“What’s the point in going to a conference if you can’t process your dang notes?” I overheard this in an elevator at the Digital Summit Conference earlier this week and had to smile.
What’s the point indeed?
I’ve been to several amazing conferences over the past few months: WordCamp Atlanta, Money 2.0, Inbound Atlanta (a Hubspot conference), Small Business Matters, Digital Summit….I’ve heard some really great nuggets. But the downside of attending conferences? It’s back to work with a vengeance when you get back.
So instead of being my usual nerdy self, sitting in the front row like teacher’s pet at all the sessions, asking questions and taking notes on my iPad, I skipped a few sessions at Digital Summit and instead jotted down some of my favorite insights.
If you’ve followed me for a while, most of this isn’t necessarily new, but will be reinforced. That’s the key to SEO – not constantly learning NEW things, but reinforcing and deepening your understanding of the basics.
There is a little something here for everyone. Enjoy!
Reinforcing SEO Fundamentals:
1. Social Media: You have to write your social media copy so that it is relevant for each channel. Not just relevant, but also well written, engaging and interesting. This is nothing new. But honestly – are you doing it? Or are you still auto-distributing the same piece of content to each of your social media accounts with a plugin or copy paste?
2. SEO and smart keyword selection has to play a role in your website marketing: SEO “directs and reflects” the needs and wants of your target market – and your website marketing strategy must convert.
3. Schema markup is still very much alive: For local businesses, you can add “local business” markup to your address and landing page for each location.
4. Nobody wants to link to your services or products page: So your goal is to make your content as robust and interesting as possible. Add cool content experiences to these pages to help drive more traffic and make them more link and share worthy. The speaker shared a recent case study with Hallmark where, below the fold, they added a cool experience to create a custom timeline of events leading up to your birthday.
5. Title tags: Start your title tag with your target keywords, brand name at the end. This has been a best practice for a long time now.
6. Great content is the starting line to SEO: Remember last month when I said making sure your website was credit card worthy was the starting line to SEO results? So is great content. Meaning, it is uniquely valuable and actionable. If your content is boring, that’s not going to get you SEO results. Be honest about what content you’ve been putting out. Has it been a rush for quantity, instead of quality and dedicated promotional time?
Correlation and SEO Ranking Factors:
7. No surprise here – there is a very high correlation with site speed and ranking: Make sure your site is as fast as possible, and pay consistent attention to this. ‘Nuff said.
8. Keywords in the domain: Example, Philadelphialawyer.com. In the past, this had a high correlation. Bueno. Today, no correlation. No bueno. Not only does it not help so much, but it often looks spammy.
9. Keywords in the H2 and meta description: High correlation, and an absolute must!
10. Readability scoring: People, if you take away anything, please take away this. Readability scoring, aka formatting the page to be readable on the web, is something SEOs, and website marketers, have looked at for a while, but there was never a positive correlation until last year. There is now a high correlation between ranking and readability. This is huge. Take the time to improve readability and formatting of your site pages. It matters!
11. Length of content: Longer content has a higher correlation. It’s not as black and white as saying, each page needs to have 500 words, but for content you really want to rank, you should aim to have the definitive piece on the subject. And it’s not the number of sentences, but the overall length. Also, higher ranking pages tend to have more images which could indicate more robust content. This also makes the content more shareable, and more linkworthy.
12. External links: This is still the BIGGEST correlating factor for high ranking; sites with more quality linking root domains win. Not backlinks from the same source mind you, but a variety of high-quality, relevant domains.
Does this spark any thoughts? Indignation? New processes? Spread the word – thanks!
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