How to do Awesome SEO Keyword Research for a Standard Website

How do you build a keyword list for a relatively normal site with limited amounts of template content? In these engagements you build a keyword list and then optimize individual pages for individual terms. Brand websites are a good candidate for this kind of keyword research.

But First, a Note on Search Volume

Search volume data from the Google keyword tool is bullshit. You know it, I know it, the whole industry knows it. You look up the search volume for a term, then log in to the tool and do the same thing again – the search volume is completely different!

The simple truth is: you shouldn’t rely on individual datapoints coming out of Google’s keyword tool. It’s really there for illustrative purposes only.

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The SEO Cycle: A Contrographic

Whether you’ve been in the industry for a while or if you’re still just starting out, you’ve been there.

We’ve all at least once dipped our fingers into the shadier side of SEO. It’s hard not to. Only very recently has Google started to finally crack down seriously on web spam in the SERPs, and even now there’s still a ton of crap affiliate sites outranking brands. Sure, Google’s heading in the right direction, but we’re still not there yet.

That’s why I thought this contrographic was an absolute perfect way to describe what’s happened to SEOs at least once in their lives. It’s also a great resource to show beginners, because I can guarantee they’ve at least thought about the shadier side of things.

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Great SEO Happens When You Keep Your Ego Out of It

Being an outside SEO partner is always a little tricky, especially when you are working with a larger organization, because you aren’t physical in the office to help projects along. You have to rely on your point of contact at the client company (who hopefully doesn’t leave anytime soon!) to keep you up-to-date with what’s going in internally, and make sure you aren’t caught off guard by any major changes like a website redesign, new VP of Marketing, or change in the marketing messaging.

And while most of the people I work directly with in a larger company “get” SEO, it can sometimes be difficult getting the rest of their team on-board, especially when egos come into play.

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Your Guide to Social Signals for SEO

A brief history of social signals as a ranking factor

Almost two years ago, in December 2010, Danny Sullivan wrote an insightful piece on social signals and their influence on search engine rankings. The article explored the possibility of social signals affecting rankings, but was early for its time; scalable link building methods were all the rage (because they worked), and not much attention was paid to social signals across a large portion of the industry. Sullivan posed the question:

“…are either of the major search engines actually using those social signals to rank regular search results?”

He concluded that data from Facebook was largely unused by Google (due to not having access to personal wall data from Facebook), but that “retweets serve as a new form of link building. Get your page mentioned in tweets by authoritative people, and that can help your ranking in regular search results, to a degree.”

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Top SEO Tips Straight From the Industry Experts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Once upon a time (the past hundred years or so), in a land not far from here (all of our respective doorsteps), lived the concept of “yellow books.”

These books were not like other books you may stumble upon. They were fat and heavy, dirtied your fingers, and configured your eyes into a permanent squint-mode with their tiny type. These yellow books were dangerous creatures, indeed.

How else could consumers find what the businesses they were looking for, though? Well fortunately, the consumer search landscape has drastically transformed since then. Instead of flipping pages, we type. Instead of squinting our eyes for the right match, search engines do the matching work for us. In this new world of search — new in the grand scheme of things, at least — it’s critical for businesses to understand how to properly optimize their online presence for search.

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Is SEO Dead? And, Did Google Disavow Kill It?

If you haven’t heard, Google recently announced this Disavow tool inside the Webmaster Tools system and it basically allows you to make it so that Google does not count incoming links to your site from certain places.

The idea is that when low quality links are affecting your rankings, you have the ability to get on there and say “okay, I want you to ignore those links”. So, basically what happens here – if you look at the overall picture – Google is making it so that it’s now crowd-sourcing the detection of crappy links.

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How to Prevent Negative SEO

Google’s recent Penguin update was designed to reduce the impact that low-quality backlinks had on a website’s natural search performance. And while this news was mostly greeted with frustration by webmasters who had been using linking schemes to artificially inflate their SERP rankings, there was one group that was happy about the change: the black hat spammers who utilize negative SEO to bring down their competitors’ rankings.

Negative SEO is the practice of attacking other websites using techniques that are likely to result in known SEO penalties, rather than taking a proactive approach to investing in one’s own website. As an example, somebody using negative SEO might direct these same low-quality backlinks to point at a competitor’s website, rather than taking the time to build high-value links back to his own site.

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5 On-Page SEO Methods to Avoid

In the case of SEO, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what you should do. A company can do all of the things Google suggests when it comes to on-page SEO, but this won’t mean much if you’re also using black hat tactics. In other words, the “black” methods trump the “white” methods when it comes to on-page SEO, and in most cases your website simply won’t rank. Fortunately, understanding some of the on-page SEO methods to avoid is easy to put into (or take out of) action.

It’s first important to understand the difference between on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is exactly as it sounds: optimizing your actual website for Google. Off-page SEO is what you do away from your website in order to prove to Google that you’re a reputable site.

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SEO Tips From Industry Experts: An Infographic And Ebook

Recently, our friends at Hubspot reached out to me and asked if we would like to be a part of a new ebook they were putting together called SEO Tips From Industry Experts… and of course I said “absolutely, we would love to!”

Our topic to cover was Mastering On-Page SEO, and for this we had our VP of Client Services, Greg Shuey provide the content.

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The Top SEO Platforms: Forrester Wave Report

Forrester, the large marketing technology analysis organization, has released two of three of its Forrester Wave reports related to search marketing. I wrote about the first one yesterday in Forrester Rates The Top Large Search Marketing Agencies, which offered an assessment of large, full service (meaning agencies that offer both organic SEO and PPC) and agencies who serve large clients of $1 billion or more in revenue.

Today, a look at the second report, covering what Forrester describes as SEO “platforms” – the relatively new set of tools that has emerged over the past few years to help SEOs automate and bring more efficiency to a broad range of search optimization tasks that previously were a manual chore.

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