Google’s “Ten things” Philosophy and the Connection with SEO

SEO is one of the fastest growing industries on the market today – it’s also one of the most exciting. With SEO, changes occur on a daily basis, accumulating to over 500 algorithm improvements each year; however, if you can understand the root of why search quality teams would be making so many drastic improvements, you can better understand how to prepare and what to expect in the future.

To do this, I tore a page out of Google’s book with their Ten things we know to be true, or company philosophy.

Reading through this I found some very interesting topics and correlations between the search giant and SEO – go figure, right? – some upfront, some buried.
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SEO Glossary, Beginners Guides and Twitter Follows

Matt Polsky's BooksAt this point, there isn’t a test, certification or degree/major for SEO professionals, even though you may find that happening in the near future – especially with amazing programs like Distilled U. But, no matter how you fell into SEO, one thing is always true, which is the fact that there is massive amounts of information on the Internet pertaining to SEO and not all of it is correct.

To alleviate this, I’ve put together this list below containing a handy glossary, industry blogs, great articles (that will be updated frequently) and, most importantly, people you should be following on Twitter to keep up with the changing SEO landscape.

I’ve found that following great minds like those below is one of the best ways to sharpen your skill set, and you can learn quite a lot from these great men and women.

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The Process and Method for Effective Copywriting

copyWriting exceptional web copy that gets recognition from users as well as search engines is a skill that you must learn, just like any othe SEO competency.

The goal of web copy is generally to provide information that provokes users to take a specific action – making copy as important to your conversions as any other part of your process.

To streamline your next project, here is a process and tips that will have you writing effective copy in no time.

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Don’t be a Tool, Evaluate Link Opportunities with Common Sense

Common Sense Link Building

Evaluating link opportunities can be one of the largest gray areas in SEO. Sometimes we are 100 percent confident in our target, like Larry Kim of WordStream after nailing a coveted link from the Wall Street Journal; however, not every link is beneficial to a site’s profile and you want to be certain that you are not simply wasting your time or doing something that could potentially harm the quality of your site.

When searching for links, the best advice I’ve heard in a long time was from Julie Joyce of LinkFish Media. Julie said the best link builders are ones that can do their job without relying on a toolbar. After hearing this, it really hit home with me. More often than not, I heard from my team how they passed up on an opportunity because Open Site Explorer gave a site a Domain Authority of 42 and Page Authority of 37, and after thinking deeper, I can remember specific instances where posts I had on older sites gained massive traction as the site aged and grew.

So the next time you consider dropping a potential link, think of the long term, and use your eyes and brain before relying on a tool. Here are some of the specific things I look for before reaching into my tool box.
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Image Optimization and Alt Text Best Practices

Keyboard with Alt Text Best PracticesThe primary purpose of alt text is for user experience. It is designed to provide an alternative description of an image for users who can’t view or choose search settings that do not display images.

Think of it from the standpoint of a visually impaired reader. Those with visual impairments use screen readers, which are unable to portray images, but will allow the user to read the title, alt text and captions – if they are provided.

Alt text has been built with the user in mind; however, improving the user experience doesn’t mean neglecting optimizing for company or personal goals as well.

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Google Offers Disavow Links Tool – Cautions Webmasters

Yesterday at Pubcon Vegas, a search, social media and affiliate marketing conference, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team announced a new tool for webmasters – the disavow links tool.

This tool, giving webmasters the ability to disassociate themselves from link spam, has built up much anticipation since Bing released their disavow links tool nearly three months ago, and could be seen as a savior to the many sites that were directly afflicted by Penguin. And while Bing’s tool may look more user friendly, Google’s formatting is much easier once you understand the process.

*Note: if this tool confuses you, DON’T use it. Hire someone who knows what they are doing.
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Finding Link Opportunities Through Backlink Analysis

Matt Polsky Backlink AnalysisFinding linking opportunities through backlink analysis requires you to have some common sense, basic knowledge of your competitors, an idea of what good links are, and you’ll also need access to a quality backlink analysis tool like SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer.

I’m a huge fan of Open Site Explorer, but I’ve also come to like using Ahrefs Site Explorer, due to the in-depth reports you can run, such analyzing anchor text by terms, shown here by Ross Hudgens; however, with this example I’ll be focusing mostly on Open Site Explorer, since it gives me quick access to the metrics I like to see on the fly.
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Why Bother with Online Rep Management

Following the aftermath of the 2009-2010 recalls that affected more than 7.5 million vehicles in the US, and 1.8 million in Europe and Asia, Toyota Motor Corp had taken the rap as one of the most unsafe vehicles in the US. This not only affected their sales for the past three years, but their reputation. Toyota, once the number 17 most trusted company in the world, according to Prophet’s annual corporate reputation studies, dropped to 139th in 2010, and currently rests as the 74th.

Odds are you don’t operate on the same scale as Toyota, complete with the ability to send a barrage of television, print radio and internet apologies; however, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your business’ reputation. Your reputation is what makes you stand apart from competitors, and can also mean the difference between recruiting top level employees, or settling for second best.
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