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February 26, 2016

VIDEO: Googlers Take Us Behind the Scenes of the Google Dance #SMX

Gary Illyes Google

Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West 2016 is happening next week, and we’re anticipating the return of the first Google Dance since 2008! SMX West is a digital marketing conference held each year in San Jose, and the dance is a party held on Google’s Mountain View campus for the conference’s attendees.

We invited Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes — one of the most-anticipated speakers slated to take the SMX stage — to join us for a special Hangout on Air. Illyes and Search Quality Analyst Nathan Johns were integral in bringing back the Google Dance, and both took a few minutes to tell us what to expect from the fete in a light-hearted Hangout.

Go behind the scenes of the Google Dance in this video!

February 25, 2016

How Google Removing Right-Side Ads from SERPs Affects Organic SEO


Late last week, Google announced that they were dramatically changing the layout of their SERPs by removing right-side ads from the page. At the same time, they added an extra ad to the top of the fold for “highly commercial queries” and three text ads to the bottom of the SERPs. This eliminates the number of paid ads for certain types of SERPs from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.

There has been much speculation on what impact this will have in the PPC world, but what do these changes mean for SEOs who are more concerned with organic rankings?

Should SEOs be changing their tactics in light of the SERP shakeup? Or is it business as usual? There certainly seems to be a general consensus that organic SEO is the loser with all of these changes, but I’m not so sure that that is the case.

Read How Google Removing Right-Side Ads from SERPs Effects Organic SEO.

February 23, 2016

A Week in the Life of an SEO Trainer

SEO trainers Bruce Clay and Mindy Weinstein

It happened again the other day. An email came that just made my week:

“Your training has taken me so far in my career in a very short time. I feel like it is by far the best training I have ever had on SEO.”
– Tye Odom, an in-house SEO manager

Our SEOToolSet® training is not your typical SEO training course.

By the numbers, we cover a massive binder of material, or two, depending on which course you take. And more than 5,000 people so far have attended our classes worldwide.

What’s harder to quantify is how the classroom becomes a place where friendships and business collaborations are formed.

For three years, I’ve had the privilege of watching relationships grow from the front of the room, as a co-trainer with none other than Bruce Clay.

In my role as SEO trainer, I get to help all sorts of people — whether it’s a business owner who’s tired of being taken advantage of, a spammer who’s ready to reform his black-hat ways, or even an occasional attendee who hasn’t a clue what search engine optimization is.

Training enables all of these people to transform their businesses and move ahead in their careers.

Let me give you a glimpse of what I’ve seen in our classes. Read more.

February 22, 2016

VIDEO: SEO Experts Talk Search Hot Topics, Tips & Tricks #SMX

PPC Roundtable with(4)

In advance of Search Marketing Expo (SMX), speakers and SEO experts Marshall Simmonds, Casie Gillette and Sha Menz talked with Bruce Clay, Inc.’s Duane Forrester and me! These search engine optimization leaders dive into search hot topics including:

  • The future of links and linkless attribution
  • The difficulty with attribution and understanding referral traffic
  • Why Google Web Console Users want more than 90 days of search analytics data #NoBrainer #MoreDataSAN
  • Broad knowledge of digital marketing vs. niche expertise

Watch the video now!

February 2, 2016

What Should You Expect from a Search Engine?


Maybe the question is, why should you expect anything?

The truth is, inside an engine is a busy place. I spent nearly six years representing a search engine to the SEO industry and I can tell you that, contrary to many search engine optimization conspiracy theories, neither Bing nor Google have designs on harming businesses. Both do have profit motives, however, just like you do.

Updates happen because … pause for drum roll … something undesirable is happening!

Read more from Duane Forrester in “What Should You Expect from a Search Engine?”

January 21, 2016

Modern Digital Marketing Strategies Video: ’90s SEOs Ammon Johns, Bill Slawski, Bruce Clay, Christine Churchill & Kim Krause Berg

SEOs from the 90s

Some fads are retired with great celebration. Crimped hair, No Fear T-shirts, and neon windbreakers buried in the back of the closet since 1999 – probably best if they’re never heard from again.

