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Goodbye SEOmoz, Hello Adventure

Posted by Danny Dover

Today is my last day at SEOmoz. I have been here for about three and half years and it really has been one the most important experiences of my life. I met fascinating people, traveled the world, got a book deal and learned an unbelievable amount about myself and others. I am now heading in a new direction and while this requires me to leave my job, it frees me up to focus on the remaining items on my goals list.


SEO Consulting and Goals List:

For those of you who don’t know me personally, you should know I take my goals list extremely seriously. It is about 250 items long and in the last two years I have completed about a hundred items. These range from the simple (try yoga), to the more complex (save a human life). While checking off the items has been fun, the real feeling of fulfillment comes from the side effects of these. My favorite moments have been deepening my relationship with my little sister as we traveled to the Pyramids of Giza and the moment I realized just how malleable my body really was after losing 50 pounds and trying out my new body at a trapeze class.

I am in the very fortunate position where I can use my passions to make money and provide real value to others. I have been doing SEO consulting for about 3 years and have worked with some of the world’s most well known companies. In all likelihood, you will actually visit one of the sites I have done work with at some point today. I have also written a 400 page book on the topic called SEO Secrets which describes in detail how to do SEO consulting. Doing this consulting has given me the resources necessary to checkoff the items on my goals list and helped the clients I care about drive traffic from countless new search engine referrals. I love this stuff and through the education I recieved at SEOmoz, I know how to get results.

If you are in the need of an SEO Consultant, please feel free to contact me. I may be leaving SEOmoz, but I am certainly not leaving SEO.

Contact Danny Dover


What I Learned at SEOmoz:

Rather than just tell you, I prepared the video below to show you:

Happiness Audit:

  • Is your work contributing to a greater good?
  • Are your daily tasks making you a better entrepreneur?
  • Are your daily tasks making you a better person?
  • Are you inspiring others?
  • Are you still making enough business connections, where making the connections outweigh the cons of working at your position?
  • Are you making more money than you could at any other job that you could reasonably get? (Starting own company excluded)
  • Are you working hours that leave time for personal growth?
  • Are you able to make a name for yourself given your current position in the company? (Public facing position)

Keeping in Touch:

There are lots of ways of keeping in touch with me:

E-mail: danny@intriguingideasllc.com

My blog: http://www.dannydover.com/blog/

Twitter: @DannyDover

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How Do Tweets Influence Search Rankings? An Experiment for a Cause

Posted by Danny DoverUpdate (Dec 10th at 10:30 AM PST) – Wow! The participation has been overwhelming! Thank you everyone! I am still collecting data and will be posting the full results in the near future. For those curious, early results actuall…

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Google’s Unspoken Failures Are Limiting Your Potential

Posted by Danny Dover As people in relationships spend time with each other they start to leverage each others natural strengths to efficiently store information about the world around them. "Honey, what is the name of my Aunt’s employer?&quo…

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Discussing LDA and SEO – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Danny Dover

 In this week’s Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin and Ben Hendrickson discuss LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There has been a lot of discussion about the relationship between these two topics lately and this video answers many of the questions people in the community have been asking. It is comprehensive (25 minutes) and uses many easy to understand diagrams and examples to discuss what impact LDA may have on the SEO industry. We look forward to reading your comments below.

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Video Transcription

Rand: Howdy, SEOmoz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday.
Today, I am joined by Ben Hendrickson. Ben?

Ben: Hello. We’ve met before.

Rand: Have we really?

Ben: I think so.

Rand: So, Ben is our senior scientist here at SEOmoz. He does a lot of our
research work and has been working on some interesting projects.
Lately, we posted about one of those projects and asked for some
feedback and got some great responses. A lot of people are very
passionate, very excited. And some people are a little confused. So,
we wanted to dive deeper with this LDA stuff.

What’s LDA, Latent Dirichlet Allocation. We wanted to talk about topic
modeling in general. There was some feedback, right, and I am sure
you saw some of it too, that was like, "I’m not quite sure. You’re
saying on-page maybe is more important because of this LDA stuff,
and I always thought on-page just meant keyword density or stuffing
your keywords."

Ben: Yeah. Clearly words used matter. For any given SERP, a huge number of
links aren’t going to rank for it because they have nothing to do
about it because they never use the word at all. Right? I mean,
Google.com ranks a very few things and it has a ton of links. So, of
course, words matter that are on the page.

Rand: But we’ve always, as an SEO, even when you’ve done your previous
research, it was sort of like, boy, it sure does look like links are
a whole lot more important than . . .

Ben: Using the keyword in the title box. Right. Yeah. So this was
something that actually was very surprising for us, which is why we
showed it. What was that? It seems like using other sort of related
words to the query in a very specific way seemed to help a lot.
Right?

Rand: And we were kind of weirded out by that.

Ben: Yeah.

Rand: Or we were at least surprised by that. So, that is why we are sharing
it. So, let’s go back in time a little bit and talk about this whole
. . . for people who are kind of going, "I don’t understand what you
mean when you say it’s more sophisticated than keyword density, or
it’s more sophisticated than a normal keyword metric or keyword
usage." Keyword density is just like the percent of times that the
word is used out off all the words in a document.

Ben: Yeah.

Rand: Super simple to game. Kind of useless for IR is my understanding.

Ben: Well, I mean, it gets you a lot of the way. I mean, at least you have
that word in the document you return to people. But, like your blog
post earlier in the week showed, there is a lot of basic situations
where you can’t tell what is the better content just by doing this.

Rand: Right. And so, IR folks in the ’60s came up with this TF-IDF thing,
which is essentially like looking at whether the terms that are
being used are more frequent in the corpus as a whole. So, if you
are like a library, they look at all the books in the library. Or if
you are a card catalogue, they’ll look at all that. And now that
there are search engines, they look at all of the documents on the
Web.

Ben: Yeah, right. So, the big intuition here is that they are searching
for multiple words. The word that is rarely ever used is the one
that actually matters the most. So, if you are searching for the
SEOmoz building, a document that includes a building and SEOmoz is
probably very relevant. A document that contains "the building" or
"the SEOmoz" is a lot less relevant. So, the basic story there is
that you are biased against caring about words that are very common.

Rand: Right. So I like your Lady Gaga example where you’re like, well,
documents that have Gaga on them are probably way more relevant than
those that just have lady on them, even though lady and Gaga are
both four letter words in the phrase.

Ben: Yeah, exactly.

