Kerry Dean Brings Us Back from the Future of SEO
Wrestling, 80’s movie references, Grey’s Anatomy, big announcements and an epic presentation about the past, present and future of SEO. Those who attended the first DFWSEM meeting of 2015 got all this and so much more.
— Kelcey Piper (@kelceypiper) January 22, 2015
January meeting highlights
First order of business for the evening were the introductions. Members officially welcomed 2015 DFWSEM Board members, led by new President, Scott Vann. It has been less than a month since the new board was elected, but this is a team who do not let grass grow under their feet!
Guest speakers for most of this year have already been scheduled and what a stellar line-up we have to look forward to! Next up will be Roger Dooley’s presentation, 14 Science Based Ways to Convert More Customers in February. Other outstanding speakers hanging out with us in Dallas this year include: Andy Beal, Matt Walleart, and Arnie Kuenn.
The #DFWSEM hashtag lit up on Twitter as announcements continued, bringing members up to date on the array of things the Board has been working on in January.
State of Search Conference
Plans are well underway for State of Search with James Loomstein and Greg Gifford working on booking speakers and Damon Gochneaur, Warren Lee, and Mike Stewart obtaining sponsorships for the event. With early acknowledgement that the goal is to take State of Search up another level in 2015, the conference team are absolutely planning on “bringing it.” So, mark your calendars for November 16 – 17, 2015.
New DFWSEM meeting venue
NOAH’S Event Center Richardson will be our meeting venue in February. The new venue is located at 2251 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX 75082. This opens up some different opportunities for food and beverages, maybe even FREE drinks.
Greg Gifford wins the Churchill Award
Most important announcement of the night was the third annual presentation of the Churchill Award, named after DFWSEM founding member, Christine Churchill. This Award recognizes the greatest contribution to DFWSEM each year. It was wonderful to see long-serving Board member Greg Gifford honored as the 2014 recipient of the Churchill Award. Congratulations Greg!
The State of SEO: 2015 and Beyond!
Kerry Dean’s presentation on the past, present and future of SEO was both informative and entertaining. As he recounted tales from the ‘olden days’ of SEO, we learned how things have changed in the past few years.
In a presentation peppered with WWF wrestling, ‘bears with beaks’ memes and 1980’s movie references, Kerry took us on a journey through past SEO tactics that no longer work, those that work now and what the future holds for marketers.
— Damon Gochneaur (@DamonGochneaur) January 22, 2015
Clients may ask “What should we do about SEO in the next 5 years?” As Kerry pointed out, this is not the question you should be focusing on. No one, not even Google, knows how SEO will change and evolve in the next 5 years. Tactics come and go (remember Google Authorship?) Also, since average lifespan of a client is around 3 years, why worry what will happen 5 years from now? The question you should be considering is: What works now?
This is what works now
As he continued his presentation Kerry talked about SEO strategies that enable us to get it right, right now. Start with the basics: using good meta tags and meta descriptions, optimizing page load times, schema.org markup, image captions and utilizing sitemaps.
— DFWSEM (@dfwsem) January 22, 2015
Other key takeaways
- Track organic keywords using tools like SEMrush
- Good quality content is more important than ever.
- Use onsite search queries to discover new content ideas and keywords.
- Use Tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Searchmetrics for keywords and blog topics.
- Be sure your website has clean and accurate XML Sitemaps. Check indexed pages in Google Webmaster Tools, as well as Bing to be sure your sitemap is being crawled.
- Buzzfeed is ‘crushing it’ with long list posts, like “101 Theories About Kim Kardashian And Kanye West’s Wedding” that keep you on their site longer and lower bounce rates.
- Use consistent location information, especially for retail businesses. Use 301 redirects to achieve consistency if necessary.
The #DFWSEM hashtag was awash with tips and insights throughout the evening.
Are your sitemaps indexed at over 90% in webmaster tools? #dfwsem
— John J Nosal (@jnosal) January 22, 2015
— Damon Gochneaur (@DamonGochneaur) January 22, 2015
— DFWSEM (@dfwsem) January 22, 2015
— Greg Gifford (@GregGifford) January 22, 2015
The meeting ended with a relaxed networking session – an opportunity to share a drink and meet our guest speaker in person. A big thank you to Kerry for sharing his expertise.
For those unable to join us at the meeting there is also great news. DFWSEM member company Vidpow generously provided their expertise and equipment on the night, capturing Kerry Dean’s presentation on video so you can watch it at your leisure. A big thank you to Vidpow!
Thanks to Advice Interactive for being our Platinum Sponsor for the past year. Your support of DFWSEM is greatly appreciated.
Our Own Kerry Dean Spoke Tonight at DFWSEM on the PMG Blog.
The presentation was fast paced and engaging. It was laced with photos of movies from the 80’s and 90’s and some of his favorite wrestlers. There were slides of birds with arms and bears with beaks. This made the presentation fly by and kept us entertained.
My presentation is the State of SEO and beyond. And I use a lot of movie references but my sweet spot for movies is like 1985 to 1995. So, this is from Back To School of course. Just a little bit about me. I have a four year old and a four month old. I’ve got a couple of golden retrievers. I love Full House. I’m really into wrestling. So if you follow me on Twitter. The other night I was at WWE RAW down at the American Airlines Center. And I got my sign on T.V. which was really fun. And then I love Transformers because I like good versus evil. And I love Back to the Future II because I just like the future. And what’s cool about Back to the Future II is like that’s this year. Oh, it’s so great.
