Moderator: Mike Grehan
Kevin Ryan, SES Advisory Board Chair & CMO, WebVisible
Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz.org
Brett Tabke, CEO, WebmasterWorld.com
Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land
Jill Whalen, CEO, High Rankings
Where does SEO go next?
Why do we do SEO - why don't we expect the engines to do that work and fix their crawler?
Jill Whalen - We have to do it. The problem is often the developers who don't understand what they have to do to make life easy for the engines.
Chris Sherman - SEO is as much PR as it is tweaking pages.
Rand Fishkin - Linkbuilding is its own art and science, great linkbuilding isn't always tied to great marketing. Good marketers who find technical and psycological ways to make people want to link.
Mike Grehan - If you think about great ways to attract people and make good content its better than trying to set yourselves some number based target. One great link can outway a volume of poor links.
Is it about quantity or quality?
Should we spend more time on quality?
Jill Whalen - Natural links are best, getting that extra edge is a real science
Rand Fishkin - When you do a lot of site analysis you sometimes find that it isn't always quality. Yes in the long term quality counts but when you see weaknesses in the algo its hard not to take advantage of that.
Mike Grehan - The weakness of the link based method is that unless you have a website you don't get to vote
Rand Fishkin - Web 2.0 has partly addresses that and now the public does get to vote
Mike Grehan - Usergenerated content is now 5 times that of traditional content.
Rand - I think we may underestimate google. Is a crawler going to be the best way to gather all the information in the world? When you look at things like twitter for example.
Mike Grehan - What are some of the new things we should be doing now?
Chris Sherman - If we are doing some of the quality things we should be OK.
Brett - We are coming into a new era where search engines aren't the defacto way to get information. Social media is starting to take some share of that task.
Kevin Ryan - Getting access to the data isn't the only factor, local 2.0 has become the integration of usergenerated content into the mix.
Rand Fishkin - When you look at what has changed, local is one area. The new sources cant be manipulated in the same ways.
Mike Grehan - On doing a search for bed and breakfast new york all the work that people had done on organic rankings and getting backlinks is wasted by the fact that google puts a list of local listings before the first result.
Rand Fishkin - You have to do different things to manipulate your chances in local, you have to be aware that if you simply sit back and let it happen naturally then you aren't influencing the results.
Jill Whalen - We should be helping make the internet better and helping the search engines give good results
Rand Fishkin - Blackhats aren't ruining the web, they are pushing the envelope. They are one of the drivers that make google improve their systems.
Mike Grehan - If we did just stick to googles guidelines that would be hard
Rand Fishkin - Yes it would be hard but even now by leveraging the new user generated content and thinking differently you can still.
Mike Grehan - Lets talk about social media, should we be recommending that people use that? Should it be part of the mix?
Jill Whalen - It creates traffic and people are using it in addition to google
Rand Fishkin - I don't know how we couldn't recommend that
Chris Sherman - Depends on your goals, if you use it for areas that don't work for social media you may get a backlash.
Mike Grehan - How do we get the new signals from user generated content into the algo?
Rand Fishkin - The goal of many of sites now is to be the defacto answer to the query so you dont rely on google.
bt - When google did their recent ajax test it stripped off the referring keyword and if implemented would cause us to rethink our optimization strategy.
Mike Grehan - If google changes overnight we don't get a warning that they will change.
Jill Whalen - Thats why concentrating on making the pages you create the best that they can be and have made good use of social media then it shouldn't matter if google changes its algo.
Mike Grehan - Video? is optimizing video the SEO's job
All - Yes
Chris Sherman - We are going to see more technologies like speech to text conversion that will make our job easier.
Mike Grehan - Again we are all talking about new signals
Chris Sherman - Content is king and will continue to be, the technical aspect of SEO will change but content remains king
Jill Whalen - The IT department and the marketing departments of businesses need to come together. they need to understand that SEO is a function of both
Kevin Ryan - Other than googles dominance the involvement of google in government now is a concern.
Q & A
With the advent of so many new ways to get to the web without having to go through google (Think Tweetdeck for Twitter and other applications) how are our jobs going to change?
Brett - If you focus on the user then the engines will follow
Rand Fishkin - Perhaps thats a different job than the job of an SEO?
When you are looking at applications that access the sites directly thats perhaps not search.
Is Google now finished as we move away from a link based eco system?
Chris Sherman - In the early days the method of viewing value through citation that was a good way to look at the web, there will be new ways going forward.
Rand Fishkin - Link analysis still has some life in it for coming years but citations can evolve beyond just links.