Summary: Keeping up with schema, rich answers, html5, java & more on #SEOchat

Moderator: @bloomreachinc

What changes in our world are on your mind? Anything “hair on fire” level of concern or opportunity?

@MatthewAYoung   Im loving the news about RankBrain. Machine learning FTW. Basically, it allows google to better deal with queries it has never before seen, which is about 15% of them. Oh, and it’s also the third most important part of the algorithm. Here’s a great article about how it affects entity search.
@CallMeLouzander   Wonder if any of those new KWDs were never before seen in Google (aka RankBrain fodde)
@MatthewAYoung   Possible. But I think it’s more of the unnamed, unconfirmed core algo updates.
@BruceClayInc   Two Big changes come to mind: Machine learning algorithms & Predictive search: here.
@tannerpetroff   Here’s a decent post I just found.
@CaitlinBoroden   This is a good intro

@CallMeLouzander   I’ve been thinking about Android M & private indexing.

@kotmseo   An imminent corporate acquisition will wipe out all the work I’ve done for the current site — as we switch to a new domain.

What are you doing with

@CaitlinBoroden   JSON-LD all the way! Really looking forward to continued roll outs supporting the language.

@CallMeLouzander   Finding other resources to make sense of it. That website is so confusing! @RavenTools has the excellent .

@MatthewAYoung   Using googles schema helper and testing tools. Theyve saved my life on a couple occasions.

@oc2015   Still trying to convince clients to let us use it (schema)

@kotmseo   Implemented schema on homepage & discovered crawlability issues. Also testing on articles w/ little success so far. The trouble on our site is implementing schema automatically on all articles, for example, by changing CMS. Tough ask.

@CallMeLouzander   Love this extensive guide to schema.

@EricLanderSEO   Schema has been crucial for us in triggering enhanced SERPs, particularly around locations (“Place”) for a national client. Shout out to @sejournal for this piece. We built an initial local SEO application for content w/ that. Client and internal education has supported in business development and internal education for related teams (SEM, Analytics). Related – be careful of sites/services/apps trying to scrape your schema data, too. Seen that on the rise for financial sites.

@ammicallef   Primarily recommend it for reviews and products. Rich snippets.

@ramirez_robert   I love finding new schemas I didn’t know existed & utilizing them. Hotels? Check. Furniture Stores? Yup. Plumbers? Got that too.

How has Rich Answers changed your strategy? Are you changing content specifically for it?

@EricLanderSEO   We’ve identified a LARGE amount of content to re/write based on ubersuggest and SERPs composition.

@CallMeLouzander   Hard one. Sites that publish stats & make & on ads- if they write FOR Knowledge Graph, goodbye $$. Time for hard decisions!

@kotmseo   Some of our FAQ pages appear as rich answers & drive major traffic. Convinced web team to prioritize them & add conversion.

@CaitlinBoroden   Interested to hear peoples thoughts on this one. I admit I haven’t done a deep dive into strategy just yet.

@ammicallef   While we want to capture traffic, we want it to be qualified. by optimizing for rich answers, it may be all info-based queries which makes it difficult..because not all info-based queries will be qualified and ready to convert.

@ramirez_robert   Hopefully your content already answers RichAnswer questions naturally. Hard to get that result if you are not an authority.

@OC2015   Product based for the clients we do use it for. Best thing is we don’t have to change content

@ExpWriters   More content that is better researched/in depth & answers the given topic/question, for our content clients and our own blog.

How has HTML 5 changed your strategy? Tactics?

@EricLanderSEO   For content – pagination/sequential declaration has helped. We earn more SEO referrals to p.1 of content now as a result. We have also moved to some specific WordPress frameworks to make better use of page sections and content organization. Likely a coincidence, but we’re also seemingly a mobile-first organization now. I can’t credit HTML5 fully, but it’s helped. We’ve benefitted from doing so, but if you’re a competitor reading this? No. Not even a little.

@MatthewAYoung   I have to admit, not much. The fundamentals are still there. Clients are moving towards it, but not quickly.
@CallMeLouzander   I’m with @MatthewAYoung. Most clients just aren’t there yet. I had 1 client looking at http2 & html5 but that’s rare.

@ramirez_robert   Semantic tags in html5 are interesting, but very hard to justify cost of revising templates with no evidence of return (yet).
@EricLanderSEO   Both @MatthewAYoung & @ramirez_robert touch on a challenge: Migrating clients/content to full HTML5 w/o provable ROI.

@seanhecking   Mobile-friendly HTML 5 was recommended, mobile-sorta-friendly was the result. Developer execution is key.

With bots potentially crawling JavaScript, how has this changed your strategy? Tactics?

@EricLanderSEO   Grunt. Minify it all, get it off page if possible – and make it as efficiently deliverable as possible. We’ve had a great 2015 by moving to FoundationPress and pushing all CSS and JS through grunt. Like… Really great.
@oc2015   Just have to ensure you’re not sacrificing site speed when you do

@MatthewAYoung   Potentially? This is a done deal. But I agree with @EricLanderSEO – reduce it as much as you can. Speed is key.

@kotmseo   We’re in the process of unblocking JS files in the robots.txt file. Can’t tell if they’re crawlable, if they’re being blocked.
@MatthewAYoung   You can always fetch & render pages in GSC. That might give you some clues
@kotmseo   Yeah, F&R doesn’t show our pop-up mega menu, but says some of our JS files are blocked. Fixing is a long process.
@MatthewAYoung   Indeed it is. But your mobile rankings will thank you in the end.

@seanhecking   Minified & Bootstrap for some good speed improvement.

What’s a current “trick” you think won’t last (to clarify, naming one is not an admission of using it)?

@seanhecking   Buying niche domain names and parking a 2,000+ word article to rank. This can’t last.

@EricLanderSEO   The resurgence of full-window takeover CTAs preventing content view through organic channels is making an ugly comeback.

@kotmseo   I don’t think schema markup will last, if it’s not automated through CMS. Too complicated for most folks to implement.

Summary: The Keyword Challenge, How to Compete for Your Site’s Searchability on #SEOchat

Moderator: @emily_C27

When starting off on a brand new #seochat campaign, at what point does keyword research come into play?

@oc2015   The very first thing (after scope and goals). KW research sets up everything from search strategy to content to social.

@EricLanderSEO   Keyword research (and more appropriately, topical research) needs to start out of the gate IMO. Point being that search is becoming less and less about singular keywords – and more topically focused. I love using @ubersuggest for expanding from a keyword into a larger topical view of content needs.

@CallMeLouzander   From the start. Start with ranking baseline that you’ll keep thru project. Then figure out what pages rank for what terms. Even as keywrd set grows, still good to keep that initial kwd set from the start so you can compare apples to apples.

@samsitesearch   I think it’s hugely important to perform, but after you understand your target audience and the questions they need answering.
@oc2015   Totally agree. Also extremely important to keep intent in mind and user position in the buyer journey.

@Randomhero180   This should be the first task in your project management system for a new project.

@LemayPatrick   I imagine it’s important to immediately define useful keywords to base your campaign around, as you will use them throughout.

@milestech   It’s the foundation of your strategy. You need to know what people are searching for to better target them.

@StoreCoach   I would say right off the bat. Allows you to better develop a proper strategy for who to target in the campaign.

What are your favorite tools for finding keywords and phrases that you are already ranking for?

@emily_C27   I’ve always begun with semrush as my go-to.

@AntoniaStiedaSa   Majestic and SEMrush

@CaitlinBoroden   Someone showed me on a previous #seochat. Great resource!

@Randomhero180   Google Search Console for me. I would like to hear about some others.

@dan_patterson   Use GWT. If you really want to see what you’re currently ranking for GWT is the place to go IMO.
@BerkleyBikes   I like GWT, but have so much distrust in some of their metrics. Have you found their ranking metrics to be accurate?
@dan_patterson   I figure all ranking metrics are just an indication
@CaitlinBoroden   Agreed. I’ve seen some weird discrepancies.
@CallMeLouzander   Rankings are inaccurate for sure, but good place to find new kwd opportunities.

@StoreCoach   Semrush is where I do my research. The detail and ease of use makes it a great tool.

@CallMeLouzander   I like @spyfu and Search Console.

@samsitesearch   I’m a fan of @semrush for this kind of kw research.

@seanvanguilder   For new clients, after I’ve done a complete audit of their site and competitor analysis.

@seanvanguilder   semrush and

@kkopacz1   SEMRush. It tells you the keywords that your competitors use most effectively.

@EricLanderSEO   Would again say that you need to be using @ubersuggest for this!

@kotmseo   I use @brightedge to see what keywords our site is currently ranking for.

How do scale the competitiveness of keywords for which you would like your brand to be found?

@TheBuyerGroup   SEOToolSet and Buzzomo! SEOToolSet has a free version too!

@dan_patterson   I think you have to just compile a lot of data, look at as many metrics you can, and then prioritize. I like Moz’s keyword difficulty tool.

@oc2015   Tougher than relying on @Moz bar, but certainly helpful. Overall though, you have to mindful of consistently ranked comps.

@EricLanderSEO   While arbitrary, the competitive scores in @spyfu @semrush and @ahrefs are all quite useful over time

@seanvanguilder   If there is a PPC campaign running I’ll pull in the data for paid vs organic. Also use SEMRush to pull in competitor keywords.

@seanvanguilder   I don’t pay attention to competitive scores. I focus on whether or not the core keyword phrase aligns to the company’s personas.

@samsitesearch   Tools can give you a score. but i like to do it manually- look at top 4 results links/content to see quality & effort to beat.

@CallMeLouzander   I look at competitive scores, b/c sometimes you find kywds that are being missed by competition but are still valuable. Plus you have to be realistic w/ expectations. Small co likely can’t rank for top-tier kywds in national space.

@kotmseo   I use @Moz toolbar to see DA/PA of sites already ranking for the keyword and evaluate our chances of beating them.

@kkopacz1   Create a list of top 5 or top 10 primary keywords. Run SEOmoz keyword difficulty tool for each keyword.

@ajutah   Supplement your organic strategy with pay-per-click, and adjust either side to remain competitive.

@Navahk   @BruceClayInc said this at Pubcon, “There’s a difference between data & wisdom” Understand them first!

What factors do you consider in determining whether SEO or PPC is best to put your brand/clients’ dollars toward?

@seanvanguilder   Ideally both. Need both to ensure maximum exposure to grow the client’s brand.

@kotmseo   I don’t have the reference, but I’ve always heard your CTR is higher if you appear in both organic & paid spots for a keyword.
@samsitesearch   yeah @seerinteractive did a study on that a while back.
@ajutah   Here’s a @sengineland post on that very topic

@strydedotcom   What factors do you consider in determining whether SEO or PPC is best to put your brand/clients’ dollars toward?

@seanvanguilder   But also use PPC for testing landing pages and ad copy that can be used for SEO. That and where in the funnel the keywords fall. I believe the data came from a study Google did.

@oc2015   Target audience and intent. Less need for SEO hours when you want to focus on retargeting (with PPC) to users who know you.

@CallMeLouzander   This is all changing I think, but PPC is importnt source of traffic esp when recovering from penalty or poor org performance. PPC rant: PLEASE make sure your PPC landing pages match the ad copy! I hate it when clients burn money.

@AJUTAH   Budget is a big factor. Low $ spend on content might move the needle, but won’t do much for ROI on the PPC side.

@CaitlinBoroden   A startup needs both from my experience. PPC leads the way until organic picks up speed.

@samsitesearch   Could look at timeframes, budget amount, what type of campaign it is (ecommerce, branding). need to understand the goals first.

@dan_patterson   I figure SEO is a long play. PPC is more immediate. Both have their place.

What is the value of branded vs. non branded traffic driven by keywords and how do you track and measure each?

@dan_patterson   Branded traffic is typically the “closer.” Non-brand is where you grow your awareness. They both have a ton of value but have to be measured differently.
@ajutah   Also depends where the searchers are in the sales funnel. Could use branded terms in 1st touchpoint, ie radio ads.
@dan_patterson   Definitely. I’m not saying that brand is only a closer, just more than NB from what I usually see.
@CallMeLouzander   Don’t forget podcasts! Lots of startups are marketing to podcast audiences pretty hard, so they must be seeing ROI.

@kotmseo   I pay more attention to non-branded. Should already perform well for branded; branded makes up greater % of traffic; no comp.

@emily_C27   For tracking paid, it’s nice that GA can auto-segment Brand Paid Search vs. Generic Paid Search.

@samsitesearch   It’s a question of searcher intent & branding success. value varies for every company. track in @semrush/ look at conversions.

@CaitlinBoroden   Not often enough – I’ll admit that. Need to put this into my workflow more often.

@kkopacz1   Both are valuable, although branded keywords are near the top. SEOMonitor is a nice tool use to track.

@CallMeLouzander   This is where Srch Console helps. My kwd list might lose ranking but I get more organic traffic; time for a new kwd list.

What is the average life of your kw list used across content, social media, & link-building? When do you reassess & rebuild?

@seanvanguilder   Monthly, sometimes more depending on algo updates.

@dan_patterson   I think it’s important to watch search trends over time. If a phrase is declining, start transitioning to something else.

@samsitesearch   Probably on a monthly basis, if not a bit less

@kotmseo   Not for a while. I inherited an existing list of keywords & just finished a 3-month process of new kw research site-wide.

@emily_C27   I’ve been doing about 4 months as a general rule for full kw research/landscape/grouping etc.

@ajutah   Keyword research should be a continuous process. Revise monthly, reassess quarterly.

What KW tools do you use to optimize your social channels? Do the KWs differ from those used throughout your blog/site content?

@oc2015   Same tools that I use when putting together an initial list. Only difference is exploring #hastags for some extra exposure.

@kotmseo   Just started optimizing YouTube videos for same KWs as site. Hopefully, results in organic, paid & video will increase CTR.

@samsitesearch   I’d use ubersuggest/ to uncover longer tail, question keywords for social. great for ‘how to’ type content.

Summary: The Paradox of Being Data-led: Is It Holding Back Your Content Marketing Efforts? on #SEOchat

Moderator: @RonellSmith

When we hear or see the words “data-led,” what does it mean? What image does it conjure in your mind’s eye?

@MichaelBurjack   For me, data led means following the lines. I think there’s a careful nuance between being “data-blinded” vs. “data-led”. Data should support, not limit, tactics & ideas.
@StoreCoach   an excellent point. Let it solidify the ideas and strategies you already have in place.
@ajutah    True, and data can sometimes be noise. I can stare at Analytics all day, but without the right KPIs, it’s a waste.

@CaitlinBoroden   When I hear ‘data-led’ all i can picture is Google Analytics.

@EricLanderSEO   For me “data-led” or similar, suggests that there are numbers to validate a direction – not (only) an emotional response. “Data-led” items are scientifically or mathematically based. Opinions and emotions aren’t factoring elements.

@RonellSmith   I think of someone being led around via a ring through the nose, with no control over their own actions. I tend to see and think of these brands as mechanical, lacking engagement. Data is important; it’s not all-important. Data is great at telling us what worked, not what will work. Creativity is also need. Data-informed means we use data as an important element for determining which content we create. Data doesn’t drive the bus. I hope more brands are pulling together teams from disparate parts of the business, including sales and customer service. I’m paying more and more attention to customer service numbers and underserved markets/audiences figures.

@emily_C27   When I think data, I first think raw numbers..not personable- understanding personas etc.

