Top SEO TIPS for 2011 - post panda.

Top SEO TIPS for 2011 - post panda.

There are many basic-to-advanced SEO tactics that you can read in earlier versions of Top 12 SEO Tips for 2006-2007 that are still spot-on in terms of the current state of SEO. This year, though, I timed it right with the Panda Update being released in February.

AFTER A MAJOR update, I would normally get together with a bunch of other SEO freaks and do some testing to get real data to back my conclusions. This time, however, the research was already done. The same things work now that worked four or five years ago, just in a different proportion.

Most of my 20ii SEO top tips directly relate to the Panda Update in some way because the basis behind this update is, in my mind, saturating the amount of information utilised to establish the most relevant pages in Google. The search giant is doing this with Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), social media and information from third-party bookmarking companies like Furl, Facebook and Reddit. This makes it much harder for SEOs to manipulate the results, and easier for Google to identify sites attempting to engineer the results in their favour; companies like Furl, Facebook and Reddit.

Latent Semantic Indexing

I've spoken many times in the past on LSI. It's used by all three search engines, started years ago for various reasons, and now it is being injected into Google's algorithm more than ever before in the newest release of the 'Panda' or 'Farmer' update. Unlike the 'Jagger' or the 'Caffeine' updates, this directly targets sites by using LSI along with other triggers.

For those of you that don't live and breathe all things SEO, LSI is best defined thus: "Latent semantic indexing allows a search engine to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching search query text. By placing additional weight on related words in content, LSI has a net effect of lowering the value of pages which only match the specific term and do not back it up with related terms." That was SEO Guru Aaron Wall's description and probably the best one when put into layman's terms'.

Over the last four years, LSI has been in nearly half of the conferences at which I have had the opportunity to speak but, unfortunately, only by me it seemed. I started talking about it back when the 'Minus 950' penalty hit in one month and Universal Search was released the next.

At that time, I told of Google buying a US-based company named Applied Semantics in April of 2003 to further its research on algorithms.
Google even talked about the residual integration of LSI publicly. So did MSN and Yahoo!. Yahoo! even applied for a patent on its own version. The odd thing was, although these conferences were considered advanced (gaming, affiliate and SEO), no-one else was talking about it.

Google has been testing LSI in speech recognition software, cross-language document retrieval and search engine integration, as well as many others, for a long time. It's a bit scary when you think about it. The military used this stuff to identify terrorist chat amidst billions of spoken words in a short timeframe. When you apply this powerful tool to search, you reduce the potential of engineered results from guys like me - SEOs. Because it looks at relative terms, it makes it a thousand times harder to 'game' the algorithm because of the number of terms that could be considered relative. Apply this to environments like social networks, add in sloppy linguistics, slang, native language and a little local salt and you can get a lot of variables. That's the data Google has at its disposal to analyse. Even scarier when you consider that Google gets its information from everything you do. Ever think about the fact that Google Gmail serves up AdSense ads that have some relevance to the actual content in your email?

"Google gets its information from everything you do. Ever think about the fact that Google Gmail serves up AdSense ads that have some relevance to the actual content in your email?"

Techniques like buying links with relative anchor text takes on a whole mew meaning when you add LSI into the mix. I personally think that with all the data Google has now collected, it can finally utilise the findings of Applied Semantics and build its own sort of'Semantic Synonym' dictionary and use it as an algorithmic plug-in at will.

It makes sense that Google would use this ability and possibly even have a knob to turn it up or down. The easiest way to reduce the ability of SEOs to manipulate the results is to spread the area (or add the information) into the playing field and water down their ability. At the same time, it may truly have started its way toward delivering a top-notch set of results.

Universal Search was meant to do this back in 2007 and although it helped to iumble the type of results, there were too many blogs, articles and, undoubtedly, spammy sites too. They have been tweaking it ever since, and average one update per day. So the significance of LSI or Long-tail keyword targeting is now a huge part of life and although it seems daunting, successful SEO can still be broken down into manageable terms. It may require that you outsource much of the grinding work (like content writing) but much of the tasks I paid tens of thousands to get accomplished over the past ten years have been automated. There are a few new elements like Social Media, Web 2.0 and Social Bookmarking but even these can be managed.

There's one other thing that really needs to be pointed out. Before April 12, the playing field was dominated and even though it still is to a point, the long-tail variable in Google has opened the gates for people that have struggled in the past.

Here are the facts: 25 percent of all searches are first time searches. That is a stunning statistic. When you combine that fact, and, if you are measured on conversions and conversion rates in whatever you do, then this next statistic will really open your eyes. 60 percent of all conversions come from this 25 percent. That's a conversion rate of 15 percent. When you consider the average conversion rate across all sectors is between three to five percent and in gaming it's 1.5 to 2 percent, 15 percent sounds pretty good doesn't it? Well, you would think.

When I get ambitious SMEs (small and medium enterprises) or Top FTSE/Fortune 500 companies questioning whether or not an investment in a SEO, PPC and social media mix for 12 months is worth the risk, it "twists me melon" (I live in Yorkshire, England and have been trying to fit that in somewhere - but coming from an American, it just doesn't sound right). From what other investment can you be out of the red in six to 12 months? What business school did these people go to?

Whether it's gaming, forex, binary options, memory foam mattresses or pet supplies, you can make money very quickly when SEO, PPC, social media and conversion optimisation are implemented correctly. It has always been a 'sure bet' scenario, but now, the Farmer Update has
increased these odds.

If you are an Affiliate, this is huge because we have always targeted long-tail, or had to target long-tail because of big investment and/or brand protection in PPC. So where some feel this will hurt them, look at it this way: affiliates have always delivered 40 percent of the income of any given company regardless of sector since time (Internet time that is) began, and this will not change. Plenty of the top super affiliate websites have had good content and are neck-deep in social media and everything I have suggested to this point for some time now. Have a look at BingoPort; they are both Top Notch SEOs and social media strategists.

To finish on this thought; if you haven't financially prepared yourself for a 12 month building process then you shouldn't be investing in what you see as such a high-risk endeavour. Some will get top ten very quickly depending on the niche, and most will start to offset the expenses almost immediately using PPC but its now going to take a bit longer and take more effort.
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