I got into gardening a few years ago because my wife is like, “I want a garden. Build me a garden.” So I built these like, I followed the book it said, “Build square foot garden.” So I built these things and it was so awesome. And I was cursing while I was building them. But then like every day I would come home from work. And I would like, “How are you all doing? Are you all growing or?” I was a freak talking to my plants but I fell in love with it so much, six months later I had this built. Now I have this massive garden. These are my tomatoes this year. And that’s my little girl Clara. Some people say I go a little overboard sometimes with things when I really get into them. So, those tomatoes are a proof of that. And one of the greatest things about gardening is that the universal answer to every gardening question ever is, “It depends.” Which is a lot like SEO because one guy’s SEO advice might work for side A but it doesn’t really work for side B. So gardening is the same thing. You could be growing tomatoes at your house and the guy next door to you does not have any luck because maybe the sun doesn’t shine just right over the back of his fence. So I like that stuff.
Oh, this is my license plate for a couple of years. I like to get creative and have a little fun but whenever . . . they wanted a renewal after the second year, I was like,” I’m about to have another kid so that money went to that, I’m sorry Texas.” This is my resume. Some of the sites I’ve worked with, mainly again on retail and travel, Nike, Radio Shack, J Crew, Volcom, Cole Haan, Harley, stuff you know, really awesome retail sites. So here are some just points about me. I started learning SEO in 2005. And I think I’m still learning. It’s always changing. It’s one of the things that I really love about it. I totally figured it out this thing called MSN Search and Win in 2006. And some of the guys that I told about it ended up being quoted like the New York Times. And it was really a cool contest that they launched this website, MSN did. And every time you search for a keyword, you might like win something. And so being an SEO, I just want to control you. I looked at this. I looked at the source code. And I saw that all the winning keywords were in the keywords tag. And so one of my buddies wrote a script and was just searching. And he won so much stuff because he was just hitting MSN with like 5000 queries a second. Anyway, gift cards to anywhere and T.Vs and stuff. It was really fun.
I won an award at SES 2008 which was pretty awesome. Then Danny Sullivan followed me on Twitter. That’s like one of my favorite bragging points. I spoke on a panel at SMX West 2010 with the product manager of Google Buzz. She wasn’t really happy with me because I was creating Google Buzz accounts for all my brands, all my clients. And she’s like, “That’s not really what it’s meant for.” And I was like, “So.” Anyway I was totally hipster. I was into Google Buzz before anybody. Okay. At SMX 2012 East, I presented a ton of evidence of black hat, illegal stuff that a lot of a payday loan people were doing with their websites. And eight months later there was the payday loan update. Coincidence? I think not. And then at SMX Advance last year it was the first time I was asked to speak there and it was so cool. I actually got a hashtag trending on Twitter, was a hashtag small data. It was pretty fun. So that’s some things about me. And this is my first time that anyone’s ever given me the microphone by myself so I might start talking like Macho Man or stuff. Macho Man, yeah. I love that guy, rest in peace. But he’s going to the hall of fame this year for WWE if you wanted to know.
So really to know more about me is how I think as an SEO, you have to really look at who I learn from. Todd Friesen, Greg Boser, Todd Malicoat, Dave Naylor, Aaron Wall. These were the guys, that had handles . . . that whole handle thing came from the hackers back in the 80s. These were the guys that were making thousands of dollars a day gaming the system before Matt Cutts showed up. And so I would say that I happen to work for Todd at Range over in Fort Worth. And I would go on trips and I would be sitting at tables and bars, listening to these guys talk about all the things that we’re doing back in 2005 and 2006. And it was super cool. And I got this mindset that they were not hackers but they were just like gaming the system big time because it was still able to be gamed and I love that.
And it really seemed like this, like SEO was really cool back then. We’re all like phone freakers. And this was Google. And these guys were Matt Cutts. Is that Pin and Teller? No. And then everybody I knew, we thought we were Zero Cool. We’re back there at our system. In reality what we were was like Kramer. And we were sitting there on our little laptops punching away. And the funny thing about this is, is that back in those days the SEO guy was or girl was over in the corner doing his thing. No one else knows what the hell he was doing and or her. And this really made me laugh. Because that’s how I thought of myself back then it was just, I’m over here doing something, yeah. You don’t know what it is but anyway.
So my SEO here is the reasons like I love new ideas. I have a thousand Hotmail accounts. Don’t ask me what I use them for. I spread my sites across several servers. I have different Google Analytics accounts. Sometimes I don’t use GA because Google will find you. I’m into domaining which basically means I collect a lot of domains and I don’t sell them which is like a tax for me because I’m an idiot. It was the reason I was sitting on my computer when Facebook launched vanity URLs. I was at home, and I had buddies calling me, “Hey, can you get my domain or my URL.” And I was like, “Sure, give me your password.” So I got a lot of Facebook passwords that way. It was really awesome. I have hundreds of Twitter handles, I have dozens of Facebook pages. And I even have maybe a few dozen LO accounts. If you’re on LO, you probably saw one of my pages recently. Really but, none of that works anymore. It just doesn’t. I mean SEO is secretive and fun and it’s cool and all that. But really, this is a picture of Google’s first server. In 2008 they launch their millionth server. These guys I don’t even know what they’re doing. I know that they have a patent to have a data center in the ocean. So if you think that because your sites are on different servers, and they are on different registrars and all that stuff, Google is finding out who you are pretty quick. And all that stuff is just, today it seems silly. But I’m paying for more service still.
Really in the old days of SEO, we were really worried like, all we wanted was traffic. It was basically like the client would say “Bring us traffic and lets us deal with it once it gets there.” That was it. But we know better today. It’s not just about getting traffic. In fact I have seen instances where too much traffic leads to bad things. So maybe you get fewer qualified visits which increases your bounce rate. It decreases your conversation rate. And it decreases revenue per visitor. And so that tends to lead to an unhappy client. So I drew these two graphs because everyone loves graphs. This is an example where visits increased but revenue went down. Client’s not happy. They pay you as SEOs to get more traffic but if revenue is not up, they’re mad. This is the opposite. Revenue is up but traffic is down. And you’re like, “Hey, look at the revenue is up.” And they’re like,” What about traffic?” And then they just look mad at you. So this happens a lot.
