Thursday, 23 May 2013

Practical Tips for Modern SEO From the Best Minds in Europe

The only certainty in the SEO world -- or, really, the digital marketing world -- is change. And over the past two years, we have seen a whole lot of it. Both Google Panda & Penguin have severely disrupted what works for search marketers, leaving many rather confused about what they should be doing to attract more organic traffic. And not only that; it has left many unsure which best practices may now actually actively harm their organic search strategy.
As a response to this confusion, we decided to reach out to five of the top SEO minds in Europe to ask if they could share their expertise and secrets on what a successful SEO strategy needs to incorporate today. The result was not just one ebook filled with great information, but five whole ebooks full of SEO nuggets that cover important topics like keyword research, optimizing your site post-Panda, attracting links in the new Penguin world, and recovering from a Google penalty. 
This blog post will cover some of the most critical tips from the ebooks so you get some low-hanging fruit taken care of right way for your SEO strategy, and also get a taste of what's on offer when downloading the full free bundle.

1) Segment Your Keyword Research Into 4 Steps

The SEO world loves to talk about link building. In fact, it’s easy to forget there is anything more to SEO. But keyword research is one of the most important parts of a successful SEO strategy. It’s the foundation upon which everything is built. In his ebook on keyword research, Richard describes a great approach that contains 4 different stages.
For example, in the "keyword gathering" stage your goal is to build a complete list of keyword ideas for your website. You can gather keywords from competitive tools like SearchMetrics, aHrefs, HubSpot's Keywords and Competitive Intelligence, and use other keyword tools like Ubersuggest and HubSpot's Keyword Tool. Another great tip for gathering keyword information is to use Google Insights for their related searches. It lets you look at both "top searches" and "related terms" for individual keywords. All of this information can be added to your keyword list.

2) Stay Panda-Free With These On-Site Optimisation Tips

With the launch of Google Panda, the importance of technical SEO increased significantly. Will's ebook is full of tips that will improve the performance of your site in Google, as well as your website usability and ultimately conversions. One of the best tips Will gave away was how he evaluated the quality of a website in the new Panda world. Although we can't know exactly how the Panda algorithm works, we do know the human responses Google is trying to model. 
Using public information, Will recreated a survey to try to match a questionnaire Google originally started with when developing Panda. A couple of those questions are below, but you can find all of them in the ebook:
  • Would you trust information from this website?
  • Is this website written by experts?
  • Would you give this site your credit card details?
  • Do the pages on this site have obvious errors?
  • Does the website provide original content or info?
Using these questions you can survey visitors to your site and assess the quality of it using the same criteria that has been used in the Panda algorithm. As you work to improve the quality of your site, you can resurvey visitors to check if you're receiving more positive feedback.

3) How to Build Links Post-Penguin

Attracting links to your website is going to play a major part in helping you to rank well in Google. Since the launch of Google Penguin, that process of "link building" has become a lot more tricky. The wrong tactic can now land you in hot water with Google, resulting in a penalty and a lot less traffic. Kelvin's ebook gives a whole lot of tips on how to attract links the right way. One of his best insights is how to take a more "inboundy" approach to attracting links. Think about who you want linking back to your content (your persona), and create content that directly helps them accomplish that goal. Kelvin gave the following example to illustrate his point:
"Maybe your target audience for linking back to you is a small business owner who knows they should be doing more to market their business but doesn’t know where to start. Can you produce a super-in-depth questionnaire that really helps them understand which social network they should be targeting? Consider a series of podcasts that they can listen to while driving to their next meeting that helps them make more intelligent buying decisions, or a blog post full of ideas that they can use as inspiration next time they brief their agency."
It's important to understand who you're trying to attract a link from, what type of topics they're interested in, and their different pain points. You can then use that information to create content people are engaged with and actually want to link to.

4) How to Create Content That Generates Links

Kevin's ebook is completely focused on that difficult task of understanding how to develop content that attracts links. It builds perfectly on the ideas discussed by Kelvin. 
One of Kevin's best tips is on using questions in your industry to generate content that attracts links. Once you've pulled together a list of common questions in your industry, you can then write content to solve those issues. Using Google Alerts, you can set up alerts so you know when people are talking about subjects where your content may be of use. If relevant, it's a great opportunity to reference your content and add value to the conversation.

5) How to Recover From a Google Penalty

Tim's ebook is literally a treasure chest of information on how to recover from a Google penalty. It has a lot of important tips for marketers who have run into trouble with Google. One of the best tips from Tim, though, is on recovering from a manual penalty.
"If you had a manual penalty, this means somebody at Google manually reviewed your link profile. When you send in a reconsideration request somebody at Google will review your profile. You have to remove any link that was built for nothing but SEO purposes, and be extremely critical of any links with aggressive anchor text."
If you have great SEO tips -- whether from your own experience or other industry experts -- share them with us in the comments!
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