SearchLove Boston 2013 – Day Two

Front desk

Welcome back to SearchLove Boston! After some beer pong competition, we’re back and getting some input from folks inside AND out of SEO, talking about how to really get hands dirty and get things done, starting with very pragmatic explanation of getting your team to work better together and organize to make an impact. Today, we’ve got some take-home bullet points from the presentations for those of you who weren’t able to be there in person, or if you just want to review, as well as links to the SlideShare decks for more details.

Mackenzie Fogelson - Think Differently

Mackenzie Fogelson: How to use Content, SEO & Social Media to Achieve (Big) Goals

TL;DR: Focus on growing your business, and quality SEO and marketing will follow.

  • SEO isn’t just limited to what it used to be, but now includes marketing, and data science, where we’ve got to be the hybrid of lots of things. It’s painful, with lots of roadblocks.
  • You’ve got to look for buy-in, change perspectives (toward value and assets of business), measure and justify ROI, un-siloing teams
  • We’ve got to start thinking about growing your business instead of just SEO/marketing or social media
  • VERY collaborative. Getting team to work together is crucial
  • consultants need to be working with companies that want to fully engage in this
  • build brand, community & accomplish goals for business
  • without buy-in from the company, you should go somewhere else.
Cycle for making this work
  • Earn Buy-In: break presentations down into your audience, pain points and solutions
  • Form an Alliance with your Team: this is an extension of buy-in, and should be thought of broadly. It isn’t just about including typical members of the team, but also those who think more about the products. You'll want to survey, think and plan (set up a process even for how you'll communicate)
  • Define your Goals: informs what you’ll be measuring. Needs to be very granular: define each term, and explain how you will do things, step-by-step, answering: What do you want to do? What does that mean? (really) and How does that equate to KPIs?
  • Lay out your strategy: don't plan out (in detail) any more than 3 months so that you can go back, collect data and adjust your approach.
  • Execute & Test: Hold regular communication sessions: “stand-ups” just 10 min to align for the week, and bi-weekly pushes (“don’t forget....”); monthly “sit-down” meeting to prove your value
  • Evaluate & Adjust: Tailor your approach to discussion in meeting toward what is important to the company. Customize your report to include sections for applause, overview, traffic, stuff to know, looking forward, adjust.

Will Critchlow - Technical SEO

Will Critchlow: The Importance of Technical SEO

Will discussed the importance of paying attention still to technical components of SEO, including Page Speed, Robots.txt, mobile, JavaScript, AJAX and PushState, Infinite Scroll, but paying attention to the in a broader context, and making sure you know who your audience is, and what the impact of your recommendations are (if it costs a ton, it may not be worth it, even if it's "best practice"). He recommends tailoring your presentations as if they are all for Jeff Bezos.
  • The state of JavaScript indexation
    • FB comments can get indexed
    • Discus not getting indexed as a JS version
    • looks like selective JavaScript execution/pulling out links.
    • still important to make anything you want google to see available without JS
    • Google is crawling links that are in JS
  • Different to specify, versus auditing.
    • if comments are getting indexed, leave it alone
    • if links are only accessible via JS, fix it even if the pages are still getting discovered
Abby Covert - Search Is the Front Door To User Experience

Abby Covet: Search is the Front Door to User Experience

  • explanation of information articecture
  • all businesses lack clarity about the importance of user experience
  • more and more, internet is a place we go not just to use a tool, but to spend time there
  • problems we’re facing online are the same problems businesses have been facing in the real world for years
  • limited space on the “door” to get customers in
    • looking for lessons from physical architecture to apply in the digital world
  • labyrinth: something only needs to be effective, doesn’t need to be efficient (experience is crucial)
  • Everything can potentially be the first interaction with the brand/site, not just the home page
  • There are simple antipatterns to avoid to increase user satisfaction
Doors to avoid
  • There is no way through here: ask where the next click is.
  • What the $%*@ is this?!
  • Danger Will Robinson (things that look scary to users, even if they may not be)
  • Password, dude? (content that is locked out and doesn't have an explanation)
  • OMG this is just a hall of badly labeled doors
Search AND the result = experience

5 ways UX & search can work together

  • share your research
  • kill lorem ipsum: use actual words in testing
  • get to know your writers (get them if you don’t have them)
  • Sell the process together
  • click the links!
Card sorting is a great tool for information architecture: helps the user define their optimal experience.

