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SEO Fundamentals

In the time of Hummingbird, we've moved away from programmatic search (user would typically get results and search through them for answers) and are adopting Google's knowledge graph and semantic search (get answer above or beside the SERP's).

Behind the scenes, hummingbird is determining the connection of the content and how it relates to the reader.  It is understanding the intent and relationships between keywords and the relevancy and is able to perform "reasoning" for the user.  Instead of focusing on keywords, semantic search uses entities which are machine read & interpreted along with conclusions on data relations (from the context).  the intent is to compare apples-to-apples and have predefined schemes.

Keywords are not dead, they still matter but their weight and relevancy in the hummingbird time will be based on its relationship to the content around it.  to get ahead, we must begin writing content with more creativity and instead of looking at keyword stuffing, we can now began to liberate ourselves with substitutes or secondary terms that flow more freely through the conversation.

3 Set of goals to achieve for any SEO program:

Phase 1:
1.       Increase overall traffic and % of organic traffic to site- overall lift by x% Y.O.Y and x% as percent of traffic (Mobile & Desktop)
2.       Focus on ways to drive/increase organic traffic to key pages- overall lift by x% Y.O.Y
3.       Develop a local SEO growth strategy and make strides towards it- overall lift by x% Y.O.Y
Phase 2:
1.       with increased traffic, increase conversion rate, engagement and quality of traffic (or keep it steady)
2.        Increase engagement from visit mobile penetration & Social Media

      SEO budget should be committed to content creation, landing-page development, localization, linking, performance reporting, recommendations, social support, or infrastructure and staffing allocation.

5 Tips for Success from experts:

  1. Content: deliver information that makes the audience more intelligent, more informed instead of a sales pitch.
  2. Local Google Places Optimization: have clean citation, local content created, local videos, schema markup, social and much more
  3. Link Building: Avoid acquiring links from unknown sources and link networks
  4. Mobile will allow you to keep your edge by moving to a responsive designed site
  5. Building authority through social media channels will get better exposure online, as more and more people will be interested in sharing your content
    • Social Media:  increasing the list of Google+ followers (add photo of author to build up authorship add the rel="author")Social media marketing should be used to increase engagement from customers, to notify followers about current news and promotions, and encourage customers to come back. Create interesting headlines, post quality content, make content shareable, pay attention to visual media, be consistent, be active, and provide links when applicable. contribute to conversation and be a guest blogger.

Technical Analysis is even more important than ever before
  • Build out a comprehensive XML Site Map and pay close attention to site Architechture
  • Schema Markup: Some examples include: authorship, event snippet, breadcrumb, reviews, recipe, video, and geo tag (Geo Targetting: linkrel="alternate" hreflang)
  • 404 errors to 301 permanent redirect & monitor page loadspeed- 
    • GTMetrix (for Google Page Speed and Yahoo YSlow analysis in one location)
  • Coding: Heavy pages carry less authority in Google; limit page size (code only) to less than 100KB where possible; use clean code, avoid excessive line breaks, and position content relative to code
  • External JS File: Include an external JavaScript file (where possible) with more technical code so that your relevant content is not pushed too far down the page
  • Title and Meta Description: Allow each page to have a unique title and meta description; keep these tags high up in code 
  • Canonical Tag: Implement canonical tags where duplicate content is a potential issue; for example, < link rel="canonical" href="" />
  • Header Tags: Use H1 tags for the main header (ideally use only one per page) with relevant keywords included and H2, H3, H4 for secondary headers
  • On-page Content: Incorporate secondary phrases naturally throughout the entire body content to establish common keyword themes of the page
  • Links: Actively link to theme-relevant pages; use simple Href tags for links; keywords in link text are preferred.
  • Images: Designate images with correct file naming and use of image Alt tags

Essential SEO Tools to consider:
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • GTMetrix (for Google Page Speed and Yahoo YSlow analysis in one location)
  • BrightEdge (and worth looking at enterprise SEO dashboards from Conductor, SearchMetrics, Covario, and SEOClarity)
  • Screaming Frog
  • Advanced Web Ranking
  • Xenu LinkSleuth
  • Excel Plugin from Niels Bolsma
  • FireFox Plugin 
  • Open Site Explore

Evolution of Google Algorithm:
Hummingbird also contains other parts with names familiar to those in the SEOspace, such as PandaPenguin and Payday designed to fight spam, Pigeondesigned to improve local results, Top Heavy designed to demote ad-heavy pages,Mobile Friendly designed to reward mobile-friendly pages and Pirate designed to fight copyright infringement


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