12 Biases of SEO Learned from Rand Fishkin at Inbound 2012

Frank Isca
Posted by Frank Isca on August 30, 2012

Rand Fishkin Keynote Inbound 2012 BostonAs I wrap up my time here at Inbound 2012 in Boston with 2,800 fellow Inbound Marketers from around the globe, my head is truly swimming with loads of new knowledge and Inbound Marketing principles that I can't wait to apply with our clients. Reflecting back on the last three days, the highlight for me has to be the keynote from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.

During Rand's address to the IM community on Tuesday, he covered 12 biases that are most prevalent in modern-day SEO, and from the reaction around the room and in my Twitter stream, it clearly resonated with all of us.

Here's a recap of these 12 biases for those who couldn't be in attendance to witness Rand's brilliance.

Bias #1: Rank is All That Matters 

Although rank will always have importance in search, it’s important to look beyond whether you hold position one or two. As Rand stated, click thru rate (CTR) in the SERPs is becoming more influenced on how your position appears to the user. Great SERP snippets start with great titles, the right URL and description, and Rel=Author images. It’s proven that SERP listings with an image of a REAL person will always trump the listing that looks built by a program.   

Bias #2: Active Link Building is Required for SEO

Plain and simple, the best links build themselves. As I stated in a recent post on obtaining free and credible inbound links, your focus should be to create awesome content that provides a ton of value to your readers. This builds a relationship with your following and the links will then follow.

Bias #3: There Can Only be One Topic

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on a niche vertical with your content efforts but being open to multiple topics, including more broad topics, can earn you online signals that help your entire website. Don’t sell yourself short by being narrow minded.

Bias #4: Twitter & Facebook Are Only Social Media That Matters 

For many companies, social media is strictly Facebook and Twitter. This is largely due to the mainstream media and their continued focus on these platforms, since they’re the big two! The reality is you should be where your target is and be open to the less highlighted social tools. For example, getting aggressive with StumbleUpon can yield tremendous results and Google+ for many has proven to provide a higher CTR.

Bias #5: If Viral Content Efforts Fail, It's Over!

If your stellar piece of content falls short of your expectations of having viral ability after one attempt, don't stop there. Rand shared how it took SEOmoz three attempts to outrank Google with their Free SEO Guide before it went viral on social media, something they now still hold position on.

Bias #6: Only Target High Search Volume Keywords

With keywords, it's all about the chunky middle and long tail keywords. These types of phrases can mean the difference of yielding more qualified traffic or fighting tirelessly with headmatch keywords with no guarantee for page one visibility. An interesting fact that Rand shared is the fact that 18% of all searches on Google have NEVER been searched before. Crazy to think, huh?!

Bias #7: You Only Need to do SEO For Your Website

Managing your SEO efforts strictly with this mindset will eventually result in failure. Search engines now weigh in so many factors, specifically social media, so use your same keyword strategy to optimize your social media profiles and activity. Also tap into the power of SlideShare. 

Bias #8: Social Media Sharing is a Fire & Forget Tactic

With social media, repetition matters, especially when we're talking Twitter. You should also experiment on what provides a better CTR with your social media. Rand shared that placing links and hashtags in the middle of a tweet has provided a higher CTR for SEOmoz, and with Facebook, using full images with a manual link in the post description has resulted in higher CTR.

Bias #9: Search Engines Prefer Text Content

Although textual content is important, don't underestimate the power of video, images and slide decks such as SlideShare. Utilizing multiple forms of content is key!

Bias #10: I Should Chase My Competitors' Links

It does you no good to constantly chase and obsess over your competitors' links. Even if you fight to get a majority but not all, they'll still be ahead of you. Instead, research link opportunities from non-competitive sites that your competitors will overlook.

Bias #11: Spending Money For Links is Black Hat

Yes, it's true many link buying practices can fall under the category of black hat. However, there are areas that still cost money but that can result in favorable links. These include event participation/sponsoring, company acquisitions and press-worthy news. All can provide a nice ROI as far as valuable links and improved SEO.

Bias #12: There's No Simple Way to Increase Traffic

If you're looking for simple ways to increase traffic, here are some things you can address that are too often overlooked:

• Site speed optimization: there's numerous free tools out there that allow you to test your site speed, which can reduce bounce rate of your visitors. This is simple and increases traffic

• 404, 500 & 302 Fixes: leverage Google Webmaster Tools to monitor and easily correct these commonly overlooked issues

I can bet there were at least a few biases on this list that held true to your own thoughts on SEO. This is a complex component to online and Inbound Marketing and constantly changing. Hopefully you find these points as valuable as I did and will begin to apply them with your own efforts.

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Topics: Search Engine Optimization, Inbound Marketing

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