SEO, Usability & 15 Stupid Things You Can Do to Your Website – SMX West

Michael Stebbins—Market Motive

Whilst not technically a session I was fortunate enough to hear Michael Stebbins of Market Motive present a little mini-presentation in the Expo hall, which grabbed a lot of people’s attention. I was away from my laptop but managed to type up notes on my iPhone.

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His presentation was titled: 15 stupid things you can do to your website:

1. Using lots of JavaScript menus so search engines can’t crawl your website properly.

2. Using stupid keywords—ones that are too competitive or no one is searching for. Michael suggested picking mid-range keywords and work your way up.

Ask the Link Builders Q&A – SMX West

The ‘Ask the Link Builders’ session was a Q+A style panel at SMX West this year and consisted of Rae Hoffman, Debra Mastaler and Roger Monti.

Q: How do you keep link building white hat?

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The general consensus was to stay away from things that go against Google’s terms of service. Debra Mastaler recommended going easy on reciprocal links, site wide paid links and not to be too obvious in what you are doing. Rae Hoffman advised the audience to avoid buying links especially from major networks and to keep anchor text in the inbound links natural. So varying the words used was a good idea.

Optimising Images for Search Engines – SMX West

The following is a special report from SMX West 2009.

Peter Linsley—Google

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First up Peter Linsley of Google ran through some of the concepts behind Google images and also factors that may influence ranking of images on Google which included some of the following:

  • Number of referring sites—so whether the image is used on more than one website is a key metric in Google’s ranking Algorithm.
  • The text around the image and the kind of words contained is also a factor taken into account by Google.
  • Also placement of image—and whether it is above the fold

Peter also suggested that other dynamic features were in play. For example can a user comment on the image via a comments box? Or whether the image could be rated somehow.

Legally Speaking – Legal Stuff for SEMs – SMX West

A session on the legal aspects of search and domains was an interesting addition to this years’ agenda. Moderated by Sarah Bird and featuring a selection of legal experts, a range of topics relating to search and affiliate marketing were placed under scrutiny.

Travis Crabtree – Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C

First up was Travis Crabtree. Travis outlined the 2 key criteria that must exist for a case to exist in respect to ‘misuse of Trademarks’. Those two things were either a use in commerce must occur, or that there must be consumer confusion. However differences did exist between California courts and those of New York.

ECommerce Search Marketing Tactics

The session on search marketing tactics served up a strong panel of speakers. As a result a range of interesting ideas were addressed from common sense optimization tips, to leveraging shopping feeds . . . and even Twitter.

Ethan Griffin – Groove Commerce

First up Ethan’s shared some ECommerce optimization tips with the audience, which included some of the following:

  • Use the H1 tag
  • Use unique product descriptions (don’t just copy and paste supplier info into the web pages)
  • Pay attention to internal linking issues
  • Don’t bury folders/directories so that pages appear too deep in the site
  • Have the most important content at the top

In respect to SEO activities and links Ethan recommended that webmasters still submit to directories, consider creating separate blogs to drive traffic, use social media and leverage online PR.

A Summary of Danny Sullivan’s SMX Keynote

The conference kicked off bright and early at the Santa Clara Exhibition Center on Tuesday morning. Even for a Brit abroad the location was easy to find. Unlike some venues where parking is either impossible or hugely expensive at Santa Clara Exhibition Center it was a breeze and even free of charge! Next a great selection of food was served up for breakfast and by the time the first keynote of the conference was given by Danny Sullivan everyone was raring to go.

Search Landscape & market share

Danny showed the packed crowd the average share of searches based on a range of data he had gathered from Comscore, netcompete and others. The data that was primarily focused on the US market showed Google had moved from 60% to a 70% market share. Yahoo’ share had dropped a few points from the 20% range and Microsoft Live were around the 10% mark.