WSA SEO Panel Discussion

Ian Lurie

I participated in a panel discussion last night at the WSA’s monthly dinner meeting. Also on the panel was Larry Sivitz of SearchWrite, Detlev Johnson from PositionTech, Heather Lloyd-Martin from WebSourced, Inc., and Gary McAvoy of GetToTheTop. It was a great discussion moderated by Bruce Alexander. Here are the highlights…

Much of the talk centered around what’s changed (and what hasn’t) in the world of search marketing:

Content is still king. Heather-Lloyd Martin provided some great input on search content creation. The main point? Don’t keyword stuff! Stick to writing sound, well-written copy. If you write keyword-packed copy the best case scenario is lots of traffic but no conversions, because your visitors can’t understand what you wrote. The worst case is reduced ranking as the search engines penalize you for excessive keyword use.

Good code matters. We all agreed that a well-coded page, with clear, topical TITLE and META tags and standards-compliant XHTML or HTML, is a critical part of a sound SEO campaign.

Localization. Gary McAvoy and Detlev Johnson both pointed to the importance of localization. If you’re marketing abroad, make sure you get your site translated – when folks search on, say, Google in another country, Google automatically routes them to a localized search engine. Get your content in the right language and you’ll benefit.

Changes are coming. Detlev Johnson pointed out that, with MSN’s launch of their own search engine, and Google’s changing eroded market share, you can bet that changes are in the offing. The whole panel emphasized that trying to game specific search engine algorithms is a terrible idea.

Changes, 2. Larry Sivitz pointed to Google’s recent acceptance as an Internet registrar. That means Google can now process domain reservations, like Network Solutions and Why did they do this? Google isn’t saying. But you can bet they’ve got a plan.

Ian’s take. And of course, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I talked about how the changes in the search engine optimization landscape point towards more work on relevance and topical relevance, and less of a focus on one or two keywords or phrases. Focus on sound practices and you’ll do fine.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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