Does SEO Copywriting Still Matter?

image of Simple SEO Copywriting

If there’s any one thing that can be said about SEO with certainty, it’s that it manages to cause a lot of confusion.

For example, it seems like many people’s idea of SEO was formed 10 years ago, and hasn’t bothered to change with the times. Even an online veteran like Robert Scoble is completely clueless about modern best practices for search engine optimization.

So, before we go any further, let me answer the question posed by the headline . . .

Yes, SEO copywriting still matters.

Here’s why.

Search is still the biggest game in town

“Pick your survey, search remains one of the top activities on the Internet and has been for over a decade,” said search industry legend Danny Sullivan when I pinged him on Twitter. Danny pointed me to one such survey that shows search is the most common online activity after email, and that fact cuts across generations.

“People make billions of unique searches each month,” said SEO guru Aaron Wall via email, “and unlike Facebook flittering, those people are in focus mode.” In other words, compared with most Internet traffic, searchers are the most motivated people that hit your site.

If they’re looking for a product or service, there’s a good chance they’re looking to buy it. If they’re searching for information and your site provides it, you’ve got a great chance of converting that drive-by traffic into a long-term subscriber.

And of course if you’re a professional web writer, whether freelance or with an agency, this discussion is purely academic. You try telling the client not to care about Google traffic, and let me know how that goes.

So, search traffic is clearly important, as long as it’s targeted search traffic. Let’s look at the elements that constitute the modern practice of search engine optimization so we can attract those highly-focused visitors.

Off-page elements eat the biggest slice of SEO pie

Take a look at the image below, generously loaned to me by SEOmoz:

image SEO pie chart

A quick review of the chart reveals that as far as SEO goes, what happens off your site matters more than what’s on it.

  • 23.87% – The general trust and authority that your domain has is the largest indicator of SEO success. As Authority Rules makes clear, what works for search engines is what works with people as well.
  • 22.33% – The number of links to a specific page matters a lot too… so think twice about link viability when your content is just out of the gate.
  • 20.26% – The anchor text of external links matters because this is Google’s way of finding out what your page is about according to other people, not just you.

In other words, it’s like my favorite saying goes:

What people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

In this case, Google wants to know that people are linking to you, and the words they’re using (link anchor text), because that’s a more trusted relevance indicator. So yes . . . compelling content is always rule number one. But just like great content goes unnoticed without promotion, great content doesn’t rank well if you don’t make it clear what it’s supposed to rank for.

But how do we get people to notice our content so they can link to it? That’s where social media comes in. Blogging, social news sites, Twitter, Facebook – these are organic content distribution systems powered by your audience (and their friends).

It may come as a surprise that some of the brightest minds in social media are SEOs, and they’re completely on the up-and-up and non-shady. It’s just that they’re too busy getting things done to proclaim themselves social media experts or some other nonsense.

The huge influence of “off-page” factors on search optimization is why I wrote the SEO Copywriting 2.0 series 3 years ago. I updated it for 2010, but it is still directly on point, because it deals with fundamental aspects of strategic content development that don’t really change.

If you haven’t, check out SEO Copywriting 2.0 to get more out of the remainder of this series. An understanding of content development strategies is critical before going the “last mile” with on-page optimization.

SEO copy is the “last mile” to strong search rankings

Are you familiar with the “last mile” problem in the broadband industry? You can have thousands of miles of high speed fiber optics carrying loads of data cross country, but if the final connection to the customer’s home is aging copper or pokey coaxial, the benefit of the optical cables is lost.

Likewise, if you do everything right by building an authority site that Google trusts, but don’t tell Google that your page content matches what people are actually searching for, the targeted traffic benefit is lost. That’s what effective SEO copywriting does – it tells Google which words are the most relevant ones.

You don’t have to optimize on-page upfront. But you do have to begin with the ending in mind from a keyword standpoint, due to the importance of anchor text when people link. We’ll go more into that in part two of this series.

And if you ignore this SEO stuff? Sure, you’ll get plenty of untargeted “long tail” traffic otherwise, but what good does that really do you? Even with an advertising business model, irrelevant traffic bounces off your site quickly, leading to disgruntled advertisers who don’t renew. And if you’re selling something, you’re only burning bandwidth.

