The Fish Aren’t Biting: Failed (Link) Bait on the Rough Seas of SEO

fishing lure

SEO is a lot like fishing. SEO is about baiting a hook with different baits from guest posts to info-graphics, casting the bait into the water (the Internet), and then waiting for a bite. Preferably a lot of bites (backlinks, visitors, etc.).

Not convinced that the two are similar? Isn’t the sea reminiscent of major search engines (say, for instance, Google)? One moment calm, serene, and abundant with fish and the next a roiling, churning mass of waves tossing your boat (website) to and fro. Think Penguin, Panda, and the slew of other algorithm changes that have hit like violent hurricanes. read more

My First 60 Days in SEO – From Noob to Link Builder

Link building walking in the desert
I come from a background of technical IT related work rather than internet marketing/SEO, so the majority of SEO was new to me. The last time I had done anything close to what you could call SEO was my webpage design class back in high school. I remember learning about how to construct a webpage, how to make the page look “good”, and how meta tags are SUPER important.
Oh, how things have changed.
My first few days in SEO were filled with a constant stream of new information while I franticly tried to retain at least 25% of it. But this is to be expected with anything new. Over time I retained more and more, but works best for me is to do it myself. It’s one thing to read about link building. It’s another thing to do it yourself and it’s not easy, especially as a noob.
On-page optimization always made a lot of sense to me since I had a web page background, but link building was completely new. It’s easy to look back and say, “Wow, I don’t know why I had a hard time understanding this.” But as a noob it’s hard to wade through all the possibilities for link building. This was one concept that took me a while to wrap my head around. There is no “correct” answer or “set way” to build links or rank #1. I was used to exact procedures to accomplish a task. In classes there was usually one correct answer to a problem. When a computer breaks or gets a virus, there is a procedure to fix it. However, in SEO, this isn’t the case. Yes, there are a few things you will do for all your clients, like on-page optimization. But most of the time a different strategy per client is more effective, depending on what kind of client/site you are working with.

client wants to be #1

I remember starting the outreach for my first guest posting campaign. I was thinking it would be easy and I would pick up links left and right. I soon found out that it would end up being a lot harder. I found some blog prospects for where I thought I could get a post up. But something good link builders may take for granted, is that a noob won’t necessarily know how to approach a blogger. At first, to me, it wasn’t about building a relationship. It was just about getting a link up. Chances are the blogger will have no interest in that, and there won’t be a very high success rate. I also didn’t expect any bloggers to want payment or simply just never respond. Often when I’m training someone or teaching somebody something new I just assume that they will know things because it’s “easy”(This is probably why I’m a horrible teacher). But it’s important to know a new person will always have some difficulties with things that seem simple to you. read more

3 “Lucky Charms” to Improve Your Pay-Per-Click Campaign

If you’ve ever run a Google AdWords campaign, you may have felt that its comparable to gambling. The House (Google) makes the rules and you either play by them or they’ll have you escorted out. There’s real money on the line, and if you bid just right, if the numbers line up, you can win big, big, big! After all, it’s a game of chance…right?
Not exactly.
While it may feel like you’re at the mercy of fate, there is a fair amount of skill involved with developing and executing a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. That means it’s time to ditch that lucky rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, or (please!) those lucky socks in favor of these three “lucky charms” that will actually improve your odds of hitting the jackpot. read more

Don't be an SEO – Be a teacher

mad teacher

I hate being in this situation in a new client meeting:

“Well we just need a little bit of SEO on our page, pretty easy stuff. we can pay about $250, we used to have a guy who did it for that much”

My next question is “$250 per hour?” (which typically blows their mind)
As we all know, they mean per month.
Joel K really caught my attention when I saw him tweet this:

cheap beer budget tweet

So, why do businesses have this expectation?

  1. Because we are not doing a good enough job of educating people as to what it truly takes to do “SEO”
  2. Because there’s a large enough population of people who are looking for “offline gold” (AKA robbing small business owners) and will do “SEO” (read: buy Fivrr link spam packages for $25) a make a hundred bucks or so per month

The way number 2 usually works is: the business owner never sees results, the scammer sticks around for a few months saying “it will start working soon”, and eventually gets fired.
The business owner cuts him loose and cuts his losses. He’s only out a few hundred dollars right?
Now he no longer has faith in SEO or the SEO community, and neither will his circle of influence (ie. other business owners, friends, family and whomever else follows/listens to him).
SEO is a tactic, not a strategy. We need to be educators to partner with businesses to drive more revenue for them at a lower customer acquisition cost than they are currently paying.
If we aren’t doing that, what does “SEO” matter?
Snake oil salesmen don’t know strategy, they know push buttons -> make cash -> burn customer -> repeat.
Now go, young grasshoppers, and be the teacher.
Question: How often do you encounter new clients with jaded experiences from bad SEOs? How do you reset expectations? read more

15 Link Building Tips – SEER Google+ Q&A Recap

On Wednesday SEER Interactive did a 1 hour Q&A session on Google+.
The topic was linkbuilding and they gave out some great strategies, tools, tips and more. This is a summary of some of the best content from the session.

SEER Participants

Who answered questions?

Wil Reynolds

Chris Le

Allison Brown

Ethan Lyon

Abbot Shea

Adam Melson


A word about SEO tools (from the guy who has to build them)

Chris Le  –  A word about SEO tools (from the guy who has to build them): There are tons of them because there are so many different approaches to link building, competitive research, client analysis, and site auditing. It’s better to think about your process first. Know what is working for you and develop and perfect your process. Then find (or build) tools to complement that. Doing it the other way around, selecting a tool, then building process around that, will almost send you into tool mania. That’s the approach I take here at Seer: I spend weeks sitting with folks learning habits, how, and why people do things. Then I build tools to complement what they already do. I make it tools to help them work faster or more accurately. I even go to marketing meetups and developer meetups hoping to learn some different approach to the same problem then applying those solutions to the tools I make.

Don’t focus on a specific “tool” – focus on a process and optimize it. Then find/create a tool that can automate that process as best as possible. read more

[Tutorial] Learn ImportXML – Best SEO Tool Ever

I am not a developer. But learning how to use ImportXML has been one of the most interesting things I’ve done in the past few weeks.
If you haven’t heard of ImportXML yet, or just haven’t got around to using it, you need to learn it now.
– It’s not very hard
– It’s free and awesome
– It will save you tons of time if you do any work online and make you very happy! Yaaay
Assuming you work in the internet field, learning to code, even at a beginner/intermediate level, is a very valuable skill to have. You might never be the one writing complicated programs for your company, but you will understand what goes into it and how it works. Plus you’ll be able to create smaller “agile” tools that can make your life easier. read more