Rob Ousbey

Rob Ousbey + Panel of Experts

  • Wil Reynolds
  • Neil Patel
  • Rand Fish

Distilled’s very own Rob Ousbey led a discussion with several familiar speakers, Wil Reynolds, Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin to answer the audience’s questions about content marketing generally, the art of retaining customers, spotting and maximizing under-utilized marketing opportunities,

Content Marketing
  • Neil - Good content require $$$$. It’s not cheap to create great content.  Utilize existing platforms and invest lots of money in great content.
  • Rand - What are opportunities for smaller budgets? How to produce good content on the cheap – writer must be talented. Amateur is acceptable but it must have a USP (unique selling point) to be successful and gain traction.
  • Be willing to fail for a long time.
  • Wil – working on his story-telling and visuals. Using his friend network to use their skills.
  • Wil – has made the focus of his blog the sharing of unique moments in running a company which  = Niche subject matter.

Loyalty Marketing

  • Art of retaining clients, Lifetime value, retention of clients – all should be the focus.
  • Rand – retention rates were critical for the SEOMoz fund-raising cycle with Foundry. Investors like to look @ monthly churn. Average churn. Etc,  People think SEO is a one-time thing hence sign up and then abandon SEO Moz in first three months, this is his explanation of his client abandonment rate.
  •  - slides of the SEOMoz funnel.

Underrated Marketing Opportunties

  • Neil – Guides are neglected. They are expensive but useful.
  • Neil – Quizzes increase likelihood of them being a customer
  • Neil – Product Marketing. Get customers to market for you.
  • Neil – Dropbox example (maximize your space by sharing Dropbox with friends)
  • Neil – Zapier example (shares to use product)
  • Wil – Quizzes – interesting re-marketing. Email capture…although mixed feelings on whether or not this is always a good idea.
  • Rand – likes email, good inbound channel. Use email to drive social, drive conversions, earn links, get UGC (User Generated Content). Advises caution about too many emails, as it dilutes the brand.

Where do people waste time and $$$ in their marketing

  • Neil. Lots of people waste money. But it could be seen as experimental, or a learning experience.
  • Rand. Wasted money on PR. Hired number of firms, spent money. 80% of press pieces would have got anyway. Remaining 20% not very valuable.
  • Neil. – pay for performance PR model. Outed as a dodgy business model.However he liked the honesty of it.

Link-Building – how has it changed?

  • Wil – re-focus on business questions. Also thinks about advantages that might apply beyond SEO, eg increased conversions as well as a few links.
Are links overshadowed by ranking factors?
  • Rand. Importance of author rank, regardless of whether it’s official or not. Why wouldn’t you want to rank and be seen as a Thought Leader in your niche?
  • Rand.How is brand being built? Inbound. Invest in it or lose out. Advertising, Brand Marketing still works.
  • Neil. Industry, very reactive, industry responds to Google. Focus on being proactive, do what is best for your customers and your business. Build revenue that way.

Personal Approaches – how to manage off time? how to be productive?

  • Rand. Executive assistant! Organizes travel. Blogs/emails/writes late at night.
  • Wil. Also has an assistant to manage his schedule.
 Phil Nottingham - Leveraging Video for Links

Phil Nottingham: Leveraging video for link building

There are opportunities for SEO in video, but you've got to start with good video marketing strategy. Video is a media type, it is not content. Have a goal in mind before you start creating it so that you know it it's the appropriate medium. Video is good for:

  1. Building Brand – put on you tube, social platforms
  2. Increasing Conversions – eg a product video to increase conversions.  (doubles  conversion rate) host this yourself, don’t put it on youtube. Get rich snippets – as it can lead to growth in organic traffic
  3. Links and social shares… - which covering in more depth as main subject of this talk

There are two ways people link to video:

