Dave Collins – SEO Demystified – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Dave Collins (@thedavecollins)

Watch the video (sorry, but I’m not allowed to embed it here)


  • 70% of SEO is simple
    • Almost every one can do it
    • It always works (usually)
  • A lot of Bullshit going on in SEO land
  • For every person who knows what they’re talking about in SEO, there are ______ who are talking out of their _____
  • Legitimate SEO aligns the agendas of your website and Google
  • What do users want from Google? HELP!
    • 30 Trillion pages in Google index
  • What does Google want? Money! Or help people find answers (Depending on your level of cynicism)
  • Google needs help with finding high quality content
    • Freshness of sites
    • incoming links to sites
    • Keywod density
    • and so on
  • Your role as SEO: Guiding Google – NOT manipulating
  • The SEO cycle aligns itself only when SEOs give Google what USERs are looking for
  • Black Hat vs. White Hat –> We did this (!), because it WORKED
    • Black Hat is becoming a thing of the past
    • Even BBC got slapped for bad links by Google
  • Getting slapped by Google –> doesn’t tickle, feels more like getting hit by Rocky
    • Revenue drops by 85% possible
  • The Death of Algorithm Manipulation – Ask your SEO what he will be doing when he works for you

What SEO should look like

  • Keyword Density is not an absolute percentage. Best percentage: Whatever comes out of a GOOD writer
  • How do you know if you’re breaking the rules?
    Ask yourself how you would feel sitting in a room with Sergey and Larry. Would you feel bad? Not a good sign
  • Chasing the algorithm is futile
  • Give Google what they want and you can ignore the algorithms & filters
  • Search Results are going to be flooded with Advertisements in the future
    But: Organic listings may have become a platform for ad delivery; this does not devalue the results!


  • “But I have a really clever idea! Google will never figure this out” – Nope. Google has 1000s of really clever engineers
  • “(not provided)” will kill keyword data ==> http://www.notprovidedcount.com/
  • “(do not track)” will kill keyword data
  • You can get slapped without being aware of having done anything wrong
  • Punishing the innocent happens

It’s all (mostly) about keywords

  • One keyword per page
  • Long tail is your friend (3 or more words – HitTail anyone?)

The Keyword Research Process

  1. Brainstorm (pen & paper)
  2. Analytics
  3. Competition
  4. Keyword research tool
  5. Identify primary keyword
  6. Identify support keywords
  7. Analytics (existing keywords)
    1. Determine time spend on site for existing keywords —> short = bad
  8. Analysis
  9. Decision: Optimise page (risk breaking it) or create new page

Tips for Keyword Research

  • Activate Keyword suggestions in Google Keyword Tool
  • What you want: Low Competition, Many monthly searches
  • KPI:  [Number of searches] ^ 2 / [Competition]
  • Sort by KPI (highest to lowest)
  • Write content with the keywords; make content read naturally
  • Use “Related Keywords” from the SERP for your main keyword

It is also about content

  • “This is the part where you pretend to add value”
  • NOT just any content – high-quality, enjoyable content
  • Also: Reputation & Authority
  • Links are still important

The Biggest Secret

  • Write REALLY GOOD content that is WORTH READING and SHARING
  • Google only knows, what you tell it!

Random tips

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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