ahmed sobhy
ahmed sobhy

ASobhy is one of the rare people who has managed to find success in his passion. And a big part of his success is thanks to his expertise in Digital Marketing. Well, let’s get into some of the SEO facts that Ahmed Sobhy, swears by.

Internet is a source of massive amounts of information, some true, some false. Unfortunately, SEO is one subject that seems to garner a ton of myths. Let’s bust some of the SEO myths together, shall we?

New SEO Secret #1: Test Content Creation With Content Curation

New SEO requires great content. Content capable of winning inbound links, confirming social shares, and LOVE Google looks for to assign authority and clout (Klout). How do you know what content will be “GREAT”?

Testing content marketing on “owned” assets can be tricky. The nature of testing is you LOSE more than you WIN. Consistently adding content that is lower than your site’s existing means will decrease site authority.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should monitor include heuristic measures:

  • New vs. Returning visitors.
  • Time on your site (or page).
  • Pages viewed.
  • Bounce Rate.
  • Views.
  • Conversions (can be defined as anything from staying on the site to buying something).
  • Social Support (likes, links, shares).
  • LEI or Link Efficiency Index is the ratio of links per pages in Google.

I use Scoop.it to curate “rich snippets” of content into 12 different “magazines” or content feeds such as Curation Revolution or Design Revolution. Creating a “Rich snippet” adds 100 to 400 words of content to a shared or “curated” link. Rich Snippets add context, test positioning and theme the curated link into one of 12 Scoop.it “magazines” (Scoop.it allows curation of up to 5 “magazines” free).

Each Scoop.it feed includes a “spider” tool.  I supply keywords for “Curation Revolution” such as “content curation” and Scoop.it’s spider searches retrieving relevant content.

Why do go to so much trouble? Why “curate content” and why do so outside of “owned” digital assets such as websites or blogs?

I’m willing to risk more on Scoop.it since curation there can’t hurt “owned” digital properties such my ScentTrail Marketing blog. If something bombs on Scoop.it its “no harm, no foul”. If a piece of content bombs on your website or blog that bomb linked to other bombs will reduce online authority.

I test content on Scoop.it, note performance and leave open places in content calendars for “winners”. Winning content  receives above average views, shares and comments. Testing content on Scoop.it protects the value of owned assets.

New SEO Secret #2: Contests & Games

[pullquote]Content marketing isn’t a democracy.[/pullquote] No one can tell you the “best content” for your website without significant research and testing. That caveat clearly stated some content is more “social” than others. Contests and games may be the most universally “social” content especially when a “social horse race” is involved. After creating more than ten “social content contests” a phased process emerged:

  • Phase I: Call For Entries, Criteria & Timeline Published.
  • Phase II: Select “participants”, usually 10% or less of entries.
  • Phase III: Create Social Horse Races.
  • Phase IV: Semifinalists – race Winners until only a few left.
  • Phase V: Finals – expert panel selects Gold, Sliver, Bronze.
    Hard won lessons:
  • Make sure voting happens “inside” your site not on Facebook or some other external tool. Most of the traffic and social share benefits happens at the “voting booth”. You can iFrame or embed a voting tool, but get traffic inside your website.
  • Spam, especially if the prizes are LARGE, can be crazy. Best to have the final prizes awarded by a panel of celebrity judges. The panel also creates another PR hook.
  • Include Other Conversion Points on your VOTE Page – Including relevant content such as a Gamification White Paper download on your “VOTE” page can help generate ROI and valuable names for your email marketing.
  • Legalese – Contests bring out the bickering horde, so write contest terms in easy to understand language. Be clear about who can win and why. Cut down harping and complaining from non winners by creating significant WINS for “non-winners” such as profile pages or special “contributor” designations.
  • If you are Doritos you can write iron-clad terms and still receive thousands of entries. If you aren’t Doritos consider leaving the (c) with the contributors and pay for use once you are past your first round as “stealing our ideas” is a typical concern of contest entrants.

Contests and games require work, monitoring and learning as you go. Contests & Games can provide big boosts for traffic, social shares and rank when there is a clear “mutual win” – contest participants receive real value for their content and Internet marketers tap “friends of friends” traffic, social shares and feedback.

Great Kuno Creative Graphic
Stop Obsessing Over Rank, It is the Wrong Metric is a great blog post on Kuno Creative includes this helpful graphic illustrating difference between old and new SEO:

New SEO Secret #3: Crowdfunding & Crowdsourcing

As I wrote last week in Why There Is A Curatti In Your Future the most powerful content on your website is THEIRS not YOURS. [pullquote]The most powerful content on YOUR website is THEIRS not YOURS. [/pullquote]What do most people do when their content is on your website? Most contributors support THEIR content on YOUR website with social shares, blog posts and alerts. Can you write a piece of content that will create as much passion?

Maybe, but why bet the short odds when curating content has never been easier. Ways to promote the crowd include:

  • Offering something for sale.
  • Comments & Reviews.
  • Social share widgets.
  • Contests and Games.
  • Curating content in from social nets.
  • Profiling contributors.

Think of anything you can do to include the crowd as “crowdsourcing” and anytime the crowd gives you something material such as their time, advocacy or clout as “crowdfunding” and you will be amazed at the length of the list you create.

New SEO Secret #4: Mobile First & Responsive

Google wants a seamless world. [pullquote]Google wants a seamless world.[/pullquote]It wants the Google spider to dive into a single pool and know where to send relevant traffic. Google is device agnostic and traffic-centric. They see the world “going mobile”. If your website isn’t responsive or able to accordion smoothly from phone to laptop then 2014 is a good year to fix that. Responsive design can be a SEO BUMMER, so be sure to have a great SEO like Phil Buckley at New Media Leaders or Bill Ross help you implement responsive design.

I’ve been in several meetings about responsive design and the SEO havoc it can create. Glad I can pick up the phone and get help when needed. Creating a “New SEO” responsive site design is trickier than you think. Get help and get a responsive design done this year.

New SEO Secret #5: Tools

It is possible to do great “New SEO” work with free tools such as PageRank Checker, Alexa and Google (especially adwords keyword tool), but if you have the budget I recommend Searchlight by Conductor. Call Michael Hoffman ([email protected], (212) 542-5179) and ask to see this cool tool.

I wouldn’t use Searchlight exactly as recommended since Searchlight provides summaries based on absolute listings – are you #1 or not? After the Google float #1 doesn’t mean as much as it used to. You can win top listings on terms that don’t matter. Searchlight understands this and has ways to change their dashboards to monitor KPIs that matter to you.

Don’t obsess over RANK since those days are gone. Do obsess over:

  • How efficiently are you building links, likes and shares?
  • Where are links, likes and shares coming from?
  • Do you need to do some link cleaning?
  • How is User Generated Content (UGC) doing (how much are we receiving, from whom and on what)?
  • What is surprising on either the upside or downside?
  • Where is the site’s 80/20 rule? (20% of the content is probably contributing 80% of the links, likes and shares what is that content and who created it?)
  • What content is doing what and where?