Rand: All right, cool. So we evolved to this TF-IDF stuff. And then there
is this like co-occurrence thing, which we talked about on the
SEOmoz blog a long time ago. Co-occurrence is kind of interesting
where we look at, and let me make sure I am getting this right. It
is essentially that, oh well, oftentimes when I see, for example,
Distilled Consulting and building and SEOmoz and building, I find
those frequently together because it turns out that we share offices
with Distilled and we do lots of work together and those kinds of
things. So, maybe a document that has both Distilled and building
and SEOmoz might be more relevant than just the one that just says
SEOmoz.

Ben: Exactly. Right. So, if you are trying to basically figure out if it’s
just an offhand reference to it or if it’s something that is
actually valid a whole lot, right, the fact that it is using a whole
lot of other words that also occur with the keyword would be a good
indication of that.

Rand: But then topic modeling, I think that even I get a little bit
confused when I think about topic modeling versus co-occurrence,
because it seems like topic modeling is maybe very similar to this.

Ben: Well, this is great because you drew a Venn diagram that shows the
difference really well.

Rand: Right. Super smart of me.

Ben: It’s like you kind of knew. So you can imagine that you could have a
whole bunch of words that would have a very high co-occurrence with
Star Trek. Right? You could have documents that talk about gravity,
space, planet, and tachyon. But it still might not be about Star
Trek, even though you’ve got four words that co-occur a lot with
Star Trek. It could about astronomy. Those are all real things that
exist in the real world, or at least people think they might exist
in the real world in the context of tachyons. But if you have
something that is talking about tachyons and gravity and William
Shatner, that’s probably Star Trek. Right?

And so, it’s not just the number of words you have that co-occur.
You are actually trying to figure out are these words being used in
the context where they are talking about Star Trek, or are these
words being used in the context of talking about astronomy. The way
we can do this is because in general fewer topics is better. So,
it’s possible that we have something that is talking about astronomy
and TV and it happened to use gravity and tachyon and William
Shatner in the context of something else he did. But it’s more
likely to just have . . .

Rand: So normally, we might say like, "Okay, I can imagine Google using
this to try and do a couple of things." Right?

Ben: Right.

Rand: For weird queries, where maybe the word Star Trek wasn’t used but
they think it might be about that and they think that’s what the
person wanted, maybe they would do it. But for ordinary rankings, it
seems like using these words when I’m talking about astronomy or
using these words when I’m talking about Star Trek isn’t going to
help me any more than not using them. But then we did this topic
modeling work and we tried to analyze that. Right? So we used a
process called LDA, which maybe we can talk about in a sec. But we
used this process to basically build a model that has all these
different topics.

Ben: Right.

Rand: And essentially, the topics, as I understand them, aren’t actually
keywords. They’re just like a mathematical representation of a
subject matter. Like you were saying there’s probably a cartoon
topic, but it’s not like the word occurred necessarily.

Ben: Yeah, right. So, it has actual words in it. Right?

Rand: Yeah.

Ben: You can look at a given topic and you can see all of the words in it
and see how much each word is in it. But no human went by and said
we should make a topic about this to show what words may be put
together. So, if you look at papers, people pretty much refer to
topics by whatever the most common word in it is, which in the case
of cartoon might be cartoon.

Rand: Like I remember one of the early ones we were looking at was
Transformers.

Ben: Yeah, right.

Rand: It was like, oh, well, Optimus Prime and Megatron and Sydney, the
woman who’s in the all of the movies now. She came up a lot. Megan
Fox was in there.

Ben: Is she related to Vanessa Fox.

Rand: I don’t think so.

Ben: Okay.

Rand: In fact, I strongly suspect no.

Ben: Okay.

Rand: I’d guess it’s a screen name. But so, in any case, you get these
topics. You have these words in them. And then when we say, "Well,
how much does this matter? Like how much does it matter if I am
writing a page about Star Trek and I have lots of links pointing to
me, but I’m not ranking as well as I think I should. Could it be
that maybe I have not included keywords that would tell Google that
I am actually about the topic Star Trek or about related topics?"
Yes. And so, we don’t know how important that is. And that’s why we
did something about correlation to try and figure this out.

Ben: Yeah, right. Because, obviously, we don’t work at Google.

Rand: We just have to look at the outcome.

Ben: We have to look at the search results and then decide if this seems
like what they are doing. Yeah. So we try to see.

Rand: All right. So, let’s talk about that correlation process. So Ben,
we’re talking about this correlation thing and a part of me is kind
of going like, as a classic SEO, like non-statistics, math major,
this kind of thing, I kind of go, "Isn’t the best way to test
whether this works is to have like two random documents on the Web,
and I’ll try putting your LDA stuff to work and see if it raises up
one of them or doesn’t raise up the other?" And I can do tests that
way. Like, what’s this correlation? Why do I need that? Is that a
better way to do it?

Ben: I mean, they are just different. We’ve tried doing control tests
where we put the keyword and title tag on one and not the other and
we see which one ranks. But it’s very hard to do enough of those to
reach statistical significance. It’s pretty easy to set ten websites
where one is doing stuff one way and the other is doing stuff the
other way. But you end up doing like four one way and six the other,
or three one way and seven the other.

Frequently, a lot of these effects aren’t that big. Google sees it
as hundreds of things that influence SERPs. So even if you try to
control for as many variables as you can to try and make it the same
between these two, there is just a lot of noise in terms of what
actually ranks higher. So it takes a very large amount of work to
make enough samples to say something with statistical confidence.

Rand: And you never know when you might have some weird factor that is
influencing all of them in some weird way.

Ben: Yeah. There is another problem that you are probably looking at this
really tiny page and little tiny domains because you are not setting
a huge number of large-scale domains to try to this out. Right?

Rand: Right.

Ben: So you are going to get an answer. The question is: Is this answer
going to scale up to real pages people care about from my small
pages that have ten links to them? So, it is a very interesting
process, and I actually would be very fascinated that people get
good results from it. But, we have tried it and the results have all
kind of been . . .

Rand: Middling at best.

Ben: Middling, yeah.

Rand: There are no good conclusions from anything. So instead, we use this
correlation process. Right?

Ben: Right.

Rand: If I understand your process right, you basically run across not a
dozen or a hundred, but hundreds or thousands, in some cases, of
different search results looking for elements that will predict that
something ranks higher or lower.

Ben: Yeah.