So I think that more traffic does not necessarily solve my problems. I really wanted to make a hashtag tonight, “Ridiculous hashtag of the day is MTDNSMP.” Looks like that. And then there’s Birds With Arms is like, that hashtag is ridiculous. Birds With Arms is one of favorite names, you’ve got to go check it out. It’s super cool. So let’s switch gears for a minute. That dog is ridiculous. I love that Birds With Arm too, he’s great. I want to talk about the future of SEO. Everyone loves the future of SEO. How do you feel? You feel pretty good about the future of SEO? Reasonably if you’re a Breaking Bad fan, that’s what that’s from. He’s one of my favorites.
So I built this SEO timeline. This was before Matt Cutts. Prior to 2000, you basically had Frank Drebin from Police Squad monitoring the web. And everything that could happen was happening. Like the coolest stuff. The most probably like people were getting ripped off and making tons of money. It was so great. And then that cut shows up. And in 2003, the Boston update comes out which . . . trivia fact here, Boston I think was one of the first named algorithm updates. And ever since then he’s been really doing lots of stuff too, from Florida and Jagger and NoFollow and Penguin and Panda. Really made life hard for us. And all the big brands got to be rewarded. Love Matt, he’s been awesome to me. One time I had a site that got hacked. And so the penalty was put on it because the server got hacked. And so I sent him a note, and he helped me out once I got all the stuffed figured it out. He helped me get it out of the Google penalty. Love that guy, awesome.
So what comes next? Maybe the machines are here to destroy us all. Who knows? But the future of SEO is weird right now. If you think about it, Google and Bing neither of them have their face of SEO anymore. Like there’s not really anyone to complain to. Like I can’t wait for the next big Google update to come out. And no one’s going to be able to bitch at Matt. It’s going to be, “Who do we write to? Some software data centers? What’s the IP address? I don’t know.” I do know but I won’t tell. Okay, some of the things about SEO is what’s more important? The past, the present or the future? I wrote an article one time. Because I felt like as an SEO account manager, sometimes I was an SEO account janitor. Because I always happen to clean up a lot of stuff from whoever had the client before I did. I was having to go to disavows. There was just a lot of stuff that was going on. I think in lot of ways its really good to know the history of SEO. The same time that I think it’s great to think about the future. But everybody really obsesses about it. It’s like, “What’s going on in the future of SEO?”
And so you look on the web and you see these articles which are awesome if you love to read about the future and predictions and stuff. Here are some from Forbes, SE Land, this is from VentureBeat. It’s people writing about their predictions for SEO. I know Rand does when every January 1st or so. I took the Search Engine Land, I do this a lot. I don’t really ever publish it. But I put all the interview answers into a word cloud. And I wanted to see what words popped out of all. Because those are really good SEOs. And I kicked out Google and Mobile and content. And I found that brands, social, people, all the things that you would expect to be the future of SEO or what you would see there: devices, audience, all that stuff. Pretty cool little fun thing you can do with interviews.
But really why were there were so many articles about the future of SEO? Because we love it. We love to read about the future. And ironically, all these sites are simply just giving us what we like. And that’s what we should all be doing with our websites, is creating content that we know our customers like. I like this courage, well if you bite off more than you can chew, then chew it. That’s really motivational.
What’s cool about SEO and you can really see that the data is there are two hundred and something thousand articles that have the future of SEO. Those three words in a row on the page. Future of PPC is like 20,000. So I’m just saying that SEO people are more awesome because we’re futurist. PPC guys, deal with it. I like the future of SEO, it’s fun. It sparks my imagination. And it makes we wonder. Clients ask about it. “Hey, what’s going to happen in five years from now?” I just spout out some of the stuff I read, even some of my own personal opinions. And then sometimes it makes me laugh when I read an article that says, SEO is getting harder in 2015. Well, of course it is. It’s a laugh at it.
This is really, this is from March 1956. This guy wrote an article and it starts out and it says, “Father gets up in the morning and goes out at the backyard, and gets in his flying saucer. And fly 75 miles to the office.” And this article says, that it’s 1965. So we tend to look at some of the things that we can think of, are they really going to happen within a certain amount of time. I love this quote , “It’s a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.” And I think of this moment from Dumb and Dumber where he’s like, “It feels like you’re running at an incredible [inaudible 00:13:47]. He really feels like he’s going fast but really just going with the rest of the people.
The reason I’m bringing up is because there’s something funny about all these predictions about the future. Pretty much I’d say a 100% of my clients, they care about 2015. They really do. They want to hit their goals and projections for this year. And so if I were to spend all of my time working on things that we’re going to hit in 2016 or 2017, I could be spinning my wheels or even setting them up for failure and even myself. So there are some things that I really want to focus on that are this year. That are happening right now.
I got this quote from DigiDay that basically says, “The average life span of a client has actually fallen to a three years.” And so some of these things when they ask you, if a client asks you to do something that’s going to make their SEO better in 2020, you should be like, “Whoa, maybe we should hit your goals now, or at least spend most of our time working on the things that are happening right now.” So again, I love Hulk Hogan. “What you going to do brother?” There’s so much stuff to do right now. There’s mobile, local, optimization, international entity search. We’ll talk about some of that.
And then it really goes back to defining your goals. And it’s time for a quote from Avinash, because whenever you need someone to fill in with some stuff, just get a quote from him because he is really smart. “Without a clearly defined list of business objectives, you were doomed because if you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” So make sure that whatever you’re doing it has a goal associated with it. And then whenever I want to know how I’m doing, there’s only one guy I ask. Patrick Swayze. “You’re doing good.”