The beauty of building a reader-focused online presence based on valuable content is that you can do well even if Google hates you. But the irony is, if you actually follow that path, Google loves you.

Take advantage of that. It’s the critical last mile of a well-rounded online marketing strategy that makes a huge difference to your overall success.

Traffic must convert, or why bother?

Now we come to the big point. Everyone loves traffic – it’s addictive and strangely gratifying in its own right.

But traffic doesn’t pay the bills. It’s people who take the actions you need them to who do.

Going back to that confusion, many think that a search-optimized web page is some ugly keyword stuffed mess that sends people running for the hills on sight.

That’s not true. At least not when done well.

Danny Sullivan said it well at the close of our discussion:

“Unfortunately, too many assume that SEO means trying to trick search engines. It doesn’t. It simply means building a site that’s friendly to them.”

And that’s what we’ve been talking about here at Copyblogger for four years now. For the rest of the story, you’ll need to read my free report, How to Create Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines.

This is an excerpt from a free 28-page report called How to Create Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines. To get the whole story, head over to the SEO Copywriting Made Simple page to instantly download the full updated PDF.

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.

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  1. What do we do about people that overemphasize SEO? That focus on tricks? How do we persuade them that there’s no magic bullet other than competence?

  2. Great to see you doing another series Brian. SEO can seem intimidating and technical for people and you’ve really demystified some key points in a clear and easy to understand way.

    Your point about irrelevant traffic is important. If people land on your site and your content isn’t in line with what they were searching for, that traffic is usually useless.

  3. My advice to clients or new copywriters is always content first keywords second. Too many SEO copywriters focus on keywords to the detriment of good, readable content.

    • Hi Derryck

      Are you the person who did some copywriting for us a few years ago? We are Career Analysts. If so please get in touch again as i have some more regular work for you.
      Leo Soloman

  4. @Chris Lead by example. Point them to articles like this one. Name and shame them. The list goes on.

  5. Derryck, yep. That’s why my philosophy is to optimize for keywords and other on-page elements later, not right out of the gate. That may not work for all, but we’ll explore the ins and outs of it in the next installment.

  6. Brian, I appreciate your conclusion. However, for a while, I really didn’t think Search was useful at allllll! In a past life, when twitter, facebook, or even myspace wasn’t big, I was #1 in many primetime keywords like “wireless internet” and “wifi” in google. SO relatively, getting 50 clicks a day seemed useless.

    But now, instead of going vertical, being page one under hundreds of “long tail” keywords IS making a sizable difference in my sales. It’s not nearly as effective as when I was a Google bigshot. But then again, I’m also generating meaningful conversions from Twitter and FB I never did before.

  7. This is a wonderful post and very relevant today. As an SEO writer I think it really is important to understand the entire SEO concept and not just how to write using keywords. There has also been quite a few posts going around saying that SEO is not longer required now that Google have introduced personal search results. I’m glad to see that SEO is still relevant and I look forward to reading the rest in this series.

  8. Brian, I read somewhere that Google would pay *less* attention to the number of inbound links when determining rank.

    Have you heard anything to this effect?

  9. Joe, it’s not the number of links that matters, it’s the authority of the sites that link. So if you have a handful of highly relevant links from trusted domains, that’s going to factor more than a bunch of links from low trust domains.

  10. “Focus on your users and everything will follow” – by GOOGLE

  11. “…as far as SEO goes, what happens off your site matters more than what’s on it.”
    Oh please. There’s only one constant in SEO; IT DEPENDS!!!!

    BB

  12. Hey Brian, it’s interesting that because you provide such amazing content, you’ve conditioned me to open your emails, read your blog content and take actions, such as buying Thesis.

    SEO attracted me to you and your content keeps me coming back for more. David

  13. BB, of course the answer to everything is “it depends” (I used to practice law, it was my favorite phrase).

    But in a general sense, what I said is accurate. And that’s based on what your esteemed SEO colleagues think, not the personal opinion of some blogger. ;)

  14. In my opinion, the truth is SEO is still very important.
    I recently concluded that search engine optimization can be very effective if applied to social media sites.
    For example, if you take into my twitter account web page which I opened in March 2009. you can check that now it has Google Page Rank 4.
    It is important to point out that I wasn’t realized importance of search engine optimization at the time of the creation of my twitter account.
    I didn’t chose the right username which would be preceded by market research and search engine optimization.
    But, still I see the opportunity to build brand and focus on forming lists in twitter.Twitter is just one example of social media site.The same thing can happen with other types of social media sites.

