So here are some of the questions that were covered in Dave's Q & A session at A4UExpo earlier this week. It was great to see so many people made it to the early morning session to learn some up to the minute views from Dave.
(image: Kasper 🙂 )
Should you cloak affiliate links?
What do you think about the new change that Google brought in with not showing the search referrer in Analytics?
Google are spinning it that it is for privacy, but Adwords data will still be shown. It's bad for the webmaster, and in the end bad for the user as webmasters won't be able to make pages better that are getting certain terms sending traffic. People will be working out how to get around it and it will be interesting to see if the pro package have the data available.
I have 100 products on a page, what should I do with keyword density?
Google will see it as spammy. Add content and rewrite product titles and content to reduce keyword density. Pagination will help and diversify the listing as 100 products on one page is not good for the user.
What's the optimum % of keyword density on a page?
There is a myth out there about keyword density, but it has to be natural. It depends on the industry. Look and see what other sites are doing in your industry and see what the sites that are ranking are doing.
On links, if there is a good blog post without a link, do you ask for the old post to be amended or get a new post created to include the link?
My preference is to get a new article written and the old post redirected. If I can see that an old piece of content has been changed to include a link so can Google. Make link placements in keeping with the site.
If I was a new affiliate, what advice would you give?
Don't give up your day job! Research the industry, make sure the market is OK. Check tools like SearchMetrics to see how competitors' sites have performed. Avoid industries that are swamped, like voucher codes and avoid a thin affiliate site. Build a new brandable site with no initial monetarisation, add good content, possibly have a walled garden area for the affiliation, get sign ups, do email marketing, bring offers specifically to users. Don't just list loads of affiliate links on a page, and build up a war chest to develop the strategy.
I've started using JQuery to make the site sexier, with multiple tabs. It could seem that content is hidden so would Google look at the site and see it as cloaking?
Bespoke AJAX is quicker or maybe have a look at DART, with AJAX on the client side rather than serverside. Behind the AJAX you need the static version, use # bangs and rel canonical and make use of CSS and HTML5. Think of the intent, if it's to get more search traffic then it may be an issue, if it's for a user then it's OK, Google will see it as that.
Do social signals from Facebook and Twitter have an effect on rankings?
Twitter is a social signal that Google trusts. Can't just rank with Twitter, but if you get lots of RT's then it does pass a strong signal for QDF. Facebook is a locked down environment so how can Google trust it? Look at Google with Google+ and the +1's but they will learn that people are buying seasoned Gmail accounts. There is also personalisation and locational signals that are looked at.
In Google results there are sites listed top with spammy links. Is the problem the algorithm?
This doesn't get overlooked, but gets dampened. Brand sites who already have a lot of links, if they have new or historic spammy links they already have enough equity to rank. They will need to reach a tipping point before they get a slap and get hurt. For instance JCPenny got a slap but they didn't get taken out of the index, it was more of a warning. Google will move away from links but they will always be there.
If someone steals your content what should you do?
Go straight to the host and hassle them or DMCA them. Don't bother with the webmaster as you may not be able to track them down, start with the host. (Added by Kasper in the session – doing a spam report will also help too)
Comment links, are they any good? What are your favourite links?
Links need to be something without a footprint. Think outside the box and look at areas that touch your industry. Help other webmasters to help you. If you were building campervan links, think about the campsites or surf dudes. It's not a crime to link to people so look at things that touch your industry and see how it would benefit them.
With the real estate of natural search becoming how it is, what's the importance of it?
Aim for the Top 3. Look at mobile, look at traffic coming into the site, and where people are coming in. Our jobs as always will change and be recreated. While there is still a search box we still have a job. Widen the traffic source to images, videos, product feeds, local listings, news etc. Natural organic SEO is lessoning, widen the targets.
Is there a benefit to having a domain reference rather than a hyperlink?
Google sees the url structure but can't count is as a link. From a social signal they see it and possibly count it.
How important is IP address and Whois on bulk domains?
Shared hosting is good as you could kind of hide in the crowd all with the same IP, but watch for less favourable sites joining your shared hosting. It used to be a major quality signal but now the Cloud has changed this and so will IPV6, it's now a narrow signal. Separate IP addresses can be used for linking but Google can tie it all together anyway. Look at the intention of sites on the same IP.
What's your worst horror story of clients who have come to you after using another agency?
Big UK brand that had had links built by a big UK agency that were base64 encoded footer links in WordPress themes. Ended up having to ditch the domain and rebrand. Ask the SEO agency, what's the worst that could happen if they come up with a fool proof plan and can you pull it back if you needed. Obviously you can't pull back lots of WP footer links on a free theme that has been widely used.
There's a lot of talk about sites with bad spammy links. What's to stop a competitor sending a tonne of spammy links to you?
If you chuck enough spammy links at a site it can harm, but could also help them for a bit, so do a regular check on the links to your site and if you see a spike check them out and report them. There is obviously a good chance that Google will also look through the rest of your links so be aware.
And one final question…
Sum up 2012 as a strategy?