FutureProof Your SEO Efforts or Be Left Behind

February 27, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

wil reynoldsBeing an SEO myself, my favorite session at ASW08 this year was “How to Futureproof Your SEO Efforts” led by Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive. It had nothing to do with affiliate marketing but I think the topic of SEO is extremely relevant for all types of online businesses and is definitely important to know.

Before I recap the session, I’d like to say that Wil is my new favorite African American SEO brother. Not that race matters, but it’s good to see some more ethnic diversity in the industry. We especially need more Asian SEOs. Come on people! By the way Wil, what’s up with the Asian kid being labeled as the sneaky “paid links kid”?

Anyway, Wil starts off the session by stating that search engines strive first and foremost for relevancy. It is in the best interests of search engines to provide the most relevant results for keyword searches and to tweak their algorithms to minimize spam and gaming. Without relevancy, we’d have to resort to using a human-powered search engine like Mahalo and you know what that means…

SEO has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. The main strategies used are listed in chronological order below.

  • Meta tags and cloaking
  • Keyword density
  • Pagerank years
  • Linking/reciprocal
  • Linking/buying
  • Link baiting/social media

Despite changes in algorithms, search engines always seek to improve relevancy. What are they doing today to improve? Here are some examples.

  • Google owns Feedburner, a tool that provides data on the popularity of many blogs
  • Google Reader tracks subscribers to blogs, growth of subscribers, and which items are starred, shared, and emailed.
  • Google is a registrar and knows which sites are registered to whom. They can potentially penalize people rather than just domains.
  • Yahoo owns del.cio.us. Social media and bookmarking influencing rankings?
  • Easy accessibility to traffic and conversion data. Conversion codes + Google Analytics +Microsoft Adcenter + Microsoft Gatineau + Landing Page Optimizer = free for you & free conversion data for Google

So knowing that search engines target relevancy, how do we futureproof our SEO campaigns?

Step 1 – Think more like a marketer than a techie
Don’t worry about keyword density, character limits, meta tags, the number of links, rankings, algorithms, patents, traffic, and keyword plurals.

Step 2 – Start focusing on relevancy and revenue
How can you bring in targeted traffic to your site that will help the bottom line? Simply show search engines that your site is important and relevant for a certain niche.

Step 3 – Be patient
Success in SEO does not come overnight. It takes a lot of testing, tweaking, and hard work.

More tips on futureproofing your SEO

  • Start small and realistic. Use the SEOmoz keyword difficulty tool and find a reasonable niche you are passionate about.
  • Stay relevant. Build your theme first and then carefully select your keywords.
  • Buy links if you have to. This one’s a little controversial but if your competition is doing it, then you can’t afford not to.
  • Keyword meta tags are a waste of time.
  • Don’t chase Google. They do what’s best for their shareholders and could easily change in an instant.
  • Don’t be selfish with your content. Guest blog and comment on other sites.
  • Fear search engines that develop their own content and push other sites down in the rankings.

How to stay ahead in SEO

  • Read, read, read to stay up to date on search trends.
  • Develop a suite of digital assests around your business theme and continue developing them.

Best SEO tools

Overall, Wil gave a refreshing talk about the aspect of SEO that is often ignored: long-term relevancy. Rather than getting caught up with rankings, keywords, and tags, why not create value for users that is relevant in the niche you are working in? That’s the direction SEO will go in the years to come. Are you in?

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Posted in Conferences, SEO
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15 Responses to “FutureProof Your SEO Efforts or Be Left Behind”

Thomson Chemmanoor on February 27th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

SEO is more about Marketing than technology, I really agree with that. I love your SEO tool list some of them are on my list too.

Asian SEO

Gyutae Park on March 5th, 2008

Awesome. Thanks Thomson. What other tools do you use frequently for SEO?

Jim on February 28th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the tips. I think this is really getting to be increasingly important now that Google is shifting systems and the general unpredictability in the SEO market. In order to stay on top, I think following your “futureproofing” rules definitely appeals!

Keep up the solid work,
-The Net Fool

Gyutae Park on March 5th, 2008

Thanks Jim. A lot of people try to get a leg up now, but a lot of the strategies can either get them banned later or be completely useless.

Wil Reynolds on February 28th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Hey thanks for re-capping, glad you enjoyed the presentation. Say hello when we get to boston! Are you coming?

I have big shoes to fill after this one.

Gyutae Park on March 5th, 2008

Hey Wil,
Thanks for stopping by. I think I’ll be going to Boston. Will you be giving another presentation? Funny that you talk about SEO at all of the affiliate marketing conferences. Less competition for SEO I’m guessing? Great strategy.

Wil Reynolds on March 8th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Nah I do the bigger ones too…like pubcon. It just kinda happened with the affiliate summit 🙂

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Gary Lee on February 29th, 2008

Hey Gyutae . . . . glad to have met you at the conference . . . i enjoyed this session the most as well and just wanted to say that I’m an Asian SEO too 🙂 . . . I think we may have differing opinions on ways to go about SEO, but whatever works, right? Hope everything is well!

Gyutae Park on March 5th, 2008

Hey Gary,
Great meeting you at the conference. Holla for Asian SEO’s. Haha.

Do you do SEO for yourself or for clients?

Jason on March 1st, 2008

Nice tips. I always remind myself that content comes before everything else. Tags, keyword density and all the other secrets to seo, can be scrapped at any time. If you have good, original content, you shouldn’t need to worry about future SEO efforts.

Gyutae Park on March 5th, 2008

Hey Jason,
While the general tone of your comment is on point, it’s still important to be mindful of SEO when creating content. You can have a great article but it still needs to target the most effective keywords in order for it to rank to its highest potential.

Krsto on March 1st, 2008

“but I think the topic of SEO is extremely relevant for all types of online businesses and is definitely important to know”

Gyutae – I couldn’t agree more!

Greeetings from Krsto

Michael Heindel on March 16th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I would think there are multiple algorithms depending on the keyword phrase niche.

I knew that Google could figure out site linking, but didn’t think about them also being a domain registrarur.

One other thing to include is blogger (aka blogspot) also owned byt Google.


California Web Design on March 24th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I wouldn’t be suggesting cloaking to anyone, but that is just my opinion as I am strong believer in WHITE HAT SEO.

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