And so let’s switch gears again for a minute. This is a different name called “Bears With Beaks.” Pretty cool. Weird just freaks me out. So I want to talk to about what makes an SEO today. Because every SEO that I meet, they went to college for a different reason. Some of them didn’t go to college. Some of them have their degrees, they’re all in different stuff. You meet PhDs, you meet people that got general education. So you have to be a marketer, brand enthusiast, or business analyst, data nerd, problem solver, sales person, economist, technologist, developer, coder, creative, writer, futurist, and then you really got to be a news junkie. I was talking to someone today, I got rid of Facebook off my phone last May. Because my buddy, all my team, Johnathan told me that it was some ridiculous percentage of everyone who was looking at their phone, more than half of them were looking at their Facebook app. And I thought to myself, I’d rather look at other things because I know that there’s always articles that are going by that I can’t quite keep up with. I got rid of Facebook, so I could try to keep up with SEO more. And I still miss stuff but it’s really funny now. My Twitter and Google plus especially, I just try to whenever I can go there, I always get stuff, “Whoa! That’s incredible.” Then I wonder what I miss the previous two days.
To be a good SEO, I think you’ve got to have a lot of these qualities. And the stuff that I look for when I’m working with someone. And then as SEOs today, we say, what would you say you do here? I wrote down a list of all the things that we do like in the last year that I’ve been asked about. There’s technical SEO, local SEO, mobile, image, video, content strategy. I had a client that ask me to buy like 500 domains for her. I’ve been asked to blog. I’ve been asked to do CRO. I’ve been asked to optimize Drupal and Magento. There are just so many things that we do. And so what I like to do is, “Honey, I shrunk that list.” So got one person. I love Rick Miranda, he’s always like firing lasers. I mean think about it, Ghostbusters. In this movie, he’s like a bad ass. Okay.
These are the things that I really look at. And you don’t expect Rick Moranis to be that kind of guy that’s firing lasers all the time, but he was. All right. These are the three areas that I focus on right now with most of my clients. There are the basic strategies that we have to get right. Right now. These are things like meta-tags. I don’t know if you’ve been reading but Bryan over at Authority Labs, he wrote an article about how Google was changing a lot of the title tags. So no longer are we talking about character wits anymore, we’re talking about pixel wits. We’ll talk more about that later too. But you have to be getting those right. The basic on-page elements. Sitemaps. You won’t believe. I don’t think I have one client that has their sitemaps right when I first sign up with them. Because they have international sites. They have mobile sites. They don’t have real alternate. They don’t have real canonicals. They don’t have all the language stuff, Href link tag set up, they have international versions. Getting that stuff right for the clients, we’ve been able to do it with, it’s huge growth. Then store locators. Store locators are sad.
I was watching president Obama last night on the state of the unions and there was couple of times he’s like, “Its 2015 people, we’ve got to get this right.” Talk about store locators, people still don’t know how to do store locators. And the internet is basically like 20 years old. And I work with brands where it’s hard for them to actually get all their addresses right and into a spreadsheet or into an XML feed. Or get all their phone numbers right. Because sometimes phone numbers change. That’s just hard to do. Make sure you have that just down path for your clients. Then your 300 redirects, 301s, 302s, 307s whatever they might be. Those are something that you have to have nailed down today. Some of the newer tactics, these modern, I call them “Modern meta-tags” or “Social meta-tags”. This Open Graph, Twitter cards, Pinterest Rich Pins. Make sure you have those things because whenever someone takes your link and they share it in Pinterest or they share it on Twitter or they share it in Facebook, the language that pops into their little window, you want to make sure that you’re the creator of that wording, of that copy. You don’t want to leave Facebook to pull in some random text.
Schema.org markup, that’s huge. Especially when you’re doing a store locator, make sure that every single scheme or local tag you can do is on there. Then you have secure search, site speed and page load. It was weird earlier this year. Google hasn’t come out and typically say that this is going to be a ranking factor. So when they do, people tend to listen. This was one where they said, “We want your site to be secure, but we also want it to load fast.” Sometimes those things like are actually concepts that butt heads with each other because the more secure your site, typically the slower it is. So if you are going to go that route, if you’re going to move your site to secure, which you should, especially if your site involves any monetary transaction, you need to have your user’s feeling comfortable to use your site. If they do that, if you move your site to secure search, really keep an eye on your site speeding your page loads times. And make sure that they stay under the blink of an eye as that New York Times article said.
Then we have like futuristic ideas that we need to really research and learn today. Things such as app indexing, entity search, conversational search. These are coming. For some people they are already here. And then really anything and everything related to mobile. So I’m going to give you some real world tactics that I use right now. So hopefully, oh, jeez, not provided. My favorite quote of all year last year was, “I’m so over and not provided.” And that’s Rhea, she’s awesome and I love that quote.
Really the way that I get around tracking, not providers. I can’t get the keyword data. So I’m just, I’m over it. I go into GA, go to Organic Channel. Go to landing pages and count the number of landing pages that are driving traffic every single day. Just count it. And then plot it. And then look for anything weird. Look for, if one day all of a sudden your landing pages is bottom out, that means people weren’t coming to that many pages on your website. For some reason, for this particular trend, it started dropping and then it hit a low point there. And I’m thinking to myself if that was me, which it was, I went and looked at it and figured out what was going on.