  15. @chris @david

    Your point is probably the least understood but most “No DUH” point in SEO.

    Think about it. If You were Google, would it be good for your business if you kept serving up slow pages with terrible code?

    The results page frustration alone would put Wolfram Alpha in business!

  16. Most bloggers don’t even bother to consider writing something deliberately because people are searching for it. When you do, it’s highly relevant to your target audience… and people can freakin’ FIND IT.

    I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve seen where the blogger thought it was about one thing, but keywords for that one thing weren’t found in the content (nor in any backlink anchor text, for that matter).

    The same keywords that matter for search also matter in grabbing the eyeballs of your reader. There is no disparity between SEO and content. Anyone who thinks there is doesn’t understand either. Brilliant headlines and killer content are link fodder, which takes care of the off-page stuff.

    It’s not rocket surgery. But it kinda flips the whole “I’m inspired to write a post” thing on its head. This isn’t about inspiration, it’s about solving problems and being indispensable.

    I’m glad you’re revisiting this, Brian. It needs to be said.

  17. Copy, for me at least, is more important than ever for SEO. Now we’ve moved on from the black hat realms of keyword stuffing, there is a definite emphasis on the quality of content being produced.

    Whilst keywords do play a part, particularly in titles (blog posts need to get seen) and your on-site content, it isn’t the overbearing presence it once was. But writing for the internet requires an understanding of the two main audience members – the human and the search engine.

    Nothing has yet usurped the power of the search engine to deliver visitors, and until it does SEO will always be relevant. Whilst SEO remains relevant, so too does SEO Copywriting.

    Great post and a good read as always.

  18. As Brian and the research said, anchor text matters a lot. But this doesn’t mean you try to get links with the same exact anchor text from different sites. That’s usually a red flag and Google will penalize you.

    Instead, your anchor text must be natural. And with proper SEO copywriting, the natural anchor text almost comes by default.

    @Chris You also forgot to mention that some people believe page load time affects SERP rankings, which further emphasizes the importance of lean, fast HTML.

  19. Hey Brian and Chris,
    This is my first comment on your site although I’ve been following your blog for a long time. (BTW, your Authority Rules is interesting–as a psychology major I studied those experiments in class–pretty crazy stuff. Another very interesting study on authority is the Milgram Prison Study).

    When I first set up my site/blog 2 months ago, I told my web design guy I really wanted to use WordPress. Not being a techie, the only reason I had was because you said so, and my research on other top blogs was that they also used it (and Thesis). But he said there were things that WordPress couldn’t do that I wanted, so he said we needed to use Drupal. So that’s what we’re using.

    Have you or anyone else had experience with Drupal and should I ask to switch?

    Thanks for all your great content!

  20. Brian,

    I’ve been informed and misinformed about SEO over the years. As you say, it’s really important to keep up to date and to observe regularly, as the algorithms change.

    As a long-time consultant, I’ve learned how important it is to ask and understand, “who is the client?” When I understood that Google considers its client to be the searcher, everything made sense. Google does not see its advertisers nor website owners nor SEO specialists as its clients.

    Google caters to the searcher and wants to make the searcher’s experience as valuable as possible. Understanding that, all Google’s principles fall into place. Techniques and methods are important, but secondary.

    When website owners and SEO advisors also put the visitors first, they will much more naturally do the things that Google values. And everyone wins.

    Thanks for your article and for what you contribute to the Internet,
    @JeanieMarshall

  21. Drupal is like a bloated whale.

  22. @Jim Drupal works for some websites. SEOBook.com for example, is on drupal the last I checked. I also know a few other large sites that moved to Drupal because it embraces more community-oriented features.

    Without knowing the specifics, people can’t recommend one or the other.