@AndreaMLehr   When I hear “data-led,” I automatically picture some of our previous research campaigns that outline industry trends. But I also think of someone throwing that word around because they can and think they should.
@emily_C27   yes! “Here are the top KWs we need to be using..” But what does that mean to or say about the actual buyer?

@SarahFromDC   Spreadsheets, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights… all that fun stuff that helps guide a smart campaign. Also important to note that data-led doesn’t have to mean “without creativity” – but that data informs & guides the campaign.

@netvantage   “Data-led” seems to be making decisions primary based on figures, such as GA, WMT & rankings in our industry.

@SocialMichelleR    Data-lead hopefully means that we are paying attention to results and behavior and allowing that to guide decision making.

@StoreCoach   Data-led to me means making decisions solely off the numbers and disregarding any personal or emotional factors.

@ajutah   “Data-led” means every action taken is the result of planning and reporting working in tandem.

@seanvanguilder   IMO, data-led uses metrics to inform decisions. actionable and measurable changes.

@AndreeaC_T   Granular data. The process of from getting the viewers attention, kw used, behavior, conversion.

@amelm   The first image is the huge amount of Analytics Data that you have to go through & excract insights from! too Much.

In practice, what does being data-led mean for your brand, or for brands you know to be data-led?

@EricLanderSEO   Being a data driven organization means that you’re proving points based on data, not speculating based on emotional responses.

@SarahFromDC   Being able to track progress, show tangible results, and make informed changes quickly.
@MichaelBurjack   Good point. Being able to show measurable results to stakeholders reduces the hidden “magical mystery” from SEO.

@danieljflowers   Being overjoyed when your assumptions are proven wrong.

@oc2015   Being lead by data is using what is at your disposal to better a customer exp (conversions). Flows, engagement metrics etc. Also being able to make assumptions & say whoops thats wrong, lets fix it instead of carrying on.

@MichaelBurjack   Teamwork standpoint: less ego, more results. Let the data speak! (except when it’s unclear, but that never happens, amirite?)
@danieljflowers   Good point! It’s a nice corrective to the roles we subconsciously assume while working in groups.
@MichaelBurjack   I don’t think that word means what you think it means :-) but agree entirely.
@danieljflowers   well, perhaps “not silently ashamed” would be more fitting, but I’m trying to exude some positive.

@AndreeaC_T   In practice it means following the numbers. What actions drive conversions, repeating those actions and testing new ones.

@ajutah   I’d say being data-led means you’re working for measurable outcomes, not just crossing items off a checklist.
@MichaelBurjack   Yes! Easy for that to happen. Have to measure the right stuff, and understand the story it’s telling you. Requires skill.

@seanvanguilder   Companies tend to get in the way of themselves when they make assumptions about what their customers want/need. data-led is along the lines of usability study. providing the business with information that will increase their brand.

@RonellSmith   I tend to see and think of these brands as mechanical, lacking engagement.

@AndreaMLehr   To me, data-led means making marketing decisions based on tangible information or trends; there is no ‘let’s just try this’.

@netvantage   Using facts & figures to determine the effectiveness of your brand’s decisions then using that data to make future decisions.

@CaitlinBoroden   Being data-led should not mean testing is out of the question. Test and use the data to validate your predictions.

@StoreCoach   Being data-driven means analyzing the numbers and actually putting them into practical use for your company.

@RonellSmith    As a consultant, I’ve experienced these brands as the most unwilling to be creative, try new things. It also makes me think of lazy marketers who insist on mindlessly creating whatever content the numbers suggest. If numbers are all you have, numbers are ALL you can rely on. IMO, these brands walk around with hammers, looking for nails. Also, using the data to inform the process means we open the door for creativity, which often entails untested ideas. We must also challenge “What the numbers say” by asking “What other elements are needed to get a complete picture?” There is great merit in looking at segments of the market that are untapped but who would be receptive to your product/service.

If being data-led is so great, why do brands struggle to create content that meets the threshold of attention from prospects?

@AndreeaC_T   They struggle with what to measure and how to get that data. Tracking can be tricky sometimes. They probably don’t really know their audience either. That is constant knowledge growth and involves time segmenting.

@oc2015   Just becuase you have the data does NOT mean you know how to use it. I’ve got a hammer and chisel but can’t carve David.

@EricLanderSEO   Brand marketing needs to resonate with emotional appeal. Data can support that, but traditionally isn’t a creative function.

@netvantage   People are driven by emotions, not data. Data doesn’t necessary mean you will reach your target audience.
@seanvanguilder   It is and even surprising. Need a foundation to build the house.

@SarahFromDC   Knowing how to interpret the data & create content that’s both interesting and applicable to the audience – difficult for many.

@tannerpetroff   Using data to determine content you should create does not mean you are great at creating content.

@danieljflowers   All the data in the world cannot create a great idea. Integrating knowledge and creativity is tough, can feel counterintuitive.

@RonellSmith   Those segments won’t show up in your data (yet!), though

@victorpan   Agreed – there needs to be a match between data and storytelling. In my case, I also see a huge issue with outreach.

@katkins415   Probably don’t understand their buyers well enough, or don’t evaluate the competitive content they need to beat.
@AndreeaC_T   Great point about competitive content!! Getting a grasp on competitor data can help structure your strategy too.

@SocialMichelleR   I love what @themarkclevey said… You don’t know what you don’t know Take a risk and create fresh data.

@AndreaMLehr   The kick is to look at the data but find new ways you can use it–a trend in infographics doesn’t mean just pump out boring IGs.

@ammicallef   Data is great and we should formulate ideas based on it, but it isn’t the only component in understanding your audience.

@victorpan   Just because you create it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. If you create a piece of content and nothing links to it…does it exist?

@ajutah   It’s the difference between focusing on *metrics* vs. *KPIs*. Creating content for KPIs will produce measurable outcomes.

Is it possible that being data-informed is really what we’re after? That is, using data to help us make effective decisions.

@CaitlinBoroden   Data informed is a great way of putting it.

@AndreeaC_T   Informed is a better term, so yes. But our decisions need to be “data-driven”. We need the data to inform us of what works, what doesn’t. How our audience reaches and converts. Then use that data to continue.

@RonellSmith   Huge h/t to one of the coolest, brightest people I know, @MatthewJBrown, for a great talk on being data-informed at #ConfadMN.

@AndreaMLehr   Definitely agree–we don’t want to rely on it, but it should help guide us in the right direction creatively.

@SarahFromDC   Yup! May need to change up the wording on my website now…data-informed or data-guided sounds so much better than data-driven.

@oc2015   Data will always be helpful, but making effective decisions, espc. in marketing, can be a whole other beast.

@victorpan   Data can provide the signs and symptoms – it’s up to the experts to make the diagnosis or ask for more tests.

@thompsonpaul   When action will only be taken when data “proves” it’s a sure bet, we’re taking the lazy way out.

@DavidProHQ   I believe being data informed is very important in decisions. Numbers don’t lie. They tell a story for the past & present.
@tannerpetroff   It’s easy to create your own story for the data, though. You have to know the context to get the right story from data.

What you doing to ensure data has an important role in the content marketing process, but does is not the focal point?

@AndreeaC_T   Review conversions and identify content that drove the conversion. Then test other ideas to maximize efforts. Also guide/educate others that SEO takes time and it really consists of multiple ways SEO impacts conversions.

@oc2015   A/B testing is a good example. the focus is on trying new content but data driven results.

@victorpan   Always relate the data back to the audience. Tell that story of what is happening. Then segment. Tell more stories. e.g. People don’t know what they want yet. We should create things they will aspire for. Create search terms that don’t exist yet.
@AndreeaC_T   Even find the data with anomalies. That’s the data you test…esp if the value of the conversion is high.
@MichaelBurjack   Yes, this. Going back to creativity: often it’s exactly the outliers in the data where the “Ah hah!”s are buried.

@netvantage   Read feedback. For example, don’t focus on the number of comments, but what the comments say.

@SarahFromDC   Lots of A/B testing and segmenting, then re-segmenting, and…maybe running content by my family to see if it sounds robotic.

@_Fidelitas   Tracking KPIs/Reporting is our way of using data to make decisions. Goal setting (your #1 goal?) helps keep us focused. -David

@SocialMichelleR   Data isn’t a focal point. It’s a compass via @amelm

What are some of those other elements your brand is using alongside data to make better content marketing decisions?

@amelm   By making sure you use data as a compass so that you make sure you don’t get away from your main goals.

@AndreeaC_T   Value of conversions. How big are the deals you closed. Partner sentiment for those of us who work with partners. Even audience sentiment and reputation.

@victorpan   Strategic decisions matter. Just because your target is interested in X content, doesn’t mean your Brand should play there.

Summary: Keep On Keeping ‘Em On: SEO and User Retention on #SEOchat

Moderator: @BerkleyBikes

Regarding user retention, what metrics do you focus on?

@netvantage   Bounce rate in GA is one of the biggest we look at followed by pages per session and time on-site.
@BerkleyBikes   Bounce rate can be key. especially on a page-by-page basis.

@Sonray   Bounce Rate, Time on Site, Pages Per Vist….I really like the Multi-Channel Funnels.

@BerkleyBikes   I often find myself looking at time on site. New user percentage too, although it’s not always the best metric.
@netvantage   New user percentage is a good one. Helps you determine if you’re reaching a new audience or if users are coming back.

@CaitlinBoroden   Conversions for returning vs. new users. I’ve been getting into using advanced segments more. Some hidden gems can be found this way.

@SarahFromDC   Bounce rate, time on site / specific pages, new vs. returning coupled with location.

@directom   For now, we usually focus on bounce rate and time on site. But we’re open to examining others!

@BrandifyChat   Length, returning users and any social acquisition! Traffic from social! We like to see who is reading and from which social channels. Followers are important too.

@EricLanderSEO   Retention is tough to measure w/ off the shelf tools like GA. Get pervasive w/cookies & track “engagement” on REPEAT sessions.

How much do you focus on user retention? Why?

@BruceClayInc   Probably not enough! It costs more to earn a new customer than to keep a happy one!

@BrandifyChat   It’s a priority for both us and our clients to ensure that our content is giving value and gaining in retention.

@EricLanderSEO   Users warrant attention once they’ve visited multiple times and have hit funnel entry points. We then engage more directly.
@CaitlinBoroden   I must admit that sounds awesome and scary at the same time. I need to read up on tracking/implementation.
@EricLanderSEO   For sure. Cookies and server logs and hidden form fields… Oh my!

@Sonray   Depends on where in the funnel. I’m more interested in getting in the multi touch points before the conversion.

@netvantage   It varies; some clients won’t have return visitors depending on their services.

@directom   We’ve realized it has not been a priority, but we’re moving towards placing more focus on it as we expand content strategies.
@BerkleyBikes   It’s funny because SEO is traditionally about acquiring users. Keeping them around is the next step!

@LindsayMineo   If it’s a 1-time purchase product/service we’ll look at customer happiness (reviews, social metrics) more than user retention.

What are some of the most common reasons people leave websites?

@Sonray   All of the things @neilpatel says not to do but does anyway.

@CaitlinBoroden   Slow! And I have to add.. when did pop ups become a thing again?!
@BruceClayInc   They’re more pervasive than ever! #justsayno to pop ups.
@directom   If we’re talking about email lightboxes, couldn’t we time them to show up after a set parameter?
@CaitlinBoroden   That’s a start! I personally like the pop up at the bottom over the in your face right in the middle.
@directom   Definitely not right as the page renders.

@EricLanderSEO   At the risk of validating too much of what Google & Yahoo! are doing – incompatibility or uselessness on mobile devices. Be hesitant to lump everything into “user experience” though. Sometimes your content is out of whack and you need to be aware. I’d add too, you need to be efficient with coding if you plan to capture all the user data and engagement points. Get grunt!

@SocialMichelleR   That piece of content wasn’t what they were looking for. Either factor will turn a user off.

@SarahFromDC   In general? Crappy navigation, slow load times, not mobile friendly, content not useful.

@netvantage   Poor website design causing people to not be able to find what they really want.

@BrandifyChat   Invaluable content, slow load time, too many sign ups or forms, difficult to navigate. The reasons are endless.
@BerkleyBikes   I think slow load time is a really popular one, especially on ad-heavy sites.

@directom   Slow, too many ads, no perceived value, lack of CTAs for next actions. List could be endless! Also, some clients are concerned with lead gen. Should we aim for repeat visits from captured leads?
@BerkleyBikes   This is a really great point. Continuing conversions via email or other channels.

@KevinKnechtion   Poor UX.

@dan_patterson   I leave websites when I realize (or perceive) that they aren’t what i was looking for.

@thompsonpaul   Huge issue I constantly confront on client sites-trying to stuff every page into primary nav = decision paralysis for visitor.

@emily_C27   With an average human attention span of 8 secs, if you haven’t grasped theirs by providing the answer right away, they’re gone.

@MilwaukeePPC   Page takes forever to load, 1st impressions don’t match what the user wanted, exact product/service isn’t visible immediately.

How do you track down problem areas related to user retention?

@EricLanderSEO   Start w/ highest value visitors first; The ones who have entered your funnel – and then eliminate exit opportunities & causes. Be sure to assign click events if you do. Many users leave tabs open for hours inflating stats. I’m always testing new funnel visualization tools too. I love data, but I often need to see things in front of my dumb face!
@MilwaukeePPC   Make sure your external links open up in new tabs.
@dan_patterson   Go beyond Bounce Rate. Set up event tracking, Optimizely, Crazy Egg, etc and track what people are interaction with on the page. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to buy on a first visit. But are the engaging with the page like you want?

@emily_C27   Measure what content/landing pages are best performing..try to model that with the rest.

@egaal   Too many ads, pop ads, irrelevant ads, especially if they cover the content they came for.

@netvantage   We’ve used Crazy Egg for client sites. Provides you with a lot of valuable data to determine what is working and what isn’t.

@Sonray   Landing page vs conversions; CTR reports – what pages are below the site ave? Patch those holes first.

@SarahFromDC   Goals, AB testing, replicating what works from good pages onto problem pages

@thompsonpaul   In addition to quantitative (exit page, bounce, heatmapping) solve for user frustration with quick survey question. “Did you accomplish what you came here for? If not, why not?”

@BerkleyBikes   Mapping user flow can be very important here. And plugging holes like 404 errors, etc.

@BrandifyChat   Track down problem areas.Pages optimized/ images have tags?Marked up with Schema? Duplicate the successful strategies.

Let’s talk about your 404 page: What’s your strategy with it?

@EricLanderSEO   I’ve long advocated to support Google’s recommendations here. – Pay attention to HTTP response codes! Clever 404 pages are cool, but increase bounce rates. Get clever and useful and thats the pot of gold right there.

@dan_patterson   Please please please keep your branding on your 404 page! Nothing worse than a plain server response. Also, please please please don’t just republish your home page content with a 200 OK status for your 404 page.. (saw this recently).

@dan_shure   Make sure it actually returns a 404 code. Sounds simple, but many sites get this wrong and it causes technical issues.

@netvantage   Have one that grabs users attention & keeps them there. Ours features our Account Manager @allmikehall.

@LindsayMineo   I love a 404 page that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But it also needs to be helpful with a nice link.

@SarahFromDC   Track where 404s are coming from & set up 301s till you can change that referral link. Also brand it & offer useful links.

@BrandifyChat   One strategy that we use to encourage users to keep browsing is to provide links to popular cont on 404 err pgs.

