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Essential SEO For Ranking in 2014

The past 12 months have been a roller coaster for anyone trying to get their site to rank well on Google. There have been big changes that have impacted every site on the web in one way or another - some for the better, some have all but disappeared.

Competition is fierce and Google wants more of your money going towards AdWords. They no longer give you access to any of the search queries that are bringing traffic to your site. They know who you are, what sites your connected to and what your influence is.

Other sites are terrified to link to anyone. Huge brands stay atop the SERP's mainly because they are trusted. 

What's a normal website owner to do?

We are honored to have two of the most original thinkers from planet SEO joining us this month.

Joe Hall is a web developer, writer, marketer, and artist that has worked on both the national and local levels around a variety of diverse topics and technologies for many years. He is currently enlightening the client base at Internet Marketing Ninjas as a Senior Marketing Analyst. Most of his work has been focused on developing the tools needed for small businesses and nonprofits to become empowered on the internet. 

Joe is a sought after speaker at industry conferences and a trusted voice of reason and logic among the technical discussions at leading websites. You can follow Joe on Twitter @joehall and over on Google+.

Normally, if I can get one SEO braniac agree to join us, I'm content, but I decided to roll the dice and double-down. It was my lucky day.

John Doherty is currently the Online Marketing Manager for Hotpads, the rentals subsidiary of Zillow. Prior to that, he was the head of and a senior consultant with Distilled in New York City. 


John has worked on the Internet for years and focused on marketing since 2009. Previous to Distilled he worked as an in-house SEO. Prior to that, he ran a book publishing company from Switzerland.

Come find out the strategies and tactics that will lead to success in 2014. The days of "tweaking your meta tags" are over and lots of hard work lies ahead.

Location note: The McKimmon Center is awesome. Everyone who attends will have a comfy seat at a table where they have access to free super-fast internet, great audio and video capabilities and even a nice sitting area for networking after the main event. If you've stayed away because of the maddening crowd lately, it's time to come back.

Thank you to the awesome sponsors of the most successful SEO Meetup in the United States:

Virante is one of the leading SEO and web marketing firms in the United States. They are well known for creating the "rent-to-own" strategy for building and sustaining traffic and qualified leads for any web site or business. Virante has been tapped by the Wall Street Journal to provide web marketing expertise to its readership.

Click Optimize clients have a common goal: to achieve results on the web. We take our job seriously, working hard until we help you meet -- and exceed -- your marketing goals. When you’re looking for a Raleigh website design company focused on lead generation and boosting your bottom line, call Click Optimize. We look forward to helping you rise above the competition!

LeapDog Marketing is the premier source of inexpensive Raleigh Internet Marketing Packages to help your small business grow online.

Adapt Partners - No matter what your situation, we have the experience and technical skills to develop a strategic plan for your needs. Our team will develop and implement a strategy on your behalf, or work with your internal or external development team to produce results quickly and efficiently.

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  • Damon

    So bummed I couldn't make it. Did someone say this session will be posted online as a video.

    1 · October 29, 2013

    • Brendan M.

      Just went to watch the video and it says "This video is private." Am I doing something wrong?

      November 18, 2013

    • Phil B.

      Hi Brendan, yes sorta. I pushed the original raw Hangout to "private" when I cleaned it up and added some additional information.
      See the entire video and blog post with timestamps here: http://raleighseomeet...­

      November 18, 2013

  • Ed

    OK, then.....as further to my initial question, any recommendations for social media agencies that would be interested in working with a smallish start-up biotech company? We have an Ad Agency but want to add a company with strong social media skills.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1 · October 31, 2013

  • Lynne

    Thanks Phil, Joe, John and whoever that guy is handling the Hangout/projector. I always learn something at this Meetup and this was no exception. Hummingbird just might be the explanation for something that I thought was random. Go Sox! (and this from a moderate Yankees fan).

    2 · October 30, 2013

    • Phil B.

      Lynne, it's Frank Jones that handles all the work involved in getting the Hangout working and making sure everything goes smoothly. Without Frank I'd be lost.

      October 31, 2013

    • Lynne

      Hey, Phil...I have a domain name I'd like to sell to you. It's www.2013.com. Are you interested?

      1 · October 31, 2013

  • Ed

    Thank you for an informative meeting. A question I didn't get to ask: We are a small start-up company with products in the initial stage of commercialization. We are beginning to look for a "social media agency" but are unsure on how to rate/grade the competency of the candidates. Any advice would be most appreciated.

    1 · October 30, 2013

    • Frank C J.

      I would start by looking at the agency's use of social media for their own brand. If they're experts in the field then they should be doing very well promoting themselves on social media. From there, I would ask for a list of past projects and clients you can contact for a reference. Social media may be new, but the tried-and-true method of building a portfolio and collecting references still applies.

      1 · October 30, 2013

    • Phil B.

      Ed, also ask for recommendations. People are quick to share their stories of good and bad social media agencies.

      October 31, 2013

  • Robert W.

    Really a great meeting...especially for a newbie. Should have asked about the hit rate over the initial months and first years for ultimately successful small online stores w/ an associated blog. What hit rate, ballpark, threshold is a sign of success vs. failure of one's efforts? Comments welcome!

    1 · October 30, 2013

    • Lynne

      Sales are a better indicator of success than the number of visitors. One visitor who buys something is worth more than a million visitors who don't buy anything. If an e-commerce site can get one sale in the first week of going live, I would consider that a pretty good start. I've met people who didn't get one sale from a web site that had been online for a year.

      1 · October 30, 2013

    • Lynne

      Conversion rate is the more important metric (number of buyers vs number of visitors).

      2 · October 30, 2013

  • Shelley J.

    great meetup! Really appreciated how much Joe and John provided for us.