Rand: And so I saw that Danny Sullivan left some great comments in our blog
post about LDA. He said, for example, "Well, you guys said that
correlation with keywords in the title is very low. I don’t believe
that at all because, when I look at search results, all the search
results I see almost always have the keyword in the title tag. So,
what are you measuring here that I’m not seeing?"

Ben: Right. The difference is measuring what a keyword is in the search
results versus measuring what is correlated with making it appear
higher in the search results.

Rand: So if all of these included the keyword Star Trek in the title
element, then what’s the ranking correlation of the title element
with the keyword?

Ben: It would be zero. Right?

Rand: Because they are all the same. What’s the possibility that something
will be a blue link appearing on Google?

Ben: That’s an interesting thing. We computed some data a while ago using
the correlations where we were comparing Bing and Google. It
actually was interesting to see Google tends to have a lot of stuff
with this element. Bing had fewer things with that element. It
actually tells you how the search engine is different. It’s
interesting just looking at raw prominence when you are trying to
compare two search engines. But it’s not very interesting when you
are trying to compare two features because . . .

Rand: Or when you’re trying to figure out what will help you rank well.

Ben: Exactly.

Rand: Okay. So, got you. So what Danny Sullivan is talking about with this
"I see the keyword in the title tag like 70 percent of the time or
more," that’s this raw prominence thing.

Ben: Right.

Rand: That’s like how many times does it appear in there? But correlation
of a specific feature with ranking higher is essentially looking at
all of these and then saying like, hmm, you know, on an aggregated
basis across hundreds or thousands of search results . . . I think
the study you did for the Google/Bing thing was like 11,000
different search results. Right?

Ben: It took a long time making search, writing it down on paper.

Rand: Yeah. I bet it did. You’re totally incredible for having done it
manually. So, you look at all of those and then you would say, "Oh,
well this particular element on average like, having the keyword
exactly match the domain name, the top level the domain like it does
here, boy that sure looks like it is correlated with ranking much
higher." I think having the keyword in the domain name was one of
the highest correlated single features that we saw.

Ben: Yeah, right.

Rand: And the same thing goes for number of linking word domains, like
diversity of different link sources that you got. Like in tons and
tons of different websites, I have a link to Amazon, that seems to
predict or correlates well with it doing pretty darn well.

Ben: Right.

Rand: And if I recall, I think correlations for title tags and keyword-
based stuff, with the exception of the domain name, was in the like
0 to 0.1 range. Maybe 0.15, something like that.

Ben: Yeah. In fact, some of them were actually a little bit negative.

Rand: Why would it be negative?

Ben: Because it is quite plausible that if it’s in the title, someone put
it there because they would like to rank higher than they actually
do and (_________) a lot of other things and it’s just not a very
good page.

Rand: So you’re saying, because of keyword stuffing SEOs, there could be a
negative correlation or other conflicts.

Ben: Yeah. Exactly.

Rand: So this on-page stuff, pretty small correlation. Right? So then, we
looked at things like links. A lot of those were in the 0.2 to 0.3
range, with 1 being a perfect correlation. So there was like a link
to your domains. That was pretty decent, like 0.24 or 0.23 or
something like that. Things like page authority, which is a metric
we calculate, was really quite nicely high. It was like 0.35 almost,
0.34, something like that.

Ben: I can’t confirm or deny these numbers. I don’t remember them off the
top of my head.

Rand: All right. But there are different ranges. Right?

Ben: Yeah.

Rand: So, when we looked at linking stuff, it was almost always better than
on-page stuff.

Ben: Yeah, right. Links seem to be, if you had to develop a Google search
algorithm to sort the things and you had to make a choice of Google
as you could, just looking at links seemed to get you most of the
way in terms of anything that we did.

Rand: So then when we saw this LDA thing at 0.32 something, that seems
whacky. That seems crazy high for an on-page factor, because we
never looked at anything that was about the features of the words or
how you use them, with the exception maybe of the keyword in the
domain name, that was this high in correlation. So that sort of
struck us as being very odd, and this is one of the reasons that we
wrote about it and were excited about. But let me just throw this
out there. Correlation is not causation. Right? It could be that
maybe domain name is really the thing that is being ranked. But
maybe it’s other features. Right? Correlation doesn’t necessarily
mean that that is what is causing it.

Ben: Right. And almost certainly our LDA model is not causing it, because
Google doesn’t use our LDA model. They’re not asking for numbers.
Right? Then almost certainly Google is not going to do LDA like we
have done it. They have not used our corpus. We have a model that is
correlated with Google’s results, and it is certainly not causing
Google’s results. But the thing is that it is a very high
correlation. So, they are doing something that is somehow producing
results that are correlated with a LDA model. It is hard to imagine
really what that would be, unless it was some sort of topic modeling
or something like looking at the words used on the page.

Rand: So, there’s two things that come out of this. One is that, to my
mind, when I see something that high and assuming all the numbers
look right, I think some people gave your numbers a hard time, but
it looks like at the least the criticism they have received so far
has not made us doubt that we have done something wrong.

Ben: Yeah. I spend most of the day running code. But it is quite plausible
that I did something wrong. I’m sure I have. But the specific
complaints people have come up with so far aren’t very credible.
But, you know, in the future, it will certainly happen someday.

Rand: I’m sure we are all excited for that day, Ben. Assuming that these
numbers are quite high, doesn’t it sort of say like maybe we’ve been
wrong about this on-page stuff not mattering all that much? Maybe we
should do more on that front, like more investigation, test out the
results, try putting our keywords on the pages in certain ways.

Ben: Well, Google always says to spend time writing good content. Right?
And that’s a little bit hard to apply, but you can interpret that as
being right content makes it clear what your topic is by using words
that are going to eliminate any topic from being (________) except
for the one that you are trying to rank for. So, I don’t know if
it’s that revolutionary. It seems like people have worried a lot
about their content in the past and a lot of people say to do so.

Rand: But so people in the past, they talked about things like, oh, we
should use like the Google Wonder Wheel. And we should use related
searches and put those words on our pages. We should use things like
synonyms that we get from the service. Well, how is the LDA stuff
different? Or is it? Like if I just do these things, am I going to
do great over here?

Ben: Well, I mean they are not going to be bad. But if you can imagine
that when you put a whole bunch of synonyms for tachyon, it’s not
going to actually help clarify if you’re about astronomy or Star
Trek. Right? So, you don’t actually or that you’re trying to discuss
bark collars and you want to just clarify that you are talking about
dogs as opposed to the stuff that wraps trees. You are not going to
want to put a whole bunch of synonyms for collars or barking. Yeah,
but that’s sort of weird and unnatural. You much more want to put
other related words to make it clear that we are talking about some
sort of bark preventive system.