@thompsonpaul   For 404 pages, make CERTAIN Analytics tracking code is in place. Then set up an alert in GA Intelligence Report to notify if up.

@ammicallef   Provide links to other important areas of the website to help users find what they were actually looking for.

@emily_C27   Redirect or at least come up with a cute custom 404 page.

@MilwaukeePPC   Don’t like when it redirects to home page. It’s okay to tell users the page doesn’t exist but give options to go to other pages.

@directom   Assuming correct response served, we like to keep it fun or encourage a next step to take.

@BerkleyBikes   I like Coca Cola’s 404 page. Very visually engaging, like an easter egg.
@EricLanderSEO   Holy crap. Not sure I’ve seen an old school HTML image map in years. Those 404 hipsters!

How do you feel about pop-up ads for email sign ups? Effective or annoying?

@dan_patterson   Annoying
@BerkleyBikes   Or the ones that are vindictive…”No, I don’t want to sign up for the world’s best email list and get free stuff.”

@BrandifyChat   Annoying for customers if they don’t know it’s coming. Helpful for brands if users actually fill the form.

@CaitlinBoroden   No pop up!

@emily_C27   True they can be effective, but come off a little spammy to me, maybe just from being on the other side.

@directom   They CAN be awesome. As long they trigger after set time or if the user has reached the end. Not on every page.
@ammicallef   plus, the annoying pop-ups could potentially push away users who do want to continue coming back.

@MilwaukeePPC   Can be effective on people who already love your brand. If it’s a newcomer you’re proposing before the first date. Big turn off

@LindsayMineo   *I* think they’re super annoying. But is it one of those “if it didn’t work we wouldn’t do it” things? If I’m giving up my email address I want something good for it. Make it worth the risk!

@BerkleyBikes   I generally find them annoying. More so when they’re in the middle of something I’m reading.

@ammicallef   Annoying. If the user wants to have that type of notification/reminder about the brand, they will find out how to sign up.

@SarahFromDC   Haaate when they show up in the first 3 seconds or at the top of the page. Fan of popovers at the end of article tho

@thompsonpaul   Like most marketing tactics-popups can be useful and acceptable or downright stupid. Exit intent for email after user has read!

@scottdseo   Test, test, and test again. Don’t take the opinions of random SEO “gurus”. I’ve learned so much by testing on my own.

@EricLanderSEO   They’re annoying but effective. They’re also less intrusive than the following-scrollers and light boxes you can’t close.

@MilwaukeePPC   Do the research. If your email campaign numbers are awful why risk scaring someone away for a signup that won’t convert later.

@netvantage   Companies will keep doing it because they work, especially if the customer receives an offer for signing up.

@StoreCoach   I feel like it can depend on how it is presented. Overall though, more annoying than effective.

What are some of your favorite tactics to keep people coming back?

@netvantage   Provide a positive user experience; fast & easy to use website. First impressions are important.

@BrandifyChat   It’s all bout engagement! We talk to our community to keep them wanting and reading more of our content.

@EricLanderSEO   Email marketing. Social marketing. And remarketing to cookie pools of your most faithful users on new content & resources.

@thompsonpaul   Smart retargeting! Don’t be creepy/over the top, but strategic retargeting based on what they viewed/did can bring ‘em back. Top quality, contextually relevant, well optimised content is king. The rest is crap.

@StoreCoach   Email marketing has been successful for us. The more personal you can make it, the better.

@LindsayMineo   Honestly, you have to have something worth going back for. The best marketing in the world won’t fix a poor product.

@SarahFromDC   Fun language, email signup, and social – also long-form articles if they make sense for certain clients

@MilwaukeePPC   Provide a good experience (offline too if it applies). Building your brand will build natural sharing and users to come back.

@CaitlinBoroden   If you’re ecommerce. Give me a special offer (coupon, discount, sale) and I’ll come back.

@directom   Quick wins = retargeting. Long term = content. And yeah, that’s a cop out, but that’s how we’d sum it up.

Let’s talk cross-channel. Do you use remarketing? How often and through which channels?

@EricLanderSEO   Yes! Love to use remarketing services like @AdRoll due to their FB retargeting options. We are invested in content marketing. For remarketing, understand limitations of some networks. You need maximum reach to really get someone’s attention these days.

@BrandifyChat   Absolutely. Our clients are keen on manuevering ad tactics between desktop and mobile, social, apps and more.

@MilwaukeePPC   Yes! Does your site have a 100% conversion rate? No. So bring those users back and block out the ones who already converted.

@BerkleyBikes   Adwords is a common choice. I’m a big believer in retargeting with paid social media.
@thompsonpaul   Yup Facebook custom audiences esp.

@LindsayMineo   Ugh yes. I’ll unsubscribe, but if I’m not off the list in a few days I use the spam button liberally.

@MilwaukeePPC   And don’t forget RLSA or search remarketing within Google or Bing. It’s not all just display ads on other sites.

Are shrinking attention spans posing a threat to user retention?

@EricLanderSEO   No, shrinking attention spans are posing a threat to efficient web design and user experience conventions.

@Sonray   When you are optimizing a page for a user who skims, then yes, it’s already happened.

@directom   Mktg has always been an attention game. The important thing is to shift focus to where user’s attention is shifting.

@LindsayMineo   Philosophical answer – Are attention spans really shrinking or is there just that much crap to sift through?

@StoreCoach   I think so. You have such a small window to hook someone. It can be tough to find the right recipe.

@netvantage   Yes, yes, yes, yes yes. People want info/products/services now! If they can’t find it right away, they will go elsewhere.

@thompsonpaul   Philosophical answer-so many visitors expect what they want to be quick/easy. Often its simply more complex than they admit.

@ammicallef   That and the fact that there’s always going to be something newer to try instead. Your brand will become old news really fast.

@LindsayMineo   Actual answer – Yeah, probably. But hopefully having an awesome product/service, and customer service will help keep them.

Summary: How to Win More Search Results in Visual Social on #SEOchat

Moderator: @lisabuyer

Beyond search engines: How are you optimizing to get found in visual social networks?

@BruceClayInc   Make sure you save the file name of the image with the words you want to be found for in search!
@lisabuyer   So many times this is a true blue winner!

@HeroicSearch   We try to make up infographics, especially for our clients. They tend to spread easily.
@megafterwine   I use @canva all the time. They are fantastic – especially now that they opened up options for #brands and #teams!

@oc2015   High-quality images & #hashtags are an easy way to get noticed by non-followers. Search for the #bufferchat from yesterday! awesome resources being talked about for visuals and infographs.

@simmonet   If you’re serious about being found, topic research, paid & hashtag strategies are mandates!

@AndreeaC_T   Keywords in title, description, and also keywords in associated hashtags.

@CaitlinBoroden   Some good old hashtags in Instagram! Speaking of IG – anyone experiment with ads yet?

@StoreCoach   Saving an image under a relevant title is key. Matching it to your alt text is a great way to keep track.

@netvantage   Any catching graphic is a great addition to a post. It is important to use an alt tag for that image too!

@VirginiaNussey   I tend to use the same SEO + marketing principles in all my posts & images. Weigh descriptive words with interest getting ones.

@fighto   Pay attention to image dimensions (depending on social networks), use social mircodata (like OGP), and pay attention to KWs. For KWs, segment Google Trends by Image Search & use suggestion from Google image auto-complete. Pinterest suggestions also rec.

@ExpWriters   Optimize kws in all image titles. Infographics are a huge tool for visual SEO. Optimize the file names for infographic uploads.

@EricLanderSEO   File names are key, and then focus on media specific XML sitemaps and Search Console data. Finally, optimize use in media

@katkins415   research social influencers

We’re living in a visual, mobile, social world. Which visual network’s trending up for your brand/why?

@HeroicSearch   We haven’t dabbled in the real visual platforms, IG or Pinterest, but Twitter seems to be doing a lot for us, otherwise.

@AndreeaC_T   You have to hop on the video bandwagon– #Periscope @blab Take those videos & integrate with email provided by @inviterbiz.

@VirginiaNussey   Check it out #seochat! @BruceClayInc just launched IG Looking to other digital agency brands for inspo.

@oc2015   #Instagram is growing at a faster rate than Facebook was at the same age. Use it.

@EricLanderSEO   Instagram is trending up across the board as more advertisers are being accepted into their native ads platforms.
@simmonet   IG currently an expensive proposition for ads. Waiting for affordable control.
@EricLanderSEO   For brands less consumer oriented, Facebook has been showing good returns w/ minimal boost investments, too.

@simmonet   For us @Pinterest rocks! Our mantra “Dream. Discover. Design.” Aligns with opportunities in the platform.

@StoreCoach   GIFs on Google+ have always performed well for me. People seem to just eat it up.

@ExpWriters   We started a biz Instagram 2 months ago. 200 organic followers & a client inquiry already. Don’t overlook this visual platform!

@netvantage   Infographics on @Pinterest do really well for us.

@anandan22   Instagram is picking up well. Thanks to filter effects and advertising features.

@setupablogtoday   Pinterest sends huge amounts of traffic to my blog as I design shareable images for my post.

@emily_C27   Pinterest and Insta for visuals, potential for Twitter too, since not everyone incorporates them.

Pinworthy: “Pinterest is the new Google” says @GuyKawasaki. Agree? Share Pinterest optimization tips.

@HeroicSearch   Def use hashtags. Use keywords in your board title and descript. as well as in pins. But not too many!

@AndreeaC_T   It definitely can be…especially for how-to’s and #ecom.

@EricLanderSEO   Pinterest doesn’t work for a large audience, though. Boards can rank, but exposure is limited. Reminds me of StumbleUpon.

@netvantage   The image is the most important part. @Pinterest is visual first!

@KristiKellogg   Vertical images perform better on #Pinterest (the majority of people access it from mobile). Ideal size: 735 X 1102 pixels.

@Navahk   Just pin it! On avg. Pinners spend $50 per order— higher than orders that come from Facebook & Twitter.

@oc2015   Completely dependent on market. #Pinterest is still 70% female users.
@lisabuyer   Males are starting to #Discover #Pinterest
@oc2015   I agree (myself included) but I have a correction: as of Oct 2015, 85% female users!
@EricLanderSEO   “Starting” while so many women have begun to abandon regular use of the service.

@anandan22   I dont agree. Its beneficial only in limited industries. Its penetration in Eastern countries is ltd.
@AndreeaC_T   There is definitely a more segmented audience for sure.

@BruceClayInc   Use rich pins. Optimize source URL. Align boards with #Pinterest categories. More tips here.
@simmonet   Aligning it’s wPinterest categories is key. But make board titles clickeworthy too!

@ExpWriters   We’ve created a “board” for each of our services, ie Blogging, Social Media, etc, & pin relevant daily blogs. Gr8 traffic source.

@fighto   No way! It’s definitely a sweet social network, but Guy Kawasaki tends to get really excited and then abandons things.

@simmonet   Ahem. It’s not new Google. But. Great discovery & branding platform. Board names need to inspire clicks.

SEO Insta Pause: How are you leveraging the power of Instagram for your brand?

@HeroicSearch   We haven’t picked it up for ourselves yet. There is definitely a big market there. Just not ours.. yet.

@emily_C27   More audience engagement- giveaways-like & follow..etc

@anandan22   We at @hcltech are using it for #employerbranding, #events, expressing business propositions creatively.

@oc2015   #Instagram not only reaches new users and delights current users, but has a signif larger focus on #millennials and younger gen. Insta also allows for much more targeted content if you want it.

@EricLanderSEO   As @simmonet pointed out, the cost of IG is too high for most. Leverage hashtags for maximum reach.

@simmonet   It hasn’t been brilliant. But we’re plodding and hopeful.

Living in a Millennial world: How do we get found – optimize – in apps like Snapchat?

@EricLanderSEO   Mostly unrelated – but there’s a huge @Snapchat billboard in the Boston area. Other cities seeing the same?

@HeroicSearch   Tough. Other than a name, I’m not sure its really possible to optimize SnapChat, yet. Would love to hear thoughts from. However if you drive people to snapchat.. or create compelling content there, people may come to you. Ex: Create a funny snap story, people may want to show it, begin talking about it elsewhere.

@ExpWriters   Natural engagement. Searching for high traffic #s, liking and following posters. Posting high quality imgs with high traffic #s. Snapchat is a great storytelling platform. However, not for everyone & all brands. Time can be spent better on other platforms.

@lisabuyer   Leveraging other social networks and cross promoting can drive activity to @Snapchat – but it is tough!
@EricLanderSEO   Agreed. I’ve mostly notice athletes making the crossover to populate their accounts there – but brands have trouble.

@StoreCoach   Having a consistent story which is entertaining and informative is a good start on creating brand awareness.

@simmonet   Don’t think we get discovered easily. But we can leverage for content / brand which may lead to discovery.

Sources: VSMM is becoming competitive, what are some of your favorite visual sources, platforms?

@Navahk   Create visuals (aka snaps) to make a Snapchat Story.

@lisabuyer   We are @canva lovers – I want people to stop finding out about it! So it’s our little secret.

@Navahk    <3 @Canva

@DanielleLeitch   It may not be new or sexy, but YouTube is a great #VSMM platform for our clients. Lots of opptys and wide audience there.

Tool: What tools do you use to create and optimize visuals?

@CaitlinBoroden   Images are huge on @reddit and lead to sweet sweet karma if done right. Blatant promotions do not go over well on Reddit. Keep it subtle and take the opportunity to engage.. a lot! WhatTheFont is nifty! Also, @theleagueof has some fantastic fonts for image overlays.
@oc2015   @Photoshop & @Illustrator for visuals that have some wiggle room. @buffer Pablo for visuals when I’m in a pinch.

@emily_C27   Canva’ the best! How do you all optimize your @canva images?
@lisabuyer   Sizing, file names, filters are good starters.

@StoreCoach   Love the versatility @canva provides. Excellent tool for creating awesome infographics.

@ExpWriters   @Adobe suite can’t be beat. Next is @canva. Optimizing = WP Yoast plugins.

@Navahk   Size tool: For ex. if I want the largest font for FB ads, the tool I use is FB Text overlay.

Hacks: What are some visual hacks you use to get the best results in social?

@KristiKellogg   Here is a whole LIST of design tips for the non-designer from @DustinWStout.

@oc2015   Infographics are great, using a pop-culture reference once in a while helps. Generally, just make awesome visual content.
@simmonet   We had fun with an interactive ‘infographic’ & popular culture. #GameOfHomes

@ExpWriters   Simple visual hack. We re-purpose infographics for a lot more traction = upload as blog & @SlideShare & guest blog.

@Navahk   @Canva layouts, saves so much time. Using Emojis in your social messaging! They make you more likable (or favoriteable) via @larrykim #Pubcon

Brand: How can you use visuals to make a brand statement?

@simmonet   How can you without? Okay you can… but people remember visuals over text x a lot.

@oc2015   Visuals elicit emotional responses#branding can make or break your company, so invest in design.

@Navahk   A picture is worth a 1000 words. The is real-time w/ a low attention span. Say it with an image!

@lisabuyer   @Ekaterina used certain tints on images when she was Social Media Leader @ Intel to make images stand out and be brand centric.

@ExpWriters   Tell a story. Involve cartoons, drawings, doodles. Be unique, fun. Our Arabian nights character.

Bottom Line: How can you increase conversions using visuals?

@oc2015   Bottom line, good visuals & #design make people happy. happy people convert

@CaitlinBoroden   Good visuals catch my eye. If you have my attention I just may convert.

