Bills Hartzer and Slawski Go Deep
Three meetings into 2016, and we’ve already seen a broad spectrum of digital marketing topics at DFWSEM’s Wednesday shindigs. Engagement was on deck for the first meeting. PPC the second. So #3 was destined to be all SEO. Good and good for you.
A bit of business first
Speaking of good stuff, DFWSEM has now reached its 13th birthday. Time marches on. But as time passes, prices rise, and as President Scott Vann announced, membership costs haven’t risen in years. A new rate plan is rolling out, with additional levels available – but if you renew your membership by April 30, you’ll be grandfathered in at the current prices for an additional year. Pretty sweet deal.
Scott went on to thank the much-appreciated sponsors who let DFWSEM do that voodoo that we do so well, including Advice Interactive, who announced they’ve rebranded their local search service as Advice Local. There was a bit of a tease about how much there is in store for State of Search (there’s still time to volunteer!), then Dan Sturdivant stepped up to talk hacking.
Specifically, the Workhacker Conference, which will roll out on April 11 at the University of Texas Dallas. The event will be supporting local charity The Digital Career Center and the good people at Workhacker have made it super affordable for you to attend. Use the code DFWSEM-Workhacker to purchase your ticket before March 31 and save $20. That means you’ll get it for the ridiculously low price of $19!
Then Bill Hartzer took the stage and people started taking very serious notes.
— Chris Silver Smith (@si1very) March 10, 2016
Bill’s been in the game since 1996, so he knows his stuff. He began with a sobering note, asking the group for a moment of silence. PageRank has officially passed away.
But keywords aren’t dead. Nope. They’re still important, and according to Bill still findable with tools like SEMrush, the Google keyword planner, and good old Google Analytics.
In fact, keywords are still an important part of a nutritious SEO breakfast, alongside stalwarts such as making sure you have only one H1 tag on any given page, internal links that make sense, and filling in those alt attributes on images. Round that out by making sure to use a good spidering tool, such as Screaming Frog, Deepcrawl or MOZ, and things should be looking pretty sharp.
But don’t keyword stuff. It makes you look fat. Not you personally – just your copy.
As for the future, Bill laid out a few concrete steps to keep that SEO shiny.
- Know your quality score! With right hand ads going away Google will value it more than ever
- Move your domain to https! There’s no excuse not to do so, and delays will leave you open to malicious ads being served on your site
- Look into new gTLD domain extensions? They can provide a nice boost and are becoming more common
- Google Penguin! It’s on the horizon…maybe. It’ll happen when it happens
There were a few Do Not’s, too. Do not neglect reviewing your links. Do not host duplicate content. Extra-crispy do not forget SEO audits and using social to promote content. And while speed may kill on the highway, it is absolutely vital to keep your page load times low.
SEO for Ph.Ds
Bill #1 wrapped up, and Bill #2 took the stage – and a chair. The first clue this wasn’t going to be an ordinary presentation. Things skipped from introductory all the way to advanced without a stop at intermediate in-between, but the hardcore SEO types in the room were hanging on Slawski’s every word. Literally. There were occasional gasps amid the questions.
With right column ads disappearing from Google SERPs, and search trends tending toward phrases, Bill Slawski predicts the Knowledge Graph will be even more crucial. This is a good time to make sure your NAP is in order: Name, Address and Phone number.
— Bryant Goodall (@BryantGoodall) March 10, 2016
People are increasingly searching for entities. So how do you make sure Google knows you are one? Knows you even exist? First and foremost, says Bill, verify your business with Google – grab that G+ profile, make sure you claim your business, and double check your listings from maps to metadata. And get all the valid links you can, though you can’t rely on Wikipedia hacks anymore.
But perhaps most interestingly, Bill touched on the idea that soon, users will be able to query nearby objects. Want to know what a statue is called? Stand by it and ask Google. Want to see what time a restaurant opens? Proximity will help you snag the answer. Combine this with beacons, and there’s some powerful marketing to be had there.
As one survey response put it, “Bill Slawski is a wicked mad genius.”
Slawski’s Birthday Celebration
T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month. Well that doesn’t really matter if you’re Bill Slawski, because it’s just next down the line after your birthday month, and there’s nothing cruel about cake. We found out the aforesaid birthday was barely a week away, and since Bill won’t be in town for a proper party, cake seemed like a good idea. Well hell, you know a Texas party isn’t just any ol’ party, so we even had DFWSEM’s resident tenor, Timothy Huneycutt, lead members in singing Happy Birthday!
SEO in the neighborhood
Since the thirst for SEO can never be slaked, DFWSEM is bringing in a local expert next month. Joy Hawkins of Imprezzio Marketing will be on tap, along with a major State of Search announcement. You won’t want to miss it.
Stephanie Studer is a writer, editor, cook, and massive nerd who calls Dallas home. A social and content marketer, she’s deeply in love with all that language can do. She blogs at storytellingforsuccess.wordpress.com, tweets at @Editrix_Steph, and posts entirely too many pictures of dishes she’s made on Instagram. Don’t ask her about ukuleles or comic books unless you have nothing to do for the next several hours.