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SEO News: Search Engine Conference Recap by Debbie Miller

Danny, Matt, and Duane pause for a selfie before their session

#SMX West 2014 Recap: Meet the Search Engines


Here are some of the topics discussed:

  • Matt discussed that Google is working on the next generation of Panda. It'll be softer. It's still a ways away, but it's in process.


  • If you're doing something shady in regard to mobile SEO, you're likely to be dinged. Make sure everything you're doing well with mobile is fixed if/when there are issues.

  • Google will continue to crack down on link networks

  • Don't be alarmed if it looks like traffic coming from Google relative to IE 8 drops in the near future. As IE 10 comes out, traffic data will be focused on IE 9 and 10, so IE 8 traffic may appear poor, but it's just part of the transition process and will be amended shortly.
  • When asked about if the interaction of the knowledge graph changed how they do stuff, Matt noted the carousel is often handy because explore more. When a tool works well, people use it more. When you make search engines faster, people make more searches. All this data is useful.
  • "Would a penalty from an old site follow you to a new one?" In an ideal world, you shouldn't allow spammers to avoid detection. Whether someone is using redirects, Google wants to know what the duplicate sites and are and whether they're a duplicate of a spammy site or whether they're legit.

  • In regard to gTLDs (generic top-level domains – these would be domains that feature words other than "com" after the dot in the URL. i.e. .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, etc.) and the notion that having one can automatically help with SEO, Duane explained that that is not the case. They are useful when they're useful – if you do it right and build a business, sure, you'll be fine. But if you get them just to do the wrong things with them, the search engines take action. If you think because you have you're going to rank well, you're not. It doesn't suddenly make you more relevant.
  • On the other side of that, monitor your own brand and be sure someone doesn't utilize it with an unfavorable gTLD. For example, .sucks is a viable option, so someone could easily procure if they get angry. It's worth it to spend the small annual fee to own those kinds of domains.
  • Duane recommends starting down the right path from the very beginning of developing a site. Ask yourself how you're thinking about what you're doing – you shouldn't be asking yourself about shortcuts or what tools you can use to better manage your site. Start down the right path from launch – sit down with engineering and make sure everything is properly set up from the get-go so you don't have to go back to them later and need them to make numerous changes.
  • Danny inquired about embeddable content with a link back scheme, such as the recently-available Getty images. Matt said they look at these instances on a case-by-case basis and are able to easily discern if the links are spam or not. This means, for Getty, the images are perceived more like a widget. They're trying to be useful. So, the widget link might not count as much, but Getty won't be penalized in any way for having all these new links back to their site.
  • Bing has email support and they actually do read all inquiries, although sometimes it takes a few days based on what else is going on. Visit and reach out via the "customer support" link. If you reach out and don't hear back in a few days, shoot Duane a tweet!
  • For mobile sites, Matt notes that both mobile friendly and responsive design sites are fine, but there are bad practices. If there are many redirects to the homepage, for example, that would raise a red flag.
  • Google doesn't relay all the signals involved with identifying spam sites since then the spammers would know how to play the system. They can provide guidance, but not specifics, for this reason.
  • A focus shouldn't be directly on link building for SEO: it should be to put up consistently valuable content. Google's goal is to show and reflect things they already deem high quality. Really, ask yourself how to make something compelling or excellent over how to merely acquire a link. Doing the opposite is putting the cart before the horse.
  • For example, sites that provide original research and thoughts on a topic naturally do really well. Providing a unique service and doing things better than anyone else are effective ways to gain traction.
    Think about how to be addictive. "Great content" is the tag word but there are lots of ways to do that. If you provide information of value, it'll come back to you.
  • Know which words matter and which don't. The word "the" doesn't necessarily matter, but "of" does since it usually specifically relates two things.


Source: Search Engine Conference Recap by SEO Professional

Views: 330



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Comment by Alexander Lau on March 24, 2014 at 8:09am

@Matthew, I disagree, yet I do agree, there are very few in the automotive world. There are burgeoning technologies, one of which can take automotive inventory feeds and push them to WordPress. There have always been CSV / XLS to WordPress plugins out there, but I am talking much more than that, then you'll see how seamless content marketing through the WP platform, which Googlebot adores, will start to wreck competition.

Long live open source driven by custom plugin development!

Comment by Matthew O'Such on March 24, 2014 at 8:00am

*Edited - Sorry I called you Ralph, David!* I agree David. Its also hard to find a website platform that follows all the SEO best practices as well, not just in practice, but in ability to implement all the newest SEO features. Dealers will continue to struggle to do everything they should do in SEO for their dealership, when platforms lag behind the rest of the web. Many have caught up in the last 2 years, but a few are still well behind the times.

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 24, 2014 at 7:55am

David is exactly right in his assessment. With SEO, the proof is in the pudding.

If you pay attention to best practices, you needn't show up at these things and spend money. Although, they should have talked a little more about Social Signals and Brand Analytics (both large parts of SEO today). Yes, there is content overlap, in that your signals are going to .suck if the content .sucks.


How well do you rank for high search traffic keywords?

How well do I convert for those same keywords?

How well do you rank for specific localized long-tail keywords?

How well do I convert for those same keywords?

I wrote this for struggling dealerships (if any are on this site?):

Having SEO problems, give me a call;

We can figure it out in no time at all.

There is an error in the reporting, that's not 0 conversions, look below at the actual listings.

Comment by David Addison on March 22, 2014 at 5:34pm

Thanks Debbie.  This is a nice recap of web best practices. Nothing here is especially new for those of us who attend the conferences regularly and closely follow Cutts, Sullivan, Forrester, etc.  If you don’t have time as a dealer to learn SEO or follow the industry, just follow Matt Cutts.

It is rare to find dealer groups that are truly following all of the SEO best practices. Automotive dealers need take notice and ensure that their SEO vendors are not breaking the rules.  Ranking well on relevant organic terms is going to get more difficult for those engaged in SEO manipulation games. I tell all who will listen to build value and, above all, to build a brand.

It is helpful to think of search engines as having a “budget” of resources allocated for a particular site. This budget includes things like how much bandwidth or time will be spent crawling or how many pages will be included in the index. Problems with crawlability, IMHO, is one of our industries largest issues. I didn’t attend this session.  Did they spend any time on canonicalization and duplicate content?  Both are big problems in automotive.

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