@katkins415   It’s almost impossible to get conversions without visuals. Make them unique and engaging.

@HeroicSearch   Good visuals catch the attention. Keep catching their attention. Get them into your funnel.

@simmonet   It’s additive. We promote pins on Pinterest and they drive visits / conversions.

@Navahk   Add a CTA in your image.

@Shortoutloud   Color, Color, Color. Using something that pops draws your audience in.

Measure: How do we know when visuals are working?

@emily_C27   Social response is always a good indicator..likes, faves, rt’s, followers!

@oc2015   Much tougher to answer, especially visuals on social. #Twitter and FB show you engagement metrics but analytics wise is harder.

@HeroicSearch   Traffic increases from where ever you’ve posted your visual. Clicks. Increases in engagement. Even possibly sales.

@ExpWriters   People comment positively. They share, rt, engage with your visuals. Actual engagement = visuals are working.

@kkopacz1   How do you create visuals if you are not saavy with photo shop & other tools?
@HeroicSearch   Tools like @Canva can help you get started.

Books and Blogs: Call out your favorite resources of keeping up with visuals

@oc2015   @Behance, @fromupnorth just to name a couple that have daily updates.

@CaitlinBoroden   Looks for round up posts on your topic of choice. Usually some great inspiration hidden within.

@ExpWriters   @Canva has a design school. It’s pretty sweet. Some of the @Adobe blogs are great to follow for tips/knowledge, too.

@Navahk   Art of Social Media @PegFitzpatrick @GuyKawasaki, @Canva blog, & your book #SocialPRSecrets.

@kkopacz1   The key is to design each visual in a way that asks your fans or followers take some sort of action; Download, Subscribe, Comment.

@lisabuyer   I like The Power of Visual Storytelling by @Ekaterina and also The Art of Social by @GuyKawasaki and @PegFitzpatrick

@daphnecastillo   Digging the @shuttlerock blog.

Summary: How Evergreen Content Influences SEO and How to Measure Its Impact on #SEOchat

Moderator: @AndreaMLehr

What connects the two? How does one influence the other?

@AndreeaC_T    They are joined at the hip. You need content to boost SEO efforts and SEO to boost content. In my world, SEO and content marketing are 1. Always optimize all content with SEO to scale & make good use of your efforts. Another secret…I use blog and offsite content in my email & video marketing campaigns. Think scaling. Think integration

@oc2015    Connections between SEO & Content are like asking for connections between siamese twins. Each leads the other. Keywords lead content creation, content creation leads keyword & traffic.

@BerkleyBikes    SEO frequently influences content. E.g.: I create content based on keyword research and what will rank.

@AgentPalmer    It’s just like the chicken or the egg… Although in this case, it doesn’t matter as long as you have quality content and SEO.

@HeroicSearch   Content IS a major part of SEO now. You need to create the content in order to give the search engines the signals its good. Plus the normal SEO, keywords etc, etc. that goes into the content and copy on your website. Its all a part.

@CallMeLouzander    SE’s want to measure engagement. Better content=better engagement/UX=better ranking. Feedback loop.

@misfttweek    They are pretty much interchangeable, you cant go very far in SEO world without hearing “great relevant content” from someone

@RoshniFlood    By having more appropriate content (links, key words, etc.), you increase your SEO!

@lees_joy    SEO and content have to work together because by themselves they do not work.
‏@BerkleyBikes They can. You could have killer content a la BuzzFeed that does well on social, but doesn’t rank for common search terms. The problem with Buzzfeed’s content for SEO is that it’s not terribly evergreen – they need to keep churning it out.

@mackenziedag10    impossible to have one without the other.SEO efforts need content and vise Versa.

@samsitesearch    Good content makes SEO easier, and vice versa. answering the right questions makes it easier for audiences to find content

@emily_C27    Content offers the quality that attracts visitors/customers & #seo is there to make sure that its found

@jessicatheo123    They need each other!! You cannot boost content without content!

@WesleyDurrance    IMHO, the headline should reflect and be determined by the content.

@CallMeLouzander    That being said, Rand makes gr8 point about what “Good Content” really means.

@chowdhury_lamia    I think it’s always important to keep SEO in mind when creating content. Otherwise you will not hit your target audience!

@Randomhero180    SEO and content are intertwined. Creating content around keywords and phrases you want to be found for is a good practice.
@mattgent12    That’s really clever. Creates very effective and efficient marketing and utilizes your resources well!

@EricLanderSEO    SEO & Content are in a Facebook relationship, and it’s not complicated at all. In fact, it’s mutually beneficial. Good content builds social, links and conversions. Good SEO can bring out positive and negative traits in existing content. In other words, SEO has the ability to magnify the good and bad things about your content.

@Claire_Levis    SEO helps get your content out there and seen!

@kaitmilligan    SEO is the way to get your content more noticeable and searchable!

@_TanishaBennett    SEO and content are dependent upon each other. One without the other will not work.

@AndreaMLehr    SEO is impacted by high-authority links, and you earn those links by producing data-driven and highly engaging content

@jumfdesign    To me content is what generates a good SEO. One can’t really be successful without the other.

@HLuthersdottir    Content and SEO go together like PB&J. You need to make sure your content has searchable keywords!

@EthanCharlesY    Like others have said, content contributes a lot to making SEO easier, and SEO helps good content to be discovered more easily.

@directom    Nowadays, content should ultimately be shaping your SEO strategy overall. Value to both users & search engines!

How do you determine your keywords and what are some best practices?

@HeroicSearch    Keywords should be based around what your audience is searching for/wants/asks about. Who better to tell you want they want?

@AndreeaC_T    Look at where your organic visits are landing (through google anlaytics) for starters. Let audience help determine keywords. Watch social. ID your audience, listen, pay attention to hashtags. Then research those phrases. Check your competitors through @SpyFu or @SEMRush. Check out their keywords too.

@cynthialehrer22    SEO would be nothing without quality content!

@oc2015    Customer intent, traffic metrics, top converting KWs. Let users show you the best words to use. Best practice wise, its always better to take a pinpoint approach over a shotgun for converting. Awareness goes the opposite.

@Randomhero180    Googles Keyword Planner is a good tool, also SEMrush and Google Search Console.

@AndreaMLehr    Look at posts on targeted sites to determine what they’re talking about; use Google Trends to add focus and context to each word

@noellespencer10    The best keywords keep the audience in mind. If the audience won’t search for it, who will?

@angela_cdunn    Keywords would usually be the audience’s most commonly searched words.

@BerkleyBikes    Look at what competitors are ranking for. Look at your site search queries that return no results.

@MHolton36    Based on your content, and understanding what your audience searches for is a great start for creating strong keywords.

@AgentPalmer    I look for the best words to use to tell the story… I don’t do keyword research except to see where my traffic comes from.

@RoshniFlood    The best way to determine your key words is to first figure out how you want to brand yourself and your work.

@misfttweek    Figure out what your Niche is searching, i have always been an advocate of targeting long tail keywords #SEMrush is my favorite

@samsitesearch    Been saying it for a while- 1st talk to the right people, get ideas. then use tools like ubersuggest (or whatever) to pinpoint. Best practice is to focus on intent, use some long tail. quality > quantity, and always answer questions.

@vanyailiev    Keyword consistency in your content plays a big role in SEO

@directom    KW research will be your foundation. From there, craft your content around content and answer questions by intent! KWs should really be thought of as topics users are trying to get answers for.

@crobbins1995    The keywords need to be highly relevant to the audience and action based

@emily_C27   Use tools like @semrush to determine what kw’s you’re ranking for or do a simple google search.

@HLuthersdottir    Make sure to use keywords the audience will look for, and integrate them in the headline/content/hashtags/etc

@EricLanderSEO    Likely an unpopular stance: I’m over keywords for content creation. People don’t search keywords, they search situations. Said differently, people use keywords differently. Content shouldn’t hit a keyword – it should address a topical need.

@_agilly_    Think of keywords that can summarize the content to optimize searches

@AndreaMLehr    Keywords: research them and utilize them strategically throughout your content; remember they should sound natural, not stuffed

@WesleyDurrance    I usually create and exhaustive list of keywords but I’m not sure if it works well.

@mackenziedag10   keywords are directed from what can define you! You want the keywords to be a small description of yourself

@lees_joy    In order to find the best key words we need to look at the most popular words people are searching for.

@rashebajones    think like the viewer/reader and see which keywords are popular searchable words increase your SEO

@kayleyashlyn39    Key words can vary. The best ones are going to be the ones that are used, but not over used. Don’t want to get lost in the crowd

@lesleyuf    Relevant issues/topics within your content, simplified to one or two words always serve as great keywords.

@BylineBetty    When choosing keywords, I think about what my readers would be googling.

@breyflynch    I’d definitely say keywords vary depending on content… So finding keywords that pair with the content is vital

@pennameJAM    I use keywords that summarize what I’m talking about

@cynthialehrer22   To determine your keywords you need to evaluate the goals of your content!

@selenavidya    I look at overall volume per topic, the queries driving users to the site, and phrases hanging on page 2 and build master topics and ideas to address them. I also talk to customer service/sales/community to understand the verbiage. That potential and current customers are using, and what topic could address their needs.

@bill_slawski    I learn about a client’s keywords by learning about what they offer their customers and what those customers want and need.

@jonathanbentz    Find keywords that indicate buyer research. Sometimes they are long tail or complementary but they will create an opportunity

What are ways to ensure Google deems it high quality? Length? Domain authority?

@AgentPalmer    Just make sure it’s something you are proud of and that tells a complete story from beginning to end.

@HeroicSearch    A mixture of length, domain authority, as well as quality links back to the content.

@lisabuyer    Personalize the content to your brand and include related and authority sources. Company news too!

@misfttweek    I find content that answers all possible questions is the best, make sure its relevant and informative.

@kayleyashlyn39    It appears that the more keywords and page views there are the better. The strongest results seem to come first.

@HeroicSearch    Also, social signals are another way Google will check out whether its worthy of some better rankings. So those are a factor.

@RoshniFlood    For google to deem it high quality, you need to have relevant and accurate content.

@jonathanbentz   Domain authority helps, sure, but you don’t have that without links. Repurposing content and writing guest posts helps both

@Randomhero180    1. Right for your audience, not for search engines. 2. Min of 500 words, but upwards of 1000 is great.

@selenavidya    Avoid regurgitation of topics that are already out there. Create useful content, that’s synonym/contextually rich and internally links to other relevant content on the site. In-depth articles are great when possible. Avoid thin. And only create content when you have something valuable/useful to share. Also, social/search signals help as an indicator of relevancy/usefulness. Links + shares. (not the end all, be all.)
@CallMeLouzander    In this instance, it can be measured: engagement/shares/comments/views. Content’s not done when published.

@mackenziedag10    Length isn’t important if domain and authority don’t come into play. Make it relevant before long.

@BerkleyBikes    This is probably the best resource out there

@jumfdesign    Use keywords that you know people would search for, don’t use more than 65 characters.

@noellespencer10    It’s all about quality over quantity of links. I would rather have one good word or phrase than 10 poor ones

@samsitesearch    I think it’s about nailing the intent of the searcher and providing more value vs comp. good DA helps, but do the basics too

@EricLanderSEO    Write quality, error free content & deliver it predictably across platforms that’s adaptable & personal. That’s high quality. Just remember that great content resonates w/ an audience because of what it is, not because of length, keyword density, etc.

@lees_joy    The quality and relevancy of the keywords helps to determine how Google deems it high quality.

@oc2015    Provide value with targeted keywords. Google & users are overt the keyword stuffing

@AndreaMLehr    Length is key, but make sure it is comprehensive. Are there gaps or other areas that haven’t been fully explored? Also remember the importance of DA: A highly-targeted outreach strategy with a focus on authoritative sources is key for rank

@kenhkelly    Just write good, quality, and useful content for your target audience. Your target audience is people, by the way, not #google

@directom    Content length is definitely a place to start. But we think engagement metrics are playing a larger role more & more.

@cynthialehrer22    Length doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. The better your DA is the more likely you are to have strong traffic.

@bill_slawski    Ensure Google’s perception of the high quality of your keywords by treating them as well defined and supported entities.

@chowdhury_lamia    It’s also important to not fabricate your keywords or content. To build an audience you must gain trust and respect.

What are some unique ways to uncover evergreen ideas? How do you optimize your content creation process for SEO?

@AndreeaC_T    Stay current. I look at what’s going in the public media that impacts my market and curate my content around that. For instance for @inviterbiz, content is around email marketing for ecom for holiday rush. Also look at news stories. Sometimes you can get evergreen content from that too. Ask to sit on sales calls. See what issues or topics come up most.

@HeroicSearch    Evergreen is relatively easy, finding related topics to popular ques. from your audience. Find a new spin, recycle old content. FAQ’s are great evergreen content. Answers to customer questions. How To’s.

@oc2015    Solving problems of users. High search volumes for solution based content is a great indicator of content that never goes bad.

@BerkleyBikes    Talk to customer support teams and see what questions they get asked repeatedly. Evergreen content is content designed to valuable in the long-term. Current events are usually not evergreen.
@CallMeLouzander    Lots of blogs bury evergreen content: under-promotion; dated cntent loses rnkngs over time…why cntent audits help!
@mattgent12    It depends if it is a recurring event or not. I think sometimes current events can be evergreen topics in that case!

@EricLanderSEO    Topically associate your market with news topics, seasons & celebrities. Then revisit, recirculate and update ONLY when needed. Good content can rank and do wonders even if it’s years old. New is most certainly not always better.

@noellespencer10    Making content that lasts over a period of time is the best way to uncover evergreen ideas and increase their success.

@jonathanbentz   For a blog, I always like taking user or contact questions and blogging them out. That person isn’t alone in needing an answer.

@pennameJAM    Figure out what gets your audience’s attention and roll with it.

@_agilly_    Always consider: “So what? Why does the reader care?” Strive to make your content relatable/current

@directom    In essence, evergreen should reach to be high level. Will it still be useful 10 years from now?

@selenavidya    I dig through comments in client’s and competitor’s content for unanswered questions and surprise topics to write about “resource” centers and FAQ guides are great also. Lots of this can be mined from tracked on-site search data. Also, for companies driven by annual events – master pages that aggregate content/data YOY and are updated can help it pop yearly in the SERPs when the event comes around again.

@CallMeLouzander    Anyone else see this? Not everyone that shares smthing reads it.

@AndreaMLehr    Use tools like @BuzzSumo to type in your primary keywords and see what type of content is earning the most social shares. Take a look at the comment section in previous features; what do your readers want to know more about?

@Randomhero180    Listen to your audience. If someone has a question, there’s probably others looking for the same answer.

@samsitesearch    If you find out what questions your customers always ask, and then answer them awesomely, that’s strong evergreen content
@CallMeLouzander    QED: Amazon’s products allow you to ask questions of customers who’ve bought that product.

@WesleyDurrance    Talk to your customers and figure out what they want to read about!

‏@cynthialehrer22 To optimize your content creation process for SEO it needs to be relevant and “fresh” for your audience

@jonathanbentz   For evergreen content, keywords like “[service] + ideas” will give you golden opportunities. Just have to stick to broad tips.

@JaredCarrizales    Multiple hands need to touch one piece of content for best results. Design, dev, SEO, editing, etc

@bricryar    Making content that lasts for a long time and remains relevant is the best way to increase the success of evergreen ideas.

