12 Nov 2009

Pubcon 2009 Top 50 SEO Tips So Far

As one of the 3 lucky Vertical Measures employees soaking in all the fantastic, valuable knowledge here at Pubcon 2009 in Las Vegas I wanted to share all the best SEO related information in a fast, clean uncluttered way.  I’m not going to spend a bunch of time writing a compelling intro, talking about Vegas or parties or who is here and why. There are no links in this post, opinions or plugs for anything or anyone.

These are tips, information and recommendations you can start using right now to get more traffic to your site, rank higher in the search engines and better conversions. This is from the most credible sources in the industry so don’t question it, just take action as quickly as possible and enjoy the success!  If there is something below you are not familiar with, Google it.

1) On Site SEO: Glossary pages are good content for SEO

2) On Site SEO: Use footer links sparingly and only link to your most important pages. Don’t waste pagerank on content that is worthless.

3) Search: You need to get your site in to the blended search results using images and video. A picture is worth 1000 words and people are clicking on it.

4) Keyword Research: Use Google Insights to make sure the keywords you are focusing on do not have declining interest.

5) Analytics: Measure your brand traffic and keyword traffic separately.

6) Analytics: Are you ranking #1 (or trying  to rank #1) for a keyword that will not provide any real benefit to your business? Check that.

7) Keyword Research: Perform ongoing keyword research. The way people search changes.

8:) Competitive Analysis: Read competitors press releases. Are they using words that may change the way people search? Think “Kleenex, Xerox, Dell”

9) Keyword Research: Use Google Trends to check traffic trends in different markets.  There may be emerging opportunities in other geographic areas..

10) Keyword Research: How long will it take to get a keyword converting? Will it be worth it when it does?

11) Launching a new product that doesn’t exist in the market yet? Associate it with one that does to make people more comfortable with it.

12) Landing pages: put the call to action above the fold.

13) Landing pages: keep forms above the fold and make them as short as possible

14) Conversions: 3% to 5% is decent

15: Bounce rate: 30% is good, 50% is ok, 70% needs work

16: Search: 80% of queries are informational. Give them the information they want and then lead them where you want them

17: Forms: make sure there are no questions they can’t answer or they will leave

18: Does your “Thank You” page cross sell or further engage? It should.

19: User experience: Screen size and resolution matters. Test, test, test

20: Local search: Just because you are closest doesn’t mean you get the business. You need to build your brand too. Build trust.

21: Local search: Pull out your phone and do a search for your business. What happened?

22: Local search: neighborhoods matter

23: Local search: Pull out your cell phone and search for your business. What happened? (duplicate)

24: Local Search: neighborhoods matter. Are you optimizing for a “bad neighborhood”?

25: Local Search: point your browser to getlisted.org and follow the instructions

26: Local search: Add photos and video to your local search listing

27: Local search: include city & state in the title tags

28: Even negative reviews help your rank. It’s all about the numbers

29: Offer an Incentive for reviews

30: Sign up to watch a video worked much better than sign up to download a white paper

31: 80% of your visitors will fill out an “optional information” form after completing your call to action

32: Most visitors will not watch more than the 1st image of a rotating image.

33: Your marketing purpose must be the #1 goal of your website

34: 7 choices tops for your main navigation. Too much = no choice

35: Don’t use a final forward slash on your URL’s

36: Buttons should never say “Submit”. Try “Download Now”, “Start Free Trial”, “Request More Information”

37: When building links make sure they have a random life

38: Link magnets are more productive than link begging

39: Local Search: Local business’s need local links

40: Text links in a page carry more weight than alt text

41: Link Building: No follow one link on a page and all become no follow

42: Link Building: The sequence of links on a page matters. Put the important ones on top.

43: Check your analytics for pages that are getting links and no traffic and redirect them.

44: Always be testing and measuring results. Before you change something get a benchmark.

45: The order of links in the code is more important than the order of links in the user experience

46: Surface conversations about your product, service or brand that are happening

47: Google’s technology is emerging to be able to read text in images. (Think picture of a newspaper page)

48: Google’s technology is also emerging to be able to understand words spoken in Video and index the transcripts.

49: If you are going to do video write the script with keywords in mind

50: If you use a map on your site embed a real map versus using an image.


I hope you found this information useful!  Visit http://search.twitter.com and type in #pubcon to hear the chatter all around Vegas.  Posted by Chris von Nieda, Director of Search Marketing at Vertical Measures. Twitter: @SEO4Vertical




  • JuiceeLinks Nov 12, 2009

    Could you elaborate more on

    Link Building: No follow one link on a page and all become no follow

    That is an absolutely frightening statement.

