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SEO – Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz – Future – Past

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Social Signals and Ranking [publication date: May 27, 2011; likely presentation date: 5/6/7 of April, see the below SMX München information]

Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz talks about his idea of the future of link building and the importance of social singals for rankings. The talk was recorded for the Microsoft Academy while SMX Munich was in town during which Microsoft managed to win Rand Fishkin to come to their German HQ and talk about SEO and Social Media.

You can download the slides here.

SMX München, 05.-06. April 2011

Keynote: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz – Die aktuellen SEOmoz Ranking Faktoren

Das neue Suchuniversum: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple & Co.

Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz
Stefan Weitz, Bing, Microsoft
Niels Dörje, Tandler.Doerje.Partner
Maile Ohye, Google Inc.

About Rand Fishkin [from SEOmoz website]

Rand Fishkin is the CEO & Co-Founder of the web’s most popular SEO Software provider; SEOmoz. He co-authored the Art of SEO from O’Reilly Media and was named on the 40 Under 40 List and 30 Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30. Rand has been written about in The Seattle Times, Newsweek and PC World among others and keynoted conferences on search around the world. He’s particularly passionate about the SEOmoz blog, read by tens of thousands of search professionals each day.

How to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Content Marketing to Attract a boatload of Qualified Leads to your Website – with Rand Fishkin [Owen McGab Enaohwo for his HireYourVirtualAssistant.com, May 10, 2011]

If you already have a website for your business, I bet you also need a constant stream of qualified and targeted leads coming to your website on a daily basis because some of them will eventually buy your services and/or products. There are several paid options available that you can use to drive traffic to your site such as Pay Per Click (PPC), Website Sponsoring, Banner Display Advertising, Affiliates and so on. Wouldn’t it be great for a boatload of relevant leads to find your website for FREE? If you are like me, your answer is YES! The solution is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO); though it will take time and effort in the long run it’s a worthy investment. In order to get expert information on SEO and how we can create the right niche content for our websites, properly optimize them so that they are indexed and displayed organically on Search Engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on; I interviewed Rand Fishkin. Enjoy the interview!

The Beginners Guide to SEO [free from Rand Fishkin]

New to SEO? Need to polish up your knowledge? The Beginner’s Guide to SEO has been read over 1 million times and provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality SEO.

… an in depth tutorial on how search engines work that covers the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine friendly.

Great Content for SEO: Simpler than You Ever Imagined [April 26, 2011]

Today I want to share an incredibly simple yet massively powerful process for building search-optimized, “great content.” There’s no fancy tricks and nothing proprietary about the approach, but it is rare indeed to find an organization that follows these steps and hence, it’s a way to potentially differentiate and build a competitive advantage.

Step 1: Build a Survey

Step 2: Send it to Your Customers / Potential Customers

Step 3: Record Responses + Leverage them to Build What the People Want

That’s all there is to it.

And while you’re thinking, “He’s right! It’s so easy… I can do this in 15 minutes tomorrow and have the perfect roadmap to build something searchers will love,” you’re probably busy and might put this on the back burner for another time. Don’t do it! Implement now – even for just one keyword and one page. Even if you only get 2 responses! Heck, you can just fill it out yourself 4 or 5 times with how you think others might respond and it will still give you a better plan than 90% of what’s in the top 10 results for most queries.

Value proposition of SEOmoz PRO: the whole SEOmoz.org homepage:

Effectively Manage Your SEO

SEOmoz PRO -- dashboard SEOmoz PRO -- issue identification and getting recommendation

Analyze links and track key performance metrics in an efficient all-in-one dashboard.

Identify critical SEO issues and get actionable recommendations.

SEOmoz PRO -- monitor rankings and control traffic

Automatically monitor changes to your rankings and take control of your organic traffic.

More: SEOmoz PRO – Campaign software for easy SEO management

Search engine optimization wikipedia article:

By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. Google says it ranks sites using more than 200 different signals.[11] The leading search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages. Notable SEO service providers, such as Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz, Aaron Wall and Jill Whalen, have studied different approaches to search engine optimization, and have published their opinions in online forums and blogs.[12][13] SEO practitioners may also study patents held by various search engines to gain insight into the algorithms.[14]

The related Talk:Search engine optimization contains also the following interesting information (emphasis is mine):

I agree there is no justification on including a section on notable seos if it excludes smart-traffic.co.uk who have been Googles no1 seo specialist for a very long timeand will continue to be so.

