Q and A: Do women bring a different perspective to SEO?

QuestionHello Kalena

I’ve recently learned very quickly that SEO is a very male dominated industry.

As a female who has just begun in the SEO industry I was wondering if you would be able to tell me how you have dealt with working in a male dominated industry so well for all these years and what kind of challenges/obstacles have come your way? This would be great to know so that other female seo can prepare themselves if they should ever come to terms with them. More importantly how have you dealt with them?

Another question I was wondering – in your expert opinion – what do you feel that women bring to the SEO table? Anything new? Perhaps a different perspective?

Any advice that you could offer on this topic would be awesome and extremely appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

Monica

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Hi Monica

To answer your question, I no longer work in a traditional *office* so I’m no longer exposed to the same male/female office politics that I once was. However, when I was starting out, there was a very obvious male bias in the industry, particularly at search-related conferences I would attend.

We used to see around 5-10% female attendees at such conferences, whereas now it tends to be 35-40% or higher. Not sure if this spread is because SEO is kind of a geeky/programmer industry which has traditionally attracted more males, but it has definitely evolved to become more mainstream and marketing-focused. With that shift has come more females interested in the industry and thriving in the field.

In terms of the female perspective on SEO, I definitely think there are points of difference that females can bring to SEO roles. One in particular is our insight into emotional purchasing and shopping trends. It is well documented that females respond differently to advertisements and also search differently from men in general – with emotional response being key in the decision-making process. Plus women tend to be the key gift purchasers in a large majority of households. These factors can give female SEOs added insight when it comes to keyword research and copywriting for web sites aimed at females in particular.

Same goes for pay per click advertising – ad copy, headlines and images/videos used can influence purchasing decisions so using both male and female SEOs/SEMs in the ad creation process is going to ensure a more successful campaign.

Hope this helps!

Kalena

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Q and A: How do I leverage Social Media to improve my SEO?

QuestionHello Kalena

What do you think is the future of SEO as it relates to Social Media?

I’m really interested in convergence/intersection of Social Media and SEO.  I’d like to select my next set of Search Engine College courses with this in mind.  Do you have any suggestions? For example, I know the importance of blogging etc., but how do you go about creating a network of bloggers that can be used to help increase social media signals?

Toni

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Hi Toni

Social media has been a vital piece of SEO for a couple of years now. The amount of exposure that Social Media Marketing provides can contribute not just to traffic to a web site, but also to a site’s SEO strategy and long term success.

Web sites that are using successful social media strategies will almost always benefit from better visibility in the search engines. Why is this? For a few reasons:

  • Cross promotion of content between various social media channels and a web site usually means more links pointing to that web site. This contributes to a site’s link popularity. Higher link popularity and more relevant incoming links generally increases the *trust rank* of a site and results in higher rankings on the SERPs.
  • Regular posting via a blog or via social media channels consistently creates new content. Search engines LOVE fresh content and will be more inclined to index your site more often if you keep it fresh.
  • New content will attract more visitors and more page views, which in turn will improve your *trustability* with Google and other major search engines.
  • The more people talking about your brand, the better. Social media lends itself to brand discussion and product comparisons. If you make sure to take advantage of that, it can give you insights into new product development and customer satisfaction. Consistent mentions of your brand and/or products should naturally boost your product pages in the SERPs for related search queries.
  • When people are viewing and sharing your content via various social media channels, they are creating yet more links back to your site and this will have a flow-on effect to your link popularity and traffic levels. In effect, they are creating new content for you, without being on your payroll.

