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Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: Tactics to Love vs. Leave

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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: Tactics to Love vs. Leave


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This Presentation Is Online Here: bit.ly/seoloveleave


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A brief look at how SEO has evolved over the past five years. What Changed?


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Ranking algorithms are far more complex – more inputs, more subtlety, more quality checks. #1:


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Advancements in User Data Signals Via Eric Fischer


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An Uncanny Ability to Spot Editorial VS. Manipulative Links


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Keyword Matching is Now Intent Matching


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Personalization by History, Device, Location, and Google+


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SEO has become a job description, not a job title. #2:


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Analysis of LinkedIn Profiles


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SEOs Have Learned that Just Doing Their Jobs Often Isn’t Enough And, that the title “SEO” may limit influence


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Policing of webspam is more aggressive, more difficult to recover from, & less evenly applied. #3:


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Non-Editorial Links Are More Dangerous Than Ever


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Webspam’s Become Every Site Owner’s Problem Via Moz: Preparing for Negative SEO


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Google is shortening searchers’ paths and disintermediating content creators. #4:


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Less Opportunity in Many Simplistic “Give Me the Answer” Queries


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No Traffic For You, NFL


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No Traffic For You, City of Boston!


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No Traffic For You, Moz!


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No Traffic For You, Hubspot!


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Less Opportunity In Some Non-Simple Queries, Too:


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If You’re Expedia, These Results Suck…


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Almost 6 Billion queries/day But It May Mean More Opportunity in the Long Tail


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The ubiquity of social media has broadened the field of “influencers.” #5:


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1997-2011: The Linkerati Rule the Web Via Forrester Research 13% of web users can amplify content


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2012-Present: We Are All Potential Amplifiers Via Pew Research Data 72% of web users can amplify content


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Disappearing data makes SEO more challenging to measure and improve. #6:


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Keyword Referral Data is Gone On average, 87.5% of keywords from Google are now “not provided” (source)


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AdWords’ [Exact Match] No Longer Exact Via http://adwords.blogspot.com/2014/08/close-variant-matching-for-all-exact.html


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A Significant Portion of Search Traffic May Be Falsely Hidden in “Direct” Groupon’s experiment showing up to 60% of traffic reported as “direct” may be organic search


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How do these changes affect which tactics we can still pursue vs. those we must leave behind? So…


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Great SEO Is No Longer Just “SEO” Keywords Links Crawl Rankings SEO in 2004


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Great SEO Is No Longer Just “SEO” Keywords Links Crawl Rankings SEO in 2014 Social Content Design & UX Speed Accessibility Email Press & PR CX Webspam Mobile Internationalization Localization


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Our Job: Choose the Tactics that Marry Our Strengths to Our Opportunities


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No tactic will be right for everyone. But, awareness of our potential arsenal is essential.


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Tactics to Leave Behind vs. Tactics to Embrace for the Future:


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Keyword Research


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AdWords-Only Discovery


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AdWords-Only Discovery Leave It Behind


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AdWords + Suggest + Customer Data Many queries with 100s or 1000s of monthly searches don’t show up in AdWords but will show up here.


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My favorite tool for keyword suggest research: Keywordtool.io This tool makes the process easier.


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Popular questions, phrases, and terms that your audience uses in web forums/social media are excellent sources of keyword data expansion


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Content Creation


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Create & Scale Keyword-Targeted Pages of “Good, Unique Content”


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This is a LONG page from Angie’s List that ranks #1 for “Best Plumbers in Medford, OR”


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This is the ONLY “unique content” on that page


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You’re dreaming! Think you can build pages like that and rank?


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Create & Scale Keyword-Targeted Pages of “Good, Unique Content” Leave It Behind


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Modern Criteria for Content: One-of-a-Kind – doesn’t appear elsewhere on the web Relevant – contains content the engines can interpret as on-the-topic to the searcher’s intent & phrasing Helpful – resolves the searcher’s query in a useful, efficient manner Uniquely Valuable – provides information that’s unavailable (or hard to get) elsewhere Great UX– is easy & pleasurable to consume on any device


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A Great Example from Genius.com


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Accurate, readable lyrics Uniquely valuable annotations A community of contributors One click to play Data re: popularity & activity


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Link Building


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Acquire Links Via Directories, Forums, Account Profiles, etc.


