Slide Deck & Notes from My SMX Advanced Google Survivor Preso
I had the privilege to participate as a panelist on the Google Survivor Tips panel during SMX Advanced in Seattle this year. The presentation was centered around how to address the fact that your site is vulnerable to the Google roller coaster – most recently of course, as seen in the Panda Updates.
I also spoke on how to not only inoculate yourself from the major updates at Google, but to go beyond that. To generate significant organic search traffic through other means.
Rather than embedding my deck over on SlideShare or DocStoc, I prefer to keep all my content local. No disrespect to those fine services. Just that my content is my content, ya know? And here I can present it to you without ads, or without having to pay them a fee to have no ads.
But I get to do even more. I get to provide you not only the slides I used, but the notes I spoke from. That’s a significant bonus to you because a slide deck by itself is pretty boring right? And I can even skip the intro slides and the “why I’m so great, you should respect what I’m saying” slide
So here, for your viewing pleasure, I present my Google Survivor tips presentation.
- Topic: Google Survivor Tips
- Slides: 24
- Presentation Length: 18 Minutes
When I was gathering this data, I reviewed sites that I’d coordinated the SEO on and sites that came to me after, so it’s a pretty good sampling of data. Most interesting is the fact that while these sites had over 7 million pages indexed at Google, the sites NOT inoculated only had a tiny fraction of their pages indexed at Bing – I’ll touch on reasons for that in this presentation.
There are 2 kinds of SEO
And I’m not talking about “the hat which shall remain nameless”
I’m talking about Myopic SEO and Sustainable SEO.
SEO that’s got tunnel vision, and SEO that sees the bigger picture.
Here’s an example of a few sites that came to me after Panda.
Note how in two of these visitor trending snapshots, the sites took a significant hit from Google’s May Day update, and were subsequently hammered during the Panda cycle.
Personally, when I studied the May Day update and Caffeine, I saw the writing on the wall – and in fact, I spent several months inoculating my own client sites against what I knew was coming this year. (Note – my client sites were NOT negatively impacted, however all indications from that update were that Google was turning up the heat in a big enough way that it meant bigger changes were coming.
Here’s trending charts from three of my pre-Panda clients.
The first launched shortly before last year’s May Day update and has been consistently performing ever since.
The middle one is for a seasonal site, with ups and downs reflecting those trends.
All three are great examples of sites properly optimized with Sustainable SEO.
So Lets Look at Myopic SEO
Several common factors come up every time I see a site that was given the “Myopic” SEO treatment. Either by a consultant or agency, or a site owner who “thinks” they know what SEO is.
Sometimes a site has only a couple of these problems. Most of the time, they’ve got nearly all of them.
What is Sustainable SEO?
Tight Topical Focus. Clearly Seeded on and off site
And it considers User Experience. Not YOU – You’re not the user.
And Diversity in what you do. Or you create False Patterns
Patterns are everything. Pandas LOVE False Patterns
Here’s a great example of Myopic SEO
This is a case of Internal Link Poisoning.
Look at all them links. Everywhere. About Everything.
No Topical Focus on this page. The “main content area” is a tiny box of text surrounded by a sea of confusion.
And Link Poisoning causes Algorithms to Vomit.
Here’s a main category page from that same site.
The page was sliced in half for this presentation because it’s too long for one slide.
Note the “main content area” in that tiny box on the left (upper) portion of the page.
Again, it’s lost in a sea of links going everywhere imaginable on the site.
They’re confusing to users.
They overwhelm the senses. Of Users And Search Algorithms.
Here’s another site that’s a great example of Myopic SEO. Again, this is one page, split in two.
There’s just too much going on here that has nothing to do with the topical focus of this specific page.
And no effort went into getting comments, user generated content, on this one (or the majority of content on the site).
All the other unrelated stuff causes user and search confusion.
Here’s that same page cleaned up.
Much more main content.
Heavily Promoted User Generated Content.
Which bring MORE clicks now.
Now it’s a Happy Page.
This is a page on a professional services site. Note how there are NO Ads.
If you have a professional services site, there is no legitimate reason to have ads.
Best practices Structure all around
Section Specific Sub-Navigation is really important
Breadcrumbs confirm topical relationships
Lots of High Quality Content
Myopic SEO Inbound Links have ugly patterns
Here’s one where it’s mostly BRAND related anchors.
And the keyword anchors are really weak choices.
Which means you’re missing a lot of people who don’t know your brand
And this profile doesn’t match Google on-site understanding of what you’re site’s about.
It’s a disconnect. Myopic.
