Content SEO: Best Practices and What to Avoid

Galen De Young ( @GalenDY ) | May 4, 2010 · 3 comments | B2B Search Marketing

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Live Blogging from MarketingProfs B2B Forum.
A series of posts covering selected sessions at this year’s conference in Boston.

Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
Jiyan Wei, Product Manager, Vocus,

At the start of the presentation, Lee cited several stats:
60% of marketers plan to take money away from traditional marketing and spend it on interactive instead, and 59% of that interactive spend will go towards SE and PPC (Forrester Search Engine Marketing Model, 4/09 US)

48% of senior marketing executives considered the most effective online marketing tactic for Generating Conversions (Forbes 2009 Ad Effectiveness Survey)

62% of B2B Marketers plan to increase SEM budgets in 2010.

Lee’s definition of SEO: A set of methodologies that make it easier to find, index, categorize, and rank web content.

Lee’s advice on B2B Content Optimization Strategy
Do your keyword research. But don’t just use traditional keyword research tools, but also consider social keywords, which you get from social media monitoring tools.

Develop the personas of your audience. Define who they are and what drives them.

Look at the search engine results for your keywords. Know the competitive search marketplace. Understand what makes up the distribution of the SERPs (images, web, news, blog, etc.)

Inventory and categorize your content assets.

Reconcile what’s really hot in the search results for your marketplace and the types of content marketing assets you have. Identify the holes and develop your assets.

Map your content. For example, know what pages on your site are designed to respond to which keywords

Operationalize things. Your content writers should know about SEO and how to employ it. Make it part of the process.

Off-page Digital Asset Optimization. Optimize other assets not on your web (your Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube, etc.)

Promotion. Have systems in place that help you promote content. For instance, when you do a blog update, have it automatically update Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

And then measure and track your results and effectiveness.

Core SEO Tips—Keywords
Target keywords that your customers use (not the ones that you use internally)
Understand the buying cycle and the keywords at various points in that cycle
brainstorm based on solutions and customer needs
interview or survey customers
Review your web analytics
Review competitors (Tool: SEMRush)
Use keyword research tools to begin to identify and associate values of keywords and identify related keywords
Monitor social media for emerging keywords
Map keywords to the web pages, images, video, etc. that you have optimized for these keyword targets

Core SEO Tips—Content
Inventory your content (different types of documents, different types of content)
Types of SEO (search engine optimization, digital asset optimization, social media optimization, mobile optimization)
Optimize for 1-2 phrases per page (title tags, headings, paragraph titles, keywords in body copy, anchor text in links, image alt text)

Core SEO Tips—Search Friendly
Make it easy for search engines to find and revisit your content
Avoid crawling issues (unnecessarily complex URLs and session IDs, Multiple URLs to duplicate content, temporary redirects)
Avoid site navigation with Ajax, Flash, JavaScript
Make URLs search & user friendly
Have a logical site structure: categories, sub-categories

Core SEO Tips—Link Building
Use keywords in link anchor text
Create great content that people will link to
Promote your content on social networks
Link up with your marketing partners
Create distribution channels to help promote your content (e.g., email, RSS feeds, content syndication)
Cross link internally
Embed links in news releases
Use a blog as the centerpiece of a link-building strategy because it can work so will with other social media (e.g., Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc.)

SEO Worst Practices
Using keywords important to you, but not your customers
Content not crawlable by search bots
Not producing new content
Content that is not organized logically
Content that doesn’t include keywords in it and in the text links
Low quantity of relevant sites linking to your site
Not monitoring KPIs and continually refining your content and strategy
Not carefully considering and properly handling site migration (too much can be lost from doing it wrong)

SEO and Site ReDesign
Consider keeping same file naming structure
Permanently redirect all old or changed URLs (301 redirects)
Create customized 404 pages
Search for and correct all broken links
Create an html sitemap
Create and submit an XML sitemap
Update inbound links. While you can permanently redirect old URLs to new URLs, it’s better if you can get others to link to the new URL so you don’t erode PageRank

Jiyan Wei now takes the podium to talk about a PRWeb Case Study

Jiyan talked about all the changes that occurred after acquisition and some of the negative SEO issues that came about from creating many new sites and a great deal of content. Here are some of the issues that arose and how they addressed them:

Duplicate Content—Differentiate the canonical versions of content from the syndicated versions. Go back to people who linked to the content and ask them to link to the canonical version instead of a syndicated version.

Keyword Stuffing—Eliminate tag pages

Slow Load Times—Employ caching / static rendering

Site Errors—Identify errors and correct them. Change operational systems to ensure these errors don’t continue to pop up.

Jiyan stressed the importance of having a collaborative ownership for SEO strategy. Also, make sure that the SEO knowledge isn’t held with a few individuals; create institutional knowledge. Operationalize the process. And measure KPIs and make adjustment…not just once in a while, but schedule it and make sure it happens regularly.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Bix May 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Thanks! This is a great summary.


Mark W Schaefer May 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Well said. Concise and useful. Thank you!


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