Some of these “notables” should be vetted as some of them are obvious shills for Google.

… The article for Rand Fishkin has been deleted 3 times – possibly at the request of the subject himself – Rand Fishkin.

… Yes, Rand Fishkin requested deletion of his biography.

… Actually Rand Fishkin is known as one of the most famous, or one of the most famous Google Shills out there. The last thing the world needs is a shill toted as an expert.

shill (noun, from Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

a : one who acts as a decoy (as for a pitchman or gambler)
b : one who makes a sales pitch or serves as a promoter

About Smart Traffic (smart-traffic.co.uk) (emphasis is mine)

Smart Traffic was established in early 2006 with the goal to become one the of the best known and most successful Search Engine Optimisation companies in the UK. Since that time, Smart Traffic have grown to become the largest SEO specialist in the UK and now employ over 170 employees Worldwide.

Such rapid growth has been possible due to Smart Traffic’s unrivalled results. With the largest Technical resource in SEO available to our clients, we are able to outrank and outperform all competitors.

Due to the unique business model of Smart Traffic, we are able to offer:

– SME’s affordable, high return SEO campaigns.

– High level SEO strategies for blue chip brand names to eclipse their competitors in search.

– Quality SEO services to resellers who want to offer an Industry leading SEO service.

SEOmoz Jobs (emphasis is mine):

We’re a small startup – there are only 35(ish) of us, but we’re globally known in the search field and have deep relationships around the world. We’ve got the reputation of a big player with the energy of a young, nimble organization and we love that – it lets us do very exciting things when we smell opportunity.

How SEOmoz and Majestic SEO Can Help Webmasters [SEO Theory, May 12, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

I generally refrain from analyzing SEO tools. There are too many of them, they generally don’t do anything useful, and few people care what my opinion of their favorite tools may be. Nonetheless, a couple of recent posts from Majestic SEO and SEOmoz caught my eye. Both posts include some statistics that, by themselves, don’t reveal anything useful but they do hint that some potentially useful data could be developed and shared by both services. I don’t believe either service publishes this kind of data in their members-only area but they are welcome to correct me on the point.

… [quite worth to read]

Rand Fishkin Interview [Sept 8, 2010]

Speaking of low risk SEO, why do you think neither of our sites has hit the #1 slot yet in Google for “seo”? And do you think that ranking would have much business impact?

We’ve looked at the query in our ranking models and I think it’s unlikely we could ever beat out the Wikipedia result, Google or SEO.com (unless GG pulls back on their exact-match domain biasing preference). That said, we should both be overtaking SEOchat.com fairly soon (and some of the spammier results that temporarily pop in and out). Some of our engineers think that more LDA work might help usto better understand these super-high competitive queries.

Analysis of "SEO" SERPs in Google
SERPs analysis of “SEO” in Google.com w/ Linkscape Metrics + LDA (click for larger)

In terms of business impact – yeah, I think for either of us it would be quite a boon actually (and I rarely feel that way about any particular single term/phrase). It would really be less the traffic than the associated perception.

When does the delta between paid search & SEO investment begin to shrink (if ever)?

I think it’s probably shrinking right now. Paid search is so heavily invested in that I think it’s fair to call it a mature market (at least in global web search, though, re: your previous question, probably not in local). SEO is ramping upwith a higher CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) according to Forrester, so that delta should be shrinking.

Forrester Growth of SEO vs. Paid Search
via Forrester Research’s Interactive Marketing Forecast 2009-2014

What are the major differences between LDA & LSI?

They’re both methodologies for building a vector space model of terms/phrases and measuring the distance between them as a way to find more “relevant” content. My understanding is that LSI, which was first developed in 1988, has lots of scaling issues. It’s cousin, PLSI (probabilistic LSI) attempted to address some of those when it came out in 1999, but still has scaling problems (the Internet is really big!) and often will bias to more complex solutions when a basic one is the right choice.

LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation), which started in 2002, is a more scalable (though still imperfect) system with the same intuition and goals – it attempts to mathematically show distances between concepts and words. All of the major search engines have lots of employees who’ve studied this in university and many folks at Google have written papers and publications on LDA. Our understanding is that it’s almost universally preferred to LSI/PLSI as a methodology for vector space models, but it’s also very likely that Google’s gone above and beyond this work, perhaps substantially.

