Last nights SEO Q and A session was the first one we have tried at the new venue and seemed to be very well received. We split into three groups to discuss the questions that had been submitted by members as a part of the RSVP Process.
It was much easier (and more productive) to deal with questions in a small group, and by carefully interspersing SEO Pros, with Newbies and Intermediate SEOs we seemed to get a very good mix of skills, experience, and perspectives. In 40 minutes we managed to cover many (but probably not all) of the questions – before combining into the full group to review and discuss the “highlights”.
Below is a Guest Post – provided by Jon (from Metricks – a Brisbane web analytics and conversion consultancy) with his summary of some of the questions answered in one of the groups (along with a few additional comments of my own). I also hope to create another post soon with some answers to some of the other questions raised.
I attended my first SEO meetup since February last night – much has changed. A new venue, our own room, great food and the ability to actually hear each other J met some great people and Andy ran it like clockwork.
Jon’s SEO Q and A Summary :
Tonights session was a Q and A on anything related to SEO. We were in 3 groups, our group managed to get through 6 of the 17 questions submitted before the session.
Q1 After creating a site how much admin overhead should be dedicated to on page SEO? Should this be an afterthought or built as part of the site development process?
The short answer is definitely not an afterthought. SEO is an intrinsic part of the build process, and not only that, it needs to be addresses in the planning stage in terms of:
- The niche being targeted (what language do people use in the niche? How do they refer to your product?)
- The business name – decision between a ‘cool’ name and one related to the topic/location/type of industry. The latter is much better for use as a domain name and on a site as well as for keywords
As part of the build SEO is one factor that should be taken into account; it can influence how you categorise and build out the IA and informs the content on the site. Also make sure all onsite factors that help SEO are taken care of – title tags, description, internal linking, etc.
Once a site is launched SEO remains important – optimizing content, getting backlinks.
Basically any holistic approach to online has to include SEO for success.
Q2a best sources of paid or free SEO information?
Andy recommended Searchengineland and SEOMoz. SEObook, High rankings and SEO by the Sea were also mentioned, then we had a long discussion on the pros and cons of Warrior forum which boiled down to use the forums but be careful in WSO territory; only buy what you have an immediate need for as there is a lot of recycled and downright out of date information on there.
2b a related question – Is SEOMoz pro membership worth it?
Andy had been a member for a couple of years, but found he was no longer using it enough to justify the ongoing membership. Also the tools US focused and aren’t always so helpful for Australian market. Then we got onto a tools discussion, always check what you have first and make processes around standard tasks so you don’t get halfway into manually doing a job when you have an excellent tool that can do it automatically. Also a $300 product isn’t necessarily better than a $30 product, use due diligence, research to ensure it will work for what you are trying to do.
(Andy says – with any online tool, make sure that research and understand where the data comes from and how it is used. Try the tools agains7t a site that you know/control and see if the stats that they come up with are accurate before putting too much trust in them)
2c SEO & Social – what are the implications and what to do?
Given Googles changes this year, Social is definitely some kind of factor and must be influential. If the market you are targeting is using Social Media, definitely get on there to, if not, maybe you don’t need to.
2d Related to previous question, should we be using author rank?
(Andy says… this is another “factor” that Google (and other search engines) may use to influence rankings. It has regained popularity recently because Google made some announcements about it in July this year, and Google+ has highlighted support)
See Matt Cutts videos on the subject :
Q3 How much should I pay for an SEO consultant?
How long is a piece of string? Depends on requirements, most of us like to educate clients also and demonstrate results so client gets value on top of better rankings.
(Andy Says – when hiring am SEO consultant, make sure you know how much they charge and whether it is an hourly rate or a monthly retainer. Make sure you know what you are getting, and how “success” is to be measured)
Q4 What should you or your clients be doing to improve mobile traffic?
If your market is based on service/location/immediacy should definitely consider mobile, also focus on what content is of most importance to a mobile user. Use analytics to see your overall mobile traffic and drill down to identify particular pages getting mobile traffic eg services offering emergency utilities plumber, electrician etc should have a number right in your face.
Once we’d discussed our answers each group discussed their answers with the whole group. A great session with lots of good information shared, I’ll definitely be back for the next one.
Oh and goodbye PageRank
(Andy says…It was highlighted that PageRank had apparently disappeared on 6/10/2011. However it appears that Google has simply changed the Lookup URL – causing many third party tools to fail – it is still available via the Toolbar – see: http://searchengineland.com/oh-no-what-happened-to-my-pagerank-95929 for more info)