Sometimes clients take pages away. Sometimes they add new ones. All that stuff’s going on. Tracking algorithmic updates. This is a fun idea. If you have some time, and you like Excel, like me, track everything daily. So I grab my visits data daily, for particular client. And I build this into a spreadsheet so I can put any client into it. Then I went and got a list of all the known algorithmic updates in the last 18 months. And I looked at the traffic to my site one day before the launch of that algorithmic update and the day after, and I did a simple comparison and I said, “Were they any on these that,” I don’t know statistics. But were there any two jumped out. The first one Penguin. I would say, “That was kind a weird.” One day the client got 10,000 visits. Two days later there was 8000. There’s other things that could go into effect here, seasonality or even some sites they do better on certain days of the week. You can build this. And I had, I’d look at it one day before and one day after. I also looked at it three days before. And three days after. Summing the visits before the algo update. And then summing the three days after. And then comparing the two. And looking for gains and losses. Does anything jump out of me?
One of those, there was an 11% after Authorship was removed. Stupid Google with their Authorship. Seven days before and after, I did seven days. So same thing. And I took it up to 30 days before and after. So this can help you combat seasonality and really let you know if an update affected your site. Not necessarily that you were penalized, maybe it effected you positively. So it’s a really cool way to look. You can also do the same thing with rankings. Do any of we all track rankings on a daily basis? Anyone? I do with Authority Labs. Conductor. LinkedX. You can actually, if you have like, I think I had 1700 rankings in the top 20 that day. And the next, and the day after the update I had 1779. So small increase. But some of these, most of these didn’t show anything. So for me really, all the numbers on the previous slides didn’t really matter.
So ranking reports. Yeah, this stuff is really fun. I use SEMrush. They have data issues sometimes, but what’s really cool about SEMrush is you can go download, you can just enter your client’s domain and you can pull down the monthly rankings for every month going back to January 2012. In bulk. Now depends on what account level you have, but the great thing is if you want to drop like get the account that let you pull like 100,000 at a time, so you can pull 100, 000 rows and do it all in one month and then boot them. There are month to month SaaS model. So just pay for when you needed if you have to. I’ve been using these guys now for a few years. I’m not affiliated with them. I don’t make money on them or anything like that. But it’s really cool because they have tons of keywords for this particular client. I think it’s up around 60,000. Some of our clients are up around a 100,000 a month. SEMrush what they do is they have a gigantic list of 40 million keywords that they track every single month across Google. And so you can just go enter any domain in there, whether it’s yours or your competitor’s, or several competitors’, and just start exporting data. They even have an API, like a lot of places do.
And SEMrush which isn’t the only place that you can do this. I know Searchmetrics has something that’s very similar. And some people say it’s a lot better. I’ve been using them so much. I know how they work. I’m good with it. Then just export it. Once you have the data, what’s really cool, is you can look at keywords, current position and previous position. And then also the URL. And that’s really what I want to talk about here is the URL data.
You download all this data and then the only thing left to do is really just build pivot tables. Now in wrestling there’s a thing called that “A tables, ladders and chairs match.” And since I just mentioned wrestling with Devon here, this is really crazy. I think that’s the undertaker up there falling off the ladder. And I know people say wrestling’s not real. But that did not feel good. Like when your pivot table crashes your machine. Yeah, it’s the same thing. Recently, I upgraded my laptop. I went from 3 gigabytes, to 16 gigabytes. And it heated up my computer so much that I had to actually buy a little fan to put under my laptop. But overall, I can work with a lot larger files. So it’s pretty nice. Everybody wins.
This is after I grab the SEMrush data, this is what I did with it. I put it into graph. because we SEO love to graph stuff. And it’s awesome in graphs are moving up and to the right. The top one I can look at segments. So the very top of that of the bar graphs, are positions one through three. The middle part is positions four through ten. And the base part of that, each bar graphs, keywords, their ranks and positions 11 through 20 on Google. And so I trim this overtime. And I just got all this in. You can build these graphs in a couple of days if you just get in there and download all the data.
The other thing is you can keep track of various ranking positions. And it’s just looks nice. It’s easy to do and it’s relatively inexpensive. This is something else I think is really, really cool. With SEMrush data they tell you what keyword ranks for what URL. And so lot of URLs will rank for multiple keywords. So what I did was, I reversed it. I didn’t look at the keywords that they were ranking, I looked at the URLs and I build a pivot table that summed up how many keywords each URL was ranking for. Does that makes sense? If you know that one URL is one month ranking for 600 keywords and then the next month it’s ranking for 700, oh, and by the way you just added some content to that URL, I would call that a success.
One of the other things we do with it is to check for the opposite. This particular client, J Crew, last year they got rid of one their pages. Their kids pages. It was ranking for yeah, like several hundred keywords. And we made sure that they redirected it correctly, because that’s 700 keywords, you can see that the graph a little sparkline on the side. How many people know what sparkline are? Oh, that’s too little. Everybody, take a note. I know you’re Tweeting or writing stuff down. Go into Excel, and look up sparklines. They’re like little mini-graphs you can put into a cell. It’s amazing. Okay. The other URL that we have there was the sale URL. And last year, about a year and half ago it was ranking for 400 keywords. And now it ranks for 600 keywords. So we know that we can really track what’s happening at the keyword level. This is another way you can get around not provided. Because even though you can’t see how many keywords are driving traffic, you can see how many keywords are driving traffic to particular URL. This is very valuable. If there is one thing in my presentation you should go home and do, it’s this. Really helps people keep an eye on stuff.
Link building and links. I do this thing I called “Link Reclamation.” I quit buying links right before Penguin happened. Because I just got this feeling that Google was starting to figure stuff out. In fact there’s probably a couple of years before that anyway because I told my clients I thought, “Hey buying links in 2006 was really fun because they were so much further ahead of the curve than Google was at that point. But in 2010 and 2011, it seems like I was maybe a little older and maybe more cautious. But if I was to buy a link and then all of a sudden my clients psyched, I kicked out of the index, I’m thinking that 30% of their traffic is coming from Organic. Someone over there might get fired. I don’t know, maybe lose their job. The next thing you know, that sucks. I just got out of that game completely. Not that I was ever really in it. I just did link building when I asked. I had lots of cool friends who knew lots of great places to get links.
