The State of SEO: The Experts Weigh In – Part I

The State of SEO The Experts Weigh In- Part 1

Search engine optimization is an ever changing industry.

As Google’s algorithm becomes more refined, so does the approach we take to SEO. At SEO.com were hyper aware of what other say about “SEO” and we’ve seen our fair share of “SEO is dead” blog posts. Let it be known that SEO isn’t dead, it’s simply evolving. Now more than ever SEO has become an integrated marketing approach that encompasses public relations, social media and content marketing in addition to traditional SEO tactics. In the first post of this 3 part series (be sure to read part 2 and part 3), I interviewed SEO.com’s brightest and had them comment on the state of SEO, content marketing, Google Authorship and Conversion Optimization.  Here’s what they had to say:

Ash Buckles, President of SEO.com on the State of SEO:

Ash Buckles state of seo

SEO is the culmination of strategy and tactics that prepare and promote your web-based assets (web pages and other content) for the greatest search engine visibility. This includes web pages, PDF documents, images, videos, blog posts, news stories, slide decks, Pinterest boards, product shopping feeds, social media updates, data sets, and every other form of content.

Until a few years ago, search engines displayed primarily web pages or documents and everything else was found elsewhere; think YouTube. Now, they embed videos directly in some of the search engines results pages (SERPs) depending on user intent and available video content.

Understanding the purpose of your content, and available distribution channels, is critical to integrating your marketing efforts. For example: you can produce blog posts to have fresh content for the robots/crawlers or deliver value to your subscribers and engage them by delivering consistent value; which in turn provides fresh content for the search engines to crawl, index, and rank.

Today, Google and Bing data power over 95% of U.S. search queries. This is more than any previous months in search engine history. Between these two data giants, more than 14 billion searches are performed every day. Yahoo is slowly losing market share even after attracting Marissa Mayer away from Google. They’ve partnered with Bing for its organic search data and just signed a non-exclusive deal with Google to display paid ads on some of its properties.

These search engines are including more media types in the SERPs, heavily testing user experience for organic results, and focusing on the mobile user experience.

It’s time to expand your online marketing efforts to include an integration of multiple media types and use every available channel to trigger the search engines to crawl and index your content.”

Paul Sanders, Content Strategist, on the state of Content Marketing:

paul sanders state of seo.fw

“Every SEO realizes that content is an important part of what we do, even if they weren’t forced to think hard about it before. But Google is really forcing everyone’s hand with algorithm updates meant to target user experience and content quality.

A lot of the “left-brained” link-building side of SEO has been forced to adapt. But we content marketers have simply doubled down on the principles we use for more traditional marketing, injecting more rigor into modeling our audience and crafting content that sets our campaigns apart. But it’s not a quick fix. If a campaign is suffering, set your neurotic content strategist to work on it sooner rather than later. Your content will matter more, not less, six or twelve months from now.

Andrew Johnson, Content Strategist, on the state of Google Authorship:

Andrew Johnson state of seo.fw

“AuthorRank is a way for authors of content to build up their authority, and for users to find that content. It’s also something that Google may be using as a ranking factor.

I believe content creation needs to play a key role in every SEO campaign moving forward, and businesses have a great opportunity to capitalize on their employees’ unique expertise. Curate their knowledge, cultivate a blog that answers your customers’ questions, and tie that content into Google+ through Authorship markup.

What we’re seeing now is SEO is more about increasing the domain and page authority through non-manipulative means, and high quality content from real people not only increases traffic from the search engines because it ranks higher, but it also is the key to establishing trust and authority within your specific industry.”

Shawn Barrington, SEO Manager, on the state of Conversion Optimization:

Shawn Barrington state of seo

“SEO is so much more than just identifying keywords, link building and ranking for those terms. SEO is about driving traffic to a website and converting that traffic in to leads and sales. Conversion has always been important but in the last year and a half as different algorithms have came out and search engines have become smarter, they are focusing more on more on the user experience which means conversion is a larger priority in ranking a site.

Search Engines don’t simply look at whether or not your content and links are relevant for keywords. They pay attention to what people are doing when they come to your site.  This means it is more important than ever to ensure that the bounce rate of target pages and 404 errors are low.  This also means that you need to be paying more attention to how your visitors interact with your site, through  things like time on site, page views, social shares, and overall conversion.

There are a lot of different ways to do this but you should ensure that the keywords you want to rank for are mapped to the appropriate page on your site and that the page matches the user’s desired purpose for visiting your page.”

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8 Comments

  1. Paul Sanders says

    Good points from Shawn for focusing on user behavior. Too often it’s seen as an advanced consideration to analyze user behavior instead of a basic necessity.

    • Shawn Barrington says

      To often SEO’s get so caught up with link building, and trying to optimize the site for different keywords. That they easily overlook the basic function of the site which is to draw in new business and make money.

  2. Paul says

    Good points Andrew and Shaun. It interesting to see how its changing and just how different SEO has become in the last year and a half. I have only been learning about it all for the last 24 months and have been lucky to see and experience it before the big shake up. Sites like this continue to help me and point me in the right direction.

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Paul. While algorithms are constantly changing, it’s important to understand that the #1 goal should be to prove an ROI. Whether it’s through traffic, leads or sales, the focus is on the long term viability of the website, not solely just the quick wins.

  3. Eilidh MacRae says

    The ‘SEO is dead’ blogs are ludicrous. If anything SEO is becoming bigger and better. The recent changes have truly benefited SEO.

    • says

      By changes, I assume you mean algorithm updates? Yes, the main idea is to provide better search results, and our work as SEOs should play a part in making the web a better place.

  4. Jay says

    Have to admit it’s a full time job keeping up with the changes that seem to happen in rapid succession in relation to SEO best practices, but it’s rewarding to see the improvement in results. All good points included in this article. We’ll be referring this to our clients going forward. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jonathan says

    It’s good to see the key theme being content. This should be at the heart of any SEO and as it mentions in the post to many SEO’s get stuck just looking at link building.

    I like the post thanks.

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