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Acquire Links Via Directories, Forums, Account Profiles, etc. Leave It Behind


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Acquire Links w/ Off-Topic Infographics & Embeds


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Acquire Links w/ Off-Topic Infographics & Embeds Leave It Behind


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Acquire Links By Scaling Up Guest Posting & Commenting


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Acquire Links By Scaling Up Guest Posting & Commenting Leave It Behind


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The Truth: Google doesn’t want to count links you can “build.”


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The Truth: Google only wants to count links you editorially “earn.”


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Instead, Build Relationships My haircut place built a relationship & partnered with a local sex toy shop – now both get more branding, exposure, customers, & links!* *partnering with nearby sex toy shops may not be the perfect bizdev action for everyone


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Use Content to Drive Editorial Links


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Aim for Resource Pages & Blogrolls


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Buy Exposure that Leads to Links (not the links themselves)


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For more link building tactics to love, see: Link Building from the Moz Blog Paddy Moogan’s Link Building eBook Experts’ Favorite Link Building Tactics How to Leverage PR for Link Building The Future of Link Building


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Social Media & SEO


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Share Socially to Get Rankings No doubt about it – there’s a strong CORRELATION between tweets (and Facebook and Google+ shares) and higher rankings.


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Share Socially to Get Rankings No doubt about it – there’s a strong CORRELATION between tweets (and Facebook and Google+ shares) and higher rankings. Leave It Behind


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Social Impacts SEO Indirectly This blog post from OKTrends earned 100s of links after launch Social shares expose content to those who might link to it (and amplify in other ways)


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G+ is the Exception for Logged-In Results Because I follow Mark on G+, what he shares/+1s can usually ranks higher when I’m logged into my Gmail.


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Content Marketing


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Publish Content to Get Links & Rankings Blog Post Blog Post Article Article Blog Post


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Publish Content to Get Links & Rankings Blog Post Blog Post Article Article Blog Post Leave It Behind


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Links & Shares Skew to the Top 5% of Content http://www.simplereach.com/blog/facebook-continues-to-be-the-biggest-driver-of-social-traffic/


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There’s No Prize For Hitting Publish


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Rules for Content Investments: Strategic & Relevant– the content must tie to business goals and fit with your branding Targets Likely Amplifiers – there should be an obvious answer to the question “who will help spread this content and why?” Cannot Be Fire & Forget– most content will fail; you need to be willing to invest longer and harder than the competition to find success


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Need Inspiration? Check out Buzzsumo Buzzsumo – my favorite tool for researching the competitive content landscape


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Measuring ROI


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Traffic & Performance by Keyword Pre-2012 Post-2012


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Traffic & Performance by Keyword Pre-2012 Post-2012 Leave It Behind


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Instead, Measure Search Traffic Performance by Page (or Section) Observing the pages that receive search visits can get close to the old keyword-based performance reports.


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And/Or Use Estimates in SEO Software Packages If you use a tool like Conductor, Searchmetrics, or Moz Analytics, you can see predictions for KWs sending traffic to given pages


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Attribution Models This is how most companies (& software packages) do web analytics by default


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Attribution Models This is how most companies (& software packages) do web analytics by default Leave It Behind


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Attribution Models A model something like this makes far more sense.


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Pro Tip: Note which channels are frequently part of your overall conversion process Many times, these contain channels that can’t be tracked, and you’ll only miss them if you stop investing


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The Best ROI Often Comes from Non-Measurable, Serendipitous Marketing


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SEO is getting harder


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But, that high barrier to entry means greater opportunity for those who succeed.


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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com bit.ly/seoloveleave


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