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Hello everyone! We're back for today's #SEERQandA: SEO edition! Please use this thread to post your SEO questions, and a member of our awesome SEER team will get to you asap! We'll have a hard stop at 1pm EST (hey, we gotta get back to work too!), so enjoy the hour and let's get it started in 5...4...3...2...
Annie Cushing's profile photoSteven Weldler's profile photoWil Reynolds's profile photoLyndon NA's profile photo
Have you seen ranking movement you suspect is attributable primarily to Venice? If so, how are you measuring that and controlling for variables?
What do you think of the commentary taking place between Bryan Meunier and Aaron Wall. Do you believe that brands have a bias towards ranking?
Thanks a lot for doing this. Obviously links are crucial for SEO, but how important are internal links? Where would you prioritize efforts to generate internal links with optimized anchor text. Context is for a b2b news site.
+Jey Pandian Panda definitely introduced a strong bias toward brands, esp bigger brands. I had a client who was competing against bigger brands in the baby space. Her site was hit hard. There were two brands with egregious ads (one even had ads that blinked and auto-played video above the fold) but surfed effortlessly through the Panda debacle. I think it's a trend that's here to stay.
Thank you Annie. Am I limited to one question or am I allowed to ask as many as I want? :)
+David Minchala Great question. I haven't seen data that has a high enough correlation index yet, but it's still early. If you see something, you are beholden to share that with me though. :)
How do you scale link acquisition methods for .gov and .edu sites? Is it as simple as creating a resource and alerting everyone or do you utilize tactics such as emailing a large sample of contacts?
Hey +Matt Satell, thanks for participating. I would look at the people that are beating you in the SERPs first and foremost and prioritize that way. If they have a ton of ext links and are beating you I would prioritize that first. If you can look at your ext backlink profiles side to side and say with confidence you are as good or better than them in that category and still getting beat, then I think it's the time to start prioritizing internal links. Does that help answer your question?
Hi all,

I know SEER is a big fan of Google Doc scraping, so what are 5-10 of the most common tasks you all use Google Docs for (I.e price scraping, SERP scraping, etc). And bonus question, but one are some of the common issues that u run into (I.e rate limit use to be one?). 
My traffic is down since the last google update. What is the best plan to counter act that?
+Matt Satell So glad you asked this. I think internal links are the red-headed stepchild of many sites. What I like to do is look at your top pages. You can find them via Google Webmaster Tools (Your site on the web > Search queries > Top Pages tab), Open Site Explorer (Top Pages tab), or Majestic (Top Pages tab). Then look at your internal linking structure. (You can filter OSE to just look at internal links by clicking on the Inbound Links tab and choosing Internal Only.) Are you linking to your most popular pages? (Most aren't.)
+Matt Satell chiming in with my own personal experience - internal links can be powerful when domain itself is very powerful. In other words, if you earn a ton of links naturally, and you see a gap in anchor text bc most folks link to you using your brand name etc, internal links could be a good supplement to external linkbuilding. +Abbott Shea has the right idea though, do the competitive research first and if you're looking to measure impact, test internal links and external links separately.
+John Ward Can you pinpoint the date? The last updates I have on my calendar are Panda 3.3 and Venice on 2/27. Is that when you started losing traction?
The true problem with tracking the Venice update is that most ranking tools are not built to handle it. I would be focused on looking at average ranking position in Google Webmaster tools. Also, this is a keyword specific update. Some keywords are not showing localized organic results.
Since +Annie Cushing is in this conversation, I'll ask another question that's analytic oriented. Do you feel its worth switching to Google Analytics versus SiteCatalyst15? What are pros and cons in your opinion? xD
+David Minchala +Matt Satell +Annie Cushing +Abbott Shea Just a bit of anecdotal evidence here... a few months ago we implemented some strategic internal linking on a large ecomm site (that has a very powerful domain). To Dave's point, we were able to close the gap in anchor text and value through these semi-site wides...and b/c of the value of the site itself, we actually saw some very significant improvement for the terms and category pages we were targeting. Definitely depends on the situation though, b/c not every site has the muscle for that type of thing to work.
And there are some interesting cases. I think one of the clear winners that I have seen is They ranked nationally in the top 3-5 for the term "used cars".... Last i checked (last week) they picked up another result of their local page when a location is set in the side bar. So ranking data might not have changed much, but they now have 2 results and probably show a decent increase in traffic over the month of Feb/March. Ultimately, rank tracking tools are going to have to find a way to set and track by locations and possibly average the result on some terms. I do think that getstat is playing in the location settings for rank tracking space.
Okay - I have a few :D

