Shortening SEO’s Time to ROI

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “Why Does SEO Take So Long?


Search marketing’s two halves are so similar and yet so different. A new pay-per-click advertising campaign can be set up and pushed live, and data starts to roll in that same day. Within a week there may be enough data to analyze performance, tweak and iterate the optimization of the campaign. Why does search engine optimization take so long to mature and impact performance if paid search is so quick? And what does this mean for the back to school or fall and holiday seasons that seem so far away?

In my agency life I’m asked this question frequently — followed by a query as to what to do to speed up the process. Let’s start with why search engine optimization takes longer to mature. The reasons have partly to do with education, business process, creative and development time, and the time it takes for the search engines to do their thing. All told, the process from kicking off a major SEO project with a thorough site analysis and detailed recommendations to actual implementation and SEO performance can take 6 to 12 months. If a business starts the process today, it will be lucky to see results by December.

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Migrating Your Site? SEO Checklist

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO Site Migration Checklist.”

Migrating a site to a new platform or domain, or implementing a major redesign, are some of the most stressful situations in search engine optimization. The potential for massively impacting organic search traffic and sales is higher during these launches than at any other time. With planning and priority on the SEO impact of the launch it’s possible to actually improve SEO performance after a major launch event.

However, most sites neglect to include an SEO professional in the planning, design, development and launch phases of the project, typically resulting in a loss of SEO performance post-launch. While an experienced SEO professional can certainly come in afterwards to guide the team through a strategy to revive the site’s SEO performance, this process typically takes three to six months of planning, rework from the design and development teams, and a loss of traffic and revenue in the interim.

Speaking from experience helping clients through many platform changes, redesigns, domain moves and other assorted SEO pitfalls, these are my best tips for arriving at the other end of the launch with your SEO safely intact.

Read the article in full for 2,000 words worth of SEO site migration tips at Practical eCommerce »

Migrating a site is always a complex process and should always include an SEO professional. Just as a marketing team wouldn’t dream of replatforming or redesigning without information architecture expertise, the same logic needs to apply to search engine optimization. The stakes are too high in terms of organic search traffic and revenue to risk cutting corners on SEO.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

WI 2nd Grader Represents with Pirate Google Doodle

I may live in Illinois as a Flatlander at present (and have previously for several brief periods of early childhood) but I spent most of my life between Colorado, California and Wisconsin. That, plus the fact that the Web Pierat loves all things searchtastic and piratical makes my especially fond of the doodle that second grader Dylan Hoffman of Caledonia, WI, created to win this year’s U.S. Doodle 4 Google National Contest. His doodle “Pirate Times” is featured on the U.S. Google homepage today. For his artistic efforts he’ll receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a Chromebook computer and a $50,000 technology grant for his school. Congrats, Dylan, and keep towing that pirate line. Those ninjas are sneaky buggers 😉

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Reviews for SEO & Market Research [infographic]

Customers use product reviews to share their opinions with other shoppers and with the brands they buy (or don’t buy) from. Reviews are also great for SEO, as a valuable source of user generated content that can boost the keyword theme on product pages when the content is embedded in the page in a way that search engines can actually index it. Bazaarvoice’s recent infographic on customer purchase decisions held a couple of key points that resonated with me from a search perspective.

Well, 12% of the 11 millions reviews Bazaarvoice has access to contain some form of product suggestions. That’s market research gold. Companies pay agencies regularly to determine what customers want, and these 12% are leaving product opinions freely in their reviews. So for the cost of implementing a reviews feature on your site, you also get the bonus of honest product feedback. Yes it’s visible to all and yes it may not all be complimentary, but it’s valuable and free. So what do customers say about products?


See the full infographic here, along with a cool flash brochure that explains all the data.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Google’s Ever-Changing Algorithms

Excerpts from my latest article at Resource Interactive’s weThink blog: “Site Quality & Google’s Ever-Changing Algorithms.”

Google released 52 algorithm updates and changes in April 2012—1.73 per day. The Panda and Penguin updates received the most attention because they affected the most sites, but 50 other updates impacted search results as well. Most were focused on Google’s crusade to improve the quality of sites that rank the highest in their search results, but others included updates to changes in indexing, spelling, sitelinks, sports scores features and more. Of course, April 1st also brought a new round of Google’s April Fools’ pranks including the super geeky 8-bit Google Maps and Google Australia’s Street Roo instead of the usual Street View.

The most important updates in May, however, focused on site quality and spam prevention. First, Google quietly released the Panda 3.5 algorithm update on April 19. The Panda update, named for the Google engineer who developed it, targets sites with thin content or that repost content found on other sites. This 3.5 update is just the latest of the Panda releases that tend to happen every four to eight weeks.

Sites that create fresh, unique content on a regular basis—such as ecommerce sites that release new products regularly and write their own unique product descriptions—shouldn’t have much trouble with Panda updates. Consumer product sites that feature unique content about their branded products as well as blog posts, Twitter feeds and other sources of unique content should likewise have no Panda problems.

A few days later on April 24, Google released another important algorithm update they codenamed “Penguin” that intensified Google’s war on webspam. Three percent of Google’s search rankings were affected in the U.S. The algorithm update seems to have hit sites that have overoptimized anchor text and low anchor text diversity, as well as a high number of links from topically irrelevant sites.

Read the article in full at Resource Interactive’s weThink blog »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.