This link profile is no better.
Look at those Ratios of Links to Root Domains.
High Link to Root Ratios are BAD SEO.
Too many links coming from individual domains
If there’s a lot of them, it’s an indication you may be buying links.
Sustainable SEO requires better link profiles.
More diversity of brand, keyword and generic anchor text.
And much tighter Link to Root Ratios.
You can have SOME high ratios – for example – I blog. A lot. So I’ve got a lot of links from Search Engine Journal for example.
Every bio in every one of those articles, plus some in-content links – those are natural, so it’s valid to have a high ratio there.
Except it shouldn’t be the majority of your inbound link profile.
Because that’s not natural.
Sustainable SEO is so important to understand.
Get it and you’ll not only ride the Google Roller Coaster
You’ll get more visits.
And more visits from other places
And more sales.
So Remember- only MYOPIC SEO is stuck in the Google Mud.
SUSTAINABLE SEO sees a bigger world out there.
With lots of opportunity from places appropriate to your market.
Maybe there’s location specific opportunities.
Or industry specific. They’re out there.
Are you an adventurer, or are you a marketing wallflower?
Here’s some stats on sites I audited, comparing the quality of their SEO.
ODD, Isn’t ?
Myopic SEO caused sites to have between 10% & 16% traffic from other search.
Sustainable SEO brings between 20% and 49% of its traffic from other places
And that’s not cannibalized from Google.
It’s IN ADDITION TO Google.
If you’ve been stuck in the mud with Myopic SEO, you’d be surprised to know that Bing has a preference for inbound links that come from other sites Bing thinks are authoritative. Which means that it’s good to take a look so that at least some of your inbound links come from sites that are actually ranking in Bing, not just Google.
Remember that the sites I studied had only 10% of their pages indexed in Bing. – Actually some sites have MORE pages indexed in Bing than Google. So don’t assume.
And Bing has a more difficult time discovering content without your help.
So take the time to submit those sitemap.xml files to Bing. You’ll be glad you did.
And when you have strong site architecture, Bing is better able to index more pages as well.
Bing’s not just looking for “Likes” in social . They want to see engagement.
Engagement = authority.
Let’s Talk About the importance of a variety of Anchor Phrases.
Look how easy it is to get many more pages indexed in Bing .
Again, this is just MY experience, and what I’ve found in my own audits.
It’s pretty consistent though.
So be sure to get more diversity in your anchor text.
And point it to the right content on your site.
Laser focus where those inbound links point to for topical relevance when you can.
And spread the anchor text love!
With Sustainable SEO, you need to be forward thinking.
It’s critical. Because the search engines are only going to continue to care more about how they determine searcher intent AND Site owner intent.
People who are stuck in the mud see one thing or hear about one technique
OMG This Is The Answer To My Prayers….
Or they encourage bad business decisions.
Like too many ads on a page.
Sustainable SEO Requires Thinking Outside The Box
And planting a listening device in Matt’s Office.
And hires psychics to figure what Google and Bing will do next.
Seriously though – it’s like how I was able to realize that May Day and Caffeine were warning signs that Panda was coming.
Through the rest of this year and beyond, Google and bing are going to work to get these signals even more highly tuned.
So pay attention to these considerations when you’re doing SEO or auditing a site’s current optimization.
Sitting on the myopic couch has got to end.
Your aunt Sally’s getting worried.
Because search engines suck at evaluating content And relationships
But Schema.org changes the paradigm.
Search engines are finally admitting in a HUGE way, they need our help.
So don’t wait til 2012
Get with the Schema Program this year.
And you’ll be a winner in 2012.
AFTER CONFERENCE NOTE
I created this last slide the day I learned about Schema. A week before the presentation. I tweeted about Schema, referring to it as a paradigm shift. And I drilled it as a factor during that night’s #SEOChat.
And before flying up to Seattle, I wrote an SEJ article focused specifically on my prediction that Schema.org markup would be a ranking factor in 2012, and that article went live on the first day of the conference.
The next morning, before my presentation, Stefan Weitz, Head of Search at Microsoft, talked about Schema. And how it’s going to help them understand site owner intent more.
Which means they’ll be able to better match user intent to site content intent.
And that means it WILL be a ranking factor.
At the end of his keynote, I went up to him and we talked about it.
And we were in complete agreement that it’s amazing there are so many people who don’t yet accept Schema is both here to stay AND that it’s going to be a ranking factor.
Maybe it won’t be. Maybe it will fail to get wide implementation. Maybe lightening will strike the same place six times.
You never know.
Me, I’m going with it.