Dave Collins: SEO Demystified: Practical Techniques That Produce Astonishing Results – MicroConf Europe 2013

The MicroConf Europe 2013 Hub Page with all the information can be found here

Speaker: Dave Collins (@thedavecollins)

Also see the notes on the talk from MicroConf in Las Vegas


  • 70% 60% 50% of SEO is simple!
  • SEO is dead – but Dave Collins knows how to revive it!
  • SEOs don’t have a good reputation, rightfully: They often don’t deliver
  • For every person who knows what tey’re talking about with SEO, there are _______ who are talking out of their _____
  • You want relevant visitors
  • Google wants relevant visitors to find you
  • Users want HELP!

Google’s role

  • Wants to get rid of:
    • keyword stuffing
    • hidden keywords
    • shallow content
    • all forms of spam

The new SEO – Guiding Google

  • Brute force doesn’t work – you can’t fight Google
  • Help them understand your content
  • The SEO cycle aligns itself only when SEOs give Google what USERs are looking for
  • Distinction Black Hat – White Hat is obsolete. Nothing illegal about “Black Hat” – Even Dave did “spammy” stuff in the past (Testing)
  • Getting “slapped” by Google does not feel like a slap – it’s a punch
  • Optimized pages should NOT look like optimized pages (e.g. keyword stuffing)
  • No “cunning plan” will work – at least not for long
  • SEO has become much much harder in the last year –> Opportunity: your competitors won’t do it anymore

How to deal with (not provided) and Google’s changes

  • “(not provided)” is killing keyword data
  • Steps to deal with (not provided):
    • Google Webmaster Tools (shows some keyword data, good enough for trends)
    • Google Analytics
    • Keyword Rank Tracking
    • Keyword Research (e.g. using Google’s Keyword Planner)
  • You are up for a fight against Google itself – i.e. Knowledgegraph (showing information directly in the SERPs)
  • And now there’s Hummingbird (In Dave’s words: Knowledgegraph 2.0)

So what lies ahead, Dave?

  • More pain
  • Less accuracy, more extrapolation
  • It’s going to be about the keywords
    • one main keyword per page
  • Keyword research process
    • Brainstorm (pen & paper)
    • Analytics
    • Competition
    • Keyword planner
    • Identify primary keyword
    • Identify supporting keywords
    • Analytics (existing)
    • Analysis
    • Decision: optimise existing page or create new page?
    • Link in the content

Keyword Planner

  • can only use with Google Adwords account
  • Helps you find keyword ideas
  • Do keyword research this way: (for secondary keywords)
    1. NOT “ad group ideas”, select “keyword ideas”
    2. Export to Excel CSV
    3. Keywords Performance Indicator = Searches ^ 2 / competition
    4. Delete not related keywords
    5. Insert small number of those words into your content – need to blend in seamlessly

Content Marketing

  • It is about adding value
  • People are supposed to like reading your content – tell a good story!
  • If people like your content, they will share it
  • Secret to good rankings: Write epic content!


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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.


  1. Dave Collins says

    Excellent notes – as always. And thank-you for not using the word “awesome”.


  1. […] Dave Collins: “SEO Demystified: Practical Techniques That Produce Astonishing Results“ […]

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