Bruce Clay at SMX Sydney
Understanding SEO, what it’s all about?
The 1st session in the Search Engine Boot-Camp Track 1 is "Understanding SEO, what’s it all about?" by Bruce Clay, President of Bruce Clay Inc. Bruce is out for the bi-annual 3 day Advanced SEO Training course that runs in Sydney.
Bruce Clay has also written a new book for Wiley about SEO, called SEO for Dummies which is a great resource for anyone who wants to start learning about SEO from a single source.
Bruce, the grandfather of SEO [he is not going to like that one... lol - Kate], reminds us that:
- Search life began before Google. Google wasn’t always the dominant player. SEO is about continuous change, which requires training and enthusiasm – actually every Monday we have a new industry
- Google’s automated artificial intelligence systems tweak their algorithm over 450 times per year or more than once a day
- As SEO specialists we’re aiming at a moving target
Bruce mentioned the famous [AKA notorious - Kate] Bruce Clay “search engine relationship chart” and showed just how much this had changed during his time in the industry.
- SEO is like the TV show “House” because symptoms are hard to diagnose and the cure can take sometimes take several rounds of experimentation
- SEO is like professional sport – use great tools to get ahead of the competition [like Nike sports shoes! - Kate]
Six Key Factors
1. On page – Title, Meta description, body copy.
Ensure you have a clear subject matter focus. This is how you tell search engines what you are all about. It’s like a well structured university thesis with table of contents, headings, structured argument, footnotes etc. Bruce suggests installing the SEM Toolbar to get information about your site’s on page ranking factors
2. Expertness – inbound and outbound links.
PageRank is a factor used by Google to rank sites by “expertness”. It is not a fixed number and it is quite normal for a site’s PageRank score to move up and down regularly.
Once a webpage’s PageRank score is calculated this score is used along with many other factors to determine if that page will rank well in a search.
The PageRank number in the Google toolbar is often weeks or even more out of date
3. Copywriting – this is structural content with keywords in strategic places throughout the page
Top tip from Bruce: use ~ to find synonyms that should be in your body copy.
4. Engagement Objects – video, mp3, images, maps, books, news, blogs etc. – all these types of content increase user engagement and will make your page more useful to users
5. Architecture/Siloing – theme align your content and internal link structures by the search query used. If your alignment matches than you are seen to be more of an expert for that query.
6a. A slow server discourages spiders – if your website is slow and often unavailable this is seen by search engines as a mark of unreliability and can affect rank. Conversely a fast web server with high availability makes sure your site can perform in SERPs to its best potential
6b. Implement a search engine crawlable HTML sitemap and XML sitemap
[Bruce is also offering up a year's free subscription to the SEOToolSet if you pop your card in at the booth with the word TOOLS on the back before the end of the conference - snap to it kids, time is running out! - Kate]