But this is one thing I like to do. I like to go to Omniture, Google Analytics and CoreMetrics or whatever your tracking software is and download every URL that has ever driven your traffic in the last few years, as far back as you can go. Compile that and put it one tab on a spreadsheet. Then go to Webmaster Tools. They have a thing where you can go to see who is linking to you. And you can export it, every single day. And if you have more than 10,000 links, it will only let you have 10,000. But if you do it every day, sometimes it swaps out. So you can build up a nice list over time. So grab every person who is ever linking to you. And the reason you want that report is because it tells you what URL they are linking to. Makes sense?
You can do the same thing in Majestic and Moz. You know when you go to Moz, you export your link, your link profile, and it lets you have 10,000 URLs. Find out who’s linking to you and what landing pages they are pointing to. And grab it from every source you possibly can. Whether it’s Webmaster Tools. Majestic, Moz, A Href, Search Metrics, Conductor, whoever has all of your link that you have an account with. Grab it all for the history that you can possibly go back and build as bigger list as you can, of all the landing pages that they are pointing links to. And go back a few years because it’s likely that your site went through a few iterations. It may have been redesigned 2008 or 2012. So go find what the previous landing pages are.
Then you merge all the landing pages that people were linking to with all the pages that you know that have drawn traffic to your site. Does it make sense? Through any channel. So what you come up with it this massive list of URLs. And some of them go back years. But you know that they’ve either driven traffic, or they’ve driven links. So they are actually important URLs. Then you crawl them. I use Screaming Frog for this. When I crawl it – Let me see what time is it here. Oh cool. When you crawl the list, what you’re going to find is you’re going to find a lot of 200s. Some of those URLs are still going to be active. They are going to be fine. Kick those out of the list. What you’re really looking for is the URLs that are 300s, 400s and 500s. That means that there are pages where you actually have a lot of links coming in that are not behaving correctly. You’re not getting credit for all of those links. So if you gather all that entire list together and you update all of those 300, maybe you have a bunch of 302s coming in. Maybe a lot of those old pages that used to be valuable to you, that have a lot of links pointing to them, were actually 404s right now.
If you fix all of that, you’re probably talking – if you have big enough client, you could be talking about thousands of links that are now coming back to you and giving you the authority and the trust and all that historical, all that stuff that Google looks at and it’s free. And so if you do this and you find that you had 10,000 links coming to you and maybe to buy 10,000 links, would cost $500 grand if they are 50 bucks each maybe. I don’t know, it could be a ton of money worth of links coming to you. Make sure they are coming from good places though. So there are additional steps. But does everybody see what I’m saying here? Pretty good concept of claiming back the links that once were yours that you’re not getting credit for anymore. That’s what the point of this is.
Yeah, so the time is, I got some more minutes. Content. Oh, this is a huge one. Entity search. Have you all being reading about entity search? Anybody? It’s really, all the people that are doing predictions about the future of SEO or talking about this at some point, Justin Briggs, the guys at Moz. What they did, this one guy was awesome. He found … I think it was [inaudible 00:34:20] Luke who had found this, oh, yeah put this thing down there. You can actually go to Google AdWords planner or Keyword planner. Plug in the URL like I did jeans for Wikipedia. And it will give you all the keywords that Google thinks that page is about which is pretty awesome. Because it tells you, you know that you want to rank for jeans, but it tells you all the other secondary keywords. And then you can use their filters to say, “I want stuff that’s highly competitive that cost a lot of money, that drives a lot of leads.” So you can actually filter that list down. And you all the sudden have this massive list of keywords you need to write about. Content that you need to include.
They say the day of optimizing for a keyword is coming to an end because of entity search. In this case, I did, I think I did the greatest basketball player of all time and then pulled up that Carousel up there and it pulled LeBron at second. So, that was really weird because LeBron’s Wikipedia page doesn’t talk about the greatest basketball player of all time, in fact a lot of the stuff about LeBron doesn’t do that. So Google’s finding that information somewhere and they’re compiling this list of people that they put together based on a lot of information on other websites. So this stuff’s really cool, and sometimes you can do a search nowadays, it used to be if I search for laptop computers, every single result in the top 10 would be laptop computers, laptop computers, laptop computers, laptop computers. Today it’s very different, you don’t necessarily see that all the time. It’s not just about keywords anymore.
And so, one of the things people talk about this Topic Hubs. He say’s to treat all of your site like it’s a collection of micro sites, pretty interesting information. I love this one, this customer service line. I do this for someone, my client said, “It’s the wrong number. And how do we fix it?” I’m like “Let’s go, look for where they got this one.” It take some time sometimes defined it too. The other thing that you can really look at and get some great ideas for content is your onsite search data. These people who are coming to your site looking for something, they’re telling you what they’re looking for and a lot of people ignore this data. It’s there, it’s in their GA or it’s in their Armature. They don’t look at it. It’s pretty phenomenal what you’ll find in there. We did a really big project for Radio Shack. Radio Shack gets tens of thousands of onsite searches a day. And unlike Google, the keywords are provided, we see what they were looking for. And so what we did was, we downloaded them and we could see that this particular keyword was searched for 1000 times and it had a balance rate of 100% and revenue of 0. And so we can go and look at what that visitor was being exposed to, when they search for that keyword.
And a lot of times, the internal search did not find anything matching that keyword, yet there are products that go along with that keyword. It was just something that the internal algorithm didn’t necessarily know and so we would take some of those keywords, especially the misspellings, and we would re-direct internal searches to their correct pages and all of a sudden conversions skyrocketed on quite a few keywords. It’s a really good idea.
