By Steven Shingler, Wordtracker's CTO, and Justin Deaville, Chief commercial officer
I attended Distilled's recent London SEO Pro Seminar with Justin Deaville and we've collected a list of 48 useful SEO and marketing takeaways for you. Enjoy, learn and watch out for the ducks!
1) Information architecture - don't have three different pages doing the same thing.
2) Don't produce SEO-only pages which are light on human readable high quality content.
3) Use robots.txt or "no index" to keep on top of pages which appear in your Google index and say things like "sorry we were unable to locate any results ..."
4) Your community is a big part of the conversion funnel.
5) Use badges to get links back on Q&A type websites (eg, a blog.)
6) Near your logo have a very clear, short tag line saying what the site does.
7) Capture emails as easily as possible - remove obstructions. Keep people on the interesting page while trying to get the email.
8) Make a list of the top 100 bloggers who use your service - they'll all link back to you. Or top people in your industry.
9) Don't use rel="canonical" on a page which hasn't yet been crawled or linked to.
10) Dropping a step from the sign-up page increases conversion.
11) No-one wants to create an account, they just want to use the service.
12) The sign-up process has to be optimized for new customers: existing customers are easier to convert.
13) Why should anyone ever ask you for your date of birth when signing up to a web service? You'd never get asked that when you're buying something in an actual shop.
14) Use Clicktale on sign-up forms to create heat maps that show what users pay the most attention to.
15) SEO should be an invisible layer beneath a smart site architecture and fabulous user experience.
16) Use your unique selling points with your keywords to improve ranking.
17) Many links that previously would have been in blog posts are now on Twitter.
18) Make it easy for people to share your content.
19) Scarcity tactics work well for new products.
20) It is very good to generate 'reference content' - the definitive article on a particular subject - lots of people will link back to you.
21) Ask customers to put a link to you on their blog, or their site - when you're sending them an email.
22) 70% of your Google rank is about links.
23) Your links should show a combination of relevance, authority and uniqueness.
24) For inspiration and cherry picking, it is good to analyze the link 'hub' - where your competitors all get links from.
25) Use data not just to find answers but to cause change.
26) It would be incredibly useful to have an app which shows you the new-referrers, new keywords and disappearing keywords on your site.
27) It would be useful to see a graph of traffic by page type so you can spot a trend quickly if something is dropping off.
28) Send specific emails to people who are logged in based on things they've done on your site.
29) Crazyegg found dropping the free trial and just offering a 30-day money back guarantee improved conversion. 37Signals also use this model.
30) If you've got nothing else to do, test the color of sign-up buttons.
31) On a sales page - when you offer a discount, mention the RRP and the discount. But make sure the actual price is clearly shown.
32) The BBC is revising its approach to linking to external websites - over the next few years it will be including many more links in its editorial.
33) People like linking to infographics, widgets, original research and data, awards and rankings, and citation-worthy explanations.
34) You'll get more links in niches where Twitter hasn't yet taken off - ie, where people are still linking from forums and blogs.
35) Ask for links - from friends and family, partners, customers, and suppliers.
36) You need a lot of different type of links for a good backlink profile:
- Topic quality
- Authoritative quality
- Natural noise
- Editorial quality
Miss one of these groups, and your rankings won’t be as good as they should be.
37) If you have lots of natural links then Google appears less likely to devalue your unnatural links.
38) Turn your tweets into content. Create a page from your most recent tweets.
39) Turn other people's tweets into content.
40) Create an archive of your email content on your site.
41) Twitter is (almost certainly) influencing (at least some) rankings.
42) Klout Score probably isn’t great for predicting the reach of an individual’s tweets/messages. Twitter Grader Rank may be useful for predicting the traffic you’d get from a tweeter.
43) Hardly anyone reads reports. Make a phone call instead.
44) Email is still the #1 method for sharing content on the internet. Don’t neglect it.
46) To increase your conversion, survey your customers. Ask what concerns they had before ordering? Why did you choose to buy from us? Would you buy from us again?
47) Easy link building for photographers - take photographs of your city or locality (eg, Seattle). Allow other sites to use them for free with a Creative Commons license. Request a credit that includes suitable linking text (eg, Seattle photographer). And if you're not a photographer, hire one.
48) Anatidaephobia is the fear that you are being watched by a duck (according to Gary Larson's "The Far Side").
With thanks to:
- Duncan Morris, Will Critchlow, Tom Critchlow - Distilled
- Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz
- Richard Baxter - SEOgadget
- Patrick Altoft - Branded3
- Jane Copland - Ayima
- Dave Naylor - Bronco
- Russell Smith - BBC
- Stephen Pavlovich - Conversion Factory
- Tamara Gielen - Tamaragielen
Steven also blogs about agile software development.