SEO for YouTube (Updated 2014)

Making sure your YouTube videos Rank

Optimizing your YouTube videos is more important than ever.  Google often ranks videos on the first page of their traditional SERPs.  The extent to which it does so varies by subject and algorithm update, but overall, the trend has been to rank YouTube videos and other parasite pages.  Furthermore,  YouTube is essentially the second most-used search engine after Google.  So if you’re taking the time to upload videos with the intention of having them found, it’s a good idea to take a little extra time to make sure they are optimized.

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SEO for 2013 Checklist – New Rules for SEO

The world of SEO has seem some significant ‘changes’ with Google’s major and much publicized Panda and Penguin updates, along with the less known but equally important constantly-updated algorithmic changes being tracked by MozCast.  Countless articles, blog posts and podcasts have proclaimed major changes in the SEO world and along with it, numerous catch phrases like “inbound linking is dead,” or “link purchasing is dead,” and the  classic “SEO is dead.”  But the reality is: Google has finally stamped its foot down and assertively enforced the best practices it’s been encouraging all along.  Updates like Penguin and Panda simply codified these best practices by punishing the bad practices we’ve been told to avoid overwhelmingly depending on (or engaging in whatsoever) all along.  Here is a list of 10 SEO strategies to pursue in 2013 (not in any particular order).  They are not significantly different than in the past, but they overlap with one another in new ways.

  • Strong Branding (citations, using brand name in anchor text links, etc)
  • Very relevant and unique content
  • Optimized Meta Title tags
  • Guest blogging/authoring (Google AuthorRank)
  • Strong Branding (citations, using brand name in anchor text links, etc)
  • Highly optimized structure (use of CSS, Image ALT tags, link title tags, etc)
  • Link Purchases (Directories, enthusiast sites, etc)
  • Social Media links/citations
  • Sitemap(s)
  • Fast load time
  • Light code structure
Strong Branding (citations, using brand name in anchor text links, etc)
Branding has continually become a stronger factor in search engine ranking signals.  The stronger your brand, the higher

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Google’s update to Branded Site Links

Last month, in my Google’s Recent Updates: SEO Game Changers post I mentioned that Google now gave extra listings to site for their own brands.  I used as an example.  In this example, Magnaflow gets the first 4 listings.  The rest of the organic results consists of 6 listings, the first of which is

Google site links for brands - Magnaflow old

Recently (August 16th to be exact) Google made a change to this.  Now, instead of extra search result listings, brands get site links underneath their homepage URL listing.  Following this, there are 9 organic listings, the first of which is

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Google’s Recent Updates: SEO Game Changers

Over the last year Google has made some changes to its algorithm which really affects organic traffic rankings.  Typically Google’s changes are merely a shifting over ranking factors.  However, Google’s recent changes have, to a certain extent, changed the rules a bit.

Local Search has become more Relevant

Local listings now appear more frequently on non-geospecific-searches.  For example, merely searching Jeep Parts will show still show the typical listings but you will also see physical locations in Google Places.

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It’s Official: Google’s Algorithm Factors in Site Speed

While rumors have floated around that Google was now considering site speed as one its ranking factors, Google finally christened the rumor with an announcement on its Webmaster Central Blog.  They also list tools for helping assist those looking to boost the speed of their sites.

Using site speed in web search ranking

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

Read entire post here

One way I’ve always tired to simplify Google’s ranking factors for friends and clients is to have them think of Google’s business model.  Google’s dominance depends on its ability to return the most relevant results to its users.  If users stop believing that Google is providing them with the most relevant results for their searches, they’ll go elsewhere (essentially what happened to Yahoo! in the late 90’s). It’s not hard to imagine why/how returning sites with extremely slow load times wouldn’t be so beneficial for Google.

A Big Deal

Often times, SEOs debate over what are really minute matters, and they spend time debunking the same myths over and over that very few SEOs believe anymore.  But the core of SEO never really changes: Good content, and good linking (and the second one is largely dependent on the first).  Most of what SEOs debate are in regards to factors within these two.  How important is article syndication?  Which link directories are still worth purchasing from and how do I get new/better links?  How many instances of keywords can/should I add before I start to devalue the quality of my content?  What ratio should I use for top domain linking vs deep linking?

What this does is give SEO a whole new factor to consider, and it’s hardly a minute detail.  No doubt, a stronger market will now exist for people who can optimize site speed and designer/developers will be pressured more than ever to code in an organized manner.

SEO Report Card – Google Grades itself

Google recently revealed an internal SEO Report Card, wherenby it grades its own product pages (whereby Analytics, AdaWords, Product Search, Profile, etc each count as a single product). While it doesn’t  reveal anything new, it does reinforce the importance of several on-page factors (ie. Images ALT text and filenames, H1 tags) that some argue are not worth taking the time to implement.  301 Redirects and the Canonical Link Rel element also make appearances.  Some of the scores are amazingly low and sometimes hilarious (ie. the ALT tags).  I guess that’s what happens when your brand is strong enough to get away with a lot of bad SEO.

