As well as the tips below, both Marc Levy and Alex Moss talked at SMX Israel. You can view their slides and read their full transcript: SMX Israel 2013 slides.
3 Door Digital attended another year of SMX Israel and would like to thank Barry Shwartz and everyone else involved in the organisation of the event. As always there was a great variety of subjects and speakers, for those of you unable to make it, here are our 100+ top tips from the day:
Keyword Research & Content Development
- Stop Relying on Adwords
- Use other tools:- Soovle, social crawlitics, google suggest
- Expand Keyword research
- Change focus to long tail
- Content ideas – SEO Gadget Google Doc
- Onsite SEO is the foundation of SEO, it will always be needed so keep doing it and do it well!
- People are always searching for different things – search differs in terms of culture, age, etc.
- Use different search engines suggestion boxes to obtain keyword & content ideas
- YouTube, Amazon, Shopping.com, etc all have suggestion boxes
- Scrapebox is a paid service that does this
Link Building After Penguin
- Don’t over optimise!
- Things that could’ve got you penalised are, buying / selling links. Too much exact match anchor text, links from networks and low quality sources (free directories etc)
- Ensure that you most common backlink anchor text is your brand
- Don’t have thousands of pages with backlinks to just a few select pages
- Be careful of who your site links to
- When placing links on a site, check the other sites they are linking to as this could hurt you
- Look for sites that link to competitors and if they’re good links and relevant, try and get a link there.
- When trying to determine bad links, manually looking through them will give best results.
- try and categorise links – social bookmarks, directories, paid links, etc
- look at links you built in-house first, you will know link types and anchors, allowing you to make a quicker decision on the quality of the links.
- Use tools to assist with determining bad links
- Link Detox, Remove Em, etc
- Link removal request
- Create a template but add a personal touch per site contacted
- Send follow up emails if you don’t get a response the first time
- Keep records of everything
- Using the Disavow Tool – USE WITH CAUTION!!
- When submitting be sure to use the comments to highlight link removal attempts – successes and failures.
- Remember the tool is still new and can take longer than Google says to come into effect.
- for the tool to take effect, the pages the links are on need to be re-indexed by Google, meaning really deep links can take a long time to be blocked.
- If you got a Google Webmaster Tools email about unnatural links, you WILL need to submit a reinclusion request.
- Include everything! Acknowledge problems, provide links to emails sent, emails received, links taken down, etc.
- Mention your use of the disavow tool
- This can take longer than the disavow to come into effect since it is manual and everything has to be reviewed by a Googler
- Link Building is not about getting a link. It is about building a relationship and convincing someone you don’t know that it is beneficial to mention you (your site) in the way of a link
- Develop incredible and useful content
- Build persona’s
- create content around what users are looking for – use analytics, social, etc
- use Twitter for long tail
- Find your images on Pinterest and see who is sharing them, reach out to them!
- Use Followerwonk
- find out what people are interested in and write content accordingly
- Meaningful outreach is positive, genuine, personal and original. – Do that and you will get links!
Paid Search Fundamentals
- Don’t waste your budget creating negative keyword lists. You can make campaign wide negative keyword lists in the “shared library” tab
- Having the right context is important. Segment your data and set up custom reports. For example a matched query report to monitor phrase match performance. For more check out Avinash Kaushik’s: 8 Valuable Tips To Hustle With Data! (January 30, 2012)
- Write down the questions frequently asked by your customers. Do some keyword research to check for keyword volumes and to get more idea’s, repeat until you have enough. Convert the keywords into questions and pick the top 3 to 5 questions to create landing pages that address those questions. Then create a Campaign where each question is placed in an adgroup
- Use clear and concise copy writing on landing pages. Don’t beat around the bush, get straight to the point.Tell them what they are getting.
