IRCE Workshop: Rounding up the Whole Story: Google's Search Tweaks

This IRCE workshop is Rounding up the Whole Story: Google's Search Tweaks presented by Jeff MacGurn, Senior Vice President, Earned Media Services - Covario and Seth Dotterer, Vice President, Marketing & Product - Conductor Inc. If you're out of the search marketing world for a year, you're horribly behind - Google made significant high-level changes in 2013.

Panda is a learning algorithm, like no other. It updates on a monthly basis and can affect a page or spread to an entire site.

Google has said that "low quality content on part of a site can impact a site's ranking as a whole".


  • Avoid creating duplicate content page-level and site-wide.
  • Provide high-quality, original content that uses natural language to speak the language of the consumer
  • Monitor high bounce rates and low visit times to eliminate or revise non-essential content or pages
  • Promote high click through rates from Google results by amplifying relevancy - page titles, page snippets, etc.
  • Monitor inbound link quality to critical landing pages and encourage social sharing
  • Build regular visits to Google Webmaster Tools into your SEO Maintenance schedule on a weekly basis - respond quickly to any email notifications from Google
  • Understand that Penguin targets unnatural links - new content and social activity won't trigger a recovery, but it will help to build a completely natural backlink profile.
  • Leverage structured markup to ensure branded resources are optimized for carousels, images, knowledge graph, author or publisher tags
  • Seek out new opportunities to promote ask and answer content in other social venues; Quora and Walfram Alpha
  • Certify YouTube channels are optimized for the brand
  • Implement authorship markup
  • Implement headline, alternativeHeadline, image, description, datePublished and articleBody in your Article markup
  • Create device agnostic content that speaks the language of consumers

A common thread throughout many sessions has been that social sharing and social signals have replaced generic back links as the most important ranking factors.

Don't use your own internal language when defining your SEO strategy and target keywords - speak the language of your customers. i.e., don't target "youth apparel", target "boys clothes" and "girls clothes".

The way retailers organize their marketing team is broken - don't break things out as search marketing team, social marketing team, content marketing team. It's all interrelated and should be one team working towards one goal and one set of metrics.

Brands try to buy their way to online customers, but only 6% of  traffic comes is paid. 65% comes from organic+referral+social. Optimize your organic, referral and social traffic.

Your content has dual identities - great content optimizes for your site and for web discovery.

Many shoppers go to Pinterest and start shopping there first, and then use social signals to determine which of a few products to buy.

Don't look at just SEO, social, content management as separate teams and concepts - bring it all together as web presence management.

Web presence management:

  • Audience - everyone currently targets people at the register; very qualified and likely to purchase. Problem is, everyone's chasing these users.
  • Buyer's journey -  there's much less competition early on. Catch buyers when they're developing interest and information gathering.
  • Market to personas - talk to your potential customers about things they might be interested in. Separate out your potential buyers into separate personas - what audience are they? For instance - foodies, dads who grill, engaged couples, summer homeowners. Worksheet to build your personas:
  • Create a web presence management team, and technical, content, leadership and product stakeholders interact with that team.
  • Engage - don't just put the content on your website; get engaged socially. Be active about going out and pulling visitors into your site.

Next steps: change your organization to break down these silos; change your title - take SEO out of your title.

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Jamie Larson