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Brent Payne's SEO ConvergeSouth Keynote

Brent Payne Brent Payne (@brentdpayne) works for the Tribune Company, and makes sure that SEO is an important part of the business communciations and content process at the paper. Brent gave the ConvergeSouth keynote on Friday Oct 1st.

History of Search: infoseek, metacrawler, Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, HotBot, Ask Jeeves. 10 years ago Google just being born. Yahoo! was big. Today we are down to four: Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Ask. Big merger coming in 2012 with Yahoo! and Bing.

Google: Trying to response to the search competition. Pulling in one boxes, music and more. Will do partnerships, example of instead of seeing LA Times will see results from who ever Google chooses to link to.

Why Care About SEO?: Lots of people do a lot of searches. Lots of opportunities to acquire customers.

Why Listent To Brent?: He started off as a spammer. Realized he did not have to beg people to buy products, when bought stuff from him, and he starting ranking highly.

Tribune Story: Since Jan 2007, tripped search traffic.

Traffic & Google: Over 50% of traffic should come from search. Trick of SEO is that you have to be on the first page of Google, or the other search engines. Expectations have changed. If you are not on the 1st page you are missing on 70% of the opportunity. 40% of people believe that you are the authority on a topic, if you show up on the first page of Google.

White & Black Hats: White hat, commnicating with search engines, making sure you are working to help users. Following best practices and guidelines provided by the search engines. Black hat, working against the search engines. In 2003 updated Google, and made it difficult to do black hat today. Will mention a few things on the fringe.

How People Search: When you go on the web, people are searching the copy that's on the web. Google finds your copy, and copies it. Google Webmaster tools can help content get found. Helps you get discovered, but then your job to make sure you can get ranked. Then index the content, for Google that's about page ranking. Used acedemic references as inspiration for the model for Google, where linking and authority are very important.

Key Factors Of PageRank: Popularity, Authority and Relevance. Popularity - number of links coming into your site. How many people think your content is interesting enough. Authority - sites that have a lot of authority and link to you, gives you authority. Find websites in your niche, in your space, and get them to link to you. Alexa is a great destination, can be a quick tool for finding best sites. (also Yahoo! site explorer).Relevance - content that is relevant. Lots of factors, but these three are the top ones.

Relevancy: On-Page relevancy, words and text on the page. Off-Page relevancy of the pages that are linking to you. Link Text, links coming into your page. URL, the keywords that are in your URL.

Psychology of Googlebot: Be literal, example of the crash in the Hudson, use plane crashes into the Hudson River. LA Times used one headline, Brent changed the headline, and got 2 million visits, New York Times with a poor headline got 19,000 visits. Think about what People are actually searching for and use that.

Google Keyword Research Tool: Related Terms & Estimated volume for the last month. Think about the different ways people can search for your content. Don't spell incorrectly, used example of Barack Obama, and how people searching don't spell his name correctly. Tribune wrote a story about how people misspell his name.

Google Hot Trends: Data updated on the hour. It's the place to figure out how people search online. When Hudson River crash happened, he had no idea what terms people were using. Brent spent time looking in the community to find the terms, and people were calling it the Hudson River crash.

Also, you will see some some racy stuff, penile fracture popped up, was in the top trends because of a Gray's Anatomy episode, Brent missed the story opportunity.

Not everyone searches like you do. You might be too close to your content.

Geo-Search: Google's insights for search has some great data on what's happening related geographically. Able to search by category, and helps you find what people are searching in the targeted geographic region.

Keyword Usage: HTML Title Tag is the most important thing. Appears in the browser. Most powerful field for SEO relevance.Create highly relevant <H1> tags. Descriptions doesn't do a lot of ranking, but helps with click thru. <H2> tags should be supporting information. Get your URL's Right. Make sure you put the keyword in the first paragraph. Avoid duplication of content, plan out where your content is going to be.

Authority: Used case study of how he uses all of the different Tribune sites working together. Link structure is important. Get linking structure organized. On-site structure, canonical tag, or link element.

Use A Taxonomy System: Really helps you link well on the high volume term. Helps you to rank well on the long tail term as well.

CMS Matters: Should help with SEO controls to maximize authority. Michael Jackson example, he searched on those stories, and redirected all of the pages to a particular landing page.

Popularity: Social media helps create more links to your site. Social Media drives lots of links to your site. Brent does social media for SEO. Over 300 options, engage in one of them.

Social Media Titles: Should be focused on the used depending on the users in the social media property. Social media balance, 1/3 of time talking about useful information, 1/3 personal insider info, and 1/3 self company promotion.