Train yourself in SEO: Advanced resources for editors

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Back in the Pleistocene Epoch when eMediaVitals started this column, we covered reasons for editors to learn about search, and then basic resources for teaching yourself about SEO.

The latter column offered up a list of RSS feeds to follow, with the notion that investing five to fifteen minutes of reading each day can turn a plebe into a pro in relatively short order.

Hopefully all B2B editors by now understand the basics of SEO and Web analytics. You should know a keyword from a KPI at this point in the game, and be moving on to more advanced topics. So, while the sources recommended a year ago remain valuable, I thought this would be a good time to plug into some additional and more advanced SEO resources.

RSS feeds

Last time I recommended using the Bloglines RSS reader. I’ve switched to Google Reader – Bloglines’ future has been up in the air for some time – but still find RSS feeds an efficient way to absorb information quickly. Here are just a few more feeds to plug in.

Industrial Strength columns on SearchEngineLand

 ... especially those written by Adam Audette and Eric Enge.

An important note about these columns. You’ll see some topics that might not grab your interest immediately. My advice: Don’t have an itchy ‘delete’ finger. Read broadly and you will find you can apply bits and pieces to your own work.

For example, ecommerce sites talk about ‘conversion rates’ all the time. Not an editorial topic, you say? I disagree. One of your goals is to garner newsletter signups. By paying attention to engagement metrics like time on site and bounce rate (and you can do this in Google Analytics at an article-by-article basis), you can have an impact on your newsletter signup rates. Reading columns about ecommerce conversions can supply you with useful strategies for this task.

SEO by the Sea

Written by Bill Slawski, this is for serious wonks. Bill keeps an eye on patent filings by the major search engines. I just find him interesting and a good analytical thinker about search trends and what they mean.

Twitterers

Twitter has a very active SEO community. I use the free TweetDeck application so I can view Tweets sorted by category. Typically I have side-by-side columns for my security list, my SEO list, my content strategy list and a nascent UX/UI list. TweetDeck is a great tool, and others recommend HootSuite for similar purposes.

Here is a short list of key SEO people to follow on Twitter with their handles. As with all my resource recommendations, this is not an exhaustive list of the world’s greatest. It’s simply a set that I’ve found helpful from where I sit as a B2B editor, reduced to keep the volume manageable. Your mileage may vary.

Alternatively, you can just follow my entire SEO/SEM list: @derekcslater/seo-sem. However, you may find that’s like drinking from a firehose and contains more unfocused (personal) tweets than the short list above.

Tools

Here are four tools that can help you learn more about SEO and see the effects of changes you make in your own content or content strategy.

  • RankChecker: Helps crash Firefox. (Just kidding. Sorta.) Rank checker is a plugin tool from SEOBook that helps you keep track of where your content ranks on multiple search engines. It is free but requires that you create an SEOBook account.

  • SEO Quake: Another free Firefox plugin. Provides some basic SEO data on any given page or article you view in Firefox. I find it interesting although strongly suggest you use it sparingly. It’s not something to leave running at all times; it will drive you crazy as it modifies the display on your Google search results pages. Also, if you try to pull too much data too often with this kind of tool, Google may choose to block you temporarily, as you are irritating them by using too much of their computing power.

  • WordTracker: This keyword research tool requires an annual membership fee of around $400. Either I am still clumsy with WordTracker (likely) or the applicability of the actual research tool for editors is somewhat limited (less likely). However, subscribers also have access to a nice library of tutorials on keyword research and usage.

  • Google Insights “rising searches” list: This is a good place to look for trends within your own topic space.


Derek Slater is editor in chief of CSOonline.com and CSO magazine. He’s also currently studying the analytics of his wife’s newly launched consumer website MyFreshLocal.com. He’s on Twitter as @derekcslater.

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