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The SES Conference Series

I had the fortune of attending the SES Conference in San Francisco this year, and learnt a great deal about digital marketing from social media to search engine optimization, pay-per-click to analytics.

If you ever have the chance to attend SES – go for it. Three days there is pretty much worth a year’s of work experience. The world’s foremost experts in online marketing congregating to share their insights with you? It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Putting to practice what I’ve learnt over the last week about search engine optimization and blogging, I’m kicking off a series of posts recapping the events from the SES Conference. I’d love attend SES in Hong Kong and Singapore to see how it differs, but no such luck I guess (Sponsors anyone? I’ll blog for you! :P)

Now first up…

SEO Mechanics – Assess. Diagnose. Fix.

Although I’m familiar with the mechanics, I’m not so much a technical SEO person as I am a strategist and content marketer. Hey, you really can’t separate the two – SEO and content marketing go together like apples and cinnamon. (Got that from one of my favourite songs by Utada Hikaru, if anyone is interested. Clearly, I digress.)  I’m always eager to pick up more tips on the technical aspect of SEO, so this session won out over the other options. Here are the highlights:

Google Webmaster Tools

A good barometer of whether you are doing well in SEO, is if you Google your own website. See 7 brand links? You’re good. Less than that? You’ve got a problem on your hands.

UPDATE: I originally provided the screencap below to illustrate the above point. Turns out I was wrong. Oops. Rather than to let me ramble on in my ignorance, Internet marketing ninja, Chris Boggs kindly set me straight.

Branded Site Links

Rather than to paraphrase, which I would do a poor job at, here’s an excerpt from the maestro himself:

“The image you show is of a Brand result with 6 “Sitelinks.” This is excellent to see when doing a basic diagnostic of how your site is performing for Brand. However, I was saying an even better thing to target is 7 overall “main links” (not indented like Sitelinks).

If there are only 7 main results, like in the example of Macy’s which I used (https://www.google.com/search?q=macy’s), that means that Google has granted authority to the brand, in my opinion, by limiting the non-brand results. The better your social entities and other owned-domains are, the more likely that you will fill out the 7 main listings. In the Macy’s example, I see 7 “main” results + a local box + a News box, so it almost looks like 9 results.”

And there you have it. Thanks, Chris!

Want to check the cleanliness of your SEO and meta descriptions? Use site: (brand name), to check the titles, descriptions and order of results. The order of results in particular could determine how important certain pages are.

You can also manage site links through Google Webmaster Tools, and try to recommend links.

Here’s another tip – take note of the various tabs in Google Webmaster Tools – they are there for a reason. Look at both top queries and and top pages.

See who links most to your site, and track your internal links.

When it comes to Manual Action and Malware, no news is good news. You really don’t want to see anything there. And while you are checking out crawl errors, look at the phone tab too – everyone knows how important mobile is nowadays. In fact, you can also submit a sitemap for mobile in Google Webmaster Tools.

Moving on to…

Bing Webmaster Tools

I confess that I’ve never used Bing Webmaster Tools before, and that’s the main reason why I came to this session. Here’s a quick rundown of the features in this tool:

SEO Analyzer – Highlights exact issue, where the problem is and provides Bing’s best practice recommendation

SEO Reports – Runs every week; you can also set a crawl alert

Link Explorer – View the top inbound links

Index Explorer – Provides an overview of site structure and a visual representation of directory structure

You can also fix a particular issue and get Bing to recrawl a particular area of the site. Bing webmaster tools also provides visibility into subdomains.

A point for consideration? Using a cycle of sitemaps and removing a URL for the site map once it has been indexed.

During the Q&A session, the speakers also suggested including the sitemap in the robots.txt file to make sure it is updated more quickly and to specify the exact location in the file, for sites that experience a delay in getting their pages indexed.

While I am already fairly familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, I can’t wait to try out the Bing Webmaster Tools. Many thanks to Chris Boggs from Internet Marketing Ninjas and Grant Simmons from The Search Agency for the great insights!

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2 thoughts on “(In SEO) The Best Second Opinion Is From Analytics

  1. Angela thanks so much for posting this coverage. I wanted to clarify one part from above: The image you show is of a Brand result with 6 “Sitelinks.” This is excellent to see when doing a basic diagnostic of how your site is performing for Brand. However, I was saying an even better thing to target is 7 overall “main links” (not indented like Sitelinks).

    If there are only 7 main results, like in the example of Macy’s which I used (https://www.google.com/search?q=macy's), that means that Google has granted authority to the brand, in my opinion, by limiting the non-brand results. The better your social entities and other owned-domains are, the more likely that you will fill out the 7 main listings. In the Macy’s example, I see 7 “main” results + a local box + a News box, so it almost looks like 9 results.

    Thanks again for the great coverage!

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