@bill_slawski    To create evergreen content, explain why something is the way it is, or why it works the way it works.

@EthanCharlesY    Definitely addressing readers’ needs. If they aren’t interested to begin with, then content won’t be evergreen either

What are some of the popular metrics to measure the success of evergreen content in terms of SEO?

@AndreeaC_T    Traffic! Even better…direct sales or form completions from content.Always have some sort of call 2 action even if it’s passive. Ex: I have a call to action to ask questions in every blog post. That usually leads to a call and demo (I work in SaaS). Setup @mention to see how far your brand is mentioned and life of your content. Love them for that. Don’t forget. Content that gets the most exposure can are hot topics you can write about over and over again. Also…don’t forget to vary your content type. Use videos, gifs, images (optimized with alt tags) and linked back your site.

@EricLanderSEO    Conversions, sales and signups per visitor. The other stuff like ranking position, clicks and visitors are superficial, IMO. I, like everyone else, love seeing traffic volume and vanity rankings – but we’re here as marketers to serve business needs.

@oc2015    Landing page visits, referral traffic (as an information source), engagement metrics (time of page etc. )

@kayleyashlyn39    Get it trending! It’s so important to spread out your content in various regions and make it relevant to each!

@emily_C27    Setting up and using GA goals and social sharing metrics

@AndreeaC_T    Analytics like bounce rate, page sessions too.

@_agilly_    Past internships have taught me the importance of tracking impressions/engagements across social media platforms. Pay attention to the times your audiences are most responsive/interactive! Be aware of differing time zones.

@noellespencer10    There are plenty of apps and websites that measure metrics to measure success.

@jumfdesign    Metrics, bounce rate, page views.

@jonathanbentz   Traffic from search, leads, and referral visits. Sorry for the sarcasm. You will want to monitor performance over time and then maybe consider updating a post if traffic drops.

@selenavidya    YOY comparisons for sharing metrics, link velocity around certain time windows (if seasonal-evergreen) average yearly referral traffic& conversion comparisons, fresh comments. And also traffic from search queries.

@samsitesearch    Definitely conversions over time. you could look at backlinks over time too. analytics metrics obviously, and social signals

@RoshniFlood    Some metrics to look for for best evergreen- page visits, at what time they visit, and what kind of content gets the most hits.

@Claire_Levis    Get it trending and then check out your traffic volume!

@directom    Social shares will validate how good you content is, but traffic and on-site engagement will show success.

@Randomhero180   Engagement and traffic to landing page.

@Lifeas_rach    Traffic & Sales. These measurements may be used to learn what your audience like most.

‏@CallMeLouzander Know your micro-conversions. Email signups? CTR? Video views? Shares? Driving down bounce rate? Define KPI to measure success.

@AndreaMLehr    Backlinks are huge: Setting up a @Google alert for the content is a great way to see links months down the line

@lees_joy    Social meda platforms can be a great way to measure success. It’s always cool seeing what’s trending on social media.

@chowdhury_lamia    Track the amount of traffic it brings. Or maybe even measure the popularity through a hashtag!

@bricryar   Establish the times your audience is most responsive, and don’t forget about different time zones!

@bill_slawski    Everygreen content results in a steady stream of return and repeated visits rather than a burstiness of traffic;

Although the content is technically ‘timeless,’ pieces like stats can be updated. How frequently do you revisit your content?

@AndreeaC_T    Depends on the topic. But the min something is outdated ie when I write about #Periscope. #SMChangesDaily so pretty often. Also, publish date matters for articles and blogs. People want FRESH content around a topic. Don’t forget to test things with content. Headlines, link placements if you’re refreshing content.

@mackenziedag10    Shouldn’t it depend on how frequently your information is changing?

@EricLanderSEO    Most content should be revisited and updated so long as there’s a steady flow of inbound visitors. If visitors are new visitors, prioritize. If it’s returning, look to leverage feedback from comments & shares to personalize.

@RoshniFlood    Trends change all of the time, so it’s important to revisit content frequently

@kaitmilligan    I revisit my content often! To see if anyone has engaged with it and also to see how I can make it more relevant in the future!

@kayleyashlyn39    I would stick with every few weeks/month depending on the timeliness/prominence and reuse when relevant!

@pennameJAM    On Facebook pages specifically, you are told how many people were reached, so use that to your advantage

@Claire_Levis    I think you should only revisit content if it’s relevant and if your words are still valuable to the conversation!

@directom    Assuming new content is constantly being pumped out, checking in monthly on traffic can target sharp dropoffs.

@_agilly_    Updated content is crucial. @Moz provides a great read on handling expired content. Check it out.

@breyflynch    Content is forever changing, therefore revisiting content should become second nature!

@cynthialehrer22    I think content can always be revisited and revamped according to what’s relevant to the times

@BerkleyBikes    I’ve worked on valuable seasonal content that got refreshed every year.

@samsitesearch    Could depend on the content type, topic & whether it’s a ‘major’ piece. if it’s great, people may even send you updates!

@AndreaMLehr    Given your bandwidth, sometimes it’s great to reboot a campaign entirely. This is especially true with ‘best practice’ posts

@HLuthersdottir    Revisit, redo and repost frequently if it is relevant and timely to gain followers and attention.

@Randomhero180    Depends on the topics you are writing about. I usual do some research once every other month for posts that may be out of date.

‏@jonathanbentz Depends on your keyword targets. A ‘2016’ post will lose steam by end of winter usually. So then you prep for next yr, etc.

@EthanCharlesY    If the content caught the attention of readers the first time, maybe once every few months, or perhaps yearly. I feel like it depends on the type of content as well. Updating stats on a product is a must, and should be done often.

@bill_slawski    You learn whether your evergreen content has become stale by looking at what others are saying on those topics and freshening up.

Give your top reason why evergreen content is invaluable for SEO

@shallagalanos    A major benefit to technology is that things can get updated almost immediately so staying current is important.

@RoshniFlood    Evergreen content is invaluable bc it optimizes SEO and allows your work to be recognized.

@EricLanderSEO    Evergreen content is always capable of ranking. No excuses like: it needs links, indexation, time, shares, blah blah blah. Beyond rankings, evergreen content is fertile soil for A/B tests, new feature testing and cross-promoting new content. Outside looking in, too, evergreen content from others publishers is a great way to jump start your own content creation.

@misfttweek    Evergreen is important because it potentially keeps ranking, linkjuice, and valuable relevant content

@BerkleyBikes    Because you can make a big investment up front and profit from it for a long time with minimal added effort.

@AndreeaC_T    Relevancy. Testing & learning. Conversions…always conversions. I used fresh content to build email campaigns. I can’t have old content my audience has already read. They’ll unsubscribe.

@bfmweb    Successful content is always checked for timeliness and can be made relevant no matter when it was written.

@jonathanbentz    Because you can write a good piece 1 time and have it provide relevant eyeballs for a long period of time.

@platanopower36    Evergreen content has constant viewers/clickers/audience. That audience is what’s invaluable to SEO.

@bill_slawski   Being the source of evergreen content on a topic can make you the perceived authority on that subject.

@kayleyashlyn39    The ability to create something that stays relevant means you’re doing your job right. All comes back to relevance.

@CallMeLouzander    Creating is harder than maintaining/updating.

@oc2015    Optimized evergreen content is the foundation for other content, marketing efforts and determining user goals/intent.

@WesleyDurrance    Evergreen content is important for SEO because it keeps your page consistently high on search engine rankings.

@samsitesearch    Because if you do it right, invest a little in updating, and really try to give value to your audience, you’ll see big rewards

@HLuthersdottir    Good evergreen content will always attract new visitors, keeping it relevant and shows that it is SEO

@AndreaMLehr    Simply put, it’s cost effective: It will continue to improve rankings while generating leads with very little upkeep

@Claire_Levis    Evergreen content is what we strive for, because it always stays relevant and that’s what SEO is about

@_agilly_   Consider this: Would you prefer your content to be valued temporarily or long term? Stay relevant, interesting and searchable!

@cynthialehrer22    Evergreen content is indispensable for SEO without it there would be next to nothing to engage audiences

@pennameJAM    If your content is relevant and unique enough, an audience will come your way.

@BylineBetty    SEO won’t help if your content isn’t consistent and relevant.

@kaitmilligan    Evergreen content is the ultimate goal, because having content that is always relevant in people’s eyes is ideal for SEO.

@directom   Get it right the first time, and make more content!

Summary: SEO Mythbusters on #SEOchat

Myth or Fact: Linkbuilding is dead

@AgentPalmer    Myth… Linkbuilding is not dead… But as a fact, it’s not as relevant in algorithms as it used to be.

@markdhansen    Links are as important as every. But mostly organically grown, high quality is what matters.

@samsitesearch    2 answers here imo- fact that mass/low quality linkbuilding is dead. myth that quality outreach to the right people won’t help.

@KristiKellogg    Links are an integral part of the algo … so total myth.

@PeterThistle    Busted – quality links such as from BBB still matter.

@SEOcial    Alive and well. Both @Moz and @searchmetrics found external links to have one of the highest correlations to rankings. And if you STILL think rankings could work well without links, just talk to #yandex.

@Sonray    Linkbuilding in how we used to do it maybe; it’s about placements and traffic now. still valuable!

@kimberleeann    Myth. I wouldn’t go so far to say it is dead. Linkbuilding is still alive and kicking.

@tannerpetroff    Myth. Link building isn’t what it used to be, but it’s far from dead. More like earning instead of building.
@CaitlinBoroden    That’s a great point. It’s a fine line of earning vs. building.

@ancemoore22    Myth. Good link building can draw traffic.

@MyNameIsTylor    Myth. Links are still an important part of the algorithm.

@directom    By no means is it dead. Linkbuilding & earning should be part of your SEO strategy!

@netvantage    Myth. Link building is far from dead!

@Tony_DWM    Link Building is still prevalent, from a buying, selling, earning, promoting & spamming perspective.

Myth or Fact: Social activity effects SEO

@ExpWriters    Big time! With the unpredictable and all-so-often updates, content and presence (esp. in social) matters a whole lot.

@AgentPalmer    Fact! Social Activity does effect SEO… Especially now that Twitter and Tweets are in SERPs!

@netvantage    Fact. Social activity can lead to links you didn’t expect. Social activity is a great way to build relationships for future links too!

@lancemoore22    Fact. Google has talked about how posting fresh content on your Google+ Local page can help with local rankings.

@tannerpetroff    Fact. Because social increases reach and drives engagement, which can lead to links and exposure, which is awesome for SEO.

@samsitesearch    I’m going with fact on this one – producing excellent #content that drives social shares can generate strong links.

@SEOcial    True. Even though Google says it isn’t a factor anymore, they said it was in 2010 + some case studies.

@markdhansen    Mostly Myth. Social only helps grow branded search.
@tannerpetroff    100% disagree.
@oc2015   You miss a massive market share if ur not engaging on social media.
@markdhansen    How does it help non-branded? By creating links you didn’t expect? That’s kinda like saying that ANY PR helps SEO.
@tannerpetroff    It’s all about how you use it. If you’re only promoting your brand on social, you’re doing it wrong.

@oc2015    Fact. Social is a driving force of content & without a social strategy ur missing a big opportunity.

@Sonray    Can I shamelessly plug my blog post about the Twitter SERP Pack?

@MyNameIsTylor    Fact. Social ‘Affects’ SEO, directly through indexation and links, indirectly through ranking.

@milestech    Definitely a fact. Many companies can almost survive just on great social activity

@PeterThistle    Indirectly. Like most social effects.

@kimberleeann    FACT. Social is becoming more and more influential for SEO. Twitter in SERPs, also FB review stars in SERPs.. & of course links.

@SEOcial    The reason for debate on this is because Google keeps saying social signals DO NOT affect rankings. Something to do with recent statements from Google like this.

@emily_C27    SM impact on #seo is always up for debate. More on this one from our past discussion here. Referral traffic is one way, sm engagement.

@Tony_DWM    Yes. Tweets in SERPs, brand authority, long & sticky site hits, entities, mentions & data extraction.

@StephenHoops    Correlation does not = causation. Lots of shares/likes merely validates how good your content is. Probably NOT directl impact. Really, social should be considered for distribution and finding inspiration for newer content ideas.
@SEOcial    No, but here are some case studies attempting to isolate social signals from other factors.

Myth or Fact: Blackhat Tactics Still Work

@MichaelBurjack    IMHO only if you’re small enough not to be noticed. And if so … does it matter?
@misfttweek   It does matter if you are a local business trying to beat another local. its all perspective.
@MichaelBurjack   Still unconvinced risking a penalty is worth black-hat vs legit effort.

@ExpWriters    We talk about black hat & lies SEOs tell themselves here.

@lancemoore22    Fact. I’ve seen people add a keyword in the name on a Google+ profile and rank higher.

@netvantage    They work until Google figures out what you’re doing, then you’re in hot water.

@thompsonpaul   Certainly some blackhat still works – but no the worth the risk of getting caught on a company’s primary branded site.

@directom    Some do… but Google is getting better & better at resolving that issue.

@samsitesearch    From what i’ve read on blogs/forums it’s an unfortunate fact. many using churn & burn domains, so longevity doesn’t matter.

@ajutah    Social can indirectly affect SEO. @K_Cisnero explains how Google uses Twitter to discover new content.

@misfttweek    Blackhat works if you are trying to get short term ranking change. it will catch up in the end.

@MyNameIsTylor    Yes, some blackhat tactics still work. CTR manipulation will be a big one in the next 1-2 yrs.

@getSTAT    Blackhat tactics borrow from tomorrow for today. Some may work – but not for the long game.

@AgentPalmer    Fact. There will always be Black Hat Tactics & they will always work until algorithms change. Then new Black hat tactics emerge.
@MichaelBurjack    Sounds like a lot of work. Maybe it could be better spent, eh? Consultants love black-hat I’m sure.

@PeterThistle    Not that I would know… but some blackhat stuff still works in the (very?) short term?

@SEOcial    There are a lot of blackhat tactics that work well—but they’re no good for long-term return. Will be interesting to see how blackhats fare when deep learning is introduced into Google’s algo and machines determine factors.
@StephenHoops   My issue here is why people care so much to figure this out. Why does the content get shared? Probably because it’s dope.

@milestech    A fact that blackhat works. Never recommend to customers looking for long term success though!

@ajutah   Like other things in life, you can manipulate to get what you want, but it’s not a sustainable strategy.

@CaitlinBoroden    Sadly, it seems blackhat still works.. but not for long. I think we all agree – stay away!

@tannerpetroff    Yes, they do still work, but it’s a matter of time until you get caught. So, what’s your risk tolerance? Mine isn’t that high.

@AgentPalmer    If Black Hat tactics didn’t exist, SERP algorithms wouldn’t all the time… In order for White Hat to exist.
@MichaelBurjack    I don’t disagree. But in terms of effort: you can either constantly keep up with black-hat, or set a sustainable path.

@thompsonpaul    Clients love quick blackhat returns, but when shit hits fan, they come to me because black hat folks have disappeared.

@Tony_DWM    Depends on risk the site/biz owner is willing to take. Some SERPs are rife w/ BH. But G getting better!

@BruceClayInc    Ethical SEOs must “do no harm” to clients. Black hat techniques can damage them long-term. Doesn’t matter whether work or not.

