Sep 15, 2011 114 reads by Navneet Kaushal

This interesting and interactive session of SMX New York 2011 was a practical tutorial on SEO of sorts. Three search marketers were given three months to get new sites ranking, and they got together to show what were their challenges and how they achieved it. The panel had-


  • Rob Kerry, Head of Search, Ayima

Q&A Moderator:

  • Mark Munroe, Senior Director, SEO, Everyday Health


  • David Burgess, SEO Consultant, Ayima
  • Russ Jones, Chief Technology Officer, Virante
  • Jay Young, Co-founder, Link Fish Media

The first speaker David Burgess chose Nazareth Housing, Inc, to optimize. The site works towards reducing homelessness. Their clients are 200 percent beneath the poverty line so the challenge was huge.

The modus operandi- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

David thought of turning to the corporates for help. Those businesses that have CSR departments, or are looking for charities. Ayima created Market Intelligence Reports for traffic scores and rankings.

 The Challenge-

  • Nazareth Housing didn’t rank for any of the keywords.
  • Competitors had entirely natural backlink profiles
  • They had to build a new brand
  • They had to create content for natural backlinks.

The Path Taken –
David took the following steps to create linkable content, so that blogs and news sites linked to them. These are the steps he took-

  • Study the content of highly linked to posts
  • Follow the strategy and schedule of content creation
  • Generate insight and compelling content
  • Engage with sites linking to similar content

He then set a target for link development

  • New Page Links
  • High PR/Authority/Relevance
  • Competitor analysis and targeting
  • News/Press

Nazareth Housing's annual benefit raised more than 190,000 last year and they now could promote it again by writing about it on Facebook, Twitter other PR sites to get good links. Then to know how they were doing ans where they could work more they installed Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.

Then David began with On Site Optimization

  • Redirects and canonicalizatoin
  • Fix Errors
  • Design and code clean up
  • Mark up improvements
  • Add & iterate content

David then said that they inserted the rel=canonical tag to clear up the home.html version confusion in the future. Also, he changed the footer text containing address, telephone number, etc from an image to indexable content. Worked to promote the Donate button.

He has created an SEO plan and the results will be shown in SMX West.

The next speaker Russ Jones, then took the floor- and spoke about his challenge, the Animal Protection Society of Durham. This no-kill animal shelter care for 7000 animals and offer spay-Neuter programs and foster programs. He said that the biggest challenge was to land the perfect keywords, that had to be breed specific. They were going to focus on the content as their primary method and not link building.

The Big Problem: Breeder control

Russ said that they discovered the difficulty of their position as nearly all organic and paid listings ranking were for breeders selling pure-bred dogs. Their site did not come up in any of the search terms. They had to increase the visibility of their site by controlling breed-specific terms with two paid listings, 2 or more organic listings, image listings, local place listings.

The Strategy: Organic

This was what Russ followed to get organic listings-

  • Use Exact Match Domains For Quick Wins
  • Geo-targeted domains
  • Unique articles, high LDA score on care for specific breeds
  • Updated local maps for area vets
  • Rescue, adoption, and care resources

The he built content for each breed and used puppy widgets for links (with Javascript to rotate simple list of link images with alt text)

The Paid Listings Strategy

  1. Google Grants: Apply for Google Grant. Profit.
  2. Dual Listings: APS of Durham, Exact Match Domains
  3. Call Tracking: Exact Match Domains, Paid Campaigns

Other Strategies Taken Up-

  1. Rank in Google Images
  2. Get listed in Google Places-coax Google to include maps.

Success Meters Shot Up!

These are the improved listings in organic results-

  1. 10 breeds and four generic targeted
  2. 10 #1 listings
  3. 10 SERPs with at least 2 listings
  4. 1 SERP with 2 listings
  5. 2 Breeders pushed down

They then entered into link building with rescue groups, local vets. The tools he used were

The third and last speaker of the day- Jay Young began his piece by introducing his project site- Barrier Free Living. This site is a charity that helps New Yorkers with disabilities to sustain themselves independently in the community. He outlined his goals as to get more donations , visibility and the number of intakes a month must increase.

The technical issues he dealt with-

  • Change the site's 302 redirect to 301 redirect for the home1.asp.
  • Change the 302 redirect to the non-www version to the home1.asp, to a 301 to the www version.
  • There’s no robots.txt file

He began by designing a custom 404 page and linked the header to the home page. He began on page by working on optimizing the title with relevant keywords. Change the identical meta descriptions along the site. The site is OK in local search, but can do better.

For link building, he wanted more than the keyword rich anchor texts and recommended contacting other organizations that they could work with and ask to be listed as a resource. Guest posting was also done to achieve this end and they got the links they wanted from authority sites.

They plan to work on social media in this manner-

  • Use Twitter and FB for fund raising.
  • Use FollowerWonk to find and engage influential people
  • Host a FB-based content with a positive spin on your niche

Jay concluded by saying that with these steps they aim to have secured better visibility, when the SMX West happens.

We have more on SMX New York 2011 coming up. Stay tuned.

Extreme Makeover The SEO Edition: SMX East New York 2011, Day 2!, 5.0 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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