Ask the SEOs: Expert Q&A Session at #SMX East

Four expert SEOs take the stage in SMX East 2015’s “Ask the SEOs” session. This popular Q&A free-for-all is where the audience can ask them … anything! But first, let’s meet the SEOs:

  • Mike King (@iPullRank), founder of iPullRank
  • Hillary Glaser, SEO manager at Campbell Ewald
  • Cindy Krum (@Suzzicks), CEO at MobileMoxie
  • Marshall Simmonds (@MDSimmonds), founder and CEO of Define Media Group
Ask the SEOs speakers
SEOs Hillary Glaser, Michael King, Cindy Krum and Marshall Simmonds

Can you share some best practices for embedding keywords in content body?

Hillary: Tread that fine line between SEO and user experience. If a long-tail keyword makes no sense in the content, it’s not good for anyone.

Mike: I think Google is a lot more sophisticated — they understand the semantic value of words on a page. I don’t think it’s about shoving in keywords any number of times, but showing what the content is about. Which can be accomplished through co-occurring keywords.

This is what I call the poetry of SEO. It’s like a haiku, where you get five syllables, then seven, then five — it’s a constraint, but that’s no excuse for the resulting poem to suck. And it’s the same with SEO content.

Marshall: If it reads weird, it is weird. And if there were a magic number, we would all know it.

Can we expect to see more JSON-LD expand across categories?

All: Yes.

How do you feel about Facebook Instant Articles and other instant loading?

Mike: There’s already a specification that’s been around for seven years. You can use it on your own site. Let’s say you have a series of pages, the first load can preload the second one. This isn’t a new thing. They have apps built into Chrome for this.

In October 2015, what works to rank best for a term in Google?

Cindy: History and keywords? There’s not one thing

Hillary: It’s such a combination of things.

What would you do if you were starting a brand new website?

Marshall: Find a niche and exploit it in a good, quality way and stir up ancillary answers that aren’t easy.

Mike: Change dates on the content and you can get a rankings boost — there are a lot of tricks. But long-term … make something good and be proactive about doing them. There are hacks, though.

How do you approach doorway pages?

Mike: They still work today.

Marshall: They’re not doorway pages — they’re landing pages. And you can hustle with them. It’s still a valid tactic if it’s done with the right perspective and strategy. And it’s a long-game approach for head terms.

Someone’s doing a paid search campaign. There’s a landing page that hasn’t been blocked. Should I nofollow this page’s links?

Mike: It depends on how they’re implementing their landing pages. Most pages like that are orphaned pages anyway, so they don’t have link equity.

Any generic suggestions for ecommerce sites?

Hillary: Have really good meta data. Whatever your page is about and whatever action your page is about, put it in your title and meta description. Make sure people understand what they’re getting to. Don’t surprise them.

Mike: Make something interesting. Add a content experience below the fold on the category page so it becomes something worth linking to.

Cindy: Test it on mobile and the whole conversion process all the way through.

What disruption can I expect after moving to https?

Google has to recrawl it and it’s essentially a new URL. It takes time. And you’re going to lose traffic and social shares. Traffic will be in complete flux. You can do everything right and you might not see traffic come back at full force for six weeks. But it will only take a few days for it to be reindexed.

Is guest posting still a relevant way to earn links?

Cindy: No. But it’s a great way to create content.

Hillary: Or PR.

A company merges and becomes global and creates one website. What are some risk factors?

Cindy: There are so many larger business considerations before SEO. You need to understand the business goals before you can even think about the SEO. And internationalization is hard. You have a big translation process on your hands. Good luck to you.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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