Myth or Fact: Google uses engagement metrics to rank – time on site, ctr, pages per visit

@kimberleeann    Fact. The correlation right now is small but rising. I thought the study that @randfish did on this was pretty interesting.
@SEOcial   Machine learning yes, deep learning not yet. But given Geoff Hinton and Jeff Dean are at Google now.

@samsitesearch    Wasn’t there just a google hangout where JM said they can’t see what happens on site after click? could be a fact though.
@CaitlinBoroden    I’ve read that as well. But, the fact remains – is it true. I feel there’s lots of controversy around this now.
@Sonray    How many times has JM said something that was later proven false? Google is all smoke and mirrors.
@MyNameIsTylor    Yep. I just don’t buy it. Surely one of Google’s 1,500+ PHDs can figure that out.

@MyNameIsTylor    Fact. Yes, Google’s denied it, claiming they can’t even track on-site engagement. Yeah, right.

@BerkleyBikes    I bet CTR is important. Using metrics from GA sounds awful Big-Brothery. But never say never.

@misfttweek    CTR and time on page could show good reliable content = Rankings boost.

@ajutah    According to this study on @moz by @royhinkis, high engagement metrics correlate with higher rankings.
@ammicallef    I think that a correlation makes sense, but maybe not necessarily causation.

@netvantage    Fact. How much of an impact is still to be determined though.

@thompsonpaul    Engagement metrics is like pagespeed – who cares if ranking factor? We should be doing all we can to improve regardless.

@milestech    Have to say fact here. They’d be missing a trick if they didn’t analyze this kind of stuff

@BruceClayInc   While there have been conflicting reports, we suspect this is fact.

@oc2015   Yes. Kinda. Sorta. Ask @Moz

@AgentPalmer    Fact. (Fact = True)

@SEOcial    Fact. See SearchMetrics’ 2015 data-driven ranking factors study. Yandex, Bing and Baidu admit that they use their analytics suites to measure CTR as a ranking factor.

@allmikehall    Probably. To what extent though? Is everyone affected, or does it only affect outliers? Plenty of questions to consider.

Myth or Fact: Google Answer results are hurting my website

@misfttweek    Maybe by pushing you below the fold but if you can get top 3 you are fine

@netvantage    One of our favorite burns of all time

@kimberleeann    This has been good so far.My client’s blog went from 45 visits a month to 16,000. Rankings shot up as well.

@ajutah    If you have a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, #SEO is only a portion of your inbound traffic.

@SEOcial   Study describing how Russian sites rank much better when analytics are included. Most of the traffic removed by Google Answer results would immediately bounce anyways.

@BerkleyBikes   If you can get a knowledge graph placement, that’s killer. Supposedly Wikipedia saw an 11% drop.

@SEOcial   If only we had an accurate graph of Wikipedia’s bounce rate, we’d really understand the impact.

@samsitesearch    I’ve seen sites get pushed onto page 2 from all that stuff, can be a game change

Myth or Fact: Schema is not necessary

@MichaelBurjack    Without schema, rely on Google to suss out meta. What next, not putting a meta desc either? ;-) Control what you can! Always! Schema (rich snippets) can boost CTR (an engagement metric) which in turn can boost rank… believe it.

@oc2015    Not neccessary, but hey why not make things easy for the user/Google

@maygpetry    Necessary but weight still skewed toward engagement metrics

@misfttweek    not “necessay” but why would you avoid such a simple way to improve your rankings/UX

@allmikehall    Definitely helpful. Schema helps you stand out in SERPs. Eye catching data like product reviews can make a big difference

@SEOcial    Schema is necessary now. Eventually machines will be able to semantically appropriate on their own though

@directom    Myth. Schema will eventually help your CTR.

@samsitesearch    fact and a myth – depends on the business, time and expertise to implement schema. can help a ton, but also be a distraction

@ajutah    Schema is a way to make the page in the SERP stand out. It helps invite clicks, so while it’s not necessary, it’s still useful.

@StephenHoops   I mean, anything to make my listing simply look better than the others makes it necessary. But hey, what do i know

@SEOcial    Early semantic web: people argued about which ontology was best, turns out multiple description frameworks are totes okay

@netvantage    Very important for local businesses, especially if your brand name doesn’t do much to identify your service.

@misfttweek    Moz just posted an article saying 67% of consumers use reviews to help with their purchases, so adding those could be huge
@StephenHoops    Personally, I don’t make any online purchases of products I don’t have experience without reading reviews.

@thompsonpaul    My concern with more Schema is more website content being delivered right in SERP, cutting out more site traffic.

@SEOcial    Examples of how semantic web can figure stuff out with tables instead of schema

Summary: SEO for e-commerce & optimizing for the holidays on #SEOchat

Moderator: @BruceClayInc

What does your holiday season SEO timeline look like?

@BruceClayInc   ChannelAdvisor’s ’15 Online Retail Survey: 59% of US & UK retailers have begun holiday promotional campaign.

@ramirez_robert   Site optimization is a year round endeavor, but I start to feature/ focus on seasonal hoiliday keywords end of summer.

@EricLanderSEO   Holiday season is coming up, but should always be in mind if you’re an SEO interested in progressive content development. Said another way… When #pumpkinspice everything shows up, you’d damn well better have your plans together!

@AJUTAH   You should be planning for holidays well in advance. I like to begin planning around August.

@Sonray   The holidays started last month! Planning and ground work for the holidays should start in August depending on the vertical/competitive nature.

@lisabuyer   Hopefully it includes SMO too! Pinterest says 38 million people Pinned holiday-related content. Stat: Survey found 47 percent of Pinterest users start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving.
@paulaspeak   Wonder how representative the Pinterest users are of the whole population. My guess, PUs plan ahead more.

@misfttweek   Holiday planning is planning for next year.

@tannerpetroff   Holiday planning started in mid August, is starting to really ramp up now. Going to be full steam ahead ’til Christmas.

@SarahFromDC   Planning / some execution starts in August, ramps up through September

@Magnani_Dot_Com   Just like most things with SEO, if you aren’t planning way ahead, you will end up behind.

What does your holiday SEO preparation entail?

@EricLanderSEO   Starts with late Spring ideation, summer creative development AND reviewing calendars and actual dates. Don’t be a n00b and fire out Black Friday content on the actual day. Folks do their planning weeks in advance.
@lisabuyer   So true, I’m already working on Valentine’s Day for a client.
@EricLanderSEO   The days of week matter, too. People buy while connected most (desktop, work week) even for weekend dates.

@tannerpetroff   Starts with trends and guesswork. What did people search last year, what’s on the rise that will be a big hit this year?

@misfttweek   As an in house marketer the on page stuff is done well in advanced, we are on to maintaining good customer UX / Service.

@ramirez_robert   Sending more link equity to evergreen holiday landing pages. Creating collateral for promotions & brand+product pushes.

@AJUTAH   New product/service trends, accounting for shifts in demand, and get things started ahead of time (including content!)

@SarahFromDC   Lots of research internally & externally – tons of number crunching, content creation, you know the drill.

@CaitlinBoroden   Get your content calendar ready. Social ads would also be a strong play. Get on their radar now. They’ll be thinking about holiday shopping soon enough.

@AndreeaC_T   How about a good promo strategy that includes #videoemail. That’s what I’m telling ecomm. Actually @inviterbiz does a good job of combining seo with video email.
@BruceClayInc   Great idea! Video is always good for engagement.

@Sonray   Researching who I need to know for killer placements is usually near the top!

@Navahk   Make sure your content calendar is updated! Google has simple ways of integrating holiday calendars within Google Calendar!

What tips or tricks do you use to rank for seasonal holiday keywords (“Black Friday,” for example)?

@EricLanderSEO   GREAT Q! Seasonal influences aren’t reflected fast enough in many of the SEO-industry toolsets. TIP: Use Google search suggest! Also, make use of print mags if you can develop content quickly. They’re publishing months ahead w/ advertising in place.

@misfttweek   Aim for Long tail keywords or synonyms i.e “Artificial Christmas tree = Fake christmas tree” and so on.
@KristiKellogg   Yes! Long-tail is always good — and remember you can be creating pages that target these worlds now!

@AJUTAH   Build a big, beautiful, clickable, share-worthy and valuable holiday gift guide in a folder off your root domain.

@AndreeaC_T   Branded keywords in combo with those terms. Also associate images and videos with them too.

@ramirez_robert   Add internal links to those evergreen landing pages in your main nav. Send juice to the pages you are trying to get to rank!
@lisabuyer   I like it! #SEOPR for old public relations content too.

@CaitlinBoroden   @ThinkwithGoogle published this back in July – 5 Holiday Shopping Trends to Watch in 2015.

@SarahFromDC   Tough one! We usually go for more social media / email push than SEO – though we do post charity events & blogs for holidays.

@paulaspeak   Combining trad’l and online media for branding and “recall bias” advantage at holiday gift-buying time.

How can smaller ecommerce sites best compete with big brands like Amazon and Walmart?

@AndreeaC_T   Harness the power of social & video. Stand out by humanizing your brand with video. Go native on FB, Twitter, Instagram.

@EricLanderSEO   First, utilize product feeds and syndication. Second, differentiate w/ price, message – and time willing – video/blog reviews.

@emily_C27   Target local, go for niche communities.

@ramirez_robert   Focus on specific verticals. Make your smaller brand synonymous with a niche and you’ll be able to compete with the big boys!

@misfttweek   Take advantage of the Local search! and again Long tails are the key to beating the big brands.

@BruceClayInc   Create holiday targeted landing pages and keep them up and indexed year-round

@getSTAT   Supplement with PR. We researched Black Friday SERPs and found news results to be a big competitor.

@Magnani_Dot_Com   DDOS attacks. #JK But a big part is engaging audience in social to drive them to product pages. Good, relevant content helps too
@ramirez_robert   lol at DDOS attacks… that would definitely do the trick (temporarily).
@Magnani_Dot_Com   It is never a final solution. Darn those server redundancies!

@AJUTAH   Focus on what you do best! There’s a reason people like shopping smaller, niche brands.

@AndreeaC_T   Think local online papers too. Submit holiday special interest stories-donation drives. Start that early prior to black friday.

@CaitlinBoroden   Are there any ‘shop local’ initiative in your area that you can jump on to? A great opp. for additional exposure and links.

What ecomm platforms are SEO friendly, which do you recommend to clients? Which are least SEO friendly?

@CaitlinBoroden   I think I have a love/hate relationship with Shopify? Anyone else experience this? It’s definitely a user friendly back end but their are limitations in some key areas such as constructing URLs, etc.

@AndreeaC_T   Most: @AuthorityLabs @inviterbiz — those are my favs. Great analytics

@EricLanderSEO   To call a spade a spade here, I don’t know enough on eCom CMS’s. I audit their outputs, but lack experience to form opinions.

@Navahk   HyperLocal Marketing! Like your recent blog post on iBeacon & Eddystone.

@Randomhero180   Working on a new site in Magento, Has some very SEO friendly elements. Not a fan of 3dcart or Big Commerce.
@Sonray   Even Magento is kind of a bummer. I judge ecom platforms like it’s my job.

@emily_C27   I’ve done very light client work using @magento. Seems to be alright.

@ramirez_robert   Most ecommerce platforms are now SEO friendly, but an experienced developer is your best friend. Especially for complex CMS’s. I’ve had good and bad experiences w/ Shopify, Magento, bigcommerce. Difference was always having a good developer on the team.

@AJUTAH   I’m partial to WordPress (and WooCommerce), but have experience with Shopify and Joomla. I don’t have a lot of experience with Joomla sites, but I know this Subreddit is a good community.
@Bizzy_Fizzy   I tried joomla with k2 and found it very clumsy

What are some of the main obstacles to getting ecommerce sites to rank well?

@AndreeaC_T   Competition and noise– hence why experimentation is key. Don’t be afraid to do that early…as in now.

@AndreeaC_T   To combat noise & comp– integrate efforts-> SEO, email, social, video.

@Sonray   I’m always amazed at how little attention XML sitemaps and RSS Feeds get. Ya gotta feed the bots!

@EricLanderSEO   I think this is how I differentiate things… a CMS is for content, a platform is for navigable interaction – like an eCom store. Therefore, I’m only really looking for one to serve as both, or, a platform that behaves well w/ a CMS. Like WordPress/Woo. URLs, indexation of categories and subcategories, and configurable per-URI level items are key, IMO. Also key to make sure there’s enough content to differentiate multiple pages and products (deep descriptions, dimensions, etc.) Particularly at scale. Know all the variables you can use and craft great content w/ them on templates.

@AJUTAH   Canonicalization issues and dynamic URLs are common with ranking problems. That’s why regular site audits should happen.
AndreeaC_T Avoiding duplicate content too…making sure titles and descriptions are unique. Img alt tags present—the basics

@misfttweek   Everything from big brands to IT, the technical stuff needs to be on point if you want to have a great UX and rank well.

@ramirez_robert   External link equity & brand recognition. When your competition is synonymous with products you’re selling, you’re in trouble.

@CaitlinBoroden   Going back to basics here too: strong, unique, and enticing product descriptions!

@thompsonpaul   Big obstacle is still getting buy-in for custom product descriptions ans supporting content.

@Randomhero180   Competition if other big companies like Amazon sell the products and canonicalization is a big one too.

How do you handle faceted navigation (URLs with filters) that are important for shoppers but not for ranking?

@AndreeaC_T   Focus on the shopper instead. Add bread crumbs to make it easy to navigate– with relevant kws of course!
@Bizzy_Fizzy   Breadcrumbs all the way! Can add rich snippet structured data too.

@ramirez_robert   Use page level noindex rules & robots.txt exclusion to keep your index clean. Index bloat on ecommerce sites is a killer.

@EricLanderSEO   Canonicalization and no-index controls. Good to use the X-Robots HTTP headers for those, in my experience.

How do you make product pages unique, esp when you don’t have bandwidth/option to write descriptions for thousands of products?

@AndreeaC_T   Pick your topic products and do that…or at least the ones you’re putting on promo. Add video too.

@EricLanderSEO   Differentiate. Use/source custom reviews, highlight key UGC submissions & go deep (dimensions, for example) where others don’t. Consider that even Amazon has their Vine program. Free products exchanged for custom UGC reviews.

@ramirez_robert   Write custom descriptions for your most important products. Reviews and UGC can also help make pages unique.

@paulaspeak   It’s key to prioritize that mountain of pages that all need unique content. Products in demand first.

@Randomhero180   Reviews (customer and employee) and custom descriptions for big sellers isn’t a bad idea.

@AJUTAH   Great guide from @quicksprout for product descriptions. Product reviews add a good amt. of unique content .

What’s your strategy for optimizing product pages: brand searches vs. product keywords?

@ramirez_robert   Depends on the vertical, but searchers who are ready to purchase get more specific (brand+product keywords FTW!)

@EricLanderSEO   Its a hierarchy. Use categories for branded searches & product specific URLs for long tail buyer focused terms

@Randomhero180   For brands with a lot of variety, I like to focus on product keywords to make sure people find exactly what they want.

@Navahk   “You can’t even start thinking about keywords until you think about the people that will use them.” @ipullrank

What’s the ideal # of links in global navigation? Do you have tips or tricks to limiting links passing juice in global nav? What’s your SEO reaction to global navs with 100s of links?

@ramirez_robert   Hard to put a # to the ideal # of links. I know what isn’t ideal though- linking to every category on your site. Choose wisely.

