Posted by Dana Lookadoo
This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
Day 1 of SEOmoz Pro Training was like being at a race track. The course careened from clicks to conversions and from search results to landing pages. The audience watched 9 speakers drive their search marketing race cars at speeds faster than fingers can type. Given the finger-breaking speeds, it was fortunate all SEO fans were well fueled – beginning with a healthy breakfast buffet, mid-morning energy bars, lunch (more all-you-can-eat) and a scrumptious mid-afternoon pit stop with fresh cookies and treats. After everyone was fed each time, it was off to the races.
Todd Freisen was in the sports booth service as emcee, host of ceremonies, referee, judge and time keeper. The event was like a well-oiled machine. Maybe that’s why they call Todd, "Oilman."
When I said "yes" to attending the Mozinar on a Press Pass, I didn’t realize I was going to be covering a sporting event. GoodNewsCowboy asked me how I was going to recap and condense this "wild ride." I realized there was a lot of horsepower on-stage and that we were at the SEOmoz Training Raceway.
Mozinar fans experienced exhilaration and gleaned insights as we watched performance race car drivers present their seminar presentations. The following race highlights are condensed from 32 pages of notes. I strongly suggest you buy the Pro Seminar DVD when it’s produced so you can see under the hood for yourself.
From Clicks to Conversions with Local, Social, Analytics and SEO in Between
1st up: Rand Fishkin had pole position and drove a car with a most unusual name, "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad SERP."
The results we are seeing in blended search results are even more unusual, starting with changes of the past 2 weeks. For those who attend SEO races regularly and are watching Google, this may be old news. For others, brace yourself. A branded search can have more than 2 results. Rand explained:
Changes to Image SEO was next, and guess what? Google has a new image search interface.
The image below results from clicking on one of the images for the artist "manet" and clicking on an image
Rand covered 10 Tips for Image Rankings. (Since we are in race synopsis mode, we’ll speed through this.) One quick takeaway was the minimum image size:
Image Pixel Size – If you go smaller than 400×300 pixels your chances to show in image search are dramatically decreased.
So you don’t have to remember any formulas, basic on-page SEO factors for image SEO include page title and surrounding text.
It’s or easier to get into video SERPs than to get into the regular SERPS. There is lower competition than ordinary results (most of the time), so take the opportunity. Follow this inclusion process to enter your video race for top ranking:
Step #1: Embed Video Content on Your Pages
Step #2: Create Thumbnail Images for Videos
Step #3: Build a Video XML Sitemap & Submit
Step #4: PROFIT $$$
See Google Webmaster Tools for Video to learn more.
Rand’s foot stayed pedal-to-the-metal as he showed how to produce Rich Snippets in the SERPs. Why is this important? This is where you get most of your clicks. His closing remarks were retweeted with fervor:
"If you can stay on top of this, you will have a big win. It demands full-time SEO."
2nd up: David Mihm was full-speed as he raced through "Ranking in Competitive Local Results." He explained:
Straight from Google’s mouth:
Local intent is 20% of total search volume (April 2010)
And who would imagine that local results could equal 100% of page 1? Try a search for "dentist chicago." (If it’s not 100%, it’s close.)
Google organic results are not, however, the dominate factor for local search. Neither are results from Yahoo! or Bing. Local search is now:
Understand that local requires a different mindset from traditional SEO, because the ecosystems vary:
"It is essential to have a holistic local search marketing strategy."
"Even if all your boss cares about is that friggin’ 7-pack!"
Resources to claim your listings:
"The Big Three" major data providers:
Citations – David recommended a new citation finder tool by Darren Shaw & Garrett French: Whitespark.ca Citation Finder
Find local SEO resources on GetListed.org.
3rd up to race: Dan Zarrella racing in the "Science of Twitter" car. Dan warned us he talked fast. Pro Seminar attendees listened attentively, but given the subject was Twitter … many tweeted insights into how one can get clicks and retweets.
Dan’s takeaways were in 140. Below are my fave top three:
Takeaway: Don’t talk about yourself so much.
Paraphrased: If you want more followers, stop talking about yourself!
Takeaway: Try to stay positive.
If you want to get bummed out, people can go on the News. Even if talking about the oil spill, stay hopeful.
Takeaway: If you want people to click your links, Tweet slower.
Don’t "go Oprah" on your Twitter account, moderate.
Improve your "retweetability" factor by including a combination of the following Top 20 Most Retweetable Words:
Timing for retweets:
Links posted on the weekend and at the end of the week have a higher click through rate.
Tip: Want to see how well a bit.ly link is doing, CTR?
Alright … one more Twitter insight before we close …
He had noted that women follow a lot more people and tend to tweet more. They are more social. (We already knew women talk and socialize more, but now Dan’s numbers confirm it.)
Dan covered a lot of geeky ground focused on the science and study of social media, use of FourSquare and more.. I have 5+ pages of notes from Dan’s presentation alone. But I’m concerned this blog post will get too long to be readable.
Check out Dan’s set of social media tools.
4th up and last race of the morning was the "Presentation Off" between Will Critchlow and Rand Fishkin.
I’ll expand on that race in a follow-up post. Do you want to guess who won this year? Will went into the race with a 2-year winning streak.