The “brand” update was subsequently described as being due to looking at search query chains. In a Wired article Amit Singhal also highlighted how Google looks for entities in their bi-gram breakage process & how search query sequences often help them figure out such relationships. How were you guys able to build a similar database without access to the search sessions, or were you able to purchase search data?

In a vector space model for a search function, the distances and datasets leverage the corpus rather than query logs. Essentially, with LDA (or LSI or even TF*IDF), you want to be able to calculate relevance before you ever serve up your first search query. Our LDA work and the LDA tool in labs today use a corpus of about 8 million documents (from Wikipedia). Google’s would almost certainly use their web index (or portions of it).

It’s certainly possible that query data is also leveraged for a similar purpose (though due to how people search – with short terms and phrases rather than long, connected groups of words – it’s probably in a different way). This might even be something that helps extend their competitive advantage (given their domination of market share).

When I got into SEO (and for the first couple years) it seemed like you could analyze a person’s top backlinks and then literally just go out and duplicate most of them fairly easily. Since then people have become more aware of SEO, Google has cracked down on paid links, etc. etc. etc. Based on that, a lot of my approach to SEO has moved away from analysis and more toward just trying to do creative marketing & hope some % of it sticks. Do you view data as being a bit of a sacred cow, or more of just a rough starting point to build from? How has your perception as to the value of data & approach to SEO changed over time?

I think your approach is almost exactly the same as mine. The data about links, on-page, social stats, topic models, etc. is great for the analysis process, but it’s much harder to simply say “OK, I’ll just do what they did and then get one more link,” than it was when we started out.

That analysis and ongoing metrics tracking is still super-valuable, IMO, because it helps define the distance between you and the leaders and gives critical insight into making the right strategic/tactical decisions. It’s also great to determine whether you’re making progress or not. But, yes, I’d agree that it’s nowhere near as cut-and-dried as it once was.

The frustrating part for us at SEOmoz is we feel like we’re only now producing/providing enough data to be good at these. I wish that 6-7 years ago, we’d been able to do it (of course, it would have cost a lot more back then, and the market probably wasn’t mature enough to support our current business model).

Blekko has got a lot of good press by sharing their ranking models & link data. Their biggest downside so far in their beta is the limited size of their index, which is perhaps due to a cost benefit analysis & they will expand their index size before they publicly launch. In some areas of the web Google crawls & indexes more than I would expect, while not going to deeply into others. Do you try to track Google’s crawls in any way? How do you manage your crawl to try to get the deep stuff Google has while not getting the deep stuff that Google doesn’t have?

Yeah – we definitely map our crawls against Google, Bing and Majestic on a semi-regular basis. I can give you a general sense of we see ourselves performing against these:

  • Google – the freshest and most “complete” (without including much spam/junk) of the indices. A given Linkscape index is likely around 40-60% of the Google index in a similar timeframe, but we tend to do pretty well on coverage of domains and well-linked-to pages, though worse on deep crawling in big sites.
  • Bing – they’ve got a large index like Google, but we actually seem to beat them in freshness for many of the less popular corners of the web (though they’re still much faster about catching popular news/blogs/etc from trusted sourcessince they update multiple times daily vs. our once-per-month updates).
  • Majestic – dramatically larger in number of URLs than Google, Bing or Linkscape, but not as good as any of those about freshness or canonicalization (we’ll often see hundreds of URLs in the index that are essentially the same page with weird URL parameters). We like a lot of their features and certainly their size is enviable, but we’re probably not going to move to a model of continuous additions rather than set updates (unless we get a lot more bandwidth/processing power at dramatically lower rates).

the problem with maintaining old URLs became more clear when we analyzed decay on the WWW

In terms of reaching the deep corners of the web, we’ve generally found that limiting spam and “thin” content is the big problem at those ends of the spectrum. Just as email traffic is estimated to be 90%+ spam, it’s quite possible that the web, if every page were truly crawled and included, would have similar proportions. Our big steps to help this are using metrics like mozTrust, mozRank and some of our PA/DA work to help guide the crawl. As we scale up index size (probably December/January of this year), that will likely become a bigger challenge.