Surviving Panda, Penguin & The Zoo
- More content isn’t always better
- Pogo Sticking vs. Bounce Rate
- Search from google to your site, then bounces from page to page and back to google is a bad signal (Pogo Sticking)
- Search from google to your site, then bounces from page to page and to Facebook or other related page is a good signal
- If there is a high percentage of first time visitors to your site from Google search but they don’t return this could be a bad signal to Google
- Don’t have too many links to your homepage
- Don’t have too many sitewide links
- Use long tail, build your brand, grow a community, get visitors to come back, have excellent content and links from trusted people
- If you cannot justify a link then get rid of it
- If you have bad links your good links will suffer
- Don’t link to your site with anchor text that you want to, it probably isn’t natural
- use branded, topical natural looking links
- Indicators of bad links
- links to pages that have zero traffic
- syndication of text
- over optimised text
- cue words “sponsored”, “paid post”
- Be liberal when removing links
- Look at what is working now. Use social. Nothing tells the story better to Google than real people endorsing your site
- Fix bad links even if you haven’t received a warning or penalty, but in this case be absolutely certain that the links you are removing are bad
Advanced PPC Tips
- Inclusion in Google shopping requires a paid listing.
- In order to set up product ads you will need to create a Google merchant account and set up a shopping feed. Next, Link your adwords account with your merchant center account.
- Use analytics to help you optimize your adwords account.
- Use custom reports get all the data from one source.
- Make sure you have conversion tracking setup.
- Use ad scheduling to adjust bids based on peak and off hours.
- Make use of ValueTrack. This allows you to tag your ads URL and get more data, e.g. the site from where the visitor clicked your ad, the ad shown, the keyword that triggered the ad and more.
- Now you can use Google analytics to help you create remarketing lists.
- Separate your search, display and retargeting campaigns.
- Separate your mobile, tablet and PC campaigns.
- Separate campaigns for different languages / countries
- Separate campaigns or adgroups for branded / non-branded
- Aim for a 7 to 10 quality score if possible that way your ad will be shown more and your CPC will cost less. 4 to 6 is decent but you should aspire to improve your quality score as much as possible.
Speakers: Amir Yarkoni, Yehoshua Coren
- Attribution modeling is very important for understanding the true source of conversions and value of the channels which led up to that conversion. See here and here for more on Attribution modeling.
- It’s important to configure goals correctly. Setup conversion funnels where applicable so you can take advantage of funnel visualization reports.
- Google’s “Universal Analytics” is the wave of the future. This will change the way data is collected and organized in your Google analytics account.
- Q: I have an exact match domain and I have lost a huge chunk of my traffic and cannot seem to recover. My site has dashes in it, does the number of dashes in the URL affect rankings?
A: The exact match update was primarily targeting low quality domains. If the site is good, with good content then it shouldn’t suffer from this update. The number of dashes in a URL does not affect rankings.
- Q: How does Google treat a website that doesn’t have an author assigned to posts?
A: It will just not be assigned and will not affect rankings
- Q: How does Google approach hidden text?
A: Avoid hidden text as since it is hidden (users can’t see it) Google could see this a misleading the users. Hidden text will generally not be ranked and could lead to penalties
- Q: Using HTML5 to have one page of content, separated by tabs so that the user sees it as separate pages but how does Google view it?
A: Google will try and index it in one URL but since there is a lot of content on the page then Google might find it difficult to assess what the page should be ranking for. Multiple H1 tags are not an issues and the new HTML5 tags are being treated as normal HTML
- Q: If I have a website with local top level domain (site.co.uk) How important is it to have local hosting?
A: If you have a local top level domain or you set the GEO targeting in Google Webmaster Tools then local hosting isn’t an issue from Google’s perspective. From a usability perspective latency could be an issue depending on the time it take the site to load, so take that into consideration.
- Q: How does not having an address or phone number effect rankings for an eCommerce site?
A: It helps Google build a connection between a local business and website using Google Places and it can feel more secure from a user perspective but if you don’t have a physical address or don’t want to use one then that is totally fine and it will not affect rankings.
- Q: I have links on my homepage that go to inner pages that are not important content for the users, the content was written for ranking purposes and these links on the homepage are not clearly visible to the user. Could this affect my rankings?