So how do you take advantage of all this and leverage your social media networks to boost your SEO strategy? Here’s a short checklist of things you can do when you publish new content on your web site or have something important to share:

  1. Upload it to your web site – This the starting point. Make sure the new content is uploaded here before any of your other marketing channels. This establishes your site as the original source and you can then point your social media posts to this source.
  2. Write a press release about it – If the new content or announcement warrants a press release, create one! Then upload it to press release syndication sites such as PR Web to ensure it gets maximum media coverage.
  3. Blog about it – If you write a regular blog, whether it is on your site or elsewhere, blog about it and link back to the original source on your site. Encourage other bloggers to link to it, blog about it or re-post it on their blogs. You mentioned this in your original question submission and YES, having a network of reliable bloggers either in your employ or in your social network can definitely help spread the word about your new content and contribute to your social signals.
  4. Bookmark it – Make sure your new content is submitted to smaller social sites and bookmarking services like Stumble Upon, Digg, Reddit and Delicious.
  5. Tweet it – Make sure you post a tweet on Twitter about your news, with a link back to the original source on your site and encourage your followers to share with their followers.
  6. Facebook it – As above, post a status update on your company/personal Facebook pages with a link back to the original source. Encourage your Facebook friends/fans to discuss it and share it with their friends.
  7. Pin it – If you have a Pinterest account, you might consider pinning it, particularly if the content is visual in nature.
  8. Google+ it – If you haven’t already set up your Google Plus account, do so quickly. A lot of people are already ditching Facebook and embracing Google+ as their favorite social media hangout. There are also other advantages to using it – if you use AdWords, you can have your ads show up with a little Google+ icon and link to your Google+ page. If you write regular articles/posts, you can also use Google+ for your Google Authorship annotations and track these in Google Webmaster Tools.
  9. Create a video about it – You might consider creating a short YouTube video talking about your news, or create a video version of your blog post. This can work particularly well if your content is a *how to* article or just educational in style.
  10. Create a slide-deck about it – As above, if your content is visual or educational, it would probably make a fantastic slide show. You could create a simple slide-deck about it ready to go for conferences or corporate presentations on the subject at a future date. Be sure to share the slide deck on slide hosting services like SlideShare.
  11. Create an eBook about it – If your content is a white paper or tutorial, you might consider creating an eBook and give that away via your social media channels. eBooks are a great way to solicit permission from people to sign up for your mailing list (in exchange for the free eBook).
  12. Send an email about it – If you publish a regular newsletter or Email broadcast, make sure you link to your new content within your campaign. Encourage people to share the news via their own social media networks.

Want more? Read Marcus Maraih’s article Improve Your Social SEO for more ideas.

Kalena

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Q and A: How do I get a job in the search industry?

QuestionHello Kalena

I am about to complete the last module of my CSEO course at Search Engine College and I am trying to get myself into this industry here in the UK. And although the demand is quite large I am struggling to get a job within the industry.

I was wondering if you have any advice for me in order to get a job in this industry?

Thank you very much for your time
Lonnie

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Hi Lonnie

Glad to hear of your progress with your course – congratulations!

In terms of gaining employment in the search industry, here are some things I recommend:

1) Keep an eye on our Search Engine Marketing Jobs Board. and the other search related employment sites we have listed on Search Engine Wiki.

2) Review my previous blog posts about salaries and jobs in search.

3) Review current SEO / SEM / PPC salaries before you apply for any jobs in the search industry.

4) Consider doing some pro-bono SEO work for a charity or not-for-profit site in your area in exchange for a written recommendation. If it goes well, that can lead to lots of good publicity, which can lead to paid work.

5) Register yourself on freelance project sites such as eLance.com, freelancer.com, odesk.com and guru.com and build up your resume with small projects to show potential employers.

6) Spread the word that you are looking for work! Post your resume and new qualifications online, tell your friends and family, use social networking to get the word out that you are keen to find a job in search.

Best of luck and keep us posted on how you get on.

Kalena

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Q and A: How Do I Prepare for a Large Site Migration?

QuestionHi Kalena

I work for a medium sized hospitality chain (in the marketing dept) and our leading chain of hotels is about to undergo a brand change. I’ve just found out that management has approved a full domain name change for each of these hotels and scheduled it with our IT department to happen next month. My General Manager bought the domain name without consulting IT or marketing.

I’m freaking out a little because I’ve been given the task of making sure the change goes smoothly and doesn’t impact our Google rankings or traffic, which I’ve spent years building up. There are 3 different regional hotel properties that will be affected and the content will be transferred over to a single domain! What should I expect? Is there anything I can do to make the transition go smoothly?