  23. Confusion, indeed. I openly admit understanding the importance of SEO is somewhat overwhelming for a semi-newbie like me. At the same time, the deeper I get into using social media, (still not blogging regularly) I think I’m beginning to grasp key elements, especially Danny Sullivan’s statement. “Unfortunately, too many assume that SEO means trying to trick search engines. It doesn’t. It simply means building a site that’s friendly to them.” Thank you Brian, for providing more clarity. Your writing is greatly appreciated. =)

  24. Being a new blogger myself, I find these post very informative. Thesis has been a real savior in creating a blog and SEO. Thanks for sharing this information, but I still know I need to read more about SEO. Fantastic article to read! Thanks!

  25. Cool post.

    Looking forward to the other up and coming posts.

    You really pointed it out what SEO copywriting was and how important it was to update it.

    Keep it up!

  26. Thanks for the well thought and written SEO description. My personal experience has been to simply be myself, and do my best to edit raw ideas into communicable concepts to share. Social media accounts for 90% of the pageviews on my small blog. Repeat visitors dominate the visit lengths (they’re much more likely to read through my posts). Not sure where search visitors reside (readers or skimmers/bouncers).

  27. Just to echo some of the things that were said before. It does not matter what you are saying. What matters is that a customer is looking for it and you have a page that answers a very specific question.

    There is different SEO theory for people that are browsing versus the words that people use when they are BUYING as well. This is also something that the blogger needs to be aware of.

    When you can design your page around a single, specific, high-traffic search term and then show the search engines that you have exactly what their customers are looking for, then you win the search.

    There is no need to try and “trick” them. Google loves blogs as long as you are providing the readers what they want when they want it. What kills most new people is that they try the shotgun approach and the search engine does not see that your page stands for any particular term.

    Once you have your laser-focused page, you can then continue to work throught the process by creating links to it. This can be done with self-generated links in other blog posts, as Copyblogger frequently does, or you can find people to review your sites and link back to you.

  28. Excellent Article… We are essentially holding each other up to one degree or another.

  29. Brian… I’m looking forward to this series… It drives me crazy when people think that keyword stuffing is the way to SEO their site…

    Like you said; the point of the copy is to convert traffic into clients… When people stuff their site with the same keywords and keyphrases on every line, it’s absolutely dreadful to read.

  30. Thanks for the great post. I’m still learning about Internet Marketing and you’ve helped put a few pieces of SEO copywriting into perspective for me.

    It’s good to know that my goal to provide quality content first is a step in the right direction. Now I need to focus more on getting quality inlinks with relevant anchor text from trusted sites.

  31. How does a website/blog become trusted or an authority? Age? Quantity of relevant, unique content? Some spooky dude at Google says so?

  32. Jim, it’s mostly the number and quality of links coming into the domain, plus age, the amount of unique content, and a few other minor factors.

  33. This is what we refer to as under the hood optimization. Many designers as well as CMS ignore this. Definitely a factor, but not one of “the factors”.

  34. I agree with stuff posted here about the relevence of keyword-directed traffic. When we talk about search engines, we mustn’t forget about the one between our readers’ ears.

    Those keywords people are using in their searches? Those are the buzzwords that matter to those folks — their way of describing and thinking about what they need. So even after they land on the website, their eyes are still scanning for those keywords. I call this REO — not for Speedwagon, but for “Retention Engine Optimization.” When the REO lines up with the SEO. that’s when the light goes off: “This is the place. Browse no further.”

  35. Backlinks are the currency of SEO. A beautiful site with a dearth of backlinks won’t get traction. But! (frantically waiving arms)…if the site reads for crap, it’s not likely to get backlinks.

    Simply put: while on-page SEO by itself isn’t enough to bring relevant search traffic, it’s still critical to the site’s success. Because if the on-page SEO isn’t done (if the site is poorly coded, if the content sucks), the off-page SEO efforts will fall flat.

  36. Brian

    Great to have a series again! I think that people try to humanize google when it is a robot. If you are writing really good and relevant stuff that you are able to have the right keywords for. Google can only be as nice to your site as you tell it to be, the rest is up to you.

    Look forward to the series and also thank you very much for the time and effort put in and you will continue to put in for Third Tribe. It is already amazing with the posts in the forum and learning about others in different industries. I regretfully did not take the initiative to introduce myself when you were here for Blogworld when you, Darren, Sonia and Chris first mentioned Third Tribe.