A: It might look misleading to Google a bit like hiding content. Focus on creating a natural feeling website that is very strong with good content.
- Q: Does having legal disclaimers in very small font on every page of the site cause any issues?
A: It should not cause an issue as Google treats this as boilerplate content which is fine. Google will see this a duplicate content but this is not necessarily bad. Just don’t try changing the content slightly from page to page as that will cause confusion, leave it as a block of text on every page and Google will figure it out.
Mobile SEO Techniques
- Mobile is being used more and more for sales
- One in five users in the US purchased an item using their phone.
- There will be more users of mobile devices in 2015 than PC users
- People use mobile websites over apps for buying items
- Have one URL per content item on mobile websites
- you can obtain inbound links
- less confusion for bots
- less cost & maintenance
- Google prefers responsive design over one url but different design and separate URL domains
- Map out your personas. Be aware of the psychological process someone goes through on the way to becoming a “conversion”
- Healthy-self doubt. Always question yourself and strive to be better through testing
- For organic landing pages you can test having the form open in a light box the entire size of the page in front of the quality content on that page.
- The smallest CRO changes can make the biggest differences. The following are worth testing: ethnicity, sex, image size, cropping the image differently, the amount of steps in the conversion process and making offers and sales more visible.
- The length of content does not make it more or less relevant. Content can be short and to the point and still be effective. (even 140 characters like in Twitter)
- Use English sources to write Hebrew content. To effectively use English content:
- Translate only sections from a variety of different sources
- Use Israeli slang and expressions in your translation.
- Use 3 or more sources.
- Don’t use the same quotes, even if they are from an interview.
- Don’t give credit to the website.
- Don’t use Google translate.
- Your objective should be to ensure that the person who originally wrote the content cannot recognize that you used their text.
- Do not take sources and simply translate and publish them. This is grounds for a lawsuit. Israeli law is very tough on publishing unauthorized material.
- The impact of Panda and Penguin on Hebrew websites was very weak. Former SEO tactics like link building still work very effectively.
- Build links on all kinds of sources, but Hebrew sources are preferable. You can use mini-sites, articles, documents, indexes, and so on.
- Evaluate whether your website/online store is local dependent, requires multiple languages for more than one country, or multiple languages in one country.
- If your site is local dependent and multi-country, create a TLD for each country.
- If your site is non-local dependent and multi-country, create one TLD with a subdomain for each language.
- If your site is local dependent or non-local dependant but targeted at one country with multiple languages, create one TLD with a subdomain per language.
- Avoid using Google translate as Google will punish you for it. Instead, translate using slang and expressions.
- Prioritize markets for translation and focus. The better markets are:
- Germany – expanding market with very good economic standing in the EU
- Portuguese – opens you to Portugal & Brazil. Use Brazilian Portuguese
- Netherlands – very savvy users with English knowledge and use English search terms
- Turkey – huge growth in the market
- Japan – CPM is high
- Arabic – there is a lack of quality sites and competitions
- Korean – 2nd only to Japan
- Interlink the right way! If a page is being viewed in English but the user clicks on French, the link should take the user to the same page in French, rather than the homepage.
- Localize your content so Google understands where to direct links. (i.e. trousers mean something different in the UK and US)
- Google.com receives updates to its algorithm first. International Google TLDs are updated later, but these changes will eventually catch up to all Google search functionality.
- To check if you have a proper keyword in another language, search for it in Google images and judge based on the results.
- Use the Google Global market finder tool to find new and emerging markets worldwide.
Future of SEO & Search
- With the adaptation of Panda and Penguin, Google has decided to use every possible bit of information to draw conclusions. Social graphs have and will become increasingly important to SEO. Make sure to feed social graphs like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
- Increase user engagement in your site to avoid pogosticking.
- Take cues from high quality sites and do what they do. (i.e. use the name Hillary Rodham Clinton rather than Hillary Clinton. Google notices that higher quality websites use the former.)
- Stay away from Fiverr or other quick, cheap and easy ways to buy social platform followers. They are fake users and will ruin your ranking.
