SEO Will Never, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever Die!

I’ll tell ya what, I am sick and tired of hearing SEO is dead, or SEO is dying. Today, I was following a thread on OpenForum where a business owner was discussing this very topic and it just made my angry… hence here’s my post about it 🙂

My definition of SEO is very simple, SEO is the process of optimizing a web page to become more relevant for keyword themes or topics and gain more visibility in the search engines. This includes keyword research, competitive analysis, technical SEO analysis, and web page optimization for both the search engines as well as users. That’s it… that is SEO and I don’t see how that will ever die.

Now, you’re probably thinking, what about link building? Social sharing? Those are a part of SEO. I disagree. Link building, social sharing, content promotion, etc are all a part of website promotion, which has absolutely nothing to do with the physical optimization of a web page for users and the search engines. Yes, it supports your SEO, however, it, in and of itself, is not SEO. Sorry to burst your bubble.

So here you go… I’ll leave you with this image from Moz… the perfectly optimized web page. Study this, know it like the back of your hand, and execute this on every page of your website. That my friends is SEO. You’re welcome!

optimized web page

Why An SEO Audit Is An Extremely WISE Investment For All Companies

I’m always amazed by the growing number of “SEO Experts” out there… I mean, hey, if you’ve been doing SEO for more than six months, your a friggin guru!

Because being an SEO is the cool thing to do for a profession and there’s a plethora of information about the trade online (good and bad) it’s hard to know if what you/your team/your agency is reading and executing on your site is going to provide sustainable results for years to come. Because of this, third party SEO audits are becoming a very popular thing and are an extremely wise investment for just about any company.

Let’s talk about the different situations you might be in and how an SEO audit can help you tackle your marketing initiatives and accomplish your goals.

You’re Just Getting Started With SEO

If you are just getting started with SEO and are serious about investing your time and money into a campaign, an SEO audit can give you a good idea if your site is in good shape from a search engine stand point or if you are already in some trouble. A good website audit can help you uncover technical issues that could make it hard for the search engines to crawl and index your website and so forth. An audit can also tell you what is working for you and shouldn’t be changed.

You’ve Been Outsourcing Your SEO For While

This is probably one of the biggest reasons companies want an SEO audit. Let’s face it, there are a lot of CRAPPY SEO companies out there and they can hose you over in a hurry. I always recommend to anyone outsourcing their SEO to have a third party perform a site audit at least once per year. This keeps the SEO company honest and alerts the client of any foul practice or low quality SEO that could hurt them in the long run.

You’re Thinking About Bringing SEO In House

Very similar to the one above, if you’ve been outsourcing your SEO and are thinking about bringing it in house, you will definitely want a third party to perform an SEO audit. This will give your in house team a road map of areas that need your immediate attention and strategies and tactics that haven’t been working so well for them in the past.

You’ve Been Doing SEO In House For Awhile

If you’ve been doing SEO in house for awhile and your team hasn’t had much turnover, it’s also wise to perform a site audit… probably yearly. Yes, your team is most likely reading and staying up to date with the latest and greatest strategies being spewed by thought leaders, but are they doing exactly what your business needs for sustainable results? You’ll never know unless you get a website audit.

You’re Not Happy With Your Website’s Current Performance

Another reason to get a search engine optimization audit is because you are unhappy with your current website’s performance. If you’re working your tail off and things don’t seem to be improving, a site audit can quickly uncover the root cause and provide insight into what you can do to boost your visibility in the search engines.

You’ve Been Hit By An Algorithm Update

Um… fairly obvious, but if your website has been hit by an algorithm update, you should consider a website audit. Not only will an audit help you identify what algorithm update affected your negatively, but what that algo update targeted and what steps need to be taken to fix it.

You Need An Advocate To Sell SEO Changes Internally

Believe it or not, a lot of companies have a hard time selling SEO to executives as well as site changes to IT. This was the case when I worked with Dell. If you need an outside “advocate” to come in and help sell your strategy and changes, a site audit is a fantastic idea!

I’ve also seen companies hire a consultant to perform site audit just to receive confirmation that your recommendations have legs and will provide value to the company.

You Want To Measure Your SEO Progress

Lastly, if you want to measure the progress of your SEO efforts, you might want to consider an SEO website audit. For my clients, I try and perform website audits on a monthly basis, just to make sure we are on the right track and making progress.

In closing, if a search engine optimization site audit isn’t in your plans for 2013 or 2014, I highly recommend you to consider one, regardless of whether you work at a large or small organization. 9/10 times, an audit will always help your SEO campaign, will open your eyes to new ideas or methodologies, and will validate your strategy when selling your IT or management team.