SEO Keyword Research – Choosing Keywords for SEO

SEO Keyword Research

seo keyword researchOne of the most important aspects of SEO is the initial research.  Many webmasters and marketers spend their time optimizing for keywords that are either virtually unattainable, or return little/no value for the effort put forth.  It’s important to know where to invest your time and resources to get the most return from your investment.  Like the old adage says; work smarter, not harder.  So here are 5 Steps for choosing the right keywords.  They will apply slightly differently based on your situation (ie. whether it’s your own website, a client’s, or an employer’s), so use the portions that work for your situation.

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SEO for Static Websites: Creating/Editing Static Pages for SEO

SEO Search EngineDue to the time needed to create and edit them, static pages are often the bane of web developers and designers alike. To an SEO professional, however, they provide for an easy way to tailor SEO efforts to specific keywords. Here is a guideline for creating new or editing existing static pages for maximum SEO effect. As you go through these, keep in mind that the end goal is to provide useful content to your visitors, so none of these steps should be carried to the point of making your website less useful to your visitors (ie keyword stuffing, giving your URLs ridiculously long file names, etc).

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SEO for Dynamic Pages and Content

Dynamic websites have their obvious advantages. The ability to automate, create, edit, and delete content through a database and server side scripting is a must when dealing with large and constantly updated websites.

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Canonical Link Rel vs 301 Redirects: Using Canonical Link Rel tag for SEO purposes

Back in February, Google announced their support of the Canonical Link Rel element, and it was also announced that Yahoo! and MSN would soon follow suit.  If you’re not familiar with it, think of the Canonical Link Rel element in terms of a 301 redirect–you can tell the search engines to ‘focus’ (though in this case, there’s no redirect) on a page you specify.  It is placed within the head tags of a web page, and is a great remedy for the duplicate content stigma.

Essentially it looks like this:

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Optimize On Page SEO Text & Design with CSS

Content Placement and Keyword Density matter.

Content placement is an important part of on-page SEO. It’s good practice for both search engine optimization and reader usability to place your important keywords early in your content. This emphasizes to both your readers and the search engines that these words or phrases are important to the page.

The effectiveness of this technique has been debated quite a bit, and it’s not difficult to find SEO professionals sharing anecdotes of how they’ve done well without this or other on-page techniques. The problem with this, of course, is that it doesn’t mean that these SEO campaigns couldn’t have done even better had they included on-page factors such as this, or that they wouldn’t have been necessary had the keywords been more competitive.

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Matt Cutts: SEO Tips for Bloggers – Place keywords early on page

Matt Cutts admits that placing keywords early on page makes a difference

If you’re already a believer in on-page SEO, it probably won’t come as a surprise that Matt Cutts made the admission that placing keywords early on your page makes a difference.  However, there are plenty of SEO professionals out there who claim that factors such as these are unimportant, and provide anecdotal ‘evidence’ by claiming they’ve done fine without using it (or giving it much attention).

For this reason, it’s important to note that the famed Google engineer himself made this admission at the WordCamp 2007 conference in San Francisco, CA.  The entire video is worth watching, as he gives several helpful tips for bloggers (1:02:20 into the video is where he makes the aforementioned admission).

Matt Cutts: SEO Tips for Bloggers

Matt Cutts verifies that keywords in URL help

In a recent Q&A, Matt Cutts verified that having a keyword in a URL, does ‘help a little bit.’ Without directly answering the question of whether or not having your keyword early as opposed to later in the URL, he does (in my mind) imply that it does help to have it early in the URL by advising webmasters not to obsess over it to the point of restructuring their URLs to the point of making them look spammy.

Source: Search Engine Land – Google’s Matt Cutts On Keywords In The URL

Recycle and get Free SEO Articles

Recycling In-House copy for SEO articles

Just the other day I realized that I have a plethora of in-house copy I’ve put together for managers, directors, and other team members that can easily be recycled into blog posts and/or SEO articles to link back to my website.

Everyone’s situation is different of course, but it helps to be creative and think outside the box a bit. Do you have previously written content somewhere that can be recycled into SEO articles? Even if you’re not an old lady about keeping old stuff (like myself), you may have a sent folder with relevant content.

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SEO/SEM 2009 Trends

SEO/SEM 2009 Trends

In looking for new SEO trends for 2009 (specific to Google), I encountered a few new things. Most importantly of these are: Google is moving towards personalization, which means search results will be less universal and more personalized to specific users and possibly those Google deems have similar interests. Google is also giving more and more credit to authoritative and trusted websites and less and less credit to generic directories. Google’s search is becoming more and more diverse, as mapping results and YouTube videos are showing up more often.

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