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July 19, 2010

SEO: How to not FAIL at getting search traffic – BlueGlass LA

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Second session! Your speakers are Vanessa Fox, Founder, Nine by Blue and Adam Audette, President/CEO, AudetteMedia. They are, obviously, awesomes.

BlueGlass LA

Vanessa is up first. (Buy her book if you haven’t already.)

Search is about more than just ranking. It’s a process. Search > Rank > SERP display > Page Content > Conversion

You need to know your business goals and what kind of problems your business audience is having that you can solve. Use the Title to meet the needs of the audience as well as the needs of your own organization. Don’t let yourself get too close. For you, it might just be “the tools” or “the act” but to everyone else, it has a specific longer name. Use that name, identify yourself the way that visitors will.

Every page of the site is the home page with search. You need to have an explanation and call to action on every page because you don’t know where people will first come to your site.  State who you are, what the page is about.

Ranking reports aren’t all that helpful. You might miss /what/ is ranking. If it’s your 404 page, you have a problem.

You don’t have to tell them it’s your home page. Use your Title real estate well.

Build search into the content development process.

Clarify your business goals. Most people have not figured out what their business goals are. “I want a lot of traffic” is not a good goal. Porn will get you a lot of traffic. Figure out what the traffic is for. It’s okay if your traffic goes down as long as your conversions go up.

What is the project goal?

What is the brand objective?

What is your value proposition?

BlueGlass LA panel

She defines her personas next. Write down each task that can be done on your site, group them into categories (newbies, dabblers, experts, etc).  Use Google Ad Planner or similar tools to define what your audiences are looking for. Use social media to see what topics people are discussing. That builds your persona.

Adam Audette’s up next. As usual, we get a picture of his two adorable little girls. Aw.

What elements and concepts of SEO are important for success?

“If you build it, they will” come is wrong.  You might build it and no one will care. (Adam attempts to throw in some swearing like our first session speakers but fails adorably.)

How do you create value? Answer users’ questions, solve their problems. Great content doesn’t guarantee traffic. Great content + great user experience + SEO does increase traffic.

You need to precede SEO with content and user experience. SEO needs to support and leverage content and UX. Crap SEO thinks only of itself. Good SEO thinks about users and information architecture. SEO should be the invisible layer below the user experience.

[This next bit harkens back strongly to Adam’s presentation at SMX Advanced on site architecture.]

Build SEO into the business flow but don’t bring SEO into the flow too early. Get designers who know SEO.

Give SEO teams their own dev resources. The single biggest problem in SEO is things not getting done.

When you launch new stuff, tell your SEO before you do it. Encourage and facilitate creativity. Allow your SEO team the freedom to take risks. Hold them accountable to ROI but don’t make them a slave to it.  SEO should fail quickly to succeed long term (Do It Wrong Quickly)

4 Takeaways

  1. Good SEO integrates with the business – Beware of reactive SEO
  2. Good SEO stays hidden behind the user experience. Its success hinges on it.
  3. Good SEO is patient.  It’s a long slow road. Invest long term.
  4. Good SEO accepts risks and encourages failure.

Take smart risks, not stupid risks. Calculated risks are worth it.

[Skipping Q&A for my hand’s sake. Check out SEJ for more coverage.]

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8 responses to “SEO: How to not FAIL at getting search traffic – BlueGlass LA”

  1. Stuart Draper writes:

    Vanessa Fox is answering a question about handling hundreds of thousands of pages that need descriptions and titles and even in multiple languages. This stuff is great. Unfortunately it only gets as in-depth as the questions asked.

  2. Susan Esparza writes:

    The Q&A was amazing but my hands just couldn’t keep up. Curse my frail human meat. I hope they covered it over on Search Engine Journal.

  3. Dana Lookadoo writes:

    Nice coverage, Susan!

    Got a little of the Q&A regarding links from the home page/footer & # of links.
    1) No such thing as dividing link juice!!!
    2) ASK: What links are going to be most valuable to visitors? You are telling search engines why you are putting links on this high-value home page.
    3) Links for links sake only and not for visitors offers no value to search.

  4. Darine Sabbagh writes:

    A question that begs itself, how long should SEO take?
    Thank you for the great coverage guys!

  5. Darine Sabbagh writes:

    Dana, great point, often we forget the UX aspect of links and providing valuable links even if they do not feed our SEO. That is why we have so many frustrating websites and so many people preferring the simplicity of blogs, where bloggers on the other hand provide a multitude of resources to their readers via rich links.

  6. Offshore Ally writes:

    Hi Susan! Though the Takeaways of Adam were a treat, what really took the cake was Vanessa’s ‘Every page of the site is the home page with search’. Too often we find clients stuffing their home page & ignoring other pages. ‘SEO should fail quickly to succeed long term (Do It Wrong Quickly)’ – the clients need to encourage SEOs taking risks.

  7. Alex writes:

    Yes, I am agree with you that we should call every page because we do not know which page is search by visitor so if we want to get good business through seo then we should give to proper attention towards all pages.

  8. SEO India writes:

    I like your posting and the way of presentation. I agreed Title play a big role for any of the websites to target for your pages…



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