Rand: So, let’s talk really briefly about the tool today. It doesn’t do
exactly this. Right? Instead, it give us a score.

Ben: Yeah.

Rand: All right. Let’s look that.

Ben: Okay.

Rand: Now this LDA score, tool might be an overstatement. It’s a Labs. You
can look and see it. It works. You can put stuff in. But we have a
lot of really beautiful tools here at SEOmoz, and this is not one of
them. So, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world. But it does
leverage the topic modeling work, and you use the specific process,
LDA, which we think is sort of better than some other ones, but not
being as good as the sophisticated stuff Google does.

Ben: Almost certainly.

Rand: I enter a query up here. Something I want to rank for. I put in some
words here, and it will give me a percent telling me how topically
relevant it thinks this content here is to the word here. And it
will do the same thing like if I enter a URL down here, it will
populate this box with the content from that page.

Ben: Right.

Rand: So this gives me sort of a rough sense of I can play around and see
does SEOmoz’s LDA tool work. LDA scores seem to predict anything
that I can rank better. So, I could look at the top ten results and
be like, "Wow, I’m winning on links. I think I’m doing a good job of
keyword usage. But boy, all these other people have much higher LDA
scores than I do. Maybe I should try increasing that." Is that sort
of a suggested application here?

Ben: That would seem very reasonable to me. Like it is kind of new. No one
has a huge amount of experience with it. So far, it seems like
people have said that it chains up a higher score and it has helped
them rank, but that’s very anecdotal. There’s a very plausible
reason why you would think that that would work. But, we’re kind of
on the bleeding edge here.

Rand: We’re not trying to say that like you definitely enter something in
here, you should use this and boost up the rankings of all of your
pages. It will work perfectly or anything like that

Ben: Yeah, exactly. But it seems very plausible that basically getting a
higher score helps you rank higher. And the tool let’s you see
clearly what this kind of topic modeling is going to be able to
figure out. It sort of shows you the kind of connections that Google
certainly will be able to make in figuring out that pizza is related
to food but donkey is not related to food. So you can sort of
explore and see how this stuff works.

Rand: Cool. One weird thing that people have noted and the last point is
that this fluctuates a lot. Oftentimes, when I run it, it will
fluctuate one to five percent change. Like I’ll hit go on the same
URL, the same content, the same keyword, and it will change one
percent to five percent. Sometimes it seems like it can go to maybe
seven, eight, or nine percent. A couple of people have reported –
we haven’t been able to see them — rare instances where it is more
than ten percent fluctuation. So, explain to me what is going on
there. What is the sampling that the tool does?

Ben: Right. So there’s a very large possible number of ways that you could
explain the document with topics. It could be about Star Trek. Or it
could be about astronomy and TV shows. There are lots of different
ways that you could explain the different word usages in there. So
we can’t actually just try all of them and weight them by the
probability because that would take years to answer anybody. So
instead, we sample them based upon their likelihood and then we
average that. So, if you wanted to figure out are most people going
to vote Democrat or Republican this year, you might sample 100
people and you’re going to conclude that 40 percent are going to
vote Democratic this year.

Rand: But then if you sample a different 100 people . . .

Ben: It will be a little bit different. Generally, you can come back and
say 70 percent are going to vote Democratic this year. It’s in
theory possible, but it doesn’t happen that frequently.

Rand: Got you. So you can essentially use this number. If I was really
interested, I would have to get more precise. I could run it a bunch
of times, and I would be getting a bunch of different samples and I
would average those out

Ben: Yeah. In the back end, we’re doing it a bunch of times for you and
averaging them. So averaging it yourself on the front end as you go
isn’t terrible.

Rand: It’s just a big use of our bandwidth.

Ben: Oh, yeah. It really helps our numbers of hits to our website.

Rand: Oh, yeah. I’m sure that’s all correlated with rankings too.

Ben: I know like unique visitors. What’s that?

Rand: All right. Well, Ben, we’re excited about this tool. We really
appreciate you doing this research work. It’s exciting and
interesting. I think we’ll know more in the future, in the months to
come, whether this is really great and applicable for SEO or that it
turns out that maybe it’s some other things causing this weird
correlation.

Ben: Absolutely.

Rand: Well, thanks very much for obviously building this and joining us.
And thanks to all of you for watching Whiteboard Friday. We’ll see
you again next week.

Ben: This was a long one.

Rand: Very impressed that you watched it. We do appreciate it.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com

[UPDATE by Ben (sept 10th, 12:50pm PST): In the video I stated that "specific complaints people have come up with so far aren’t very credible."  This was directed at the claims, not the people who raised them, and I wish I has used the word "accurate" instead of "credible."  My apologizes to anyone who was offended.  Credible people can say things I disagree with.  Indeed, the back and forth over their concerns about the unweighted mean Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient has been a useful context to explain exactly why we consider it a better statistic to use than commonly suggested alternatives.

Also, I noticed that Russ Jones did work to reproduce some of our findings.  He used a different dataset and different methodology, emphasized good qualifications to keep in mind, and broke out competitive vs non-competitive which we didn’t do.]

[ERRATA by Ben (sept 16th, 2:00pm PST)The blog post above reports the correlation measurement as 0.32.  It should have been 0.17.]

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E-Commerce SEO: Making Product Pages into Great Content – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Danny Dover

 In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin explains how to turn boring product pages into conversion-worthy product selling machines. These tips are topical (with the holiday season coming up), useful and in most cases, reletively easy to implement.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, SEOmoz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday.
Today we’re talking about ecommerce pages, specifically how to make them
unique, interesting, great content, and something that will draw in natural
links. I know that a lot of folks out there who run ecommerce websites –
it doesn’t matter what you’re selling consumer products, B-to-B products,
in this case, I am doing an office supplies example — you’ve got a big
problem in that people just don’t want to naturally link to those pages.
The content of them is not naturally interesting. But there are ways to
change that. There are ways to make sure that even though you sell the
same product that 5, 10, 50, 100 other stores on the web do, your product,
your offering of that product is unique and interesting, draws search
traffic, draws conversions, and makes more exciting things happen. I think
this can be a big, big positive.