Regards
Belinda

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Hi Belinda

Oh boy, I don’t envy you. Yes, you are right to be freaking out – at least a little. Site migrations are a royal pain in the you know where and can result in masses of lost traffic and lost search engine rankings.

By the sound of things, your site migration will be complicated by the fact that there are multiple domains shifting to a single domain. Now before you start hyperventilating, there are some things you can do in preperation:

1) Read this terrific presentation about site migration by Aidan Beanland of Yahoo and then read it again. Create a plan for your own migration situation.

2) Go spend some time with the IT department. Hopefully you get on well with them because you’ll be spending a lot of time talking to them over the next few months. Provide them with a copy of Aidan’s guide so they know what to expect. You’ll need to find out their strategy for the roll-out, including pre-switch benchmarking, 301 redirect integration and testing, specific dates for content transfer, the big switch and final DNS propagation.

3) Consider shifting the content of each individual hotel into distinct region-based sub-domains on the new site e.g. Dallas.HotelBrand.com, Austin.HotelBrand, Houston.HotelBrand rather than trying to combine all content into a single site. This way, you can optimize the sub-domains as distinctive sites and retain the location-related Google rankings you have spent so long building up. If you can prove large traffic losses will occur if you don’t do this (and they will!), it should be easy to get IT and management onside.

4) Take an active role in the pre-migration benchmarking process, particularly in relation to site analytics, most popular content and search engine rankings. Ensure your company keep ownership of the old domains and keep all sites live until the new domain has fully propagated.

5) Be prepared with other online/offline marketing activities to promote the hotels in case of sudden traffic loss.

6) Make sure your manager and stakeholders know what is within/beyond your control! Make it very clear what can go wrong during the move and protect yourself by warning them ahead of time of the potential negative outcomes.

Good Luck!

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Q and A: Do YouTube Accounts Ever Expire?

QuestionDear Kalena

Thanks for clarifying in your blog post yesterday about Gmail account expiration. Is it the same situation for YouTube accounts? Do YouTube accounts ever expire and can you acquire the username over time if no-one is using the account?

thanks
Phil

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Dear Phil

Thanks for your feedback about my recent blog post about Gmail account expiry. Because Google owns YouTube, there are some similarities in terms of account expiry and also some crossover in relation to YouTube account hijacking and username impersonation.


YouTube Account Expiry and Transfer

The creation of a YouTube channel requires a Google account. There is no brandname protection over YouTube account creation. Whoever registers a channel name first *owns* that channel.

If someone owns a Google account permanently linked to a YouTube channel e.g. brandname@gmail.com linked to YouTube.com/brandname, to use that channel you would have to convince the Google account holder to transfer the whole account over to you.

Just like Gmail, when a YouTube account is closed, the username is no longer available for use. It’s permanently reserved so you can’t have it transferred to another YouTube account. A closed YouTube account will bring up an error message like this one.


YouTube Account Hijacking

Unlike Google accounts, YouTube have a clearer policy when it comes to username squatting and brand impersonation. From their Username Policy guidelines:

“Impersonating another user by copying their channel layout, using a similar username, or posing as them in comments, emails or videos is considered harassment and is a violation of our Community Guidelines… In cases of username squatting, YouTube may release usernames in cases of a valid trademark complaint.”

Despite the clearer policy guidelines, YouTube still prefers to take a *hands off* approach when dealing with trademark complaints:

“If you are a trademark owner and you believe your trademark is being infringed due to a username issue, please note that YouTube is not in a position to mediate trademark disputes between users and trademark owners. As a result, we strongly encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the owner of the username.”


YouTube Account Recovery

If your brand-related YouTube account is being squatted, approach the owners and politely ask if they would be willing to hand over the account/s. Keep in mind that they will have to agree to hand over the related Google account as well. If that fails, you might consider negotiating a price for hand over, as I recommended in an earlier post for Gmail accounts.

If you own the trademark for your brand/company name being squatted on YouTube, lodge a YouTube Trademark Complaint. If the YouTube channel in question is in violation of the YouTube Community Guidelines or is clearly impersonating another user or brand, you can report it via the YouTube Help and Safety Tool.

Good luck.

Kalena

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