Question1 : What specific factors do you think are prime to get hit by Panda?
Question2 : Just how much of an impact will having a Hyphen in your DomainName have?
Question3 : From a small Business/Startup Site perspective - what would you advise as a viable LinkBuilding method?

(I have a ton more - but I don't want to be greedy :D)
Thank you.
+Cleo Kirkland I primarily use Google Docs to "scrape" GA, though I use the term scraping here loosely. The API gives you a lot of flexibility and automation that's harder to achieve with Excel. Plus, it's super easy to share with a client and let them watch it update. Keeps them happy and us transparent. I also use gdocs to scrape social and compare to OSE/Majestic data for landing pages. With one client, we weren't seeing why they were getting beaten by another for the term "internet fax" so I eventually pulled in social data, and there it was. And, yeah, rate limits can be tricky. Sometimes I have to convert to values after scraping to get more data (I'm greedy) or stabilize the spreadsheet.
Do you think that things such as Profile Trust and +1 Metrics are already factored in ranking, and, if not, how long do you project it will take before these are weighted in the SERPs?
+Jey Pandian Our company has been successful at getting .edu links by creating a free resource college students can use. We created a free test preparation resource for students taking college-level exams. Then, we did manual outreach to the testing center administrators and asked them to coordinate with their webmaster to put a link to our free test prep resource.

Due to time limitations, we've done very little outreach, but the success rate has been high. And once we staff-up, we'll get back to this tactic because it's worked extremely well.
+Jey Pandian - What is up my man!! Lets talk about this. So here's how I look at this...for .gov's especially - I find that they create these really long studies and reports - yet they are usually in PDFs, so if you can look at a report hosted on a .gov that has a lot of inbounds, try to find a way to condense the data into something valuable..if you are seeking ideas, I just blogged about this yesterday: - take a look st the google query I run about half way down, restrict that to a .gov or .edu and you'll refine those opps. Once you find those opps, boil down the resource into something more managable and then shop the idea to the people who have linked to it. More importantly set up some searches on twitter and in alerts to continue to find oppotunities for you to let people know about the resource. Lastly, make 100% sure you do some keyword research and optimize the content on that keyword as well.

+Adam Melson has been on top of having clients develop scholarships, and then do a saerch for something like scholarship lists filtering only .edu's and .gov's add a word like "submit" to the query and boom. here is a sample query that might help: OR intitle:"scholarship list" submit -intitle:apply -intitle:submit
Ha, +Jey Pandian ... You went there, didn't you. I am absolutely in love with SiteCatalyst's Fallout Report. To do conversions on the fly is unbelievable. Besides that, I really don't have a lot positive to say about SiteCatalyst. When I took their training I asked how you can compare one date range against another. One of my greatest frustrations (besides how horrifically slow it is). The trainer said, "That would be nice, wouldn't it?" Me: "I thinking more like absolute necessity." So, yeah, not a big fan.
What are some of the keys to optimization for google images? What have you guys done to get images listed at the top of Google's Vertical Search for images?
My traffic decrease seems to be around feb 20th.
Aside from paid link resources and directory submissions, what do you guys think would be the quickest way to procure links? Like I'm talking within a 10 day span. (think automotive industry)
+Sasch Mayer Hey - Now this is 100% speculation on my part, but I would say not yet. I wonder what +Bill Slawski thinks. But I think not yet, or if it is its VERY minimal. I'd say before its a significant ranking factor??? Hmmmm...2-3 years. Or maybe G will try ro say its never going to be a major ranking factor but they use it for personalization, and if personalization becomes wide spread enough, it will only impact those logged in with an account. This is why I am saying, companies should start NOW!
+Mark Lavoritano I've seen the patents and discussed this is some depth with people inside and outside of Google. I was asking you guys what your opinion was on this score. ;-)

