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Alexandra Tachalova

New! SEO Week Roundtable Question & Answer Session

Alexandra Tachalova
New! SEO Week Roundtable Question & Answer Session

Last Monday through Friday, we featured a non-stop series of SEO education.

The week began with a roundtable discussion with a panel of SEO experts. We received a lot of questions from our attentive audience!

Due to time constraints, we couldn't get to all of them in the moment. That's why we created this post where you can read more questions and answers!

Continue reading, and leave us a comment if you'd like.

Adam_Vowles

Marin Gabriel: What are the best link-building methods for e-commerce websites?

Adam Vowles: Link-building for e-commerce sites is notoriously difficult. Unless you have a trending, cutting-edge product, it can be almost impossible to get website owners to link to your site.

One of the most effective link-building methods is to give your product away in exchange for a review. In most cases, a review will include a link back to your site. There will be loads of bloggers or website owners in your niche who will welcome freebies. This tactic also builds a foundation for long-lasting key relationships that can be beneficial for years to come.

Mehew Rob: How do you deal with content marketing when your topic is fairly dull? For example, fire alarm installation - is content marketing the right approach?

Adam Vowles: There is no such thing as a dull topic – it just depends on how you approach it. Every product solves a problem. Every company is innovative in a certain way. Content marketing can be very effective when you think of it in a “problem vs. solution” mind-set. Do not think “We sell X.” Instead think “We provide a solution to Y.”

If you enter into the process knowing you have a dull product, then you will create dull content. Position yourself as a problem solver and content marketing becomes a lot easier and more engaging.

lucasz_zelezny

Unfer Lugdivine: What are the best practises when two companies merge? The research centre I work for has merged with another one. What are the best practises for engagement?

Lukasz Zelezny: If each website contains parts that are different (let’s say you want to merge a website about loans with a website about credit cards), it is highly recommended to preserve content from the second website.

Simecik Jan: Should we remove links that do not include “rel nofollow” on (their?) outbound links from paid directories?

Lukasz Zelezny: Yes, especially when these links contain exact anchor matches.

Borg Luciano: How much advantage of an advantage in SERPs will HTTPS sites have over HTTP ones in 2015?

Lukasz Zelezny: There is very little boost in ranking when you switch from HTTP to HTTPS. I would make this switch not because of SEO, but because of other objectives (if these exists). In other words, switching from HTTP to HTTPS is not an SEO tactic.

Kumar Satish: How should you develop and optimize multi-regional website URLs in 2015?

Lukasz Zelezny: I would suggest starting by implementing hreflang.* Trivago.com,Trivago.de,Trivago.pl - please visits these websites and analyse their source codes to understand how they deal with language versions. *(?)

Anwar Sirajudeen Uwais Fariz Ahamed: Why is it that few pages get indexed and few are not getting indexed by google in the website ? What steps should you take to get your pages indexed by Google?

Lukasz Zelezny: To answer this question, you would need to dive much deeper into factors that deciding what google want / don't want to keep in index. There is no simple answer to this question, but if a specific page is user friendly, content-rich and unique, sooner or later it should appear in indexes.

Tetlow Max: I am using a host site, which has put my website in Copenhagen and I am running my business out of the UK. Will this affect my chances of ranking in Google for the keywords I’ve selected?

Lukasz Zelezny: Please check A Record of your domain. (use WHO.IS for example). If your IP number doesn't belong to the UK range, I would suggest contacting or changing your hosting compant. Hostgator, for example, gives you a choice – a US or UK IP number.

Pereira Pedro: Is it work to buy abandoned domains with content relevant to your business and redirect 301 each one to relevant pages on your website?

Lukasz Zelezny: I wouldn't recommend this for corporate-level SEO, as this is considered a gray hat / black hat tactic and it could lead to trouble for your / your client’s website.

Todorovic Nenad: In my experience, on-page optimization is not very important when it comes to ranking in Google these days. Rankings also tend to be reserved for big brands and well established sites. What would be your step-by-step approach to SEO today?

Lukasz Zelezny: I can't agree with this. On-page optimization is very important. I would recommend MOZ Grade On-page optimizer as a universal optimizer. Also, competitive phrases look like reserved for big brands. There is lots of space in a long-tail. I would recommend starting with on-page optimization, log analyses, and working closely with a PR team to build relationships between your website and others.

Jain Suraj: I’m interested to know about webinar speakers' opinion about seo/smo/smm integrating to one platform - 'web presence optimization'

Lukasz Zelezny: I am sceptic about all-in-one tools dedicated to SEO. I rather like using a wide selection of specialized tools.

Ong Criss: Is Paid Directory worth it (e.g. Yahoo Directory, Business.com)?

Lukasz Zelezny: I would not recommend it.