- Be creative about how to increase your social shares and followers. i.e. use Pay with a Tweet to receive payment for a good/service and receive a tweet at the same time.
- The impact of link building is going down increasingly. Whereas ‘votes’ only came from websites, now everyone is being given the ability to ‘vote’ for a site through user engagement, pogo sticking, and social media.
- Find, contact and use social media influencers in relevant fields. Be involved in conversations and aim to have them mention you back, follow you or reference you. Ideally, try to become the social media influencer.
Facebook & Social Ads
- Use optimized CPM for engagement, Likes or comments etc…
- Utilize Audience targeting by uploading email / phone number lists which Facebook will analyze and segment for you.
- You can do search ad results based on Facebook entities.
- Place blog posts on your Facebook wall to drive KPI traffic to your site.
- You can supplement this by sending facebook traffic to the post with ads and send organic traffic as well.
- Use the open graph properly so that the post looks like an ad with the correct image, title and description etc…
- While costs per “like” may look expensive on Facebook the average cost per click is relatively cheap.
- Use facebook and activism to make money. Create a cause, promote it get likes and fans then market relevant products to them.
- You cannot copy your adwords campaigns to Facebook you will have to start from scratch since behaviors are different.
- Don’t try to sell directly on Facebook use it to acquire fans likes etc… and send them off FB to sell to them.
- send ad traffic to a Facebook page, use a remarketing code on the page, offer the user an “ethical bribe” e.g. a free e-book etc…
Pagination & Canonicalisation
- search engines see pagination as separate entities, searches might be sent to a different page that might not be the most relevant
- <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”> – This allows crawling but not indexing
- rel=”canonical” – This acts as a strong suggestion for duplicate content
- rel=”next and rel=”prev” – This indicates that the relationship between component URLs in a paginated series
- The chain cannot be broken
- Each URL can only be in one pagination chain
- The pagination attributes can only link together URLs with matching parameters
- Google prefers the view-all single content version of the page
- Link from actual products/article pages using “similar” meta boxes
- Q: My site has been de-indexed, do I have to submit a re-inclusion request?
A: Try to find out why your site has been de-indexed and then do all you can to get it re-indexed. Submit a re-inclusion request detailing what changes you made in order to get re-indexed
- Q: Does adding Google Analytics improve rankings
A: No. There is no direct correlation between the two
- Q: Is it possible that I lost my site links in Google Search because I added links to the homepage?
A: No. This should not make a difference
- Q: What do you think SEOs miss the most when optimising a site?
- Q: Should/can the disavow tool be used if you didn’t receive an unnnatural links message in GWT?
A: If there is a chance you have received an algorithmic penalty such as Penguin, then yes there is a good chance you may need to use the disavow tool alongside your link clean up efforts.
- Q: Should I keep forum pages indexed or should I block them?
A: Be careful if it is spammy or “bad” either moderate them or block them all together.
We do not recommend you use any of the following black hat SEO tactics.
- Despite the updates and changes, black hat SEO tactics still work for short-term project, but they must be used with caution and only on websites that you don’t mind having banned.
- Buying exact match anchor links from low-quality foreign language pages works. Penguin is still not effective at detecting them.
- Google has not caught on to small CSS tricks that hide anchor texts and URLs on sites. i.e. automatically updating a Joomla plugin with an anchor text and URL, but hiding the text beyond visibility through CSS, such as padding-right:-9000px.
- Clickjacking is an effective way to force users to click on something they didn’t intend to click on. User don’t even know that they took this action. You can exploit social networks, PPC, Youtube and computers, and exponentially increase your likes, fans, Twitter followers, make money by improving CTR and have users download apps.
- Tactics for clickjacking:
- Change CSS to an image instead of FB like button.
- Use a deceiver clicker. The user thinks they are clicking on one thing but their cursor is actually clicking elsewhere on the screen.
- Place a hidden image under the cursor
If you need assistance with your Digital Marketing we may be able to help. Feel free to contact us or read more about our SEO services and conversion rate optimisation offerings.