Below we’ve got some (very bullet pointy) coverage of Dave’s SEO session (“SEO Strategies to Make a Splash”) at A4Uexpo London. Hopefully you’ll find some useful nuggets in the list!
Dave opened by defining SEO by the Wikipedia definition (which he hates :-). Each heading covers the slide title presented.
Skills needed for SEO
HTML & CSS are absolutely required.
An ability to see an angle on things – able to see opportunity in things and understand your market sectors.
You need a will to win (at all costs)!
Other skills and qualities
Good at networking – this is really vital – make friends with people in your industry.
A sense of humour.
Don’t be naive.
How to learn SEO
Dave recommended a few sources of info about SEO:
Google Webmaster Central
Matt Cutts blog
SEO book by Aaron Wall
Conferences – most SEO’s are willing to share if you ask them
Beginning as an SEO
Dave started in the industry optimising with loft conversions, inkjet cartidges, renault parts,
Use clean and good techniques
Monitor the results and test different theories. Track your tweaks and changes. Monitor your competitors to give you an outlook on what changes are impacting your results vs general algorithm changes
Use tools – Raven SEO
Different strategies apply to different sectors – eg a hotel vs a gambling site
By understanding your market you can judge the best strategy to employ to acquire links.
You should consider your long tail – competitive keywords or long tail queries
Use content (Dave honestly believes you need good content on the site to get it to rank). Dave reminded us that google really doesn’t want “thin” affiliate sites in their index – so look at the long tail and create content to capture that traffic.
The way you acquire links, for example “just” buying links can be suicide
SEO to win
Think of where you want to be in 12 months time. Think about your site structure, start with a process and don’t just dive in making lots of changes in one weekend.
Sort out your on page SEO – learn the on page factors.
Look at your competitors – what are they doing?
The way you acquire links.
Choose your keywords and do good keyword research.
Dave advised us to PPC our keywords during the KW research process to check the validity of KW data from Google Keyword Tool.
Only go for really competitive keywords if you know what you’re doing. Start with the long tail first!
Make sure you track your conversions – there’s no point going for keywords if they don’t convert
On page factors
Make your title tags unique.
Meta description is good for CTR.
Keep your eye on H1, H2, H3.
CSS positioning (use your CSS to make sure your content is pushed to the top of the page)
Dave’s link tips
1) Networking – get good contacts in your industry and use them
Great way to share links
– Guest posts on blogs
– Refer to each other when possible
2) Share ideas and information
– Places to get links
– Ways of getting links
3) Linkbait -Dave hates linkbait, but it works!
– Make a useful list
– Be first to break some news
– Discover something interesting
– Write a funny blog post
– Write a useful guide
4) Directory submission
– Not that useful for links
– Great for creating a smoke screen and hiding your most valuable links
5) Competitor analysis
– Download all their links
– Look for common links- go for those first
– Use these as ideas for linkbuilding methods unique to your industry
6) Press coverage
Something worth spreading? The Twitter exploit is still open! Dave could change your profile picture, tweet as you. The security hole at Twitter is ludicrous. Exploitation could be the next big thing – WordPress hacks, Twitter hacking etc. Dave expressed some concern that services could emerge to take advantage of these issues.
7) Article submissions
You can submit articles to a number of places, but the value is diminishing. You can use Raven to distribute content via their blog network.
Write an article and spin it – makes at least 20 or 30 articles. Dave recommended Daryl Wilcox Publishing as a good way to distribute and exchange Press Releases.
8) Buying links
Find the site, check the whois and other sites hosted at that IP
Map out who these sites advertise and work out who the link buyers are. Be careful not to buy too many links in the same space as obvious link buyers.
Anchor text – first link counts
Dave ran a great number of tests to prove this works. Make sure that when you’re linking out of a document, make sure your first link uses the anchor text you’re targeting
The best type of links
Are the ones your competitors can’t get hold of!
Put a WordPress blog on a subdomain (if you haven’t already got one). You’ll often see blogs ranking because of QDF, ranking highly for volume queries for a short period of time.
Your brand helps you rank higher
– Search volume for your brand
– Mentions of your brand
– Mentions of your brand in the press
Spamming, bulk link buying, KW stuffing, hidden keywords, UA Cloaking, Duplicate content are all spamming techniques that just aren’t SEO anymore.
Great session covering a huge range of subjects with some really useful reminders and pointers. For more, go and check out Dave’s (newly branded) site.