Our first breakout session is on a topic most of us with any sense care about if we want our blogs to actually be read: SEO! Our panel is moderated by Erin Shea, and it includes Jim Lin, Crystal Duncan, Nathan Engels, and Flora Lels.
I’d like to take this paragraph to thank Microsoft for giving me a Surface 2 to use for this live blogging project. Because otherwise, I’d be lugging a laptop around all day today, and I don’t like exercising when in New Orleans.
Here are some points and “take aways” I pulled from this panel (and you should too):
Regarding SEO in general:
– 3 pillars of SEO: create high quality content, get it linked, and engage with others via social media.
– Don’t compromise your content, but still pay attention to meta tages, site indexes, etc. What is “compromising content”? It’s focusing too much on the key words you’re optimizing instead of providing relevant, engaging content.
– Think about why you want to optimize your blog and focus on a narrow area that will allow the readers you want to find you, not someone who’s going to find it on accident and disengage.
– If looking to attract brand opportunities, it’s more important to have a site that encourages engagement than just raw numbers of hits who drop in and leave within a few seconds.
– Even a “no follow” link (which most companies use or require now) will help raise a post in google search.
– If you’re approached to do a “paid link” that’s a “follow” link, google may de-index you! So don’t do it.
– Google focused more on content itself now more than ever. Keyword stuffing no longer works. Your content needs to be something that a person would actually like to read. Doing this will mean your site keeps doing well when the algorithm changers every 6 months.
– Don’t try to push your content via tons of social media platforms that may or may not be relevant. Pick a few that work well for your content and use these well.
– The wordpress plugin “Yoast SEO” allows one to figure out what someone would type into google to find a particular post and then he can take those words to use in meta tags and title, etc.
– Google wants traffic to lead to a certain post or page, not necessarily the homepage, so think about each post and its intended audience instead of an effort to just find the website as a whole.
– PR companies are often more interested in the bloggers who are good to work with over just pure numbers, so networking (both online and in person) is an important component of marketing yourself. To figure out who’s “good to work with,” these companies will likely talk to other bloggers with whom they already work or other PR persons who’ve worked with bloggers.
– If your traffic is not super high, but you have a good bit of engagement on your site, send those metrics (or even screen shots) to accentuate this with prospective brands and/or PR firms.
Regarding quality content:
– Have a story to tell, such that readers will take something away from it. Is there an emotional reaction or useful takeaway in addition to a connection created?
– Ask yourself this before you publish a post: “If someone reads my content on another site, will that person know it’s my content?” Have a voice that’s unique and engaging, and stay true to that voice in your content both on your site and others.
– You’re your brand. Say “no” if there’s an opportunity presented that conflicts with your usual voice and brand.
– If you’re selling a product, blog posts should be about the problem(s) solved by your product and engage with potential clients as your audience, so you’ll have their trust.
Regarding sponsored posts and their future:
– They’re called “advertorials” by Matt Cutts at Google, and he doesn’t like them. However, lots of PR companies are just starting to utilize them, and it can work well if there is good engagement.
– The ratio of “follow” v. “no follow” is looked at to see if a site is a good community member; use the “no follow” ones when partnering with brands, though.
– Audiences don’t seem to be upset like they might have been a year or two ago when a sponsored post is seen, as long as the FTC guidelines are complied with, and the author’s voice is still in the post, along with transparency.
– It’ll be more about conversation than SEO in the future. It’ll bring a product to life.
What to “watch out for” in the next few years:
– Pay attention to Google’s guidelines, as they change from time to time.
– Social media indicators’ percentage of weight given to organic traffic continues to rise. Link back to your website with the relevant social media platforms. Can also help proliferate content.
– Thanks for your attention — Michael Moebes – www.MoeLaw.com
Dad 2.014 Live Blog is presented by Microsoft Surface 2