Is Profile Authority/Trust factored yet, and, if not, how long, at a guess, would you think it will take to become a factor?
+Jey Pandian Sadly, I'm not able to make SES, but I will be at +Distilled LinkLove in Boston. If you're there I'd be happy to speak with you more about getting .edu links.
+Lyndon NA I'll answer #1. first.
1. Thin content
2. Lots of duplicate content clogging up Google's index. Get the [duplicate] junk out of their trunk.
3. Scraped content from other sites. Shut down the feeds and come up w/ original thoughts you can stand by. Esp true for news and ecommerce sites. Okay, and MFA (made for AdSense) sites.
4. A business with weak brand signals. Build your brand and verify it elsewhere. Get people talking about you on social networks, and build links w/ brands.
+Lyndon NA For Q2: It doesn't matter if your domain has a hyphen or two in it. It has more to do with if it's an EMD (exact match domain) that was primarily built to rank for head terms. Yeah, that cruise liner collided with an iceberg a while ago. It hasn't totally sunk yet, but I wouldn't invest in EMDs at this point. But what a time SEOs had when it was the wild, wild west. :)
Outside of killer content, what tools do you find helpful for scalable link building?
+Jason Nelson by scalable, I assume automated, there are a lot out there, I won't mention them here unless Seer doesn't mind.
+Jey Pandian Hey, we are all about the sharing of knowledge here. Don't stop yourself from answering, because we might even learn a thing or two from you as well! ;)
For the record, SEER does not endorse all methods spoken about here. Lawyers make me say thing like that. Let er rip.
+Jason Nelson I would think one of the more legit automated link building tools would be something like . Automated social submission. You could get into a hole other grey area with more tools, but they could also lead to the opposite results of what you expect.
+Lyndon NA Great List of Questions!

Q1:What specific factors do you think are prime to get hit by Panda?
A1: One of the main factors in the Panda Update that caused sites to get lower rankings was the devaluation of spammy links and duplicate content. Here is an article of 23 questions to ask yourself so you don't get hit with the update

Q2: Just how much of an impact will having a Hyphen in your DomainName have?
A2: Exact match hyphenated names use to rank well in Google's algorithm, but we have seen a steady decline in this tactics effectiveness. So having a hyphen domain won't hurt your ranking, but it probably won't help it either. Also its just hard to tell someone what your domain is. For more tips, +Rand Fishkin has a great article on picking a domain name.

Q3: From a small Business/Startup Site perspective - what would you advise as a viable LinkBuilding method?
A3: The best way to start link building for a startup is to get links from people you are already working with. Your suppliers, customers, vendors etc. If you are a local site make sure your on sites like Google Places, Yelp, Merchant Circles, etc. Here is a good list of SEO tips to get started by SEER's +Jaime Rigopoulos
+Matt Hill, depending on what the site is I think there are a lot of quick opportunities for you. A few...
1) not sure what type of automotive company your working with, but looking to vendors, existing relationships and finding opportunities on their web assets (guest posts, links page, testimonials, etc.) is always time well spent.
2) Use the people you have to copy write, or find copywriters (may be able to find people to help you out on or, and get guest posts up with anchor text links.
3) Try to use the experts at your company to give quotes for writers at Help a Reporter Out in exchange for a link, or arrange an interview with a relevant site.
4) Check out these posts for more ideas, one from +Jon Cooper - (there are tons on here!), and this CLASSIC throwback from +Adam Melson on using what you already have available to you -

Hope that helps answer your question. Good luck!
Hey, +Ronald Thomas - great question. A few tips:

1. Make sure you're using alt tags and getting your optimized terms in there (without whoring your site out). Also, Google and Bing look at the text surrounding the image. Again, don't get crazy with it.

2. Make sure your images are on your main site (like in an images subdirectory). This appears to work better than when they're on a subdomain. And whatever you do, don't put them on another site. I've seen too many cases of sites putting them on a different domain instead of setting up adequate load balance protocols on their own sites.

3. Make sure your images are optimized for load time and don't slow down the rest of your page.

4. Look and see what terms your images are already getting visibility for. You can do this by creating an advanced segment in GA for search traffic from images. And (little known tip) filtering your search queries report in Google Webmaster Tools for images only (Your site on the web > Search queries > Filters tab > Choose Images from Search dropdown > Apply). You can also filter by country if your site's target audience is primarily in one country.

