to take the ‘pulse’ of certain topics; what are people thinking or what’s the latest tip or technique getting attention? It’s where I went recently to see what the latest buzz in search engine optimization (SEO) was. Some of what I found was useful, interesting, as well as disappointing.

While a real Magic 8 Ball would certainly help what is really needed are content and a strong grasp of SEO best practices. Unfortunately for people in the SEO space it often feels like magic is needed. Why? I’d guess it’s the cloud of uncertainty around the changes Google makes to their algorithm; it keeps you guessing what changes you need to make to your SEO approach. What is or was considered a standard practice might soon be a black flag. This doesn’t create a stable industry to be sure.

Meta data is one the most important factors for proper optimization. It’s the ‘1’ in SEO 101 and its most certainly a best practice that needs to be followed. Use keywords intelligently in Meta tags, titles and descriptions and try not to optimize a single webpage for more than two keywords.

We’ve stated all along that blogging is a great foundation for search engine optimization success. That said I’d say that any well-planned, well-written content can also play an important role. In fact, with the content options available today I’d think more holistically. Blogging to be sure can play a major role, but there’s also press releases, eNewsletters, eBooks, whitepapers, other value-added content that lives on your site. There are also other media channels that can lead searchers back to you and your brand, so think outside your website to places like YouTube, SlideShare, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus to name a few.

Absolutely! If you can get a main keyword in all these places you’ll naturally do well for organic search – especially the URL. Be sure not to keyword stuff though, and make sure the keyword is relevant to the copy on the page. If there’s a disconnect there, it likely won’t matter what that keyword is.

I’d say this is true with almost any profession today. ‘Plan your work and work your plan’ has been part of my business vernacular since my first job out of college, and that job was not in marketing at all.

We do domain analysis’ all the time here at C4, and when we look at the results we often see some duplicate Meta data creep its way into the report, and it’s almost always in the press section of the website. PR folks do a great job of creating content (press releases are great!) but they don’t necessarily optimize the posts before pushing them live. Ask the PR folks to shoot over that release prior to pushing it to the site. You can add Meta data recommendations and maybe even get a keyword in the title or subhead. Beyond simple press release optimization, PR is moving more and more towards social media, and so is SEO. You’re going to meet there at some point, might as well plan your rendezvous ahead of time to make the most of it.

The one thing about Twitter that disappointed me and its likely everywhere and not just SEO, was the incredible amount of spam. At least three of every 6 or 7 tweets out there was a company or person touting how great they are at SEO. Come on people… we’re better than that. At least share some good content and show us all how good you are.