  1. Link to page as a good resource. This is using video as a page type; eg as a part of the wireframe. These are good when they make sense with the content. Popcorn.js is a language to define other on-page triggers, so video defines framework of the page. (eg a 37 seconds into the video playing, have a lightbox appear to encourage people to sign up for a newsletter or something). See is a good example of video integration.
  2. Embed the video – This happens when it’s more important, critical to process in blog for example. A general rule for embed vs link decision: create something people will embed. This kind of video has to be much more targeted and either instructeducate, or entertain. Embedding on Vimeo or another search platform often leads to failed opportunity for links, since all social platforms links back to themselves. To avoid this, use a provider and host on own site. WISTIA is preferred. Phil has built a new tool paste iFrame embed code, including source link, and you can generate an embed code that links back to your site. Generally, remember, Youtube – good for branding, not for link bait. YouTube is, however, good for content that encourages social sharing. Use YouTube keyword tool to assess if there is search volume for the sort of thing you are posting.

Ways to build links on YouTube:

  1. YT analytics > playback locations > get list of people who embed video, then email them to give HD or ad free version that has your link.
  2. Pay for seeding. Eg Unruly media as it allows you to get your site linked to, not the Vimeo platform
  3. Don’t advertise product, advertise content; eg: choose channels that you want to target.
  4. Retarget using Google display network.
  5. Leverage video assets. Richer page types correlates with better links. Mixed media; eg: Zappos, Appliances Online, Wistia, videos online intergrated with entire page type. IMPORTANT.
Helpful tips:
  • Product Videos don’t generate links generally, but are more about conversions.
  • Top-tier guests posts get links.
  • Generally a series of videos better than one-offs and are also more cost-effective.
  • Informational Content, non-branded, esp in tech space, Dailymotion and bliptv, Photobuckets (followed profile links). 
  • Use Video to Boost PR Efforts
  • Video news releases – more effective for pitches.
  • Have video on the about pages – corporate pages. Useful  opportunity.
  • YouTube – API allows you to create a playlist.

Final Thoughts – why is no-one doing this?

  1. People think they don’t have budget. Start small – then gradually increase it.
  2. Don’t have skills to produce it.


  • Does video slow down page load – No, not if you make sure to use HTML5 video, layoff the flash.
  • Users posting video about your product to your site. Via youtube. UGC – good media type.
 Ross Hudgens - Actionable Content Marketing Strategies

Ross Hudgens: Actionable Content Marketing Tactics

Actionable tips – content marketing is difficult. Generally it’s a slow, long-term process. No hard, fast wins.  Consistency is key. Four Acts  - actionable links

Act 1: Actionable Ways to Get Links:

  1. Time-based brand mentions. Allows you to gind searches for your brand in google. ALLINURL:/tag/BRAND – search this to spot missing link opportunities.
  2. Add ‘forum’  to your search queries
  3. Create unique employee pages.
  4. Download Twitter archive, get a list of all tweets, find all your URLs you have tweeted. Then ask for links.
  5. As above with Google+.
  6. Reverse image search on personal brand avatars. (didn’t understand this one)
  7. Do competitive research on a brand level.
  8. Domain name misspellings. – find who has misspelt your brand name and then ask them to correct it and get a link.
  9. Image Raider – find out who is stealing your images.
  10. Locate owned videos
  11. Yesware email plugin. Tracks email opens.
  12. Linkclump – chrome extension, allows you to open up a load of links. Great tip!
  13. Link Search Tool – generates search operators.
  14. Site:twitter/username EMAIL – to find email

