"SEO: Where to Next?" was a great warm up track to get everything rolling for me at this conference. The track was a basic overview and panel discussion on where to get started with SEO, and the basics of what does and does not work. The discussion was moderated by Jeff Ferguson, SES Advisory Board, Director of Online Marketing, Napster. The speaker panel consisted of Cindy Krum, Founder and CEO, Rank-Mobile; Anne Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, Managing Partner and Founder, Beyond Ink; Seth Besmertnik, CEO & Co-Founder, Conductor, Inc.; and
Ray "Catfish" Comstock, Senior Search Strategist, BusinessOnLine.
I felt a lot of this was a reassurance for me that everything I've learned and all of my current practices in Search Engine Optimization also seem to work for the "experts" in the field, or at least the ones who get paid to speak at conferences. Guess that makes me an expert too, huh? In my experience with search engines, as soon as you think you have everything figured out... something goes very wrong and you start back at square one. Be very careful who you call an "expert".
Here are some key points I thought warranted mention from the track. Granted these are not direct quotes and I've reinterpreted and broken down a few:
- SEO is not FREE. It's going to cost you if you want it done right. Work it into the budget.
- SEO is no longer a level playing field. Companies are spending 6 figures per year on these programs.
- Incompetent SEO needs to stop. People are paying millions on myths and strategies that don't work.
- Your developers need to know SEO. Too many developers are actually working against their own online marketing strategies.
- FLash, FLEX, and AJAX must be developed search friendly. If they aren't developed correctly, they can't be found by a search engine, which basically translates into that info not existing.
- Search engines tend to "judge a book by its cover". Your cover is your title tag, h1 tag, and first paragraph. Make sure they have content focused on your keyword objective.
- Become independent of Google, use the social networks.
- Don't buy links, buy entire sites. If you need to, create another site that talks about how great content in your main site is.
- Try not to make new links when updating your site. Instead, update the old links.
- Bulk SEO changes/fixes DO NOT WORK. Make minor adjustments and monitor changes.
- If you are in the top 30 of Google, try getting more links to increase ranking. If you are lower, add more related content to your site.
- If you are going to be the SEO for your company, know SEO, be a social media savant, understand business development, understand marketing, and be a web master at heart.
- Unique and quality content win the race.