So, let me walk you through a bland example, sort of a not so good example.
Here’s Acme Store. They’ve got the standard manufacturer’s picture that
the manufacturer sends along with all the other information, the pricing
data, the description, and the title. They just use that exactly.
Manufacturer or supplier sends the photo, the price, the title, the
description. They just post that up there, and then maybe you have an "Add
to Cart" button.

You haven’t added much value here. Right? The problem is that there are, I
don’t know, 50, 100, 500 other pages just like this. Boring. Right? Not
exciting at all. Why would I link to this? The only reason that I can see
that I would possibly link to this is if this store either offered it
uniquely and no one else has it or if they have maybe the lowest price.
But competing on price, as you know, in ecommerce particularly on the Web
is a tough margin business. Or maybe they paid me to link to that or I
have some vested interest. The search engines don’t like to count those
kinds of links. Plus, this is all duplicate content. It comes straight
from the manufacturer. The manufacturer is sending that content out to
every other ecommerce provider.

Let’s take a look at an example of something done much, much better. Here
I have Acme Store, but things have improved dramatically. I’m going to
walk through six different elements that have really made this page so much
more exciting, and they’re not that much additional effort. Right? To some
degree, but that’s what you want. If this was as easy as the boring page,
everyone would be doing it and you couldn’t have the competitive advantage.

Here I’ve got the title. Now, you have to be careful with this. I’ve sort
of made a creative title, right? A little bit of a creative title there.
But, be cautious. If people are searching for exactly this title, they
essentially want precisely that product and they know how they are
searching for it, you probably don’t want to change up the title
dramatically, particularly if it is many multiple words. So you might
consider, if the name of the product in this case was just Five Pens, sure,
maybe I can add some extra descriptive text after that or I could look at
what people are searching for in addition to that particular keyword and
add those keyword phrases after it. But, I don’t have to do this. I could
just keep the standard title if that’s what it takes, and I can add
uniqueness in other places.

Let’s start with the images. If you just take the one image that the
manufacturer suggests, you’re really losing out. A great example of this
story is Zappos. They do all their own photography of the shoes. They
make sure that those shots are great. They take it from every single
angle. They’ve got the shoe. They’ve got the side of the shoe. They’ve
got the top of the shoe, the back of the shoe, the front, the bottom.
They’ve done a great job of optimizing these images to be unique. The
great part about this isn’t just that these images are now yours and yours
alone, but that you can now license them. People might find them and say,
"Wow, you have great pictures of this product. Can we use it?" If they do
use it and they like your photos, they might link back to this page.
You’ve got tons of opportunity.

I also really, really recommend multiple images, having different views and
different ways that people can see it. Make them enlarged. Give people
the ability to enlarge those images so that they can see a much bigger
version. Be really careful on the duplicate content with multiple images.
Sometimes you’ll see websites where you click a different one of these and
the URL changes. You don’t want that unless it’s in a hashtag, because it
will create a duplicate version of this page at a different URL.

Number three, text and description. This is the key to success at
companies like Woot. It was really one product a day. It was on sale. A
unique idea. But the content, the written word was what sold it so well.
It was just incredibly well written. It was content that was so
compelling, so fun to read, so interesting and unique that a lot of people,
who weren’t interested in the products at all and probably never bought
something from them, still wanted to subscribe to their newsletters and
read their site every day because it was hilarious. There were memes that
were carried on. There were themes that went throughout different
products. They had promotions that went on and on. It was great. You got
a sense of the personality behind the brand. I think that is what we’re
aiming for here. You need to decide how flexible you can be with this. If
this content is written by people who actually care about the product, who
are passionate about it, you’re going to get such better content there.

Number four, this is an interesting one. Amazon does this a little bit
with some sort of cool stats. The one that they do that I like is the
popularity in a specific category. I think that’s a good one. It lets
people who are participating in the ecommerce process, people who write
books, people who publish music, people who make a product that is sold on
Amazon, they can see how well they’re performing in the category. Other
people who are interested in doing research or sharing or blogging about
this will also share those popularity in Category X type of stats.

There are lots more things you can do beyond just what Amazon does. You
could have a sales trend. When is this item popular during the year? Do
people buy office supplies in January? Do they buy them in March? Do they
buy them at the end of summer? I don’t know. Let’s see. Those sales
trends are things you can show. You can show trends about who buys this
and how much other stuff do they also buy. What other products do they
also buy? How many of them bought this product versus another product.
Amazon does one or two of those things as well. There are tons of data
points that you could extract, from your catalogue, your inventory, your
customer database, that are anonymous. It won’t be sharing privacy issues,
but are super interesting to other people who might write about it and link
to it and make this page more unique and valuable.

Number five, I love the comparisons. If you’ve ever been to a site like
CNET, they do a great job of comparing different models of laptops or cell
phones or monitors or input devices or joysticks, whatever it is, against
each other so you can see this one has that feature and this one doesn’t
have that feature and this one does. Those types of comparison charts are
a real unique value proposition, because now you’re not just the source for
where to buy the information but where to research it as well. If you can
do that well and become trusted, a lot of people who are researching are
also interested in buying. Once they make their buying decision, they’ll
buy from you.

Finally, last but certainly not least, user-generated content. This can be
done super creatively. The most common one is comments and ratings. You
can do those in different kinds of ways. There can be star ratings. There
can be check marks. There can be "I Like" versus "I Don’t Like." The
comments themselves can have multiple form fields that people fill out
like, "Did you like this product?" "Yes." "What did you like about it or
not?" You could have things like, "When did you get it? What’s your
experience with this product? How did you use it?" Have those four or
five things. Or have them grade products on different features. If you
have a site that is selling just a few items, you might say, "Boy, we’re an
office supply store. Let’ see if we can get everyone to rate the usability
of this, whether it’s travel worthy versus whether it’s rugged and durable
versus whether it writes well." All that kind of stuff. Those different
aspects will then make your page more unique and more valuable.

All right. I am looking forward to seeing some amazing ecommerce sites
from all of you in the next few months, weeks, I don’t know. We’ll see how
long it takes to develop. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this edition of
Whiteboard Friday. See you again next week. Take care.

Transcription done by http://www.speechpad.com


If you have any other advice that you think is worth sharing, feel free to post it in the comments. This post is very much a work in progress. As always, feel free to e-mail me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my posts more useful. All of my contact information is available on my SEOmoz profile under Danny. Thanks!

