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November 6, 2006

Fireside Chat with the SEO Experts

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Though I’ve never had the chance to attend it before today, I’ve always been a big fan of this Fireside Chat with the SEO Experts session, and it has nothing to do with the fact that Bruce is one of the co-presenters. It just always struck me as the perfect way to run a session – let people ask questions and allow them to get answers from people who actually know what they’re talking about. It sounds simple, but it’s really not.
Today, Bruce and Dana Todd were on hand to discuss a number of important search engine optimization issues, including technical, content, linking, and server and architecture-based issues. A lot of excellent information and tips were revealed in this fast-paced sessions, so I’ll highlight some of the main points here.

Technical issues

  • Keyword Density – in order for you to hit the ideal density for your keywords, you need to know how the engines index data. Bruce defined ideal density as the top of a bell curve, with most sites either falling either over or below the optimum mark. True keyword density goals will be determined by the index as a whole. Each of your keywords will have a different density.

    To find your keyword density, you want to look at what your competition is doing and figuring out how many times they’re using a word.

  • Bruce on code: "Keep it simple, do it right and you’ll be okay." Some sage words there from our Bruce.

Content Issues

  • Optimize for both broad and targeted words. Dana Todd noted that she doesn’t waste time on words that have less than 200 monthly searches, but really marketers should be more concerned about the ROI.
  • Misspelled words belong in the Meta Keyword tag and only in the Meta Keyword tag.
  • Don’t optimize for research terms and shopping terms on the same page, it will dilute your rankings for both. Each page should target a unique set of keywords that help reaffirm your theme.
  • Search engines are looking at the intent of the query to determine if you could be a subject matter expert. If your site has a lot of content, you’ll have a greater chance of being labeled an expert than a thinner site.

    If you want to experiment with this, head over to mindset.yahoo.com and see how the SERP changes based on the position of the slider.

  • The search engines will determine your site’s theme internal navigation and depth of content.

Linking Issues

  • Dana: Linking is the online method of namedropping at a cocktail party. It’s not just who you know, but who knows you. (Awesome!)
  • Just like with dating, it’s quality, not quantity that counts when measuring the importance of inbound links. The strongest inbound links are links from respected sites in your industry.

Server and Architecture Issues:

  • If the spiders can’t crawl through your site, you won’t be in the index. This has a lot to do with architecture and the kind of technology you’re using (i.e. Flash).
  • Be aware that hosting companies have been known to accidentally block the search engine spiders in order to save bandwidth.
  • If your server is slower than the person next to you, the engines will spider less content and your site won’t appear as deep.
  • The more technological complicated your site is, the harder it is for the engines to crawl.
  • Use W3C to check your site for compatibility with HTML standards.

Greatest Line of the Session

“Paid Inclusion is like SEO on steroids” – Dana

Heh. Great session guys. Tons of top-notch information!

On to the next…

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