This doesn't mean you won't have to think about SEO.
You still need to design pages with content so that search engines know what the site is about.
You still need to think about link text and number of links.
Everything applies to your site as it does to every other site, it's just that now SEO won't be telling you that the Flash needs to go.
This is new... we'll have to wait and see how well it really works based on feedback from SEOs and webmasters working with Flash websites - it's encouraging! Designers everywhere will be jumping for joy.
I got an interesting email the other day about the WebAward from the Web Marketing Association and in theory it sounds like an OK award to apply for.
But... the crazy thing they did was give a Top 10 reasons you should want to apply, one of which addresses SEO - and it's off base, very unfortunate for a web marketing association.
"A link to webaward.org
will help your site's search engine rankings because you will be linked
to an 12-year old .org authoritative site with a high Google PageRank."
We all know that every SEO has a different stance on what it takes to rank high in search engines, but I'm pretty sure that most SEOs feel that linking to a 12-yr old .org site isn't really going to help boost your rankings.
My hope is that it's a mixup and it should have read:
A link FROM webaward.org will help your site's search engine rankings because you will be linked FROM a 12-year old .org authoritative site with a high Google PageRank.
The thing is that anyone can link to webaward.org, even if they don't win - so if this was part of your reasoning for the application, know that it's a bit of *bleep* and not likely to have affect your rankings as their top 10 list implies.
I just met Joost de Volk at SES New York (hello Joost!) and saw his recent post about PageRank sculpting and it's an excellent overview on the ways that you can use the nofollow tag to pass on PageRank juice to where you need it most.
As with other aspects of SEO, there are a lot of different theories out there and this one is pretty consistent with my views on the subject.
Wondering how to leverage PageRank sculpting on your site?
At SMX West, one of the recurring themes I heard during sessions, and in conversations, was the idea of search engine optimization (SEO) audits. I've been recommending and using SEO audits for years as an effective tool for getting buy-in, fresh perspectives, filling in the gaps of in-house knowledge and confirming that your strategy is on the right track.
The SEO Site Audit article in search engine land is something that may help you build the case to your manager for getting a site audit, identifying many reasons why a search engine optimization site audit makes sense for any company.
What I didn't include in the article is an in-house reality: Many in-house SEOs have limitations in their knowledge because they have only been working one, or a limited number of, site(s). You can avoid being called out by recognizing this reality and engaging someone to bring a fresh perspective to the table. Even I had to face this reality, and it's how I sold the need for working with external consultants.
The other day I got a call from a frantic in-house SEO
because they are quickly loosing organic traffic and their pages fell out of
the SERPs. "What do we need to do?"
asked my friend. We talked through the basic analysis to do in her moment of crisis.
What to do when you fall out of Google SERPS:
Gather your referring traffic by day for the search engine that has dropped you from favor. This will give you insights into when the issue started and how rapidly your traffic is falling. It's especially important if you don't monitor SEO traffic on a daily basis.
Gather your bot crawl data, by day so that you can understand if the bot traffic has become irregular in the same timeframe. Perhaps they're getting stuck in the code somewhere.
Identify which pages seem impacted. Is it the entire site? Or, is it a specific subdirectory? It's much better if it is only a subdirectory.
Check to see if your pages have actually disappeared from the index, or just fallen in rankings? I've seen rankings for some keywords fall 100+ positions, that is something completely different than falling out of the index.
Gather all the changes you launched on the site in the last 30-90 days and look for anything that could have impacted SEO, including links to pages that have disappeared. If you aren't a strong SEO with technical expertise, than gather this for a consultant to review.
If there was a recent redesign, verify the URL didn't change. Don't ask the developer, you as the SEO need to check for yourself. I've seen IT swear it didn't change, yet research found it did. When in doubt, go to the Wayback Machine and find a page that links to the page(s) that have
search engine's webmaster tools, such as Yahoo! Site Explorer and Google
Webmaster Central for anything unusual or suspicious. Look for error codes, excessive
duplicate content and links found. Google's Webmaster Central also has a
place for messages. I haven't heard of anyone getting a message, but it's
Make sure the page is not in the robots.txt (it has happened to big brands before), and also make sure that a robots "noindex" wasn't added
to the page.
do all of the above and still can't figure it out, it might by time to
reach out to an expert consultant for analysis. Emergency SEO analysis isn't cheap, so
decide what you're willing to spend to save your SEO efforts – a few hundred dollars won't cut it. A few thousand dollars will get you started,
but it could take more than that depending on the issues.
If you don't have someone to reach out to, contact me at jessicabowman [at] gmail
dot com and I will connect you with people I trust for Emergency SEO
analysis. They aren't cheap, but they're good.
What additional advice do you
have for someone reading this post in a moment of frenzy? They will thank you immensely for the advice!
I do a lot of training for people that want to do SEO themselves, and the best way to describe how search engines read a web page is an analogy: Search engines read your web page like a college professor reads a research paper.
Remember back in the day when you wrote those 20 page research papers? I once asked a professor, “How on earth do you read all them all?” He said, “I scan the paper first to know what it’s about. Then, I read it from start to finish.” He smiled and quietly said, “I usually know the grade of the paper just by scanning,” and he told me what he looked at:
First, he reads the title of the paper to identify what the page is about. [Equivalent to an H1 tag]
Then, if there’s an executive summary, he reads that. [Equivalent to a meta description]
Then, he scans the page, looking at the sub-headlines to identify the direction of the paper [Equivalent to the H2, H3, H4 tags]
He said there are other things that catch his attention – bulleted lists and numbered lists, they must be important because they’ve been called out in an orderly fashion. [Equivalent to list tags]
Bolded and italicized text stood out, because it identifies important points.
Lastly, the professor read the conclusion. You always restate your subject and reinforce the direction. [Equivalent to the end of your page copy]
By this time, he has a good indication of what the page is about (and what grade it will receive), next he reads the detail.
Today, I remember this whenever working with clients on how to write for search engines. Every point that the professor notices are the most valuable pieces of real estate in your page copy, these are the places that you want to put your keywords. You want someone to be able to scan your page like the professor that first skims a research paper to understand what it’s about.
The last similarity: like college professors, search engines do not like duplicate content – it can get you thrown out of school and it can get you dropped from the SERPs.
One key difference: Unlike professors that want a 20 page research paper, most of the SEO copywriters I know recommend 250-300 words per page for optimal results.
What most sites are missing:
Keywords at the end of the page. Remember, the conclusion always restates your subject. To further illustrate the value: a few years ago someone from Ask.com was on-stage at an SES Conference and mentioned that they look for the targeted keyword at the end of the page, because this indicates if the entire page is about that topic.
Header Tags. Headlines marked with header tags are extremely valuable. I’ve been amazed at the power of the header tag. Use them, and make them useful for both users and SEO. I write them so that you can get the gist of the page copy by reading the headlines, if you like what you saw, you’ll read the entire page. Most importantly, don’t forget your keywords!