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Answering Hard SEO Questions – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Danny Dover

 In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Danny Dover tries to answer some of the hard questions in SEO. These include; "If you are such a good SEO, why don’t you rank number one for the keyword, SEO?" and "How can you provide advice on SEO if you don’t work for a search engine?". The answers to these and some other doozies are below.

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Video Transcription

Hi, Mozzers. My name is Danny Dover. I work here at SEOmoz doing SEO.
Today, I’m going to try to tackle answering the hard SEO questions. I
don’t have them all on this list, so feel free to ask me other ones below
in the comments. These are the ones that I came up with, so I’m going to
try my best to answer these for you.

Number one. I get this one a lot and it’s kind of awkward. Why don’t you
rank number one for SEO? Right? If I’m in SEO and I’m trying to sell my
services to somebody, why do I not rank number one for the service that I
claim to do? This one is kind of awkward, actually. Right? I probably
should rank number one for one. Awkward turtle, if you’ve ever seen this.
It’s awkward. Okay. The reason, and we’ve talked about this internally at
SEOmoz, the reason we think we don’t rank number one for it is that the
name SEOmoz is being combined when searching to see it, as opposed to Aaron
Wall’s website, SEO Book, has two words that search engines know about, SEO
and book. So he gets credit for both of those every time he gets a link
saying SEO Book, right? Whereas with SEOmoz, we only get credit for the
word SEOmoz.

There’s some other things that go into this as well. QDF algorithm. QDF
is query deserves freshness algorithm, which means new information we’ll
sometimes write at the top. We see this with some smaller companies.
There’s a lot of geolocation stuff that goes on. We’ll rank better in the
United States than we do in the UK, things like that. Frankly, what it
comes down to is that we do not have the best website optimized for just
the term SEO. We’re trying to rank for other things. SEO tools, we’re
trying to rank for learning SEO, that kind of thing. My way to answer this
to potential clients and other people is just be completely honest with
them. Like, "Yeah, we put a lot of thought in this and smart question.
Here’s the reason that we think it was." It was just the stuff that I
covered.

Number two. How can you do SEO if you don’t actually work for a search
engine? This one is similar to the one above. I do not work for Google.
I do not work for Bing. I have never read any of the code that they’ve
written to do their search engine algorithms. But I have put a lot of
thought, and more importantly, and actually the only important part is that
I have practiced this a lot. I have created a lot of websites, and I’ve
changed variables on them to figure out what helps rank better. I’ve also
relied on people who are much smarter than myself, so other SEOs in the
industry. I have kept abreast of the news. So there’s Search Engine Land,
for example. There’s lots of news things where they talk to people who do
work at Google and Bing and get their information about what they’re trying
to spread. I also learn from conferences, and I learn from other people
who are successful at SEO and are willing to share their tactics or their
strategies with me. In those ways, I have been able to learn SEO even
though I don’t work at the search engines.

Number three. Is Company XYZ a Google killer? This comes up, I’d say,
once every other month. So is it Wolfram Alpha or is it Bing or is it
Facebook? Are any of these companies Google killers? The answer I usually
give is, "I don’t know, but probably not." Google’s extremely good at what
it does, being a search engine. Right? The thing that I think eventually
will kill Google will be something that looks absolutely nothing like
Google at all. It’ll be a completely different way of searching the
Internet or maybe searching something else. Right? Maybe more like Star
Trek or Star Wars, where you just talk into thin air and then an answer
comes to you on some beautiful girl on a screen that came out of nothing.
I’m hoping for that to happen soon actually. But what will kill Google? I
don’t know, but I bet it will not look like anything we’ve seen today, my
best guess.

Facebook does have an edge being able to make search results that are very,
very customized to your friends. If I’m looking for what’s the best TV,
I’m going to care about what Best Buy has to say, which is how Google
currently works, right, with these leaders in the industry. But I also
care about what my friends think. Maybe a better example is clothes,
right? What is the best shirt for me to buy? Target might be able to tell
me something or Abercrombie & Fitch or somebody else, but what I really
probably care about is the other people in my social network, what they
think. Facebook has an example there, but we’ll see if they’re a Google
killer. My guess is probably not.

Number four. This one’s tough. Why don’t I just buy links? A lot of
times it’s a lot easier and, quite frankly, buying links in some cases does
work. But when you’re doing that, you’re betting against the very, very
small people at the search engines who are working on algorithms to detect
paid links. So while it can work in some cases, my advice is not to do it
just because it is not a good long-term strategy. I’d much rather use that
same money and buy content or pay writers or pay people who are likely be
able to create links for themselves. This, I just feel, is a much better
long-term strategy. This is what we usually recommend at SEOmoz is not to
buy links but instead put it into other strategies that will work better
long term.

Number five. Danny, will you marry me? No. But if you have a hotter
sister, let me know.

Number six. How do I increase my PageRank? This one I usually break into
two areas. First, I break down PageRank. The PageRank that we normally
see in PageRank toolbar, I just don’t think it’s very helpful at all. The
exception to that is if it’s zero. If it’s zero, it means you have a
penalty or you haven’t been crawled yet. In both those cases, you need to
figure out what’s going on. (Edit: I left out the cases that the page really doesn’t have enough links to round up to PR 1 or that the page PR hasn’t been updated to reflect new links) The other part is how do I increase my
PageRank? If the person asking this question is just really relying on the
fact that PageRank is still important, the way to do it is to get more
links. If they’re going to ask a silly question, it’s okay to give them a
silly answer. The way to increase PageRank, even though in my opinion it’s
not important, is to gain more links.

That’s all the time I got here. I appreciate all of you paying attention.
I will talk to you next week. Thank you very much. Bye.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com


Follow me on Twitter, Fool!
or
Follow SEOmoz on Twitter (who is slightly less blunt)

If you have any other advice that you think is worth sharing, feel free to post it in the comments. This post is very much a work in progress. As always, feel free to e-mail me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my posts more useful. All of my contact information is available on my SEOmoz profile under Danny. Thanks!

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How to Pitch SEO to Potential Clients and Employers – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Danny Dover

Update: Thank you everyone for your patience with the video issues. It looks like our video host’s CDN accidentally cached a bad request. Everything should be working now! Party on!


 In this week’s Whiteboard Friday I talk about pitching SEO to potential clients and employers. This post describes the common elements that unite the successful pitches I have witnessed and describes how you can use them to your advantage. Also, I shaved my beard and now look like a 12-year-old boy. (I don’t recommend that as a pitch tactic.)

