Dear Client: I love you. I really do! But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, will you stop obsessing over search engine rankings? I get it, you hired me to perform Search Engine Optimization on your website. Why do we optimize for search engines? For rankings, right? Well, no, not anymore. It's been almost a decade since the SEO industry began it's turn toward a fuller website marking experience, looking beyond search engine rankings as a metric of success, and instead looking at business growth, conversion rates, and return on investment. Rankings are a traffic delivery mechanism. Traffic can be hit or miss. Not all traffic is targeted. We see it all the time, clients like you are looking for rankings for your industry terms. But, quite often the time and effort needed to rank these favorite phrases holds no value compared to the conversions it delivers. That means, the ROI just isn't there. Instead of focusing on these "pet" terms, and potentially wasting … [Read more...] about Dear Client: I Love You, But Will You PLEASE Stop Obsessing Over Your Search Engine Rankings?
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While 2015 saw some significant and exciting new developments in search, marketers this year were seemingly less reactive and more proactive — a sign of a maturing industry. Rather than scrambling to adapt to the latest algorithm change or rushing to implement the newest trend, readers instead gravitated towards high-level thought pieces and detailed, tactical how-tos. This is evident in the fact that many of the most popular columns in 2015 were focused on getting the fundamentals right. Where do I get started with local SEO? How can I build links in an ethical manner to avoid penalties? What’s the best way to manage my AdWords campaigns? How do I optimize video content on YouTube? These are all questions that were addressed by our top columns on Search Engine Land this year. And despite 2015 arguably being the true “year of mobile” in search — we lived through Mobilegeddon and we saw mobile searches overtake desktop searches on Google — only one of … [Read more...] about Search Engine Land’s Top 10 Columns Of 2015
When Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller said earlier this year that webmasters should “try to avoid” link building for SEO, many took this as a clear and unambiguous sign that link building as a practice was done for. As search engines continue to crack down on spammy and manipulative links, quite a number of search marketers have begun to forgo link building altogether (often in favor of content marketing), fearing that the tactic is simply too risky. But the fact remains that links are the most important off-page signal for search engine rankings, and strategic link acquisition is therefore critical for effective search engine optimization. For SEO efforts to reach their full potential, businesses and online marketers simply cannot opt out of link building. It’s no surprise, then, that readers were very interested in how to build links in a safe and white-hat manner — and Neil Patel’s piece on how to do just that earned top honors within the … [Read more...] about Search Engine Land’s 10 Top Link Week Columns Of 2015
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business with an online presence — but for those that serve a specific geographical area, it’s crucial. While the basic tenets of traditional SEO do indeed apply to local businesses, the fact is that local search is its own beast, and it requires a particular set of skills. Optimizing a local business website for search engines requires some additional work that goes beyond traditional SEO, and our readers took a particular interest in tactical pieces this year, from how to do local content marketing to how to structure local landing pages. Matthew Barby’s comprehensive guide to local SEO was by far the most widely read local search column on Search Engine Land in 2015, serving as both an excellent starting point for newbies and a handy refresher for veterans in the space. Google threw local search marketers for a loop earlier this year when it made some changes to how local results are displayed, getting rid of … [Read more...] about Search Engine Land’s Top 10 Local Search Columns Of 2015
It’s been big news recently about major brands and Google penalties, and the floodgates feel open on people spotting even more brands possibly hit out there. Some new crackdown by Google? No. It’s the rise of hyperactive attention in this area, and that’s turning into a problem. Hence this open letter, on how we’re planning to address “public penalty reports” here at Search Engine Land. In Summary: Penalties Aren’t Always Newsworthy The TL;DR is this. We’re not going to be writing about every brand that is suspected to be hit by a Google penalty. Unless there’s some exceptional news value, there are better things to do. Google has been hitting big brands with penalties for over a decade; Google’s even penalized itself five times. Brands being penalized by Google aren’t news, though the circumstances in some cases might make them so. That’s the summary. The long answer is below. Buckle up for it, if you really care … [Read more...] about Why Search Engine Land Will & Won’t Cover Someone Being Penalized By Google