you have multiple locations, fill out and verify each location individually. It’s also a good idea to add your business address and geo-coordinates to your Wikipedia page, if one exists.
Tracking successes: You can set up Google Analytics to track traffic from local results in SERP’s.
How to Pitch SEO
Find the people who know SEO works, get them to choose you. Understand that overnight success takes years. Provide knowledge, offer training. When you do host an event, don’t do it for free, charge a small fee. This will help you plan how many people are committed and will attend.
Don’t pitch in your pitch. No one wants to hear a sales pitch. Pitch by sharing knowledge when speaking at events and posting blog content. Aim to build trust. Everyone in your business should share. Don’t hold back, the more you educate, the more people will come to you. You must give potential clients primary research. Do research and give it away in your pitch. Examples: spreadsheet of keyword stats, client standing in SERP’s, competitive analysis, etc. Show them stuff they haven’t seen yet, and won’t see in other pitches.
Make engineering and developers your friends. They are critical to making anything happen. Make them believe in what you do. They have goals they’d like to accomplish, all of these things feed directly into SEO. Help them make their case with SEO.
Remove objections, dispel myths about SEO. Compare SEO and costs to other marketing channels, use data to back up your story. Show how small changes can make a big change over time. An increase of 2%/month might not seem like a lot, but if you sustain it, it will compound over the months and years. Leverage social proof. Everyone agrees that SEO will increase effectiveness, according to a Forrester Research Study. If you’re not adding 20% per-year to your SEO budget, the competition is gaining on you.
Site Architecture + Technical Best Practices for Big Site SEO
It’s important to realize SEO can move slowly in large, corporate environments. Much of your effort will be education and marketing of your IT, Marketing, Editorial, Production staff. There are often lapses in communication throughout this process. Understand challenges and prioritize, based on evidence.
High-priority: Sitemaps, education, 301′s, template optimization (for on-page), rel-canonical, rewriting URL’s, how much will each of these make/cost?
Low-priority: Page load time, link flow, video and image SEO, duplicate content, CMS overhead.
From New York Times experience: You must take a different approach with experienced editorial staff.
I’m registered and ready to attend SEOmoz PRO Training Seminar, August 30 – September 1, 2010 in Seattle, WA. The conference provides an arsenal of Tips, Tricks & Tactics to elevate SEO skills.
Lets Meet in Seattle
SEOmoz PRO Training Seminar in Seattle
- Follow SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar (Seattle) attendees on Twitter.
- SEOmoz PRO Training Seminar Agenda (1-pg PDF)
- RSVP to the SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.