SEO Ranking Factors - SMX 2010 recap

Tue 18 May 2010 10:25, Editors

For those who haven't been following the Twitter stream of Searchcowboys, we'll be giving you a sum up of all the important news and figures here of day 1 at SMX Advanced London. 

Keynote: Barak Berkowitz of Wolfram|Alpha about their product

First up is Barak Berkowitz, CEO of Wolfram|Alpha. Although we are used to getting a keynote about the market and where we are going, Berkowitz gave us a presentation of their product and the functionalities it offers at this moment. Berkowitz states that Wolfram|Alpha will change the way people search.

Wolfram|Alpha is not a common search engine, but a computational knowledge engine. Barak showed us a few nifty things Wolfram|Alpha can do at the moment. Just try queries like 'Japan GDP' or 'Japan China GDP' and see for yourself. 

A few nice facts about Wolfram is that they have a strong focus on mobile platforms and eBooks. Wolfram will insert their knowledge right into the eBooks that need it. And as a fact engine, that is where their business model might be. Next to that, they are also working on an API and are currently testing with Bing. 

Session: SEO Ranking Factors

In this session, Rand Fishkin is doing the kick off and as we know Rand, he focusses exactly on those points that are important when doing SEO. To sum up the best of his presentation:

- Links that are placed higher in the content pass more weight

- Links in content perform better than links in menu's or separate blocks on your page

- Twitter data probably influences QDF and Search

- Putting your keywords in front of the title has big impact on your rankings

- The H1 is overrated. If you make the headline stand out, it doesn't truly matter which tag you use

- ALT tags are doing a great job in improving rankings

- Finally Rand advices to use tools like the Google Wheel to select recommended keywords or phrases to your main keyword and employ 'bolster relevancy'.

Next up is Rob Kerry and he immediately opens up the Mayday discussion with a sum up of a few changes Google has made to its algoritm. Not only is domain authority no longer a free pass to do whatever you want, you also have to earn rankings through content and 3rd party links. Websites that have a lot of incoming links from websites they own too, seem to be hit hard, especially on the long tail. Fishkin responds by mentioning that they are hit too for the very first time, and have lost 8 to 9% of their longtail traffic. 

Mikkel DeMib Svensden, the man with the snake outfit, steps into coding and security. Next to bad coding, malware on websites in becoming a growing problem. Both have a very negative impact on rankings. Mikkel advices to check you code on a regular base. Look for code that shouldn't be there, links to other domains you haven't put in there, etc. Use to check you software for vulnerabilities. A few other tips of his sleeve:

- If more than 90% of your HTML page is code instead of text, do something about it. 

- Get rid of view_state and put all Javascript and CSS in external files. 

- Remove empty containers, like div's and spans. 

- Reduce the file size by minifying your code, so remove unnecessary meta tags, etc.

So, to sum up the few Mayday statements that are done today: make sure your code is clean, you have incoming links from more websites than just the ones you own and make sure your incoming links are not all pointed to your homepage, but spread them over your important pages. 

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