Monday, September 23, 2013

WDF*P*IDF ... WTF?: A lesson in search engine optimization

If you work in public relations or communications, I hope you didn't have a huge conniption several weeks ago when Google supposedly killed PR. PR wasn't killed; only shady tactics to get backlinks were. Web addresses can still be listed in press releases, but must have a "rel=nofollow" tag. And you know what - it still can help your search engine optimization (SEO)!

When you think of SEO do you think of backlinks and/or keywords? I did back when I first got a lesson on SEO in March of this year. Keywords, backlinks and keyword density (indicated as the formula WDF*P*IDF or within-document-frequency's correlation to number of instances of a keyword in all other relevant documents in the underlying database) were big chunks in the SEO ranking factors. Not a bad mix of off-page (backlinks) and on-page (keywords) factors. But then Penguin 2.0 came out in May and Panda has been updating pretty regularly.

Google Takes Care of Google

Remember all those jokes about Google+ only being for Google employees? Well joke is on all of us.

From this great graph in Search Metrics "SEO Ranking Factors - Rank Correlation 2013" (released June 20, 2013)  it is pretty plain to see that social (in the orange) has a much higher impact than most other backlinking and all on-page factors. And surprise, suprise Google+ is numero uno!

Back to that nofollow tag though, it is right up there above all of the on-page factors now too.

And that's not all, now SEO experts think they have cracked the code to the new Google search carousel, and Google+ reviews (rating and quantity) seem to correlate to getting listed there! More on that from

What Can I Do?

  • Have your social profiles linked on your website
  • Use Google+
  • Use Google Places for Business
  • Continue getting your website listed (with the appropriate nofollow tag) on relevant sites that have similar or slightly higher ranking than you.
  • Pay attention to your review sites! Don't be shady and start buying up reviewers (Yelp is already on to you). Believe me it will happen, and Google will have to change all their algorithms again. If you are that shyster that causes the next "Google Killed PR" debacle, every person in SEO will hate you. Don't be the SEO shyster.

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