Ong Criss: If you own a network of PBN but provide valuable content, will it help with link-building? Will it get penalized?

Lukasz Zelezny: PBN and valuable content – those are antonyms.

Tubbrit Gemma: A question about link-building for e-commerce: If you have 1,600 items and only one of each item, is it a waste of time to build links to product pages? Should we focus on category optimisation due to the fact that once an item has sold, the page has gone? or only optimise and build links to high-value products?

Lukasz Zelezny: Very well said. You should focus on categories. The same is true for when you would work for a property rental company. Deal page may expire, category probably never.

Fida Arbaz: My question is, if a site is de-indexed from Google, is there any way to get it re-indexed?

Lukasz Zelezny: It depends on the reason it was de-indexed. If there is a technical issue, fix it and you should get re-indexed soon. If there was a hard-spam - probably you shouldn't expect you will get back with that spam to index.

Fida Arbaz: Commenting on the other blogs with site links - is this considered spamming?

Lukasz Zelezny: Commenting to get links (especially when done with automated software) is considered spam (even if the links are nofollow).

Mehew Rob: How do you deal with content marketing when your topic is fairly dull. For example fire alarm installation - is content marketing the right approach?

Lukasz Zelezny:Content marketing is not only about text. What about infographics, videos, slideshares? I believe these could work.

Perry Alison: To anyone - I have a client who has thousands of pages and uses pagination rel=next/prev. But in Webmaster Tools, these seem to be ignored, as there are thousands of duplicate meta descriptions / title tags being picked up. Would you see this as something to worry about or should the rel=next/prev tags be enough?

Lukasz Zelezny: Rel=next/prev doesn't fix duplication of title or meta description. Simply add TITLE [CURRENT/MAX_PAGE] to your title and to meta [CURRENT/MAX_PAGE]. Every paginated page will generate a slightly different title tag and meta description. That's the easiest way to fix problem.

Okerstrom Justin: I have a new law firm client who is trying to rank nationally here in the US for specific areas of law. They don't have a large amount of content, so my plan is to have individual sites that specialize in each area of law to rank nationally, rather than one "larger" site that has content from every area of law that they practice. In your opinion, am I taking the right approach?

Lukasz Zelezny: If your client wants to beat Findlaw.com or another website similar in size, that may be very difficult (or rather impossible).

Ntia Aniefiok: What is the best way to improve domain authority?

Lukasz Zelezny: Receive mentions from reputable website. GOV / EDU / AC.UK websites or newspapers.

Sindicic Alexis: What are the name of the tools you mentioned during this webinar?

Lukasz Zelezny: SEMrush (^_^), DeepCrawl, URLProfiler, Screaming Frog, Viral Content Buzz, BuzzSumo, Majestic, Ahrefs.

Sindicic Alexis: Hello, I have a question: Is there a methodology for correlating consumer buying cycles and keywords? Could you explain more about how you match your SEO work to the consumer buying cycle?

Lukasz Zelezny: Organic keywords are not provided these days, but you can do correlation on the URL level and get keywords from software like SEMrush.

Jones Spencer: Nowadays we hear a lot about using private blog networks to rank websites. What's your take on PBNs?

Lukasz Zelezny: Don't go this way. It’s an old, spammy tactic.

Hunt Darran: When you take on a new company and they require SEO services, where would you suggest starting?

Lukasz Zelezny: OnPage optimization.

Cebeci Emrah: How are the experts targeting keywords and what do they think about keyword planner deviation?

Lukasz Zelezny: F26: Go to SEMrush export keywords that already rank in top10, optimize, see progress, export again and do this over and over. That is the best method for increasing quality traffic.

Paddy_Moogan

Southgate Kate: I use Buzzstream and Followerwonk all the time for outreach purposes (among other tools), but do you have any tool recommendations that will allow me to find influencers, and see what journalists / bloggers want?

Paddy Moogan: There are a few tools that come to mind. If you have the budget, Gorkana is probably the best one for finding journalists. It's a bit expensive, so it's only really for medium-large agencie; but it is very good, and it is always being updated. A cheaper alternative is Muckrack, which isn't quite as in-depth as Gorkana, but it can still work quite well.

In terms of what bloggers / journalists want, I'd recommend taking a look at Buzzsumo, which let’s you search by topic, keyword or influencer. From here, you can get loads of data on what they share and who shares certain pieces of content, which is very useful.

Scarbrough Adrian: Do we find that link building has become more of a level of Business Development/PR you have to create trust and a level of business relationships and it becomes more business mutural for each site.

Paddy Moogan: Yes, I definitely believe that link-building is starting to look more and more like traditional PR and business development. It's not just a one-way relationship anymore; there has to be something in it for both parties, which means adding value and building a strong relationship.

