If the name Kenny Hyder doesn’t ring a bell… it should. Kenny is a frequent speaker at some of the largest internet marketing conferences including: Pubcon, SMX, Blogworld and DMA and has been building brands and growing businesses online since 2004 and the owner of Hyder Media.
Continuing the conversation on the state of Search Engine Optimization today, I (virtually) sat with SEO Expert Kenny Hyder and queried him on everything from SEO basics to social media’s role in optimization for search.
Elise Redlin-Cook: What are the most important steps a webmaster should take to ensure a website is properly optimized for search?
Kenny Hyder: Site architecture is incredibly important, so many websites are built poorly with navigation and URL structures that are unorganized and sloppy. The best structure for a search engine friendly website is the one that is the most organized. Also, I think understanding and implementing a solid internal linking structure is very important and highly under-utilized.
Elise: When performing an SEO audit, what are the most common problems that you encounter?
Kenny: The biggest and most obvious mistake that I run into is the lack of an XML sitemap. So many sites I work on either don’t have one, or don’t have a proper one. This is a huge mistake and oversight in my opinion. Plus, you can build one with the click of a button, why does everyone forget this step? The second most common problem is poorly written title tags and meta descriptions. Both of which are simple things to master, but done poorly so often.
The biggest and most obvious mistake that I run into is the lack of an XML sitemap. So many sites I work on either don’t have one, or don’t have a proper one. This is a huge mistake and oversight in my opinion.
Elise: Great advice! So, If a website has been hurt by poor SEO, how can a good SEO company help restore a site’s ranking and reputation? Does your company fix a lot of sites that have been harmed by bad SEO companies?
Kenny: Occasionally clients come to me after a bad experience with a SEO who didn’t really know what they were doing. I’ve had several clients hire me because they got banned or penalized. For many of my clients, search is a major contributor to web traffic, so fixing these issues and restoring rankings usually means a large restoration to the company’s revenue.
Elise: Indeed! What are some of the common obstacles with large retailer web sites when it comes to search engine optimization?
Kenny: The biggest obstacle usually with large ecommerce sites is the framework that the site is built on. There are a lot of faces to SEO, but for the most part, a good SEO can look at a site and tell you whats wrong and how to fix it. It’s the implementation that takes forever, especially with large sites. In these situations, understanding priority is crucial. When you have 20 changes you want to make, but can only pick 3-4 per month because of developer/software restrictions, prioritizing your goals is of utmost importance.
Elise: What role does social media optimization play in an overall SEO program?
Kenny: Ultimately, it’s all about money. You are in business to make money. If you can use social media to help you make more of it, great! The key to this is understanding your audience, and getting involved in the areas it makes sense. Twitter and Facebook are great, but they aren’t important for every business yet.
Elise: Do you think it’s worth optimizing content for search within social media sites?
Kenny: Sure, while not as important as the content on your own site, social media profiles rank really well especially for branded terms. They are great to use for taking up real estate on your SERP: much better to have your Twitter and Facebook page ranking than a review on Yelp that you didn’t write.
Elise: So true! Thanks Kenny! Does anyone have any other SEO tips to add below?