Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest post: Matt from Guerrilla Wordfare on SEO and online marketing

For those of you who don't know him, Matt Edmondson is the IT and search engine optimization guru over at Guerrilla Wordfare, the site for author Lizzy Ford. He is one member of a team working for Lizzy, and he also just happens to be her husband.

When I first became aware of Guerrilla Wordfare, one of the things that struck me was Matt's knowledge and drive for utilizing online techniques for promotions. Everybody knows about Twitter and Facebook, but few fiction authors in my experience are using the World Wide Web and other technologies to the fullest extent.

Here's Matt:

One of the first topics I covered when I started writing articles about SEO for authors was the art of the landing page. I explained that you can really only optimize a web page for one keyword term so rather than trying to choose one term, just make a page for each term. You should still do keyword research to pick good terms but the only real downside to this strategy is coming up with unique content for each page as you want to avoid duplicate content whenever possible.

I created several landing pages for several terms and unleashed them on Google. Some of these pages made it to #1 in the Google results for my targeted term while others couldn’t crack the top 50 results. I had a few people email me saying they had similar results and asking me what they should do to tweak their pages. My answer was always the same: “nothing.”

SEO has two different components, “on page” and “off page.” On page refers to everything that is on your page. The title, the content, the meta data, this are all on page. Off page generally means the links from other pages to yours. On page usually accounts for around 15% of search engine result rankings while off page makes up the other 85%.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you make any page targeting a specific term. I wrote about these in an article on SEO blogging tips, so I won’t go into great details here but once those things are covered towards your targeted term, your on page optimization is done. Don’t think, don’t blink and don’t tweak. In the words of TV pitchman great Ron Popeil, “You set it, and FORGET IT.”

If you want to improve the search engine rankings (and therefore traffic) for that page then you need to focus on off-site factors like link building and social media mentions. My favorite way to demonstrate the power of off site factors is the “click here” example.

Open up a new tab or browser window and Google “click here.” What’s the top result? Adobe Acrobat Reader (the software that lets you view PDF files). Look at their site and you won’t find them optimizing for the term “click here.” So why are they in first place? Because there are millions of websites out there with pdf files, and many of them have statements like the following: You can view PDF files with Adobe Acrobat. In order to download Adobe Acrobat click here.

While that is an extreme example, it’s a great one. There is a digital marketing company called Click Here, with the website of, and they still have to struggle to get the top spot from adobe for the sole reason of a ton of anchor text all over the internet.

One reason that I wanted to cover this topic is that there are a growing number of programs and services out there which claim that they will tell you exactly how to tweak your page to rank at the top of Google. These are often a horrible idea and will do more harm than good. Now that I made that claim, I owe you an explanation.

What these programs usually do is examine the top 5 or so websites for your targeted term in Google and recommend that you tweak your site to be more like them. That doesn’t sound like a horrible idea until you realize that over 80% of those rankings are due to off site factors.

It’s very possible that 3 of the top 5 sites for a particular term won’t use that term in their title or meta data. They could still have those high rankings because they are trusted authority sites that have a lot of back links to them. If you tweaked your title and meta data to be more like them you’re rankings would probably drop quite a bit.

The main point that I wanted to hammer home was to let my fellow landing page building website owners to write their pages using sound SEO fundamentals, and then never think about it again. Spending your time working on building quality, relevant back links to your site will serve you much better in the long run than trying to tweak your content and monitor results.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Thanks for having me!!!