Simecik Jan: Should we remove links from paid directories that do not put “rel nofollow” on outbound links?

Paddy Moogan: It's hard to say without looking at them, but generally, I'd advise removing directory links if they're low quality and not sending any real traffic to your website. I suggest taking a look at the directory objectively and asking yourself if it's good quality, if a Googler would approve of it, and if it's a link that you're proud of. If it's not, then you should probably try to remove it.

Marin Gabriel: What are the best link-building methods for e-commerce websites?

Paddy Moogan: E-commerce websites can be great for link-building because they are often B2C focused, and the possibility of creating cool content is high. You also have the possibility of running competitions and giving products away too, but it's best to be careful with these approaches. Apart from that, broken link-building can work well for e-commerce websites, because products can go in and out of stock, which sometimes means that links will break.

Charlie_Williams

Hunt Darran: When you take on a new company and they require SEO services, where would you suggest starting?

Charlie Williams: When we take on a new client, we start by trying to understand the company itself. How do they manage their site? How does it contribute to the business overall? What are the site’s goals?

Once we have this, we perform as much of an audit as our budget allows. A technical audit to see what’s affecting the crawling & indexation of the site, a backlink audit to see the quality & number of links, and finally a content inventory & audit where we examine the site’s content in detail. We want to uncover any technical issues, understand the linking situation and know how good of a job the site is doing on actually speaking to users via content.

Only once we know the site’s place in the business, how updates are made, and what the current situation is can we make a detailed assessment of the work needed to improve the site. Other quick jobs, include making sure we have access to Google and Bing webmaster tools and that Google Analytics (if used) is correctly setup, and putting the site into any campaign software.

Jones Spencer: Nowadays we hear a lot about private blog networks to rank websites. What's your take on PBN's?

Charlie Williams: Simple answer - they work.

Longer answer: It can be a tricky subject. We know they work, but they do (sometimes) get caught. If you’re working with a client who is a brand, this can cause some serious issues (unless they’re a major brand Google can’t show, but that’s another discussion). If it is a site that can be easily transferred to a new domain, then there’s less risk.

In various black hat communities, there’s lots of chatter about PBNs; and they certainly are helping a lot of people. There’s lots of advice out there on how to set them up, if you want to use them. The key seems to be actually keeping them up to date and creating quality content – always need that.

Mehew Rob: How do you deal with content marketing when your topic is fairly dull. For example, fire alarm installation - is content marketing the right approach?

Charlie Williams: Great question – it certainly can be very difficult!

I’d say, if you are having real difficulty, then even if you do content marketing, you need to look at other optimisations to keep improving the site, from internal links, to site speed, to structure and local SEO.

You are going to need some form of helpful content though. Sometimes it pays to bear in mind that content marketing isn’t just about fancy interactive infographics; instead, focus on providing the kind of content that’s you’re an expert on and that’s close to your core service.

In this example, can you write guides to the different types of fire alarms available, common fire alarm issues, easy fixes, tips on keeping your home secure when you are way, etc.? This could be supporting content for your main product pages without having to go overboard, but still falls under content marketing.

If you need inspiration, I highly recommend the webinar by Ross Hudgens on this very topic: http://moz.com/webinars/content-marketing-in-boring-industries (you need to be a Moz member to watch, but the slides can be found at http://www.siegemedia.com/content-marketing-in-boring-industries).

Drinkwater Phil: If we have a page which ranks for several phrases, but we want to split that up so each phrase goes to it’s own page, how can we get google to stop showing the original page for all of the phrases? Even when I defocus the page for the other terms, google still wants to show the original page. I know google doesn't always want this, but sometimes it makes more sense to have them separate.

Charlie Williams: Technically, you’ll want to make sure each page has as much internal and external authority (as possible?), and that the new pages aren’t buried deep in the site; otherwise Google simply may not regard them with the same importance. Clear internal linking and site structure is important here.

The question becomes, is there enough topic and content difference between the different phrases to warrant separate pages? With the improvement of Google’s semantic capabilities and the rise of Panda, creating lots of pages targeting similar terms is not something I’d recommend.

Does it make sense from a user perspective and not from a keyword one perspective for there to be separate page, or is one resource on the overall topic a better solution. If your new pages are thinner, or pale imitations, of the original page, this might explain the difficulty you’re having.

I would like to ask if link-building as it was years ago is over. If so, why does it still work?

It often still works, but the time it takes for it to stop working is often (not always) shorter, and the penalty for getting caught tends to be more severe, especially for online-only brands.

martin_shervington

Fida Arbaz: Commenting on other blogs with site links - is this considered spamming?

Martin Shervington: I would consider this as a way to find and build relationships; if it works, then do it.