Hope this helps.
Since I suggested this to someone else. What are your thoughts on automated social submission tools such as onlywire.
+Jason Nelson One idea (not on the automated side) is to think about things that will naturally grow themselves. A concept that has worked is targeting high value writers/bloggers/sites, with the hope that as other bloggers/writers in that niche see the big players involved, they will want a piece of the pie as well. This type of top-down approach can be particularly effective w/ badges, or in areas where recognition is an important factor for the bloggers (So-and-so is a Verified User/Certified Designer/Licensed Provider?). In some cases, if you hit the right veins, you can make folks very interested to the point where they are seeking out the relationship, vs the other way around. The big caveat here is that you or your client needs to have some weight/recognition in the industry to get the top-level folks interested.
+Lyndon NA +Annie Cushing on number 3. Think of it as if you were a brand new business in a town that has a lot of people. How do you get the word out? How do you let them know that there's a new fish in town?

Third party edification helps spread word of mouth referrals. Ads in the newspaper (online with a link) helps alert other folks (and search engine bots) to the existence of your business. When people talk about you by linking to you, its a citation.

Start a blog, cover your query space, use link/attention hooks to get more links ( Report on what other people are doing. Create a regular newsletter or a resource like an annual survey. Put lots of gems in it and share it widely (like David Mihm's Local SEO Ranking Factors) and update it every year. Write evergreen articles ( Write seasonal content, write opinionated content. Become a thought leader in your space.

Read this article by Mike Grehan (, build up your momentum and once you get it, don't let it go. Use SEM/Paid Advertising to drive awareness. Guest blogging is an option, build a network of friends in your space. Share each others articles and spread the karma, eventually when you tweet or share something, they'll do the same too (and this puts the network theory in play over time).

Look for competitor link rot (dead links to competitor sites), update them with your own links. Lots of ways :)
+John Ward Would you go to coffee with a robot? That's how much people like automated anything (with very rare exception) on social media. :)
We're finishing up any of the loose questions on here, but once again, we'd like to thank everyone that has participated in today's #SEERQandA chat!! Great questions and come back on April 4th for the PPC edition. Have a great rest of the day! :)
+John Ward Just saw you answered my earlier question. Feb 20th doesn't correlate with any significant Google updates. You're sandwiched between Panda 3.2 on Jan 18 and Panda 3.3 and Venice on Feb 27. My guess is it's not b/c of an update but something else. You'll have to drill down into your analytics and find out what caused that drop.
+Jason Nelson automated tools exist out there, you'll find a lot at Wicked Fire or Warrior Forums (a word of advice, don't click on every link there), for more reading, you can go to where it describes how to build a mininet or blackhatforums where some techniques are discussed in the open (although this is a mostly dead forum). The US public domain does have a lot of information but if you truly want to go into the wilds, I recommend searching through different search engines (tier 3) and in OTHER countries such as India or UK or China or Russia. There is a wealth of information out there and if you want to dig deeper, you can browse the Tor Network (be very careful in here).

In good conscience, I won't list the automated tools, I feel its an ethical breach and I don't want to unwittingly unleash more spammers. Since you've asked about scalable link building techniques, I advise thinking about how you can build a system that will automatically build links for you while you sleep. Dig deep into your keyword report logs.

For example, I dug into the keyword logs for a site in the makeup vertical and I noticed that there were a ton of searches for stuff like eyeshadows for {insert eye color} and {insert hair color}. I realized that there was an opportunity here and I started creating a tool that allows the user to input the hair color, skin color and eye color and it would return a list of colors that would match. This would build links indefinitely because it addresses a NEED in the marketplace.

My advice is to look for pain points. Then think of ways to address that pain point and the links will flow.
+Annie Cushing I see your point, but it's only "automated" in the sense that it can submit to multiple sources for an account you define. For example, facebook, reddit, stumbleupon. You can still customize the message but save time from manually submitting to each source. I guess the alternative is that if the content is good enough users will share it for you anyway and a personal recommendation from a friend means more.
Thanks for all the feedback and discussion. It's much appreciated.
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