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 12, 2009

    @JuiceeLinks: That exact question was just asked of Matt Cutts here at PubCon just now during the Search Engine Smack Down session. (I actually posted the question myself for you but it took a heavier hitter than myself to get the question noticed) 😉 His response was “He thinks he knows the answer but he wants to confirm that before he lets us know.”

    So for now you know as much as I do. He did say do a test to find out. Create 2 links on a page with unique gibberish anchor text and no follow one and not the other. Then check the serps for those terms and see what the results were.

    As soon as Matt lets us know I will update this post.

  • Kieron hughes Nov 13, 2009

    Thanks for this.

    Although 21 and 23 are the same :)

  • Alex @ Dropshiparea Nov 13, 2009

    Thanks for making and sharing the list. Saves a lot of time and money :)

  • carl Nov 13, 2009

    Recently I launched my own website. Naively I just assumed you put your site on the web and away you go. I knew nothing about SEO but I soon learned, it was a case of having to. The first month I had no idea really what I was supposed to be doing in getting my site noticed by the search engines. When the penny finally dropped and I came to realize about keywords and especially anchor text key words in blogs and replying to blogs, also I found one of the most important tools is original content on your site, it came quite easily in boosting my page position. Having said that, been stuck in front of a pc 24/7 and this is what it takes, is hard work. When I say original content, I don’t refer to writing about something that nobody else has, as this would be extremely difficult unless you have a new product that only you know about, I mean writing it in your own words. I have spent hours rewriting articles for my site and to publish them later on, which brings me to another point. If you have written anything new regardless of the word count, always publish it to your site first and then wait for the search engines to crawl it. Only then go ahead and publish it to the numerous article and blog sites available. This at times seems like you are waiting around forever but it will pay in the long run and while you are waiting write another. You don’t require a degree in English and to the professional writers who do write for a living in may appear sloppy but you are not aiming the content at them. As long as it is readable and makes sense to the public who are interested in your product then great, plus get your key words that are relevant to your site part of the article. When I started out my site appeared on page 27 of Google and this was out of 60 million results that Google pulled up. Within 10 weeks which does seem lengthy but it soon passes I am now on page 1. My other key words pulled up over 240 million results and I am currently on page 2 for this. I have had no training in SEO and I have not paid for a single thing in terms of links or help from any SEO companies. It is boring and tedious but you just have to stick at it, day in and day out. At first the rewards come slow and there are times when you actually think you aren’t making any ground but after 3-4 weeks I did start to notice my position gradually improving and this then gives you the boost to continue. It’s not rocket science but you do have to be dedicated and to have vast amounts of patience to accomplish your goal. You only get out what you put in and this is just the way of the world.

  • Mike Nov 13, 2009

    Great list, some good tips in there.

    I also have the same question about the “No follow one link on a page and all become no follow”?


  • simon Nov 13, 2009

    kind of a misleading Title for this article as not all of these are SEO specific but more Online Marketing in general

  • Kelsey Nov 13, 2009

    These are all really good hints, especially when it comes to the conversion and bounce rates.

  • Sports Bar Search Nov 13, 2009

    Thanks for compiling the list! I look forward to Matt’s full response to the no follow question.

  • Chandan Nov 13, 2009

    Thank you very much for the complete SEO tips. Some new tips I learned.

    Could you explain bit more about heading tag usages, like instance I have seen many sites using multiple H1 tags and in SEO perspective is this okay to do?

  • SEO Doctor Nov 13, 2009

    Not bad tips, but are goona need some expansion…

    “35: Don’t use a final forward slash on your URL’s”

    Are we talking wordpress etc… yer…home page NO.

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 13, 2009

    @Kieron: Glad you liked it, I struck one of the dups out. Dang how did I miss that!
    @Mike, if you are not already a subscriber to our blog sign up and you will get the update
    @Simon, good point. I will be sure to have you write my blog post titles from now on. 😉
    @Kelsey, thanks for your comment over at http://sphinn.com/story/133592 also. For everyone else please Sphinn this post!
    @Sports Bar Search, hopefully we will have an update soon.