Mehew Rob: How do you deal with content marketing when your topic is fairly dull? For example, fire alarm installation - is content marketing the right approach?

Martin Shervington: Be helpful. Look at what Marcus Sheridan has done with his “pool company” – be an industry leader at providing answers. They’re never dull when people are looking for them.

Jain Suraj: Interested to know about webinar speakers' opinion about seo/smo/smm integrating to one platform - 'web presence optimization'

Martin Shervington: Yes, an integrated approach is how I and many see Google+. This about content, service of the community, and then being rewarded in Search.

Simecik Jan: Hey, guys! Since there was a question about how to build links, what is your actionable advice on promoting a new magazine site? (It doesn't have to be just about link building specifically.)

Martin Shervington: Find 100 influencers on social, and make them evangelists of your brand by giving them AWESOME content.

Unfer Lugdivine: I have a question: What are the best practises when two companies merge? The research centre I work for has merged with another one. What are the best practises for engagement?

Martin Shervington: My company’s website before the merge was well referenced. I had lots of followers on LinkedIn and Twitter. I’d like to know what techniques I could you to make the new company "famous" and to engage followers.

Start with the website and the content; then build communities of people around it. Little by little, share their content until you get noticed.

Look to visit events and build relationships IRL with people in your industry; and aim to speak and raise your profile and increase brand awareness too.

Jono_alderson

Perry Alison: I have a client - it is a retail park. This retail park is called "Location Retail Park." There is a shopping centre 0.5 mile away called "Location Shopping Centre." This centre is older, bigger and has more stores, so it ranks quite well. We are finding it very difficult to rank for our retail park. Have you any tips? As it's retail, the only thing we can realistically rank for is based on location, which the shopping centre is taking most of the visits from.

Jono Alderson: Should it, realistically, rank for those terms? If there's a bigger, better, older, more authoritative resource that aligns to user needs, is it realistic to want or expect to compete on a level playing field? I'd be looking for the gaps in their strategy and reach. What are your USPs, advantages and benefits, and where can these be represented with compelling content that the other shopping centre can't or won't compete with? How comprehensive are your travel directions, or your information on your hours and sales, for example, compared to the competition. Find an angle that will please and surprise your consumers, and start to claw back some equity by being the better resource.

Mehew Rob: How do you deal with content marketing when your topic is fairly dull? For example, fire alarm installation - is content marketing the right approach?

Jono Alderson: Go upstream. Understand the motivations, psychologies and needs of the kinds of people who might, one day, need to purchase a fire alarm. Create content that targets them at the research or pre-research stage of the buying cycle. Sure, this may not convert to sales, but you’ll build a reputation, a community, and a group of people who might one day spend some money with you – and in the meantime, you’re benefiting from all those positive brand and engagement signals, which have a knock-on effect on your direct commercial traffic/performance.

Perry Alison: I have a client who has thousands of pages and uses pagination rel=next/prev. But in Webmaster Tools, these seem to be ignored, as there are thousands of duplicate meta descriptions / title tags being picked up. Would you see this as something to worry about or should the rel=next/prev tags be enough?

Jono Alderson: Rel next/previous is a powerful tool, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't also fix other issues. Pages in a paginated/sorted series should still have crafted titles that describe the location to the user - e.g., 'Page 3 of 10 - *Category Name* | *Brand*' is a good, descriptive technique. Also, I'd check to make sure your technical implementation is spot on - lots of people miss nuances like maintaining equivalent next/prev markers for things like sorted or filtered pages, where additional or different query strings change the content.

Marin Gabriel: What are the best link-building methods for e-commerce websites?

Jono Alderson: Differentiate! Sell different or better products. If that's not viable, create better pages and templates with better content. Better photos. Better reviews. And, in fact, not just better. Pick a few of these areas, and outdo everybody else. Don't settle for crap e-commerce templates and 50-word descriptions. Market more effectively; be a better website. If that's not possible, do less stuff. Sell fewer things, but sell them better. Then grow. Just be better.

Alexandra Tachalova has worked in digital marketing for over six years. She is a digital marketing consultant, and has helped the creators of digital marketing tools open new markets and boost sales. Alexandra is a frequent speaker, and she has recently launched her own event, called DigitalOlympus.net.

Comments

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Wes Flippo
Concerning the first question, I'm a little dismayed by Adam's answer.

It's well-known in the SEO world that exchanging a product for a 'review' with a do-follow link is a nefarious link-building practice and can easily get a site penalized.

According to Google -

"The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results:

- Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link"

Here's the link to the article >> https://support.google.com/web...

If you consider getting no-follow links or links that could cause a penalty for e-commerce sites a 'good' way to do e-commerce link building then I suppose your answer would be justified.
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