Entrepreneurship: The Full Story Of SEOmoz Told By Rand Fishkin [recorded and transcribed by Robin Good [Luigi Canali De Rossi] for his MasterNewMedia, April 8, 2011]

also available on the The Daily SEO Blog as The Story of SEOmoz [Rand Fishkin, April 13, 2011]

This is the story of SEOmoz, as I have heard it by sitting in the first row of a small but very attentive audience at the LUISS University in Rome, Italy. The storyteller is Rand Fishkin himself, the father and founder of an SEO company which has become synonym of high value tools and services, competence, and a natural inclination to share valuable information before asking something in return.

Individual video records on YouTube (useful in the case of slow loading of the full content with all video records and adjacent transcriptions):
SEOmoz Story Introduction (Duration: 1′ 15”)
The Origins of the SEOmoz Company (Duration: 5′ 20″, emphasis in bold is mine)

In 2004 things are kind of going terribly and I started the SEOmoz blog, because not only was I struggling financially, but I was struggling with SEO.

I realized that I was not great at it, I could not figure it out, it was very challenging.

Google makes it really hard to know and understand how to do SEO well. And that was one of the reasons why I built SEOmoz, as I thought that this practice of search engine optimization, should be easier. It should not be this black box, it should not be so hard to understand and so, SEOmoz was founded around this idea of transparency and sharing and information.

If you go back and read the blog posts from 2004, you are not going to be impressed. They are not particularly insightful. A lot of them were just silly day-to-day stuff.

Things like: “I found this article here, it says to do this thing. I tried it and it did not work“, but eventually it gets more popular, it starts growing, I get better at blogging, I get better at writing and building these resources and in 2005, after we produced some viral content, Newsweek Magazine, which used to be a very popular magazine in the United States – they had subscription of around eight / nine million subscribers weekly who pick up this magazine – they featured us in a big four / five page spread around SEO and that was a sort of a big coming out party.

We suddenly had a lot more media attention, a lot more clients contacting us instead of wanting us doing web design development services, they wanted us to do SEO. That kind of kicked us off and in fact the Newsweek article was the impetuous for me writing something called The Beginner’s Guide to SEOwhich is still a relatively famous and well-regarded resource.

The weird part is: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, brought us more clients, more traffic, more value than the Newsweek article did. I thought: “Oh, Newsweek wrote an article, I would better write a guide to SEO for all the people who are going to come to the website from reading the magazine and want to learn more.”

It turned out the other way around. The guide itself is more popular.

How to Raise Venture Capital Money (Duration: 4′ 39″)
How to Manage a Board of Directors (Duration: 2′ 54″)
Business Marketing Strategies (Duration: 8′ 13″)
Lessons Learned (Duration: 5′ 9″)
Why Startup Culture and Mission Are Important (Duration: 1′ 59″)
How to Hire Good People (Duration: 1′ 41″)
How to Manage Big Challenges (Duration: 1′ 39″)
Marketing Tips for Startups (Duration: 10′ 43″)
Successful Web Marketing Channels (Duration: 10′ 13″)
Conferences and Events (Duration: 2′ 26″)
SEOmoz’ Financial Data (Duration: 4′ 34″)

… this is our revenue over the past four years and an estimate of this year’s revenue:

  1. 2007: Less than $1 million
  2. 2008: $600.000
  3. 2009: $1.2 million
  4. 2010: $5.7 million
  5. 2011: A little bit over $11 million – although it is possible there might be less

follow up: http://seopressors.org/ proposed to me, I don’t know how good it is, will try later, but first let’s see what it is:
Daniel Tan’s SEOPressor
Hi, I’m Daniel Tan and I have Created SEOPressor For You!
http://seopressors.org/: The MANDATORY WordPress SEO Plugin
> Top Priority Support, Free Life-time Updates
> SEOPressor Single-Site, One Domain $47 Only (one-time)
> SEOPressor UNLIMITED $97 Only (one-time) with Free Installation Service
>> Instant Download After Purchase
>> Compatible with WordPress 3.0
>> Requires Self-Hosted WordPress Sites
>> Widely Used on Niche Websites
>> Great for Large Business Sites
>> Works Extremely Well for Huge Autoblogs
– a 3d party expert review: Best SEO plugin SEOPressor for WordPress Blog [May 31, 2011]
also because it could probably be obtained free of charge as well:
How to Get a FREE SEOPressor plugin [May 19, 2011]


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