@thompsonpaul   Too many nav links gets into the paradox of choice – too many puts visitor off. Big believer in guided search instead. If visitor arrives knowing what they want but are not on the “right” page, they know what to ask for, so search is ideal.
@BruceClayInc   Guided search, guided navigation, absolutely. Guide customers through the funnel. Be choosey. If visitor arrives not knowing what they want, too many options will discourage. Point them to the hilites & walk them through.
@Bizzy_Fizzy    A poor “open search” can be the quickest way to drop a customer #seochat prefer guided funnels.

@EricLanderSEO   Always an economy of scale to balance out. I’d suggest using analytics data to validate how deeply useful your URIs are. I mean, Amazon “only” has 177M URLs indexed in a site search. Walmart: 24.6M, Target: 11.6M.

@CaitlinBoroden   I would pay attention to how you interact and shop online. Where’s the cut off of you happily skimming the options to getting frustrated?

@AJUTAH   Having good internal site search will eliminate the need for a ton of navigational links.
‏@Bizzy_Fizzy But esential to monitor activity to see queries with zero results – too many is a bad sign of search failing.

@Randomhero180   Depends on the scale of a site. A larger site will need more navigation to get people where they want to be.

Summary: Tips for Discovering Ideas for Killer Content on #SEOchat

Moderator: @thompsonpaul

Given it’s everywhere – how do you use Social Media to prospect for content gold?

@EricLanderSEO   Social commentary is a great indicator; Comments and controversial debates point to topics you can expand upon. There’s nothing wrong with writing content to provide a different perspective on previously success content pieces out there! Beware of blind comments & shares though; Seen a lot of content that does well on those metrics but fails to deliver traffic. Engage successful content authors in conversations, too. You can get great quotes to build off of and earn links, too.
@AJUTAH   True. I’d rather lean on metrics that can’t be easily manipulated, like those found in OSE.
@EricLanderSEO   Completely agree; Trying to get a client to buy an @ahrefs account w API access for similar reasons

@AndreeaC_T   I look for authoritative thought leaders and look for their articles, tweets and topics that I can make valuable to my audience. Listen to your audience and see what topics they’re talking about most and create content around that.

@thompsonpaul   Biggest area of Social where I find ideas for content is FB and LinkedIn groups – hearing potential customers talk.

@bill_slawski   Social Media allows you to search for timely new content on specific topics to share with others. I like using twitter lists. Social Listening can give you insights into hot topics that people are finding interesting today.
@BerkleyBikes   Forums can be pretty damn awesome if they’re active in your industry.

@AJUTAH   I love Reddit for content ideas. You can look for trends to find out the answers people are trying to find to their problems.

@OC2015   Keeping watchful eyes, compare what certain social groups are discussing etc. Facebook IQ is always a good place to start

@BerkleyBikes   Sometimes, ya gotta be hip to the trends (and piggyback on them).

@emily_C27   Use #SM to find out what topics are trending, follow #content topics using hashtags and dig in

@netvantage   Social media gives you timely content. Take advantage of what people are talking about, but don’t wait long or it’s too late.

@samsitesearch   Follow hashtags, keep lists of influencers. also use tools like @buzzsumo to see top trending content. then seek to improve.

@bill_slawski   Old school social media sources like forums can lead to discussions about content issues and controversies worth blogging about.

@ExpWriters   We use social media to establish thought leadership, provide value, and resolution (customer service). We also use a lot of social media for engagement (just like now – we’re doing more twitter chats than ever!).

@BerkleyBikes   Content and social media? Insert obligatory plug for @BuzzSumo.

@directom   Finding content idea that our audience is specifically looking for. New trends in social media, etc.

@TheBuyerGroup   Hashtags, lists, feeds and tools like Buzzomo

@HeroicSearch   Reddit is a good one, Quora, and even Twitter. And of course, we love BuzzSumo, too.

Do you use actual news/current events (as opposed to social media trends) to come up with ideas for valuable new content?

@ExpWriters   Absolutely! We produced a #laborday post, an #autumn image, and we’re sending a social message for 9/11.

@netvantage   Yes, we just had a blog post on the #USOpen! We knew people were going to be talking about it, might as well join the convo.

@HeroicSearch   Staying away from newsjacking, but coming up with content related to trending/current topics is never a bad idea.

@SolomonSolves   Yes, most definitely! I personally like reading through @HarvardBiz and @Hubspot for good stuff.

@EricLanderSEO   Depends; I love BuzzSumo to help me pick up on building trends, but to be a “first to market” on a new topic is really key. Don’t overlook “upcycling” content ideas. Old topics that don’t hit on their first attempt can kill it with a different spin. When covering breaking news, be careful not of saying too much. Getting things wrong leads to “success” of the wrong reasons.

@OC2015   Industry dependent. Explaining new developments in plain english for more advance clients can be easy/sharable content.

@directom   We definitely keep up-to-date on events/news in our local area and try to get involved in the community!

@AJUTAH   A good strategy includes a mix of news & evergreen content. Social media trends aren’t always based on current events, though.

@BerkleyBikes   Oh hell yeah. Recurring yearly events give you time to plan & prepare killer content, as opposed to urgent trending stuff.
@AJUTAH   Shares are often worthless without actual click-throughs and conversions.
@BerkleyBikes   Yeah, unless brand awareness is the play. You can grab a lot of followers from shares (even without traffic).

@kmullett   If it provides value, futhers the conversation, or endears people to your brand, sure.

@samsitesearch   I think it depends on industry and expertise, but events like ashley madison hack can provide huge content fodder.

@milestech   The trick with timely #content pieces is to take a quirky or different angle that provides value and makes people think more.

@bill_slawski   Actual News, and sources like Google Trends, can help ID good topics.

@AndreeaC_T   Yes, use news to create content that is relevant. But becareful to stay compliant with brand & company guidelines.

How useful is it to scan others/competitors website for ideas to write about? Tips?

@HeroicSearch   Its always good to check on competitors, and even more so if they are creating content that is engaging to your audience. You don’t want to steal content, obviously, but taking ideas away from what they create is harmless. Basically, if you can add value to something you see a competitor doing, do it! But don’t always be chasing them for your cntnt.

@BerkleyBikes    1) See what competitors are doing. 2) Do it better. 3) Glory.

@netvantage   It’s only useful if you can put your own spin on the idea/topic.

@SolomonSolves   It is pretty helpful! Especially if it’s controversial. You show them your arm in battle, and go at it.

@AndreeaC_T   I use private list on Twitter to monitor competitors.

@ExpWriters   It’s very beneficial for SEO to repurpose content. We actually have a guide. If done right, it can prolong the lifespan of your original post.

@AJUTAH   Use the information to write bigger, deeper and more valuable posts.

@EricLanderSEO   Determine if you want to be a leader or follower; Leading requires a lot of hard work and learnable mistakes. Following others too closely means that you’re always chasing the pack. There’s some gain there, not market leadership.

@samsitesearch   Useful to get the initial idea – sometimes i just read titles and forget the article to stay unique. always try to do it better.

@bill_slawski   I often scan competitors sites for things to not write about, or to share if if adds to what I’m writing about.

@markdhansen   Useful, but not great to just copy. Better to improve on or come up with a new angle.

@kmullett   If you see that your competitor just created a listical, with no explanation, do it bigger!

@milestech   If you can back up the idea with something more valuable, there’s nothing wrong with competitor research.

@AJUTAH   Would you ever link to/share/curate competitor content?
@thompsonpaul   Sometimes linking to competitors can be an effective way to demonstrate your own confidence/leadership position in the field.
@bill_slawski    Yes, most of my competitors, when it comes to topics we write about, aren’t competitors in services.
@markdhansen   Yes, I think that being an impartial curator can build trust with your audience.

Any cool suggestions for getting new content ideas from your/clients’ Analytics and Search Console data?

@SolomonSolves   Charts, infographics, any visuals, videos, reports – just be sure to make sense of your data. People like #statistics!
@BerkleyBikes   Technically, a query that people DO search for on your site, but find no results for.

@thompsonpaul   My absolute go-to is the internal site search report in GA – gold for finding things visitors want more content about.

@EricLanderSEO   I really enjoy using Search Console’s search query data. I always think I know of long tail content ideas until… I don’t. Search Console, content-specific XML sitemaps can help make sure new content has complete & timely indexation (& stats).

@AJUTAH   Take your 10 best performing posts, and then create more posts on those topics! Double down on content visitors already love. The site search report (if you have it set up) will also show you what visitors are looking for when they are on your site. Go to Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms.
@BerkleyBikes   And make sure you’re tracking “No Results” queries too.

@markdhansen   Search Console for sure – only place to find long tail keywords these days. Can provide ideas for niche content

@netvantage   Yes, big fans of the Search Console for long tail keywords for content.

@AndreeaC_T   Oh for sure Google Analytics, @Moz

@ExpWriters   Reshare your best-performing content (i.e. top 15) by scheduling via Twitter throughout the day. Also, work on improving your least-performing pages/low-traction types of content.

@OC2015   If possible, using top converting keyword paths in GA can help get general ideas for what users are looking for/ content ideas

@samsitesearch   I think looking at the standard query report, but trying to mine for question type queries who/what/why/how etc can be useful.

@BerkleyBikes   Start typing into Google and look at suggested queries. Or use @ubersuggest

@kmullett   Make sure all client facing staff provide feedback what is being asked.

@milestech   Look at demographic profiles that are top performers, and tailor language to maximize performance from that group.

@bill_slawski   I like the queries section of the search console, especially when I come across something unexpected (It happens sometimes).

@thompsonpaul   Reviews, even negative one, can be gold for ideas for things to write about/explain/amplify.

Any other particularly valuable tools you’ve found for researching new content?

@EricLanderSEO   Again, @BuzzSumo is great. I also love Google Trends, Yahoo!’s trending topics and dare I say it… Twitter’s trending hashtags. Archive old, failed or not pursued ideas, too. Ideally in a spreadsheet. Then mix and match against new topics for a twist. Need to echo @AJUTAH on the reddit recommendation. So many passionate communities ready to engage. For free!

@netvantage   We like good ‘ole fashion brainstorming meetings at Netvantage. Our brains are a tool, right?

@AndreeaC_T   @SEMRush is awesome. @moz does a decent job too. The @authoritylabs keyword tool…love the Now Provided report.

@ExpWriters   We may already sound like a broken record, but BuzzSumo & Moz are both amazing tools.

@AJUTAH   I’m not a fan of paying for tools, when you can find ideas for free. Google Search, Topsy, Reddit, Quora and a spreadsheet! I encourage new SEOs to use a tool only *after* they have a thorough understanding of how to do the task manually.

@samsitesearch   Aside from buzzsumo, i’ve found that using some good old search operators in google can throw up some strong ideas.

@OC2015   Being committed learning as much as you can about the client industry is always the best place for original content ideas.

@bill_slawski   I like finding relevant white papers at Google Scholar to identify new topics.

@BerkleyBikes   I think @bill_slawski mentioned forums. That’s where people go to ask questions. They basically brainstorm content for you.
thompsonpaul Someone mentioned Quora for same purpose – makes good sense.

@thompsonpaul   While keyword research !=content research, Keyword Tool great for aggregating ideas Ubersuggest on ‘roids.

@milestech   Sometimes using the other T word (telephone) to speak to your customers or sales team can produce tons of content opportunities

What abut “voice of customer” and other offline sources? How to dig out opportunities there?

@SolomonSolves   Always be sure you talk the talk with your customers. If they don’t feel connected to you, it’ll be bad for business.

@AndreeaC_T   It’s about listening. In social and in person.

@EricLanderSEO   Random: Look at cited reviews on online profiles for businesses. Great indicator of specific niche experiences – good & bad. Also, do a Twitter search for topical keywords on tweets including “me” or “I “ in them. Great, timely topics there.

@emily_C27   Repurpose positive client testimonials to your site/blog. Get client feedback from the sales/services team.

@thompsonpaul   Make certain call center operators are set up to regularly submit questions/problems the deal with frequently.

@netvantage   Any how to question a customer asks has potential to be good content.

@AJUTAH   Find out from your sales team what questions prospects are asking, and create content they can reference in emails/phone calls.

@HeroicSearch   Even some customer interactions, stories, can become content. Not just limited to questions.

@BerkleyBikes   Integrating CS teams can be super useful, but tough to do.

@ExpWriters   Dig out opportunities by solving customer issues on social media. Turn a single, aggravated customer to a happy one publicly.

@samsitesearch   Could always hold meetups or focus groups. asking for feedback by email is another good way to understand issues for content.

@milestech   How about recording telephone conversations between sales teams and customers? (For internal use only).

What’s your favourite method for coming up w/ really solid new content ideas that we haven’t talked about yet?

@HeroicSearch   Our faves have already been talked about! Reddit. Quora. GA. These are all golden.

@kmullett   Seminar, Webinar, or Speaking engagement feedback and questions. Content gold.

@ExpWriters   Weave beautiful storytelling into your content! Here’s how. Reveal a common problem as a part of the context, describe a struggle, add an ounce of mystery, etc.

@EricLanderSEO   Current events; You’ll engage an audience outside of your core demographics based on immediate interest – then discovery begins. Get personal. Easiest way to do something new is to tell a passionate story others haven’t heard before. Be unique. Be you. No one is a better subject leader on “you” than… YOU. Use that to your advantage!

@SolomonSolves   Doing things unrelated to your industry (comics for PUD?!), thinking of ways people use your product you don’t expect!

@OC2015   branding & design sites. If a pic = 1000 words, sites = 1mm right? Draw inspiration for content from images and experiences

@netvantage   We like to find dead websites — which isn’t easy & takes time — & recreate a resource/content if their is an audience.

@BerkleyBikes   Ask the people you’re creating the content for?

@samsitesearch   Examine everything we have talked about, then go outside. get away. surprising how many ideas turn up when out of the office!

@milestech   Power brainstorming sessions with colleagues can be really beneficial. Set a target and reach it. Creative minds are powerful.

Summary: Going Beyond ‘SEO Best Practices’ on #SEOchat

Moderator: @jennita

@jennita   “Best Practices” such as: 80/20 rule for Tweeting, subfolder > subdomain, CTA must be above the fold, may not work for you.

What’s the one “Best Practice” you live & breathe by? The one you know to be true in all (or at least most) situations.

@OC2015   Optimize for the USER first. Understanding an audience is more important than keyword stuffed meta.

@Moketronics   That’s hard… I guess always have at least a few short paragraphs of text content on a page.

@scin383   Consistent Citation and NAP profiles!

@Magnani_Dot_Com   Write for people. Build for robots. I always mention that creating great content is on point. But, if it has no architecture behind it, no one will find it. Another piece of advice, in two questions: “How are you being found?” “How do you want to be found?”

@kotmseo   Best practice I live by is the keywords to target are always different from the ones product owners want you to target.

@tannerpetroff   Content is king. Because that’s literally all websites are made of.

@jennita   “Don’t make Google think” is my tried and true best practice. Google can mess up if you leave it to them to figure the site out. Another fave “Talk like your community/customers” – this helps in keyword research/targeting, content creation, social media.

@hollafaye   Clean URLs. Always.
@Moketronics   Yeah, I initially kind of wanted to say something like “if you’re on IIS, you’re (probably) going to have a bad time” because it so often causes so many basic SEO issues like poor URL structure.

@EricLanderSEO   Verify indexation. Seen many sites publishing content w/ HTTP header, robots.txt issues, etc. Content needs to indexed to rank. You’d also be very surprised at the number of issues that can be uncovered if content isn’t indexed in a timely manner. Love @allmikehall’s rec. here. Understand the KPIs of an effort are the best way to ensure success.