But some of the search marketing industry’s biggest stars were made in the 90s and are still trending. On January 1, 2016, Bruce Clay, Inc. marked its 20th anniversary – 20 years that Bruce Clay has been steering the digital marketing industry with thought leadership, and proof that some 90s inventions are classics.

Bruce Clay is one of a rare breed of digital marketers that got started in SEO in the 90s. Others include Stoney deGeyter of Pole Position Marketing, Christine Churchill of Key Relevance, Terry Van Horne of International Website Builders, and Kim Krause Berg of Creative Vision Web Consulting. Beyond their industry veteran status, there’s something else they have in common — and that’s valuable digital marketing wisdom gained from decades of perspective and experience.

This group came together as guests of Ammon Johns (of Ammon Johns and Company) and Bill Slawski (of SEO by the Sea) in Bill and Ammon’s Jumbo January Bogus Hangout. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, and Kristin Drysdale were there too, rounding out the reasons that this conversation was one to watch.

Read Modern Digital Marketing Strategies Video for a rundown of the video chat.

January 18, 2016

What Is UX? Who Owns User Experience Optimization? What You Need to Know About SEO & User Satisfaction from #SEOchat


User experience (UX) is the web design and marketing concept concerned with satisfying the user in their every interaction with a brand’s website and products. Attention to UX spans all aspects of digital marketing, including images and videos, design, website architecture and content. When we hosted #SEOChat last week, we immediately knew what we wanted to talk about: user experience. It’s an integral part of digital marketing, and something we can never pay too much attention to.

Read more of What Is UX? Who Owns User Experience Optimization? What You Need to Know About SEO & User Satisfaction from #SEOchat.

December 18, 2015

SEO in 2015: A Retrospective for the Introspective – Virtual Conference Recap

SEO in 2015

If TIME Magazine were to do an issue on the SEO industry in 2015, the table of contents would look like this.

• 2015 SEO Story of the Year: Mobilegeddon

• Runner-Up: More Mobile – App Deep Linking and Indexing

• Runner-Up: The Penguin that Never Came

• Runner-Up: RankBrain AI

• 15-Minutes-of-Famers in 2015: Millennials are the moment’s hottest market segment, but it’s an attention to audience that has staying power

We don’t publish TIME Magazine, but on the BCI blog, we do publish the SEO industry’s major news stories and marketing practices. A mobile-focused marketing perspective, Google’s MIA Penguin and link removal practices, and a search engine ranking algorithm that learns are the topics covered on today’s Virtual Conference SEO track.

December 7, 2015

2015 Search Quality Rating Guidelines Checklist: Aligning with Google’s Focus on Usefulness

Usefull sign square

Google’s latest update of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines shows a shifted focus at the search engine, and consequently, for SEOs. For years, the buzzword for search engine optimization has been “relevance” — making your site the most relevant result for a searcher’s query. But as Duane Forrester, our new VP of organic search operations, observed: “It’s all about usefulness today and moving forward. The goal of the search engine is simple: increase searcher satisfaction. That’s why ‘useful’ is the new watchword. Previously we said ‘relevant,’ but really we all meant ‘useful.’”

Google annually updates its internal guidelines document that tells hired human quality raters how to evaluate sites as part of Google’s ongoing experiments. The guidelines are not the algorithm. But they do show what Google’s focusing on, and that’s worth paying attention to. Here’s our checklist for making sure your SEO campaign aligns with Google’s priorities.

Review the 2015 Search Quality Rating Guidelines Checklist.

November 12, 2015

Is Google about to Unplug Its Penguin?

Unplug Penguin Feature Square

TL;DR – A theory: The next Google Penguin update will kill link spam outright by eliminating the signals of inorganic backlinks. Google will selectively pass link equity by topical relevance of linked sites, made possible by semantic analysis. Google will reward organic links and perhaps even mentions from authoritative sites in any niche. As a side effect, link-based negative SEO and Penguin “penalization” will be eliminated.

Is the end of link spam upon us? Read why we think it’s a good thing that Google is about to unplug its Penguin.

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