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Video Transcription

Hello, Mozzers. My name is Danny Dover. I do SEO here at SEOmoz. Today
for Whiteboard Friday, I’m going to tell you about something that I think
is extremely important, and you should, too. Pitching SEO. By pitching
SEO, I mean presenting the idea of SEO to either potential clients or to
potential employers. So when I am giving this pitch, I have a few key
points I make, and then I’m going to go through a couple of rebuttals that
people usually make back to me.

The first key point that I make, and I always, always do this because it is
very important, is to acknowledge the snake oil salesman. SEO is an
industry where there are a lot of people who just kind of suck. They do a
very poor job of service and it makes the entire industry look bad. So,
you need to acknowledge those people exist so that the person who is
hearing the pitch takes into consideration what you are saying. You’re
acknowledging that, yes, they are correct. But there is also this
alternative that they might now know about. My favorite way of doing this
is you just acknowledge it and then explain why, what proof you have to
show that is not how you do your service, be it past clients or
testimonials or actual data you can show from your results. I prefer the
latter if possible.

Number two. Strategies are easy but tactics are hard. A lot of times when
I am explaining SEO, I will come into contact with someone who is like,
"Oh, yeah, I get it. You’ve got to build links and content." They’re
absolutely right. That’s correct. That’s what you have to do. But what
they are talking about are strategies. Bigger ideas. Building content,
that is just a broad idea. The actual content you write and the way you do
it and the way it is formatted, those are tactics.

In SEO, I think that the strategies are easy. They are easy to comprehend.
They’re big and they make intuitive sense. But the tactics are hard. My
favorite example of this is URL rewrites. The idea is yes, we’re going to
make all the URLs go from here to here. It turns out that doing that can
be very, very troublesome, and you run into lots and lots of side cases
just like anything you do with programming. So, I always try to
acknowledge that yes, the strategies are easy, but you are going to
probably want a specialist so that you make sure you nail all your tactics.

Number three. PPC and SEO equals the top of the conversion funnel. To be
completely honest, there are other things at the top of the conversion
funnel as well. There’s email. There’s direct traffic. There are lots of
other things. The two that I focus on are PPC and SEO. PPC is pay per
click, which is the ads you pay for in search engines and elsewhere and SEO
being search engine optimization, of course.

These are both tops of the funnel. So, you can either chose to pay on an
ongoing basis for PPC and get some traffic that way, or you can do it
through SEO and if you adhere to best practices, it can be free for you.
Just learn how to do it once, continue with the best practices, and it
costs you no money. The nice thing about this is that, while 90% of
budgets go to PPC, only 10% of clicks go there. The reverse of that is
only 10% of budgets approximately go to SEO, but 90% of clicks from users
are going to organic results and search engines. Huge opportunity here and
if you do it right, it won’t cost you a dime.

The next one, rebuttals. When I am giving this pitch, there are a couple
of responses I get from people that I think are very genuine and they make
a lot of sense. These are the rebuttals they give, and then how I help
deconstruct that a little bit.

The first one being SEO takes too long. They are absolutely right. SEO
does take a long time. The way I break down SEO in my head is into
popularity, which is links, and relevancy, which is onsite, although there
is an element of links in that too. I’ll write a little bit more about
this in the blog post below. The idea being that SEO takes too long.
That’s true, but not for on page. If you want to just do on page
optimizations, you can have a lot of opportunity to boost traffic quickly.
Just do on page to start with. Another trick like that is just installing
a site map if they don’t have one. I’ve seen that this is easy to do. You
can have an automated generator do it. Submit it to the engines, and within
a week or so you’ll see results on that assuming they’ve never had one
before and other variables are not acting awry.

Number two, it will happen organically. This is one of my favorites.
People will say, "Oh yeah, we’re building links anyway. There’s variety in
our content. We have professional writers. So it’s just going to happen
organically." That is not true. I thought the same thing with my dating
life. Yeah, it will just happen organically. No, it’s not happened
organically. Same thing with SEO. You can try to do all these things, but
unless you have some focus, some actual goals, and some plans, it’s just
not going to happen. Search engine optimization, you’re not optimizing
anything. You’re just letting it happen. So by putting in just a little
bit extra effort, you can get a lot more results. That’s usually what I
use there.

The last one is, "I’m too busy." That’s something I can totally
understand. Learning SEO is a complicated process. But, it turns out you
can have other people do this for you. If you are trading it for money,
you can just pay someone to do a little bit on it, SEO for you, do an SEO
audit, and give you some recommendations. Or you can trade, you can do
some bartering or something else. You can just make it happen. So, yes,
being busy is an excuse, but not with the potential there is to make a lot
of money with SEO and a lot of conversion on that.

That’s all the time I’ve got today. I appreciate all of you paying
attention, or some of you. Not that guy. I appreciate it, and I’ll talk
to you next week. Bye.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com


Tweet

 

If you have any other advice that you think is worth sharing, feel free to post it in the comments. This post is very much a work in progress. As always, feel free to e-mail me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my posts more useful. All of my contact information is available on my SEOmoz profile under Danny. Thanks!

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How to Pitch SEO to Potential Clients and Employers – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Danny Dover

Update: Thank you everyone for your patience with the video issues. It looks like our video host’s CDN accidentally cached a bad request. Everything should be working now! Party on!


 In this week’s Whiteboard Friday I talk about pitching SEO to potential clients and employers. This post describes the common elements that unite the successful pitches I have witnessed and describes how you can use them to your advantage. Also, I shaved my beard and now look like a 12-year-old boy. (I don’t recommend that as a pitch tactic.)

Embed video
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Video Transcription

Hello, Mozzers. My name is Danny Dover. I do SEO here at SEOmoz. Today
for Whiteboard Friday, I’m going to tell you about something that I think
is extremely important, and you should, too. Pitching SEO. By pitching
SEO, I mean presenting the idea of SEO to either potential clients or to
potential employers. So when I am giving this pitch, I have a few key
points I make, and then I’m going to go through a couple of rebuttals that
people usually make back to me.

The first key point that I make, and I always, always do this because it is
very important, is to acknowledge the snake oil salesman. SEO is an
industry where there are a lot of people who just kind of suck. They do a
very poor job of service and it makes the entire industry look bad. So,
you need to acknowledge those people exist so that the person who is
hearing the pitch takes into consideration what you are saying. You’re
acknowledging that, yes, they are correct. But there is also this
alternative that they might now know about. My favorite way of doing this
is you just acknowledge it and then explain why, what proof you have to
show that is not how you do your service, be it past clients or
testimonials or actual data you can show from your results. I prefer the
latter if possible.