@samsitesearch   If you’re not adding value to the user, and giving them what they want/answering questions, then you’re doing it wrong.

@directom   Be transparent with everything you do, from reporting to content creation.

@netvantage   Content that is beneficial to the user, not just Google. Quantity is important, but quality matters more.

@CallMeLouzander   Make sure you know your elevator pitch, then make sure your website tells that story. Why do you deserve to rank?

@AndreaMLehr   Produce valuable, data-driven content and go from there. Also make sure your keywords are focused and relevant to your audience/content.

@jacquesbouchard   Blend your approach across content types – news, research, video, images, etc. Fit your content to multiple contexts.
@directom   Agreed. Be with your audience every step of the way in every way possible.
@EricLanderSEO   XML/RPC ping issues in WordPress were for a long time an issue for a series of sites I consulted for.
@CallMeLouzander   Categorized XML feeds FTW. Slow work but finds indexing problems. So many sites w/ 404s in XML.

@SEOSEM   Does this work (indexing, keywords, links, code, content)

@milestech   Make it easy for everyone to find you. If they can’t find you, then how can you help them?

@allmikehall   Understand the end goal. Metrics like links and traffic are nice, but they are secondary.
@OC2015   But write your end goals in pencil..never know what will change or pop up.
@jennita   Love this! Know what the heck it is you really care about!
@CallMeLouzander   hear, hear! Understand how every part of your site contributes to a goal: education, sales, entertainment, etc.

@DavidProHQ   Get your own house in order before you invite people over. Make sure on-page SEO is in order and funnels set up.

@BerkleyBikes   Trust your gut. If it seems spammy, don’t do it. If you think it’ll be successful, make the case.

@scin383   It doesnt matter what YOU think you are it only matters what Google thinks you are (ecommerce vs local business with a website).

@BruceClayInc   Know your conversions (micro & macro); make them easy for users to find. Do landing pgs quickly communicate?

@Casieg   Just be a real human. Search engines don’t buy products.
@Moketronics   The one caveat I would say is “speak like a human who is descriptive” – some real people can be super vague.
@Casieg   Haha great point! And forget the jargon!
@Moketronics   Googles: “Buying things and stuff that are okay”
@CallMeLouzander   Good point. I’ve seen lndng pgs use only pronouns, no real keywords. Get someone else proofread your copy
@jacquesbouchard   Is that always The way to go, though? What if you’re selling something highly technical? Will plain talk build trust?
@Casieg   You can still talk like a human and be technical.
@Magnani_Dot_Com   Depends on the audience. Sometimes you can jump right into the deep end if you target for those members.
@jacquesbouchard   …yes, you can. But that’d be something I’d A/B test; which language will speak to them? What kinds of humans are they?

@AlanBleiweiss   always rant. With a smile.
@jennita   this is a given.

@markdhansen   Content is King!

@OC2015   The user the king. The brand is queen. Aligning your message is more important than getting bad content out

@BruceClayInc   Impressed that most of the A1 answers have been content-centered. SEO has come a long way!
@jacquesbouchard   INB4 someone mentions meta keywords and NOYDIR tags.

@meg_furey   Commander’s Intent. Action Items may change but always aim to reach that final destination and the goals set.

What’s one SEO “Best Practice” that you’ve found simply doesn’t work for your organization (or client)?

@Magnani_Dot_Com   Content generation can be a tricky thing to implement into an establishment that has never thought of frequency or process.
@OC2015   Especially when you don’t have any value to add to your customer’s process
@Magnani_Dot_Com   The thing is, odds are value exists, is just doesn’t align with customer wants to corp’s executive desires.
@OC2015   means a lot of things to a lot of people, but a company needs to understand what it means to their user.

@misfttweek   Optimizing for Mobile apps. Our site is responsive but we dont have the niche that will be downloading APPS onto their phones.

@directom   Every client is different. Replicating strategies will not work. Learn from past experiences and customize each strategy.

@EricLanderSEO   Can’t divulge many specifics, but in highly regulatory industries, real time social content marketing for SEO is tough.
@denverish   I can only imagine, as real time social content marketing for SEO is tough for any industry.
@EricLanderSEO   Downsizing, too, many clients need to keep pages active but not publicly available. Creates many additional steps to follow. Seriously, @denverish. We have social response matrices, post content pre-approved 24 hours in advance, etc. for finance/legal. Another best practice many can’t commit to is using Grunt and similar tools to reduce code bloat to increase optimization.

@AlanBleiweiss   Don’t assume a “best practice” isn’t working. Issues not considered may have bigger impact.

@tannerpetroff   Had a client once where I recommended cutting 10k pages from an 18k pg site. Worked perfect.

@Moketronics   Quick test and update approach. Doesn’t work with most enterprise clients due to implementation speed.

@jacquesbouchard   I’ve had a very hard time believing that linkspam disavows work. Used to, but it’s been a long time now since I’ve seen impact.
@CallMeLouzander   Conversely, over-zealous disavowing (it’s real, ppl) really hurts a site. We def live in paranoid times for links.
@jacquesbouchard   Agreed, although I’ve never personally been hit. I still see wins from disavowing with pharma hack links.

@BerkleyBikes   Bloat is one of the biggest problems I encounter (even if it’s easily fixed).

@BruceClayInc   Setting up a blog isn’t a good strategy for every site. Some are just filled w/ boring/promotional content.
@CallMeLouzander   Agreed! And maybe your audience isn’t on Facebook. Do resrch b4 hopping onto social and wasting your own time!
@EricLanderSEO   It’s really difficult to get clients to commit to a blog, authorship attribution & content over time.

@netvantage   Producing content, no matter the quality, doesn’t always bring in traffic, or the right traffic. True for niche industry sites.

@RonellSmith   Remember that “best” doesn’t necessarily mean best for your brand

@AndreaMLehr   Having the same metrics across the board for every client–some want all the links while others want one or two big ones.

@jonathanbentz   Deep links are the key to pull rank. In some niches, youd be surprised how many top ranking pages rank because of DA of site.
@Moketronics   On top of that, if most sites in niche have few deep links, lots to yours might look unnatural.
@jacquesbouchard   Fixing indexation issues is still a pretty big win that happens fast.

@denverish   At @moz, we recently found after running a test that we didn’t *need* to publish a blog post every day.
@thompsonpaul   Was going to mention the same thing – that at site “must” publish a certain number of times per week.

@samsitesearch   depends on the client/industry, but sometimes a lean # of pages isn’t ideal when there are SO many variables (e.g. chemicals).

@Ozaemotion   Daily blog update doesn’t work for some specific niche project!

@allmikehall   Look at competitors for link building: Often don’t have anything of value, or have paid/partnership links that don’t help.

@AlanBleiweiss   It’s not a “best practice” if it doesn’t fit your brand/audience/niche

How did you figure out the “best practice” didn’t actually work for you?

@RonellSmith   By attempting to replicate processes shared by others. Data and/or content performance analysis.

@Moketronics   As far as implementation struggles, that’s proved out constantly across most big clients.

@misfttweek   Mainly just a demographics test. older demo usually arent to familiar with the ways of mobile.

@EricLanderSEO   In short, we determined this because it broke code repositories and created DB conflicts between staging and live

@netvantage   Trial & error. Content marketing works great for some industries, but others didn’t get the same spike in traffic from it.

@directom   First, find out client’s needs. Then, form strategy and metrics around these needs.

@jacquesbouchard   Annotate in GA and watch to see how channel volume, conversions, user behavior, events, and indexation change over time.

@Magnani_Dot_Com   Figured out “Write for people. Build for robots” by monitoring algo changes and adjusting content type and content structure.

@jonathanbentz   Amazing what comp research does to your strategy for clients links and on page. Threshold for over optimization is always diff.

@jennita   Test all the things! Rely on your OWN data, not someone elses.

@scin383   We have a good mix of ecommerce and clicks & bricks clients. A lot of local SEO tactics work well for C&B but not for ecom.

@AndreaMLehr   Presenting clients with different reports to see what they like most–a sheet with links or screenshots of top placements?

@Magnani_Dot_Com   Once solidified, created a general approach that can be modified per clients’ wants/needs and their audiences’ wants/needs.

@EricLanderSEO   Really important to integrate. Annotations are great, and there’s not an issue of having “too many”
@thompsonpaul   How many folks added release of iOS 9 to their GA Annotations yesterday? Re: new availability of ad blockers.

@samsitesearch   Cut pages with good content (for a better UX) saw drop in key metrics. pretty obvious this one lol.

@thompsonpaul   Every time we hear “best practice” what we should really think is “starting point” for for testing against our own situation.
@jennita   I like what @thompsonpaul mentioned before. Remind boss/client that Best Practice is simply a starting point. Then you test!

@Ozaemotion   All over engagement, clicks and impressions could be consider in order to measure the best practice!
@BruceClayInc   That depends on which “best practice.” Submitting an XML sitemap, for example, can have quick results.

How do you convince your boss/client to go against a “Best Practice”

@misfttweek   The best way to convince any one to do anything is to do the research. Bring the numbers and they cant object.

@Casieg   Ideally with data. Although sometimes you just have to use the “trust-me-I’ve-been doing-this-a-long-time” factor.

@OC2015   By showing them empirically that it wont work for a client. Or by pushing beyond the tactic to something more innovative.

@seanvanguilder   Multiple times it comes down to showing them the data. Ideally backed up by other industry experts’ results.

@EricLanderSEO   Easy; Data driven reasoning can lead you against the grain. In a creative field, evidence against a trend warrants a test, IMO.

@BruceClayInc   Data! Draw a conclusion between the practice and the pain point to make your case. This is the “art” part of SEO.

@Tinu   Case study, test w/ bribe, followed by results.

@AndreaMLehr   Always bring numbers to back up why and be sure to come with a new strategy already outlined–adding a smile never hurts either.

@bill_slawski   In making a thoughtful and convincing argument against a best practice, it helps to have reasonable alternatives.

@jonathanbentz   The data speaks for itself. If you can’t make at least a logical argument w/ data, stick to the best practice.

@Moketronics   Data is the obvious one, but what if you don’t have it yet? Sometimes do it anyway and ask forgiveness.

@tannerpetroff   Educate. Talk through the situation and why it makes sense to move from the beaten path. +1 for case studies!

@CallMeLouzander   Accompany “this won’t work” with “but here’s what will, and why”. Be proactive & creative.

@AlanBleiweiss   Educate. Explain why a “best practice” isn’t the best path in that situation “because X”…

@jacquesbouchard   Create a culture of trust with your boss and team. Educate, and show supporting data and anecdotes that led to your theory.

@denverish   Show them what *will* work (with a small test).

@netvantage   You can only do something for so long before you realize that it isn’t going to work, but have data to back up your claim.

@samsitesearch   Provide as much data as possible. also if there are any articles out there where it was done before, can be a good loosener.

Your boss says “But this @Moz post says to do it this way” how do you respond (nicely folks… )

@tannerpetroff   Here’s another @Moz post that shows a case study of a different path that still works.

@EricLanderSEO   How? Respond with a compromise. Test a new initiative in a “safe enough” environment to compare/contrast results. (Test!). If we all did the same thing the same way, we’d never really learn from one another.

@PeterThistle   Offer to run a test.

@BerkleyBikes   You explain that even the all-seeing experts @moz know you’ve gotta test, test, test.

@seanvanguilder   Typically I say there is no silver bullet that works for all companies with SEO. And changes occur all the time in seo.

@jonathanbentz   “who wrote it? Was it @dr_pete or a YouMozzer? Let me read it first please”

@directom   “This could be our next case study”

@milestech   Try to educate, and always have a good backup plan. Like if a fire alarm goes off during #seochat, and you need a buddy to step in.

@jacquesbouchard   Also, with due respect to Moz, it’s not “MOZ” posting on the blog, it’s whoever wrote the post. Best practices are not implied.

Why don’t we just throw out “Best Practices” all together?

@OC2015   Becuase Google already has

@misfttweek   SEO is ever changing what doesnt work now could work a month from now.

@EricLanderSEO   SEO, at ~20 years old, is still in it’s infancy. It’s the Open Source Marketing Industry. There’s no value in ruining that.

@CallMeLouzander   Agreed w/ @BruceClayInc on prev q. Some practices work 90+% of the time. Can’t reinvent the wheel each time.

@Moketronics   As mentioned earlier, you need a starting point. Why not learn from others rather than throwing dice at a dart board?

@Magnani_Dot_Com   No one likes to hear, “Well, we make up our approach as we go along.” Best practices make guidelines, not a stone-etched truths.

@jonathanbentz   Because it doesn’t make sense to avoid doing SEO tasks that have worked since 1999 when none of us have the real roadmap.

@jacquesbouchard   I throw them out every day. But having an XML sitemap, for example, is clearly a best practice, and it’s good to identify that.

Best Practices… What are they good for?

@Tinu   There are situations where a best practice is a good jumping off point it general guideline.

@bill_slawski   Talking about “Best Practices” gives us a shared vocabulary to begin discussions with, and rules to break (responsibly).
@BruceClayInc   THIS. Also, let’s not forget that best practices are rooted in search engine guidelines, not arbitrary.

@CallMeLouzander   Plus, even tho the bots evolve, they still follow same patterns. Good UX/crawl paths, logical linking, clean XML can’t hurt!

@samsitesearch   because then SEO would be like the wild west…oh wait. there’s so much value to starting points as @thompsonpaul said.

@thompsonpaul   Because then we’d be unnecessarily reinventing the wheel each time – Best Practice is uselful for worthwhile starting point

@EricLanderSEO   Best practices are innovated and improved upon forever. I mean, how often had we heard @jillwhalen tell us about content?

@Tinu   It’s the thinking behind best practices that needs to change. It’s not carved in stone or even wood.

@tannerpetroff   I think the term deserves a place because it gives a baseline for the less-than-expert to go off of. Everyone starts somewhere!

@milestech   If the SEO mythbusting committee can disprove them, or thought drastically changes, no issue with abandoning them.

@seanvanguilder   Depends on the definition of best practice. I pust best practices into two silos with SEO: Usability and User Intent

@RonellSmith   They serve an important purpose: For most, they provide the ideal starting place.

@directom   Always question best practices! Don’t just accept them. But at the end of the day, most have data driven results.

@kotmseo   Best practices are best practices for a reason. Unless they’ve been nullified by a Google algorithm change, still follow them. “Best practices” is a relative term. If you mean things like character counts, use of alt tags, etc., those never go away.

@BerkleyBikes   “Best Practices” is kind of a buzzword for saying “doing it the other way is gonna fuck things up.”

@netvantage   There are some universal best practices: Ex: Pages should have page titles. Best practices for how to write them up for debate.

@AndreaMLehr   A “best” is great to have as a point of reference to learn from and challenge; it forces us to think creatively and push forward

@Ozaemotion   Sometimes we need keep few hidden weapons(best practice) with us. It can be used when all strategies fails!

@EricLanderSEO   The key to “best practices” is that there’s always room to make them innovate, automate and improve (@yoast comes to mind)

@jennita   We all seem to be in agreement:

  1. Best Practices are a good starting point
  3. Use data & reasoning w/ boss

@allmikehall   Best practices make you evaluate the factors that are important for SEO. Keeps you from overlooking essential items.

@thompsonpaul   Best Practice can also be short for “Don’t really know what I’m doing, so covering my ass by laying blame elsewhere if it fails”