  37. Amen!

    For over 12 years, I’ve been preaching that SEO copywriting is more than just shoving keywords in your copy and calling it good.

    It’s about informing your customer…educating them…persuading them…heck, even entertaining them. The keyphrases are almost secondary to the reader experience (although, yes, they are crucial for search positioning.)

    Once you’ve mastered how to write prime-positioned copy that converts, you can start seeing the incredible impact of *good* SEO copywriting. I’ve had clients who felt apprehensive about this “SEO copy stuff” transform into true evangelists…they realized the power (and profitability) of good, customer-focused and keyphrase-rich writing.

    I wrote a blog post about this topic called SEO copywriting is dead, long live SEO copywriting.

    Thanks so much!
    Heather

  38. Love the pie chart Mr Clark, helps those new to SEO get the basics.
    Thanks for taking the time…..

  39. Thanks for the post. When talking traffic, big numbers are not important to most (except for sites profitting from ads). Quality traffic that converts, that’s what counts. SEO writers should focus on profiling a website correctly, so the right people are able to find it when they need it.

  40. This is a ripper post, Brian. A wonderful resource that I’ve just referenced in the MYOB Small Business Owner blog. Many thanks indeed! P. :)

  41. Thanks so much for this post. It looks as if relevancy is the most important aspect of targeted traffic.

  42. I Totally disagree with the whole idea of applying SEO practices, encouraged by Google and other search engine providers. Its at least naive to think that real ranking algorithms will ever reach the public. NOBODY really knows how they get their results. Trial and error is the only way to go. Its man against the robot whatever the robot is, googlebot yahoobot or any other bot.

  43. @chris, @davidkrug, @michaelmartine: Would it be true to say the best path to lean mean HTML is a hand coded site? Is there a WP code overhead that gets in Google’s way, or is WP so pervasive that G can handle it? I’d be very interested in your thoughts (disclaimer, I am a Thesis & Cutline user).

  44. Thanks for this post, I loved the graph. It’s great to see someone talk about SEO and explain part of it without making it seem so mystifying.

  45. @Ian @heather @suzanne @greekdude

    I totally agree with @greekdude. The pie chart is, from my experience, totally misleading.

    You have to realize that the chart is NOT based on Google internal algo data. It is based on 70 SEO Expert Ninjas.

    With your permission, i’d like to be snarky here: “I bet ya each of those SEO Ninjas surveyed still use meta keyword tags” =P

  46. Bob, of course it’s not based on internal Google data, because Google doesn’t release that. It’s based on field testing data, which is what we rely on for everything from SEO to copy conversion.

    And meta keywords are simply not taken into account anymore, whether people use them or not. Come on man, focus on what’s going to push your ball forward.

  47. Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, suddenly I see a fin circling and lurking in the shallows. What is it, I ask? Could it be a long tailed keyword? Could it be link anchor text? Or maybe, a great white SERP?

    Nooo…it’s a Latent Semantic Index. Biggest one I ever saw, too!

    I’m swimmin’ that last mile to the beach and get a real job. Ya see, Walmart don’t change their algorithms every time I turn around!

  48. My hunch is the “social” component will increase in importance. I have absolutely no basis for this hunch, and no authority to issue a prediction. But I am acting on it anyway!

  49. External Links are always a problem for me. I have people link to me, but they link to unrelated articles, or put stupid stuff in the links that won’t help me in the least. It’s like people want to promote you, they like your stuff, but don’t know how to really help you out. But any link is better than no link… right?

  50. Another thing that has given our SEO a big boost is using the right WordPress theme. We hacked through a lot of different themes and paid a heavy penalty in Google. Finally we discovered ‘Thesis.’ Why waste your time and energy writing brilliant content if your WordPress theme is shooting you in the foot. May seem like a little thing but it has made a profoundly positive impact on our rankings.

  51. The components of Google algorithm is interesting that what I got from your article. Copy writing according SEO regulation is essential. But if you will over optimize then it may be bad effect in your website.

  52. Great article Brian and gives good overview for SEO. It’s good to put emphasis on the “on-page” SEO, the writing, the setup, as that is fully in each writers and bloggers control (when getting incoming links to some extent, is not).

