The theme of day 2 at Affiliate Summit was SEO. All sessions all day. And despite dancing the night away and getting 3 hours of sleep, I never got bored.
Meeting My SEO Heroes
When I went to the bloggers lounge I saw a laptop in front of me with a screensaver that said, “Bruce Clay, Inc” Ah, an SEO legend. So I asked the obvious, “are you Bruce Clay?” And he was. So I got to interview him about local search (blog post coming later). I'm trying not to show my braces, despite comments that they make me look young and sexy (I have tweeted how I paid for them by doing blogger outreach for my orthodontist).
I also got to meet Wil Reynolds who's been a favorite from past Affiliate Summits. He looked at my name tag and recognized my name because I blogged about his presentation in 2006. I thanked him for sharing his expertise by giving him some killer anchor text (search engine optimization). Four years later he thanked me back. Apparently, he remembers and appreciated the link. He told me it really helped him out. Despite the earned reputation that SEOs don't shave (the men or the women!), have poor social skills, and love to work in the dark, it's not all true. SEOs can be classy!
DO NOT Stick Out
Besides the growing prominence of local search results, the other theme was how when it comes to SEO, you want to be like the crowd. You do not want to be unique. You do not want to stand out. Instead, you want to blend in with everyone else who's ranking well in your industry. Otherwise you could be flagged for having an unnatural link profile.
How do you know if you have an unnatural link profile? Wil says Google Webmaster Tools can help. They have a new alert that will tell you if Google thinks your links profile look suspect.
It's normal for your brand name and domain name to rank highest. It's NOT natural if most of your links have the exact same anchor text. So your links are for you or your company name that's normal (for me “Newspapergrl”) But if most of my links say “online pr” it looks like you gamed the system (and you probably did). It's unnatural and you'll lose ranking. I better check mine!
Quality Over Quantity (Sorry SEO Companies!)
Rather than building a large quantity of low quality links, focus on getting a link from an authority site. This can be a problem for SEO companies who focus on building directory links and low quality article marketing that will never get shared or published elsewhere. I could argue that for local business SEO it may work only because you're so niched that there isn't as much competition. Or, less local businesses do SEO.
What I'm saying is if you get on the home page of USAToday or a huge blog in your industry, that can be better than hundreds of junk links. And it won’t matter what the anchor text they use to link to you. You’ll get trust. And once you have trust everything you write will have more value. Then you can add keyword (aka anchor text) links.
Next I'll write about SEO content creation to help you land some quality links.