Blog covering a variety of Search Engine Optimization topics.

Friday, August 11, 2006

SES Conference - SJ 2006 What I Learned, What I Saw Part I

San Jose 2006 was actually the first SES conference I had a chance to participate in, and after attending 4 or 5 WebmasterWorld conferences, I give some props to SES and the quality sessions they offered. While it’s truly difficult to not be outright bored by the repetitive, basic information at any session 50% of the time, I was impressed with the speakers and the collective minds gathered in San Jose. If you’ve been through the wars with SEO, SES is the place where you can pick up some new tricks and spend some quality time contemplating / discussing the future direction of search marketing. Onto what I learned . . .

I focused on attending sessions that pertained to organic search, particularly site architecture, link baiting, and ones that would lend themselves towards talking about the “direction” of organic search. Site architecture and page layout has been of particular interest to me lately because I recently acquired a domain and am working on finding the right balance between aesthetically pleasing pages and optimized layouts for the engines under my own direction (instead of letting the nerds run with it). I’ve preached on this blog already about the importance of quality, link-laden content, but not so much about where to put that content with respect your page layout. It was reiterated to me at SES the importance of sticking content that explains exactly what your page is about and what keywords should be bringing people into it right at the top of your page. Keep in mind that in this day in age search engines have evolved to the point where they quickly “skip over” the areas of web pages that are generally reserved for headers, main navigation, banners, etc. to go right to the meat of a page to find out what it is about. If your page is about purchasing homes in California, then you should have a brief, informative, keyword contained block of text right in the middle of the top of the page. If you’re running an ecommerce site, or driving your visitors to complete some sort of action (like filling out a form), it can definitely be tempting to place product images or big “Get Started” buttons at the top of your page, after all, it’s a highly visible location. But don’t forget to include some plain old, easily spiderable text up there first. Your SERP rankings will love you back.

Another thing that has been pretty hot lately (“Hansel, so hot right now, Hansel”) is the idea of link baiting. There was a solid session on this on Wednesday afternoon at SES that brought up some good points and tips for link baiting, which basically means obtaining links from people/sites simply by having good/informative/controversial/newsworthy content running on your site. It doesn’t necessarily fall into the same type of practices that many other black hat SEO tactics do – it can in fact be accomplished by doing something of note that people out there find helpful or plausible. They want to link to you because they feel like you and/or your business deserves it. Certain websites definitely lend themselves to this method of obtaining links, whether they be controversial in nature or perhaps quite innovative in nature (or they are owned or backed by a major corporation), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the “little guy” can’t enjoy the love of unsolicited, editorial links by just doing a proverbial good. I was left wanting more, however, with regards to some tips on how to make a small budget site or a generally “non-controversial” website have some link bait qualities from the presenters. They kept reasserting that if you built a good website and maintained a business that was helpful and courteous to customers that things would all work out. Thanks for the tip! Oh well, back to the drawing board. But seriously, no matter what your site is or is about, there is some intelligent way to join the link bait parade – it just may take a few beers to find it.

I’ll write more on two other topics/tips that caught my eye at SES next week – cleaning up your code for search purposes and the almighty importance of reputation management with respect to the SERPs.


  • At 4:34 PM, Tampa Grout Cleaning said…

    Have you ever heard about cloaking a page...but the version you show google has the same exact copy but just all the uncessary coding cut out?


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