    I think a beginner should focus on one thing (that Copyblogger readers already know). Headlines. Good SEO and good copy go hand in hand on this one. Using just 1 minute (if that) to find a reasonably good keyword phrase for the “magnetic headline” and a post will potentially gain thousands and thousands more views over time.

    People often think SEO is shady and you have to repeat the phrase over and over again (actually 2 is great, 3 is already plenty on that). But when you realize that getting the basics in place, concentrating on the headlines (the title) and links (on your own posts, internal and external), it becomes clear that it’s not absolutely necessary to “do” SEO, it easily becomes a habit.

    I’m looking forward to compare my notes for the on-page optimization with the upcoming parts of this series, but if someone wants to check my post on SEO friendly writing in the meantime, here’s the link: http://zemalf.com/1225/seo-friendly-posts/

  53. Wonderful post!

    It’s great to see this.

    SEO is much more than stuffing keywords in your copy; it’s a whole strategy of on and off-site techniques. Great to see all the helpful data along with it too!

  54. Thanks for this great post!
    Another way to give your SEO an instant boost is to add semantic markup to your pages. There is strong evidence that this leads to better ranking. A way to achieve this is with the semantic technology GoodRelations. GoodRelations is a standardized vocabulary for product, price, and company data that can be embedded into existing Web pages and that can be processed by other computers. This increases the visibility of products and services in the latest generation of search engines, recommender systems, and other novel applications. GoodRelations was developed by Prof. Dr. Martin Hepp at Munich, Germany.

  55. Professional SEO copywriters don’t worry about using keywords in an artificial way. Such overuse is carried out by those who aren’t aware of the capability of Google recognizing synonyms.

    If you use various parts of speech, synonyms and relevant words, you don’t have to repeat the same keywords again and again.

    Even the best copies won’t have any chance to be found on organic search engine results if they don’t follow SEO rules. It’s like designing a beautiful site that isn’t search engine friendly. SO, nobody will find it to offer his/her appreciation.

  56. Brian, I completely agree that SEO copywriting is important, and I appreciate you clarifying that it is not some clever means of “tricking” search engines. Optimized webcopy which accurately portrays your site will maximize your position in search engines and increase traffic among your target audience. Properly done, SEO should benefit both you and the customer who can quickly find the site that best matches her search inquiry.

  57. The problem is with people who think optimized copy is about percentage of keywords. They try writing the text FOR the search engines, and in the process almost forget about the actual readers.

  58. A great reminder Brian. It’s all too easy to keep on writing and keep on Tweeting and to let SEO fall by the wayside. It’s not a one-time thing, and I have to continually remind myself to address it otherwise I find that I lose the awareness necessary to keep it rolling.

    Even now, most of my incoming links have my name as anchor text rather than my keywords – that’s something I really need to sort out!

  59. What an excellent explanation of the importance of copywriting for search and for people, including the importance of social media as related to the overall scoring of signals for SEO. I especially like the “last mile” metaphor.

    I recently conducted a training session on copywriting best practices and wish I would have had this article as a reference.

    IMHO, the following are key goals of SEO copywriting:
    • Speak to readers’ needs & desires
    • Be shared in social media
    • Score links!

    One of the leading factors that influences incoming anchor text in the page title, so as you addressed, it is of utmost importance.

  60. I’ve been working on SEO for my site for a while now, but there are still some loose ends I need to take care of. This article reminded me of some important basics – thanks.

    Look forward to the rest of the series.

    Best,
    Ana/YourNetBiz Mentor

  61. I hired an ‘SEO Expert’ about a year and a half ago…

    What a MESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It has taken us months to correct the damage done.

    Lesson learned – Content first! NO tricks!!!!!

  62. Great article. In a way it is a shame that simply writing great content is ‘not enough’. In an ideal world writers would just write and there would be no need to think about SEO.

    What percentage of time would you recommend is spent writing articles vs SEO activities. For me >95% of the time I dedicate to my blog is for the writing. I don’t spend much time on SEO. But maybe that is why I don’t get many visitors!