Number two. Strategies are easy but tactics are hard. A lot of times when
I am explaining SEO, I will come into contact with someone who is like,
"Oh, yeah, I get it. You’ve got to build links and content." They’re
absolutely right. That’s correct. That’s what you have to do. But what
they are talking about are strategies. Bigger ideas. Building content,
that is just a broad idea. The actual content you write and the way you do
it and the way it is formatted, those are tactics.

In SEO, I think that the strategies are easy. They are easy to comprehend.
They’re big and they make intuitive sense. But the tactics are hard. My
favorite example of this is URL rewrites. The idea is yes, we’re going to
make all the URLs go from here to here. It turns out that doing that can
be very, very troublesome, and you run into lots and lots of side cases
just like anything you do with programming. So, I always try to
acknowledge that yes, the strategies are easy, but you are going to
probably want a specialist so that you make sure you nail all your tactics.

Number three. PPC and SEO equals the top of the conversion funnel. To be
completely honest, there are other things at the top of the conversion
funnel as well. There’s email. There’s direct traffic. There are lots of
other things. The two that I focus on are PPC and SEO. PPC is pay per
click, which is the ads you pay for in search engines and elsewhere and SEO
being search engine optimization, of course.

These are both tops of the funnel. So, you can either chose to pay on an
ongoing basis for PPC and get some traffic that way, or you can do it
through SEO and if you adhere to best practices, it can be free for you.
Just learn how to do it once, continue with the best practices, and it
costs you no money. The nice thing about this is that, while 90% of
budgets go to PPC, only 10% of clicks go there. The reverse of that is
only 10% of budgets approximately go to SEO, but 90% of clicks from users
are going to organic results and search engines. Huge opportunity here and
if you do it right, it won’t cost you a dime.

The next one, rebuttals. When I am giving this pitch, there are a couple
of responses I get from people that I think are very genuine and they make
a lot of sense. These are the rebuttals they give, and then how I help
deconstruct that a little bit.

The first one being SEO takes too long. They are absolutely right. SEO
does take a long time. The way I break down SEO in my head is into
popularity, which is links, and relevancy, which is onsite, although there
is an element of links in that too. I’ll write a little bit more about
this in the blog post below. The idea being that SEO takes too long.
That’s true, but not for on page. If you want to just do on page
optimizations, you can have a lot of opportunity to boost traffic quickly.
Just do on page to start with. Another trick like that is just installing
a site map if they don’t have one. I’ve seen that this is easy to do. You
can have an automated generator do it. Submit it to the engines, and within
a week or so you’ll see results on that assuming they’ve never had one
before and other variables are not acting awry.

Number two, it will happen organically. This is one of my favorites.
People will say, "Oh yeah, we’re building links anyway. There’s variety in
our content. We have professional writers. So it’s just going to happen
organically." That is not true. I thought the same thing with my dating
life. Yeah, it will just happen organically. No, it’s not happened
organically. Same thing with SEO. You can try to do all these things, but
unless you have some focus, some actual goals, and some plans, it’s just
not going to happen. Search engine optimization, you’re not optimizing
anything. You’re just letting it happen. So by putting in just a little
bit extra effort, you can get a lot more results. That’s usually what I
use there.

The last one is, "I’m too busy." That’s something I can totally
understand. Learning SEO is a complicated process. But, it turns out you
can have other people do this for you. If you are trading it for money,
you can just pay someone to do a little bit on it, SEO for you, do an SEO
audit, and give you some recommendations. Or you can trade, you can do
some bartering or something else. You can just make it happen. So, yes,
being busy is an excuse, but not with the potential there is to make a lot
of money with SEO and a lot of conversion on that.

That’s all the time I’ve got today. I appreciate all of you paying
attention, or some of you. Not that guy. I appreciate it, and I’ll talk
to you next week. Bye.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com


Tweet

 

If you have any other advice that you think is worth sharing, feel free to post it in the comments. This post is very much a work in progress. As always, feel free to e-mail me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my posts more useful. All of my contact information is available on my SEOmoz profile under Danny. Thanks!

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Whiteboard Friday – Dominate Your Brand Search Engine Result Page

Posted by Danny Dover

 This week on Whiteboard Friday we pull a secret out of the SEO secrets vault. This handy strategy helps you take advantage of the specific types of results that Google chooses for people and company based searches and helps you dominate your brand search engine result page.

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Dominate Your Brand Search Engine Result Page (SERP)


Build YourBrand.com

Building a brand hub is an obvious suggestion but not necessarily for the reason you might think. Use these types of websites to promote what other domains are saying about you or your brand elsewhere on the Internet. This gives those pages (social media profiles, interviews, etc…) link juice and improves their relevancy, thus helping them rank for your brand SERP. (Hint: Use anchor text like "SEOmoz on Twitter" or "John Doe in the New York Times"). You can see an example of me doing this tactic on DannyDover.com

Build an Alternative Brand Site

After building your brand hub and linking from its homepage to the other pages you want to rank, you should build another brand site. In practical terms I recommend using a single page on a related domain. (I use this page targeting just my first name, Danny as my alternate). This helps you command a second result in the SERP because it is on a separate (and in this case, a more powerful) domain.

Create Social Media Profiles

This is obvious. Social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc…) are both great search results for people/brand searches and are on very powerful domains. This makes them great resources to fill up your brand SERP.

Do Interviews/News

Linking to relevant articles/interviews on your brand hub site is an excellent tactic for filling the remaining spots on your brand SERP. Like the last tactic, these pages are helpful search results for searchers and are usually on powerful domains.

Do PPC

This final tactic is less intuitive. Bidding on your name/brand allows you to control the ads on your brand SERP. This is helpful for branding (der…) and it actually tends to increase the click through rates of the number one result on the page as well as the ad.

Update: You can see 4 more excellent suggestions from seo-himanshu in the comments below.


Follow me on Twitter, Fool!
or
Follow SEOmoz on Twitter (who is slightly less rude)

If you have any other advice that you think is worth sharing, feel free to post it in the comments. This post is very much a work in progress. As always, feel free to e-mail me if you have any suggestions on how I can make my posts more useful. All of my contact information is available on my SEOmoz profile under Danny. Thanks!

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