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 13, 2009

    @carl: A long comment but it seems you get it. Like most things in life, SEO is the same. Time, patience and hard work will pay off. You just have to stay on top of the latest trends because what works today may not work tomorrow, follow knowledgeable people in the industry and change and test and change and test. Glad to hear your persistence paid off. Why don’t you leave a response with your website URL this time. 😉

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 13, 2009

    @Chandan: There should be only one h1 tag on a page and it should start with or minimally include your main keyword(s) if possible. The phrase or sentence should be written in a way to appear natural to your human visitors also. Then use h2 through h6 tags for other headers on important content sections. If you look at the code on our home page you can see a good example of this. (IMHO) The sliding silver bars on the right side…”Link Building Services” is our #1 key phrase and therefore we have that as an h1 and we rank #1 for it in Google. But the rest of the silver bars are h2 to keep the most focus on the h1. Hope that makes sense. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 14, 2009

    @SEO Doctor: I’m sure many of us that use WordPress (verticalmeasures.com included) see this and go WHAT? Here is the best explanation I have been able to find for this one…If you use a trailing forward slash ie; /about-us/ the browser thinks it’s a directory versus a file and sends a request for a directory called /about-us/. When the server is unable to find a directory called /about-us/ it decides it’s a file and it has to figure out that it’s not a directory before it serves up the page. It slows down browsing, less disk access and more importantly improves the visitor experience. I checked my notes from PubCon and don’t have the explanation given at the time but this seems to make sense. I don’t see anything in the WordPress forums about it.

  • Jenny Andreson Nov 15, 2009

    Nice work. It is impressive and very usefull for all. Site design is attractive and simple. Thanks for your effort.

  • James @ search consultants Nov 15, 2009

    Bounce rate is a good indicator of whether or not your content is relevant to your visitors, it could also indicate a technical problem with your website or even just your visitors don’t know how to navigate your site. Google takes note of a high bounce rate and your site will be penalized for it in the long term.

  • Dan Ross Nov 15, 2009

    FYI, you might want to go in and adjust your TweetMeme plug-in settings.

    Head to the bottom left. That plug-in has different settings. Adjust the RT @tweetmeme to say RT @linkbuilder and you will be good to go!

    Just RTed your link and noticed the default settings hadn’t been set. Love the plug-in as it allows great content to go viral and spread via word of mouth via a click of a quick button but ya’ll want to get credit, right?

    Keep up the great posts,

    Dan Ross

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 16, 2009

    @Jenny Andreson: glad you found it valuable.

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 16, 2009

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the note about TweetMeme. Just one of the many things still requiring attention after the launch of the new site a few weeks ago but all fixed now! Glad you find our blog valuable. We appreciate you subscribing.

  • Craig Broadbent Nov 17, 2009

    I assume point 41 (the nofollow point) refers to duplicate links pointing to the same destination, rather than every link on the page? So if link A points to http://www.domain.com with nofollow and link B points to http://www.domain.com without nofollow, link B still ends up being nofollowed?

    Is this something to do with duplicate links being stripped out during the crawl phase and therefore the attributes of the first link found carrying all the weight – i.e. anchor text, nofollow etc.

  • Chris von Nieda Nov 18, 2009

    @Craig Broadbent: That is my assumption also but we are all still waiting to hear from Matt Cutts abut the topic. This particular one has drawn quite a bit of attention. I just checked around the web and I don’t see an update yet.

  • SEO London Nov 23, 2009

    Thanks Vinay, good point about multiple h1 tags. A lot of time I think it depends on the situation, if you’re already #1 in Google there’s less reason to change things and potentially risk lowering your ranking. But if there’s still room for improvement you might want to test out a few different things, perhaps applying a trial and error method such as looking at how headings are labeled etc.

    Pat – when reviewing why a competitor is outranking you, I would pay more attention to how the webpage has been optimised – looking at the use of keywords (headings, titles, text etc) as opposed to the keyword density. Also paying attention to the inbound links the competitor has (at domain level and direct to individual page), these are more likely to be the reasons why your site is being outranked.

  • Shannon Nelson Nov 28, 2009

    Great tips! Thank you for posting it!

  • Oliver Feakins Dec 07, 2009

    can somebody fill me in on the tip that says ” no follow one link and no follow them all” I just want some clarification. This is the second time i’ve heard that expression just want to dive further into it.

  • ZXT Dec 11, 2009

    Thanks for these tips. I just started blogging 3 months ago and I am learning new things everyday about SEO.

  • Trent Mar 12, 2010

    I’m always looking for new or updated information on SEO so obviously this post really appealed to me. Lots of great stuff on this list. Thank you very much for posting it.

  • video seo Mar 15, 2010

    i think this site one of the site there are so many idea for seo, i love this!

  • Marcus Miglio Mar 23, 2010

    That's one heck of a list, and I will take your word at face value regarding the importance of these recommendations. Being a neophyte regarding link building, one question I have is regarding item #35: “Don’t use a final forward slash on your URL’s.” Why would that, of all things, matter?

  • money writer Aug 11, 2010

    Great list.
    I like how you just through them out there with no fluff.
    I have a lot of work to do with my keywords, and this post really inspired me.

  • Thomas | web design leeds Jul 27, 2011

    I think of a couple more that would be appropriate post the Panda update.

    For example: Article submissions do not work!

    An updated list might be well received!