  63. Wow, what a fantastic blog post. Thanks for sharing!

  64. Great post! I stumbled upon this while searching for seo copywriting tips and have to say that it is one of the best blogs I have come across in a long time. I have a feeling I’ll be reading this a few times over!

    The pie chart is very interesting and I did see that over at SEOMoz – http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors#overview, but was wondering about 2 of the slices on the pie chart. 1) Social Graph Metrics 2) Registration and Hosting Data. Can you clarify what these 2 factors are referring to?

  65. Great post!
    I love to use “Google Adwords” to mesure which words convert best. Then try to use these wordt in my content to get an higher convert.

  66. I would suppose so depending on your brand and industry if your in a competitive industry then seo copy writing would be a must.

  67. At the end of the day, we need to remember that SEO copywriting is fundamentally for humans and not for search engines. Our motto should be to make Google our friend and not an opponent we are trying to deceive.

  68. Kym is absolutely right! As long as everything you do is geared to make Google happy – and not to DECEIVE them – all should work out well. It’s a special skill to to write with SEO in mind yet not let it take over to the point that it takes away value from your page.

  69. The two pieces of the pie that dealt with links were surprising to me. I have always heard that links were important, but was surprised to see how much links actually counted in Google’s ranking algorithm.

  70. Hmm, some interesting results in the survey but its important to remember that SEO isn’t about ‘absolutes’ its about ‘relative’. By this I mean you don’t have to do everything, just do enough. Now I realize I may cope some flack for that, but…

    You can really drive yourself insane being too metrics focused here, I can think of no industry that needs an injection of Pareto 80/20 efficiency than the SEO industry…

    A lot of the little tweaks have very little impact on SEO, though they do have some impact. When resources and time are finite, prioritizing certain tasks is critical.

    I suppose what you’re saying here Brian is fundamentally correct, create good content with the intention of it actually impressing your visitors enough to encourage sales, but simultaneously acknowledge that good content without promotion goes un-noticed.

  71. Unfortunately the pie chart from SEOMoz was built long before Google declared PR a failed metric and before the Caffeine and Mayday updates significantly changed the SEO landscape.

    In the eyes of a lot of SEO practitioners, link building, including article writing, blogging and social networking were methods to improve search standings and Google has put an end to that.

    Google underestimated how far link building, (PR) would deviate from a strictly organic system, into one all thought was designed to manipulate the search standings.

    Very quietly, the big G has let us know that the PR algos have changed.
    In a reply to a question regarding the Mayday update, Google said that the update would see ranking changes but not crawling or indexing changes.

    best,
    Reg
    nbs-seo.com

  72. Great Post! One of the best sites that I’ve read. This is very informative and very helpful to the SEO business.

    In this business it never stop to study and learn new ideas and techniques to achieve goals. The people also in this business must not give up because optimizing a site needs more patience.

    In addition, I agree in this saying, “what people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself”. It’s like, the better/good links and keywords words are also good in search engines like google, yahoo.

    I’m looking forward for your new ideas and post. Thanks for this, it helps a lot.

  73. I’d be interested to see the percentages of that Google Rankings pie chart more recently. All those factors definitely do matter, but which ones are more important now with all the latest changes. This is a great article, and I found some awesome information in it by going through it. Thanks for posting this one copyblogger!

  74. There’s no question SEO matters. It changes all the time and extreme tricks in SEO always get caught up with by Google. Original content is key however that takes forever and leads most others to find a way around it and to build blogs artificially. As I said Google always wises up to this eventually. Google just slapped the company I work for and it’s cost a ton. Good original content is an absolute must. Outsource it if you have to but get good original writing.

  75. Thanks for the post Brian.

    I have been getting my head around SEO. I use thesis and focus mainly on content these days. If you write it and they want, they will read it.

    Maybe you could do a new survey and see if things have changes since panda?
    Thanks,
    Nik

  76. We’ve seen copywriting bloom in the last two years and it’s certainly something every client is asking for now. In terms of the value it can add it’s essential for refreshing client website text and gathering brand exposure across the web.

  77. Good article. I believe I read somewhere that the majority of web traffic is referred by search engines, mainly google. I don’t know what kind of effect facebook is gonna have in the future but it will be interesting to watch.