    1 · October 30, 2013

  • Mike J.

    Love the McCrimmon Center!

    1 · October 30, 2013

  • Neesha M.

    excellent and I could only watch the last part due to other commitments! Did anyone take good notes?

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Jean S.

    In 2014 will a short video on a website helpful for ranking?

    October 29, 2013

    • Phil B.

      As long as the video is good, it will help. A god idea is to also provide a transcript of the video so the search bots can read what's in the video.

      October 30, 2013

    • Frank C J.

      After Google, YouTube is one of the top search engines. Also, many results pages lead with videos at the top. Having that short video on your website can be helpful for conversions by building trust and authority with your audience. However, it can also help your SEO by moving to the top of the results page. Bill Miller, the guy that owns CooktopCover.com, is located in Raleigh. Take a look at the results page for the keyword cooktop cover for an example of ranking for images and video. His site isn't in the top ten, but his video is. From there, he has a link to his website in the YouTube description.

      October 30, 2013

  • Abdul Wahab B.

    I was much busy in meetings for coming project and all. I will definitely watch online broadcast on coming weekend.

    October 30, 2013

  • Sheree

    So many great tips from Joe and John. Thank you Phil!

    October 30, 2013

  • Lawrence H.

    Joe Hall's comment about the future of Google search - great insight. It will not be good enough to be discoverable. You must get inside your visitor's head and exactly understand and match your website content to their search intent. Even after you match their searchers interests, your website must also provide some actionable content (more website engagement metrics are coming).

    1 · October 30, 2013

  • Phil B.

    So many great tips and information offered by Joe Hall and John Doherty. Particularly, when Joe Hall mentioned that Google's new Hummingbird engine "optimizes" your query before Google hands it over to their search servers. Think about that for a minute... why you type in may not be what the database sees when it gives you an answer! Personalization, the device you're searching on, your location all may be impacting your results much more than you realize.

    I also loved John Doherty answered the question about "how do I get started" question with, "ask you friends to share your content". Sounds so simple, but 99% of people don't think to do it.

    Such a great Meetup this month! Thanks again to http://authoritylabs.com for helping us be able to use such a great venue.

    3 · October 30, 2013

    • Amanda S.

      I thought the optimization point was quite profound as well. Thinking about what that means for how we write. +1 http://authoritylabs....­ - really appreciate it.

      1 · October 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I loved the low key nature of the meetup coupled with the great information!

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Karl S.

    Great speakers tonight -- thanks Phil, Joe, and John!

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Kristen R.

    Thank you to Joe and John for a very informative meetup! Great tips. And a big thanks to Phil and the organizers... wish I could've stayed to chat but had to leave at 8. ...Next time!

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    couldn't make it, but watching it online.

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Donna S

    watching online at home :)

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Kay W.

    In route! A bit of traffic. Can't wait to meet y'all !

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Phil B.

    Here's the broadcast link for our Hangout: http://youtu.be/0vOgYNmt1Zo

    2 · October 29, 2013

  • Susie N.

    Can I get some help on the link to watch from home tonight? Thanks!

    October 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Phil, regrettably, I have to bow out of what I am sure will be a great SEO meetup this evening. Unfortunately I can't seem to get out of Dodge (Wilmington) in time to make the commute. I look forward to viewing the link from the event. Thanks.

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Alice

    So glad I can watch from home

    2 · October 29, 2013

  • jeannemarie

    This is wonderful. I will also be looking for the link, as I will have to watch it long distance at that early 6:30 hour.

    1 · October 28, 2013

  • Anne D.

    I'm trying to find the link that enables me to watch from my desk

    October 28, 2013

    • Frank C J.

      That link will be posted shortly before the meeting starts tomorrow. It will be on this site and on the Google Plus page for the group (https://plus.google.co...­).

      October 28, 2013

    • Phil B.

      It's not available yet Anne. The link doesn't appear until the event starts. We usually set up around 6pm, so that's when you'll have to grab the link. Sorry for the hassle. - We will post the link here.

      October 28, 2013

  • Kristen R.

    I'm looking forward to another enlightening Meetup. I hope to meet more of you at my meetup #2!

    October 28, 2013

  • Jean S.

    Looking forward to it!

    October 28, 2013

  • Peter T.

    Looking forward to it. Thanks.

    1 · October 24, 2013

  • Neesha M.

    can we watch from home? I can't make it :-(

    1 · October 24, 2013

    • Phil B.

      Yes Neesha, check the Google+ page for the meetup, or the comments right here for the link.

      October 24, 2013

  • Mark T.

    There are only three letters to describe this lineup, Phil: O and M and G!

    4 · October 24, 2013

  • Keith C.

    Sounds like another great meeting - See you then.

    1 · October 23, 2013

  • Christine S.

    I have birthday celebrating to do. Rock on without me.

    1 · October 23, 2013

  • Abdul Wahab B.

    I wish to join but I will be in my office at that time. But I will be in touch with you guys here.

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • Sheree

    I'm excited to join the meeting! SEO is changing all the time. What are the best things that a traditional marketer should do to get up to speed?

    1 · October 17, 2013

    • Sheree

      lol - yes. Coming to this meetup is definitely #1.

      1 · October 17, 2013

    • Phil B.

      Create better content and distribute it in a more strategic way. Stay focused, stay smart and create more great content (skip the crap).

      1 · October 19, 2013

  • Nevin

    Hi Phil, Is there a fee for this SEO ranking meeting on October 29th?

    1 · September 25, 2013

  • Amanda S.

    It's on the calendar. Looking forward to it!

    1 · October 16, 2013

  • Matt

    Looking forward to meeting you guys.

    1 · October 14, 2013

  • Phil B.

    Leave a comment if there is anything specific that you're wondering about...

    September 25, 2013

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