Act 2: Actionable Ways to Improve Social Push

  1. Linkedin – people not using it as a platform for content. They should
  2. Add social accounts of clients to your email signature.
  3. KWs in twitter bio/description, in account name, confirm twitter account. Advertise.
  4. Twitter Scheduling – use followerwonk to assess popularity and TweetDeck to schedule tweets.
  5. Beef up email marketing.
  6. Differentiate your share buttons, make it pretty and eye-catching but not aggressive.
  7. Have trust symbols on secondary pages, not just home pages.
  8. Slideshare Gold. Pricey but valuable. Makes things more visible, you can add a link on twitter.
  9. When people download deck, get the email signup.
  10. Pay with a_blank_ - you can submit until you have shared something, for a site etc.
  11. FB posts – 80 characters or less, get 23% more engagement.
  12. Relationship Building - +1s, twitters. Positive affinity with people post, share, +1, like etc. Get involved!
  13. Creating private lists on twitter. Monitor them.
  14. Find influences on pinterest, nurture first then outreach after following and supporting for a bit.
  15. Influencers on Hacker news – search ‘SEO in their bio’.
  16. Ego appeals. Positive screenshot/ image/mentions in a blog post - it can create good karma and a link back.
  17. Get more clickthroughs and safe links from infographics.
  18. Rank using slideshare authority.
  19. Comment early on posts likely to rank.
  20. Nudge newsletter signups on contact forms
  21. Invite colleagues/friends to signup others.
  22. Power of the default options – can increase signups.
  23. Add email updates as nav element on site
  24. Mention your product as a feature of larger case study.
Act 3: Actionable Ways to Connect to Your Audience
  1. Favorite/like people's tweets/statuses
  2. Find the Influencers
  3. Ego appeals
Act 4: Actionable Ways to Get More Traffic
  1. Infographics
  2. Use SlideShare authority
  3. Comment early on posts
  4. Default "yes" for newsletter signups

Rebecca Churt - Why Personas Should Be Central To Your Content Strategy

Rebecca Churt: Why Personas Should Be Central to Your SEO Strategy


Purpose is to guide/focus set of actions based on goals centered on good UX, conversions, and targeting ideal customers. Figure out user groups:
  • How do they find you? (mobile, which browsers)
  • What are their goals (motivation, engagement)
  • Are they worth it? (ROI)
Hubspot - all marketing actions are based upon personas

Building Personas

List all the common traits, create a profile, and give them a face

  • Example - demographic, their job/level of seniority, day in life/pain points, values, experience, identify common objections
Determine these by interviewing customers
  • What keywords do they search for, who are the influncers/thought leaders in that industry, what other companies they may be searching for, what trends does the buyer see in the industry, and what are the typical titles/roles of the prospective buyer
Important to remember YOU are not your personas, they are not real people, make sure that they aren't too general, target first touch, and ensure you don't confuse personas with job titles. 

Main takeaways for SEO

  • Keep company/product up to do
  • Complete market research - keyword and competitor research
  • Create tools to attract more people and engagement
  • Champion content
 Mike Blumenthal

Mike Blumenthal: Anatomy of Local Search Results

Local search is about branding

Citation examples that ultimately show up in blended results that became more apparent with the release of the Venice update

24% of all results are blended map insertions, 69% are blended organic, and 7% are pure maps packs (analyzing 22 phrases across 35 cities - 770 search results)

Location matters for local search optimization

  • Use long-tail categories to expand search radius
  • Extend radius of search by removing spammers: Local listing fields

Linkbuilding for Local

  • Reviews and Review Site Diversity
  • Citations from prominent local sites - local ranking factors are citations, reviews, links, the website
New look in Local - direct link to Google Places
  • Zagat is out, stars are in (new review system)
  • Hack to see what your Google+ look like (see list view &tbm=plcs)
  • Maybe carousel will replace pack results

Future of Search Marketers

  • Link building is in trouble
  • We're not looking for fast, unsustainable growth versus building flywheels
  • As an industry we broke directories, comments, forums, and a 150-year-old form of communication (the infographic), guest blogging
  • We can't even clean up after ourselves with link removal requests
  • Stop worrying about CDNs, edge nodes, site speed, linking C-blocks, anchor text, how many journalists you know, being misquoted, nofollow
  • Start worrying whether anyone will click
  • Call it link equity NOT link juice
  • Combine content, fame, technology is what we should be thinking about

Remember the things we are good at

  • Earn attention and shares (measure links based on engaged visitors)
  • Engage our knowledge of the web - good at searching, good at knowing what's wrong with a site with a quick glance, and how influential a person is
  • We can find out who people are, where they write, and what they own


  • Make yourself uncomfortable
  • All of this is inspired by Entrepreneurial Design
And that's all for SearchLove Boston 2013!

Thanks for joining us, and please let us know what you think.

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