  78. I have to go with Chris Pearson when he states, “I find the “Components of Google’s Ranking Algorithm” to be interesting, as it shows you just how entrenched these “SEO experts” are in a single-minded way of thinking. The ranking factors they highlight are the same ones that mattered in 2005.”

    I also find that SEOMoz is way out to lunch, (Sorry Rand), when it comes to breaking down the Google algo, DESPITE the fact that x amount of supposedly talented SEO practitioners contributed. Take into consideration that SEOMoz does not practice SEO, it sells tools and allows a number of authors to express themselves.

    Let’s look at the SEOMoz Biennial pie chart.
    46.2% think that off page is more important. Add the off page anchor text proponents and that jumps to 66.46%

    Only 15.04% of the experts polled say on page keyword use is important.
    It is evident that SEOMoz is one that does not put much faith into onpage KW use.
    Look at their graphic.
    The primary keywords “Components (of) Google’s Ranking Algorithm” are in graphic format when they should be in text. So should the 2nd line (According to 72 Surveyed………………………
    The 1st line should also be in emphasis for proper mark up. Visually the Reader should see italics.
    This is proper english and would tell Google that the phrase is a title of a work.

    The thing I find hard to understand is that finding the importance of the trust and the PR (PageRank) in the indexing algo is fairly easy.

    Can you get a top listing in a contested field with a new site?
    How can a PR0 site with ONE link beat a PR8 Site with close to 300K links in a field of over 10 million results?
    Yes and yes.

    Can you get a well regarded site’s page, (PR 3-5) to place higher in the serps with links?
    Extremely doubtful. You CAN get it to a higher PR with links.

    How do you get around Google filters to catch non-organic link builders?
    Google says ALL link building intended to influence their serps is black hat.

    Google tells us to build websites for people.
    This means that good navigation and information in the places they would look.
    To do this we have to understand how people satisfy their quests for information, how they determine relevance, where they look to confirm the relevance of their search, and what happens when they do.

    We need to understand what people are looking for, and how to write to be read on a monitor. – Where they read on a monitor.
    We need to introduce the reader to the topic and to lead the reader to a successful conclusion.

    We need to know how to Google the exact same thing that we tell the human visitors.

    OTOH, I find Chris’ “the most important SEO factor outside of domain authority and quality inlinks is “pure validated code”", to be off the mark.
    Logic and experience tells me that if my page loads correctly cross browser, and loads quickly, html errors are overlooked.

    Google is interested in what the human visitor SEES, and not in the code structure.
    Well formatted garbage copy is still…..err…. garbage.
    MANY, many, top placing sites have validation errors.

    Look to what and how you write your content when you build sites for people, and the SEO comes naturally.

    best,
    Reg
    NBS-SEO.com

    Even G’s pages are not W3C compliant.

  79. This post was very informative. There is so much to consider, I believe bounce rate is also an important factor in ranking well. You can create the links but if your site is not converting people but you are driving traffic it will hurt your authority as well. The meaning of SEO has not changed but google is constantly evolving and SEO must consider all factors.

  80. All great points! There is a lot of talk about google tracking reader behaviour and using that as a ranking metric. Now the user interface of your site has become even more important. Not just for conversion, but also for seo.

  81. i agree with you search engine is biggest game we need continuous experiment with it. and it is necessary to hard work success in the the internet world.

  82. Great info about Google’s algo and even more relevant since the farmer/panda updates (or whatever they were called!) I’ve searched for the SEO ‘magic bullet’ as someone called it earlier and a few of my sites took a big hit after these updates.

    It was painful at first but I am thankful now because I had to revise my thinking about what my sites actually offered. Like so many, I lost focus on my visitors needs and was punished as a result…quite rightly too!

    SEO isn’t rocket science but the key ingredient I think that most webmasters miss is patience! Authority, trust and links (good links!) do not happen quickly.

    Anyways, great post…I’ll be back for more I’m sure!!!

  83. Hi Brian,

    The first factor that you mention

    “23.87% – The general trust and authority that your domain has is the largest indicator of SEO success. As Authority Rules makes clear, what works for search engines is what works with people as well.”

    So basically buying the old and high pr domain name still works? I have hear this so many time, maybe i will try this method on a highly competitive term in my next seo job.