SEO Best Practices – Cyber Symposium 2012 Presentation

Last Friday I was given the opportunity to speak to a group of legal professionals at a cyber conference held at Thanksgiving Point. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of really cool and really smart lawyers. I was thinking today that I don’t post enough on this site since the majority of my blogging happens over on the SEO.com blog, so I’d put together a quick post outlining what I spoke about and embed my slide deck.

At the conference, I spoke about two main topics… gaining visibility in the traditional search engine results pages and gaining visibility in the localized search engine results pages.

Traditional SEO

There are four components to traditional SEO, they are as follows: Site Architecture, Content, Links, and Social.

Site Architecture

Having a properly structured website is incredibly important to help the search engines efficiently crawl each page of your website and associate those pages with a set of keywords. To improve your crawlability, you should be cautious when setting up your robots.txt file and meta robots tags. You also should have a well throughout and laid out site hierarchy. You should have both XML and HTML sitemaps and internal links.

Content

Content is what drives SEO. You can have a solid site structure, back links, and social shares, but without content, it isn’t going to matter a whole lot. When building out your content, make sure it has a purpose. Who is the content for? Is it to generate leads (targeting prospects)? Is it to engage promoters to help build links or generate shares? Is it for both?

You also need to strategically place keywords in your content so the search engines can know what your pages are about. These should live in your title tags, headings, and content.

Links

In most cases, links are votes for your website. He who has the most links wins… well, they used to, or maybe they still do 🙂

There are three different types of link building, first, link attraction, second, link creation, and third link requests. Each has their strength and their place in an SEO campaign, so please make sure to execute the proper link building types based on a proper gap analysis.

Social

Social shares are also votes for your website which is why is is critical that you build social sharing right into your business, including your website. You need to make it STUPID SIMPLE for your visitors to share your content across the most popular social networks.

You should also use social to build relationships with other human beings. Build real friendships, talk to them about other things than business. Share their content and in turn, they will share yours.

Local SEO

There are also four components to a localized SEO effort, they are as follows: Maps Setup & Optimization, NAP, Citations, and Supporting Website Content.

Maps Setup & Optimization

The first component to your local SEO efforts is making sure that your Google+ Local (Google Maps) listing and Bing Maps listing are set up, optimized, and fully fleshed out.

NAP

When setting up your maps, building citations, and generating supporting website content, you want to make sure your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) are all consistent. 123 N. vs 123 North are looked at differently and could negatively impact your local efforts.

Citations

Just like links are votes for websites in traditional SEO, citations are votes for maps pages. Citations are any external reference to your business that includes your business name, address, and phone number. These can be social profiles like those on Yelp and Foursquare, blog posts, or business directories.

Supporting Website Content

The last component of localized SEO is making sure you have supporting content on your website. If you run a law office in Orem, UT and one in Salt Lake, UT, you need to have a webpage dedicated to each of the locations that include information about that location (don’t forget your NAP).

Well, that’s my quick 700 word summary of my presentation. You can view my slide deck below. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have in the section below.

We’re Giving Away Small Business SEO Services!

Over the last five years, SEO.com has been primarily focused on acquiring and servicing enterprise level clients. Some of the bigger clients we currently work with include Dell.com, Hotels.com, Mrs. Fields, and DR Horton.

Toward the end of 2011, we started entertaining the idea of building a service that was tailored specifically to small and medium businesses and in January of this year, we brought in Director of SEO, Bryan Phelps (formerly at Orange Soda) and launched it!

So I ask the question, if you are a small or medium sized business, what would it mean to your business to show up here?

organic seo rankings

How about here?

maps seo rankings

For most businesses, showing up in either of these places means a ton more revenue added to their bottom line year-over-year.

With the launch of our small and medium business SEO packages, we’ve decided to celebrate small businesses and give away six months of services to a few lucky ones.

If you’d like to participate, then please visit the giveaway page by clicking here.

Speaking At UVU On White Hat & Black Hat SEO

For those based here in Utah and are interested in SEO, Ash Buckles and I are going to be speaking at UVU on Thursday @ 11:30 am discussing white hat and black hat SEO. This mini-conference is being hosted by Utah Valley University’s Center for the Study of Ethics and its College of Technology & Computing, you can read the press release here.

Ash will be the keynote speaker and I will be on an expert panel that includes Arlen Card, a UVU professor in digital media; Aaron Willis, a UVU professor in information systems and technology; and Elaine Englehardt, a UVU distinguished professor of ethics.

We are both very excited to get out and address the community on this particular topic. If you are interested in coming, the event is free of charge and will be happening at the UVU Library’s fourth-floor Lakeview room.