Yeah, so brace yourselves, there is a lot of in there. You’ll also find sometimes that people come to your site and search for really weird shit. Yeah, so onsite search bla bla bla, okay. I shared a cab right back with Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting from S&S east. And I just happened to, he was hailing a cab and I was like, “Can I jump in the car with you?” And he was like, “Who’re you?” And he was mad. He thought I was trying to sell them my luxury car service to the airport, but all the way to the airport, we talked and it was really cool. And one of the things I’ll never forget was I ask him about how we sold content? And how we develop? And how we create a content? And he told me that the number one thing he really cares about is that if he pays somebody to create a lot of content for him, he then asks another expert in that field if that content that he got, stood up. Was it what another expert in the field will think is a good content?
I thought that it was a really good idea, you should really look at your content like you’re really proud of it. The days of hiring some agency to give you 50 posts a day to throw on your blog because it’s related to you whatever you sell, those days are gone. In fact, a lot of people will say that if you have a lot of content on your site that isn’t being read or isn’t being hit, isn’t being shared, you should just get rid of it. Some people, you can go to GA and remember how I showed your landing pages earlier today, how to get to the landing page data in your GA account? Sort it like inverse order, find all the pages on your site that haven’t gotten very many visits in last year. If you have a page on your site that has only gotten one or two visits in the last year, there is a good argument just to kill that page, just delete it, 404 it. Some people think that if you have this massive site that’s really awesome but you’re also have a lot of these pages that Google could look and say that’s crap, it’s probably pulling your site down in some ways.
I don’t go everybody do that but just to keep that in mind. Sometimes you would be surprised because the page you think is really great, it actually sucks. You should love your content as much as Macho Man loves Ms. Elizabeth, rest in peace to both of them. Hulk Hogan should be pointing at you in Wrestle Mania saying, “Look at that content.” I’ll tell you who’s crushing it right now that I absolutely hate is BuzzFeed. I did a search for BuzzFeed’s 67. You can put any number in there. What I found was six articles, it was 67 things that will make you laugh, 67 ways you can leave your lover. I mean there are all sorts of stuff and last night I was wondering, “Why that they always write these random numbers.” And then it hit me. You know how Google monitors how long you’re on a site now. If you click into BuzzFeed and then click back to the search results, Google knows that. If they see someone coming to your site staying for two seconds, going back to the search results, going to the next site down and then staying there for five minutes or never coming back to the search results, you technically may have been more relevant for that query but Google is going to say that, “The person below you on in the search results actually provided more value because the visitor to your site or to their site never returned back to the search results.”
I started thinking about stupid BuzzFeed here. It’s no wonder they make their list so long, they’re keeping you on their site. I like conspiracies remember, that’s why they’re doing this. They’re keeping people on their site and you know who else likes through it? What can BuzzFeed tell other advertising partners? People come to our site. They typically stay there. So not only does it help from for SEO purposes, by the way when you have 67 things on a page that are all formattically related to one topic, guess what? You’ve got a topic hub and you’re probably going to rank really high. This is the perfect plan and it’s pandering to all of us and we love it and we share it, I get lost on their site for hours.
Another one is the Huffington Post that does this. This one i thought was cheating, they wrote an article about some guy, a fisherman said, “He saw a Big Foot bathing” and he send in their picture of the Huffington post. The Huffington post writes 1000 word article on this topic and it ranks for Big Foot stuff. Yet, in the article they talked about how it was totally disproven. I said that’s not fair, you’re writing about something that you know is fake, but again they’re crushing it, they’re smart about how they do this. And here is the paragraphs where they say that it’s completely faked and it was a Gorilla in a Big Foot suit, they said. It was pretty funny, some FBI person.
The next one I think is crushing it which is really funny to think about because vice.com is the new source for a lot of younger people today. I like the site, I like the show, it’s pretty cool. I did a search. I did an advanced operator here just for vice.com and give me pages where in the title it says ‘Reasons why blank city is the worst ever.’ And I found 54 articles that were all about that. I know it’s far away to see but everyone of them says, reasons why San Francisco is the worst place ever, reasons why Las Vegas is the worst place ever, reasons why Austin is the worst place ever. That’s all they do. They’re just generating content and they’re doing it right, they’re getting it right but is it really good? Google thinks so, they rank this shit, sorry. I am only cursing because I’m emotional because I’m jealous. I would love to be able to – awesome. Here is the other thing, I forget about that. Actually took two screen shots because the list kept going, it was awesome. I didn’t really know that Comic-Con is the worst place ever or London is the worst. Did you know London is a terrible place?
So that’s the other thing. These sites will publish stuff that they know is categorically false or it’s completely subjective because it gets shared. People love to hate stuff. Just ask Justin Beiber. XML sitemaps, again, these are more important than ever. I went into Webmaster Tools and I saw that one of my clients had a sitemap that was submitted only half indexed. This can’t happen. It’s 2015 people, we have to get this right. So go into your Webmaster Tools and make sure that all your sitemaps are submitted and they’re indexed at least 90%. Anybody keep track of how much percentage their sitemaps are indexed? Good stuff.
This is another important quote. It was four years, God! 2011 was four years ago, this is crazy. If you start showing me this is Duane Forrester, by the way, formerly from Bing. If you start showing me 301s in here, rel-canonicals, 404 errors, all of that, I am going to start distrusting your sitemap and I am just not going to bother with it anymore. In fact, he said that if more than 1% of your sitemap was something else besides the 200, they just stop crawling it. So, how many people – when was the last time you crawled your sitemap? Go crawl your sitemap and see if you get back all 200s. You might be surprised. And here’s Bing and you know Bing was always way slower than Google with stuff. He is telling you that if 1% of your Sitemap sucks, he is not going to crawl it well. Imagine what Google is doing. Maybe the first time they see an error, they quit. In fact, I think that happens sometimes.
