Great presentation by Phil Frost, Founder of Main Street ROI (@mainstreetroi), “SEO is Dead: 5 Rules for Winning in the New World of Search.”

Given the changes in SEO, and all of the rumors about what you should and shouldn’t do, I thought it would be useful to share the thoughts of an SEO professional.

Phil suggests approaching SEO the same way you should approach content marketing – be transparent and provide information of value. Do not try to fool Google. Help Google provide information of value.

Phil reviewed Google’s four major updates:

  1. Panda rooted out websites that provided poor user experiences (UX), poor design, and poor navigation.
  2. Penguin removed over optimized websites where users were trying to beat Google’s algorithm by key word stuffing.
  3. Google+ used social media signals to improve search results by ranking sites based on social media credibility.
  4. Hummingbird interprets the context of a search and provide semantic updates.

As long as you’re trying to provide information of value to users, Google updates are an opportunity to improve the performance of your site in search results.

Three things Phil recommends avoiding in order to avoid being penalized by Google:

  1. Over-optimized web pages
    1. Write naturally for your customer, do not write for search engines.
    2. Do not stuff keywords on a page.
    3. Aim for 500+ words per page.
    4. Provide information of value.
  2. Self-created links
    1. Do not buy links – you will be penalized.
    2. Do not add links to irrelevant sites.
    3. Do not use the same anchor text on all, or most of, your links.
    4. Focus on sharing information of value to get links.
  3. Unnecessary “SEO” webpages
    1. Do not create multiple pages for similar keywords (e.g. plurals or similar intent).
    2. One page per keyword or theme.

Three predictions for 2016:

  1. Google will continue to fight manipulative SEO tactics.
  2. Local and mobile search will increase in importance; as such, your site needs to be mobile optimized.
  3. Social signals will become more important.

SEO is about partnering with Google to help users.

SEO should resemble and reflect real world relationships where you share information of value with people so they are talking about you and sharing your information with others, as well as

providing positive reviews about your products and services.

Here are Phil’s five rules:

  1. Research keywords.
    1. Use the Google keyword planner tool to look for long tail keywords.
    2. Look for search volume greater than zero.
    3. Look for words that reflect “buying intent” versus “research intent.”
    4. Ask yourself if you really deserve to be ranked number one – do you actually offer the product or service you are promoting?
  2. Website relevance.
    1. Match your message to the market.
    2. Think in terms of target personas.
    3. Pick one page per target keyword and similar phrases.
    4. Use the target keyword in the title, headers, and body copy. Google looks at “titles” of a website like the chapters in a book.
    5. Create the webpage you’d want to find based on what you typed into Google (i.e. long-tail keywords).
  3. Website reputation.
    1. What’s your “real world” reputation?
    2. Make sure the websites you’re associated with are credible.
    3. Your friends say good things about you in social media.
    4. Focus on attracting links – do not buy or create them.
  4. SEO revenue.
    1. Write for your customers.
    2. Have social proof.
    3. Have clear calls-to-action.
    4. Do your keyword research to find words that generate sales.
    5. Use Google Analytics to track SEO traffic, leads, and sales.
  5. Responsibility.
    1. Identify who is going to be responsible for SEO on a day-to-day basis.
    2. Do not “set and forget” SEO. It must be managed on a daily or weekly basis.
    3. Delegate SEO work only after you understand.

Tactics for getting ranked in 30 days or less:

  1. Piggyback SEO
    1. Piggyback on high authority websites like YouTube, PRWeb and Webwire
    2. Publish content with keywords in the title.
  2. Local SEO via Google and local listing (20% of searches are local; 40% of mobile searches are local; 97% search for local businesses)
    1. Research = Google Keyword Tool
    2. Relevance = keywords in you profile on local listing sites and relevant online directories
    3. Reputation = citations and reviews

Create a  “search console” (formerly webmaster tools) account in Google to receive alerts if your site is hacked and get advice from Google on the next steps to take to get your ranking back.

Stay abreast of SEO changes for long term success and don’t try to game the system. Establish a set of best practices for sharing information of value and you will be following the SEO “best practices” of the times.



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Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional