The challenge with a great conference like SES is that very useful, multiple presentations can occur on multiple tracks simultaneously. "SEO Competitive Analysis" was a session I did not want to miss, and I was not disappointed! Excellent presentation. I filled page after page with notes, here is an overview.
Michael Hayward, CEO, ROI Labs
Taylor Pratt, VP of Product Marketing, Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Richard Zwicky, Independent Consultant
Highlights from the SEO presentation included:
"Help! I've dropped in search engine rankings. What am I doing wrong?"
- When bad SEO happens, don't panic. Don't focus just on your website. Look at those sites which have passed you. Evaluate and research their success. Develop a Reverse Marketing Plan - - in effect, reverse engineer your competition.
- Determine your competitive landscape. Who is doing what where?
- Look at the web strategy of competitors, including their source codes, to get drill-down data you can use.
- "To Compete, you must Displace your competition." In other words... Kill, or be Killed.
- Organic Search, Local Search and Social Search are all connected. Don't ignore any of them!
- Proper web analytics tools can help you understand your competition in hours, not days.
- Look exploiting Brand and non-Brand (generic) positioning in organic search and paid search.
- Consider building three matrix evaluation charts, grading current marketing results by 'effective', 'neutral' and 'ineffective':
- SEO Matrix - Organic Search
- PPC Matrix - Paid Search
- Social Media Matrix - Social Sites
- Use analytics for quick (top 5-10) and in-depth (deeper) analysis of keywords. Ask "is that keyword worth the effort and cost?".
- Keyword research tools, free and paid, are readily available to help you evaluate keywords. Tools include Google Analytics, SEObook, SEOMOZ, SEObook for Firefox, CustomRank, Getmelisted, Sycara, Searchmetrics and many others.
- Analyze SERPs from your competitors. Consider:
- Age of the domain. Number of links. Number of ads for keywords, title tags, page urls, keyword density, keyword positioning, anchor text, navigation, back-links, clean HTML, Call-to-Action, etc.
- What else are they doing? Blogs, Conferences? Part of the back-link analysis.
- Compare their webpages to YOURS. Evaluate and prepare. How far do you have to go to be competitive?
- After evaluation, determine rank potential. Look at potential keyword value, ROI and % share of clicks.
- Then ask: "Is it worth your time?". Pick your targets and your battles and implement your strategy.