So, I have a sitemaps to-do list. Make sure all that yeah blah, okay. Rel-alternate tags for international sites. So this was earlier this year, I don’t know if you monitor Twitter;s traffic, their traffic skyrocketed last year because they started letting Google index their hashtag pages. You can do a search on Google on for a hashtag. So, I went look for this term, world cup, because it was ranking . . . this keyword world cup ranks with Twitter really high still today, I think, in Google for that term. I went to look at their source code and this is what I found. I found all these Href link tags so the official is dub, dub, dub, sorry, twitter.com/hashtag/worldcup, but then in their source code they give me every single possible language variation for that hashtag, which is awesome. It really helps Google out when they’re crawling Twitter and trying to serve the right results in the right countries. This is the little bit overboard because they have dozens and dozens of countries. Most of us might have a client who has a presence internationally with one to five different sites, but this is something that really works. And Twitter’s traffic proves it.
App indexing is really big right now, people are starting to talk about it more. Have you ever tried to crawl your app with Screaming Frog or [inaudible 00:46:13], if you’re old school. I don’t even know how to do it, but Google has put a bunch of websites, they’re starting to show apps in the results. In the search results it’ll say open an app. So your initial search maybe takes you to the website but nowadays maybe that same visitor clicked on that button that said open an app and they went to your app instead. Isn’t that interesting? If you have an app that’s indexing Google, you might see some of your organic traffic now going to the app instead. So, let’s say your app launches and some of your organic traffic now is going to the app and some of it’s not. Your numbers might go down and you don’t know really know why. So, if you have a client that is getting indexing and getting traffic from Google into their app, guess what? Apps have a whole lot of other type of KPIs and metrics, but I don’t even know what they are because I don’t work in apps, users, session length, session interval, time and app, acquisition, screen flow and Keanu is like, [inaudible 00:47:19] right there. Socrates just drops some knowledge on him, it was awesome.
Site monitoring, make sure you’re monitoring your visits daily. [inaudible 00:47:26] going to Google and instead of setting my dimension to sources, I set it to going to get in the sources, set it to device, operating system, browser, track anything and everything you can on a daily basis to see if something all of a sudden goes haywire. It’s not good enough anymore to say, “Oh you got this many visits from Google this week.” You have to also look at browsers and device types and all sorts of stuff. Oh, this was that thing I told you about Bryan at Authority Labs found that Google was re-writing title tags 60% of the time nowadays. So go do some checks on your title tags. What we found is that if you can write your title tags to be less than 512 pixels, you generally won’t have Google re-writing your title tags. Although, it’s sometimes nice to see what they write it as because you might know what you should write it as, pretty cool.
Here is the little case study of site stability. If your site goes down, your rankings drop. One of my client’s sites was down for about three days and their ranking is immediately dropped. It used to be 10 years ago, your site can go down for a months and Google would continue to serve it, number one or number two, whatever your rankings were. Nowadays, if your site drops, you’ve got a bunch of 404s, your rankings are out of there. Google is not going to be sending people to your website. Same thing, these guys were down for eight weeks.
Websites are like families, you’ve a nice house, beautiful kids but don’t forget about that cousin that you’ve got. You’ve got to go find those pages and my advice to you, it’s time to clean up your shit. I am moving through here a little bit faster. Stuff I’m tired of hearing is just build the great content. Well, Google says that stuff really grinds my gears, I hate it. If I go to a conference these days and they’re saying, “Just build great content.” Don’t do that, that’s so generic, tell me what’s a build, give me some cool ideas, be creative about it. And then do not let anyone tell you that Google says. If that’s the basis of their SEO strategy, maybe I am a little old school or I don’t really trust them all the time but go out there and really inside of your company create a culture of testing. This is the other one I hate, “Oh buying links is bad.” Typically given to you by some of who’s never ever bought links before.
The best SEO advice ever, create a culture of testing. A lot of SEO nowadays is going back to people who are testing things. They’re saying, “What if we have two H1 tags on this page or this group of pages and we only have one on this or zero on another third? What happens to our rankings at that point?” This needs to happen more often nowadays because people – all those guys that I told you I learn about, they are the ones who told us to put the brand at the front of their title tag. They’re the one that told us to make sure our links or our most important pages were only like one click into our website. A lot of that stuff nowadays just isn’t being done. Find out what happens when you add something different to a title tag. Find out what happens when you change your bread crumbs from your brand to back to the word home. See if it makes the difference anymore.
Stop reading about the SEO. Start doing SEO. There is so much out there that you could read, you could spent every day of your life reading about SEO but go do SEO. Just go take some chances. And then this is really regarding revenue. This is probably the best. This is Deion, “If it don’t make Dollars, it don’t make sense.” I love that. It’s a good conversion rate quote. This is Google, Michael Scott. This is what they do. You’re serious, skating along and all of a sudden boom, out of nowhere, they come and get you sometimes. Just talk to anyone who has been false positive on Panda or Penguin. It sucks, and especially when they waited 11 months to update Penguin. Those websites that got hit by it and they weren’t supposed to be hit by it, it was an accident, a lot of them went out of business.
So sometimes the future is really cool, Elon Musk wants to spend $10 billion to build an Internet in space. Sometimes, human-like robots are getting jobs. That’s a robot that’s getting a job. Sometimes, Nike is actually going to make the shoes from Back To Future II right now. Sometimes, this recently happened, all the different – we love this stuff, it happens. And that really this is SEO, I suggest you gentleman invent a way to put a square peg in a round hole. So these guys on Apollo 13 went into this room with a box of shit and they were like, “we’ve got to find a way to make this fit into hole for this using nothing but that.” And really that’s SEO a lot of times but we all love challenges. Whenever you find someone who says, “I am your Huckleberry.” And always in your presentation with a cat picture. Thank you very much.