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Learn the advanced SEO techniques required for planning strategy and managing clients & teams with our new Advanced SEO Strategy course.
We have been running SEO courses for over 10 years and although we update the content before every course to reflect the latest changes, it is time to launch a new course aimed at more senior SEO practitioners & managers.
Advanced SEO Training will give you the skills to actively plan, exectue and improve campaigns in an in-house or agency role.
Building on our Beginner - Intermediate SEO course, this course will teach you how to apply your skills directly to a website and make intelligent, informed decisions.
We believe this is the most up to date SEO course on the market and one of a handful that focuses on strategy.
You might already know what makes Google tick - but are you prepared for future changes? Do you have an agile strategy that is future-proofed against future updates?
On Friday we attended our favourite local conference: BrightonSEO, organised as ever by Kelvin Newman (thanks Kelvin!). As usual there was a diverse set of speakers & topics and also as usual it's Monday morning & I'm writing up the most interesting & actionable advice from the day. We also ran a live blog using Storify throughout the day which included tweets from the conference. Read our live BrightonSEO blog here.
For a comprehensive understanding of SEO as a whole, it's worth coming on our SEO Training Courses at Silicon Beach.
We stuck with the Dome talks all day and although the topics included Social, Creative & Onsite there was a definite theme running through the conference:
April's conference was all about using content to build links but since then Google has come out against guest posts & press release links, and so the advice has shifted from building to earning links through content.
This was my fourth BrightonSEO (as a company we've attended every single one since the beginning!) and it's interesting to see the shifts in best practice that can occur in only 6 months.
Update 09/07: Search Engine Land have reported that Google's John Mueller has twice stated that if you are guest blogging for links, then those links should be nofollowed. This is stronger proof than ever that Google considers guest post links a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines and it's a matter of time until we see some sort of 'guest post link penalty'. I think this should be taken with a pinch of salt so you shouldn't rush out and nofollow all your posts, but you should definitely think about the kinds of sites you are writing for and the quality of your content.
Nearly two years since we wrote about guest blogging as the next big thing for SEO and link building, it's time to look at how guest posting has changed, the impact of scaling and whether it's still a valuable SEO technique.
In 2013, most businesses realise the importance of content. That's why so many SEO agencies are repositioning themselves as content agencies, or at least offering it as a primary product. Our Content Marketing courses used to attract mainly bloggers, but since the Panda and Penguin Google updates we have seen a large increase in SEOs wanting to learn about content.
Yet this mass conversion to content brings up some issues - there is too much noise. Most businesses are still stuck in an outdated content strategy - regular, mediocre quality blog posts with little intent. The content is happening, but is it working?
With content at the forefront of so many marketing strategies, it seems at first glance that big businesses have a massive advantage. Whole in-house marketing teams as well as high profile agencies on hand to craft incredible content. How does a small business compete against this with a 1-3 person marketing team?
Big Evergreen Content
The idea for this post was sparked by Hannah Smith's talk at BrightonSEO 'Go Big or Go Home' (excellent write up on State of Search), which prompted me to revisit Dr. Pete's SEOmoz post at the end of last year 'Why Big Content Is Worth the Risk'. Both Hannah and Dr. Pete explain why big content is necessary and how it can help your business stand out in a very crowded world of below par blog posts:
"We all want the low-hanging fruit, but let’s be honest – the low-hanging fruit is rotten, bruised, and covered with the grubby fingerprints of all the other spoiled brats pawing at it."
The consensus of both the talk and the post is that big content takes around 40 hours to produce. Hannah compared this to an average 12 hours for 'small content' but I think that's a huge overestimation for the majority of businesses. James Carson recently alerted Twitter to the existence of a job ad for an agency looking for a Marketing Executive who for £18,000 a year had to write 25 blog posts a day. That's well over 6,000 articles a year on a range of topics, written by somebody with little knowledge about the subject and obviously no research.
With that much noise, it's important to be different to break through, and that's where big content comes in. But I'm going to go a step further and ask you to consider another element - sustainability. Another popular topic at BrightonSEO, and a common phrase in marketing blogs at the moment is Evergreen Content.
In the rest of this post I'm going to try and convince you why your content should be both big and evergreen for the holy grail of content marketing.
These rumours included Facebook Mobile & an external search engine, but the most popular rumour turned out to be spot on - Facebook has radically overhauled their internal search function in a move that should frighten other social networks, traditional search engines and privacy advocates alike.
There are already tons of posts about the new search function and very few people have access yet (you can sign up for beta here), so instead we are going to focus on how brands (and individuals) can optimise to appear higher and more frequently in search results. One of those lucky few to get early access was Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, so head over there for a full run down of how Facebook Graph Search works.
It's very interesting that Facebook is the first social network to bring out a search engine like this. On our SEO courses and social media workshops we emphasise how you can use social media to help rank better in search engines, maybe now we'll have to include a section on using SEO to rank better in social networks!
How Does Visibility Work with Facebook Graph Search?
Mark Zuckerberg may claim that Graph Search isn't a direct competitor to Google, but it's still a search engine and so there will always be ways to rank higher. Facebook have managed to produce something that Google have been working on for a while - an Internet of Things. Instead of a database of web pages, they have a database of information on things - likes, photos, businesses, people, jobs, locations and many more - and can distinguish between these items.
Your visibility rests on how your business is connected to searchers - the more of their friends have connected with you, the more visible you are in their search results. But this can be just one of many factors affecting your visibility, including:
- Total number of likes
- Total number of check-ins
- The level of engagement on your page
- How often people talk about your business
- The frequency that people check in/ engage
- The recency of check-ins/ engagement
- Your location
- Your potential reach (are your likes/check-ins just local or are people coming from further afield?)
There are likely to be many more I haven't thought of, and the impact of each is determined by the type of search performed.
If a searcher is looking for businesses their friends like, then that will be the major factor. If they're looking for businesses in their area then total likes and of course location will have more of an impact.
But it's not just friends! You can search using an overwhelming number of factors. My favourite example of this is again from Danny Sullivan - "Search for Restaurants run by employees of a particular cooking school". So it's not just about number of connections, but about the type and value of those connections.