The first session I attended was presented by Ray “Catfish” Comstock, Senior SEO Director at Business Online. Catfish had a unique personality and although obviously very skilled at SEO seemed to be just or more passionate about landing a record deal. That conflict aside, here are some of the notes I took from the session:
His opening premise was that everyone has limited time and resources so it’s best to identify what areas you can make a difference and spend your time on productive tasks.
You need to know the average traffic you’re receiving on competitive keywords for your business on a monthly basis. You also need to understand the value of that traffic. Recommends some tools like WebPosition Gold and WebCEO which will help you understand rankings but they do not show traffic you get from Video or Images.
Fundamentals are that you should have a keyword map in excel that assigns each targeted keyword phrase to a page on your site. Optimize the top 20 keywords that are not in the #1 position monthly. Also use Google’s Webmaster tools to identify long tail keywords already ranking.
Catfish emphasized that small changes can have a big effect. Such as modifying the page titles, changing or adding content and adding more internal links. As far as Meta Descriptions, although they don’t help with rank they can help with the click through rate you receive. Recommended using copy to differentiate yourself from the competition. Highlight benefits, not features; as features are a commodity. Usie persuasive landguage and appeal to the emotions of the buyer. You need to answer why they should buy from you!
Mr. Fish then went on to state that a blog is your best friend for external links. You should also participate in other conversations and be an active member in your business’s social community. As far as blog content, he recommends that you be an educational resource; as nobody’s going to go to a blog that is obviously promotional in nature.
Next big tip is that you should do Video. It’s much easier to get a video thumbnail to rank than specific keywords due to much less competition. Mr. Fish then said that your new best friend is TubeMogel, which helps streamline the process of uploading videos.
Do not buy paid links. Your competition can and will rat you out to Google. Reciprocal links should be valid business relationships only.
Cat also said that you should break out branded from non branded terms and categorize the non branded terms so you can differentiate them. I assume this is for optimization tactics. He name dropped a “coming soon” company “Tellium Technology” that can provide insights into the origin of brand searches.
As far as website content, concentrate on improving messaging on poor performing web pages. Make sure if you’re ranked in the top 20 that your content is up to spec. At the end of the day, Google wants to provide searchers with relevant content and if landing pages are not in sync with search listings that’s going to work against you. Note, I’m paraphrasing here.
Recommends running A/B tests and notes that it’s very important to evaluate bounce rates. Be sure when copying a page for testing that you block it from search to avoid duplicate content issues.
Fish also pointed at that at the bottom of content pages copy typically ends with a dead stop. You need to tell the visitor what you want them to do next, like visit another page or download your whitepaper for example. Moreover, you should have video’s, testimonials, reviews, case studies etc. for each product.