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If you were an SEO of a large company, what would you include in your 2011 strategy?

If you were an SEO of a large company, what would you include in your 2011 strategy? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from in-house SEO in New Jersey who wants to know, “If you were an in-house SEO of an advanced level within a large corporation, what three things would you make sure you had included in your 2011 strategy?” Great question. So let’s start off by assuming that you really do control everything within the website, and you’re a really smart SEO and you’ve got complete buy-in from your CEO, CTO, all that sort of stuff. One thing I would pay attention to is optimizing for speed. It is a slight factor in Google’s rankings, but lots of different people have run tests and they’ve discovered that if you’re able to decrease the speed, the latency, when pages are returned within your website, customers end up doing more things– more purchases, more exploring, more browsing. So you can definitely increase your ROI if you decrease your speed or your latency. So I would try to make sure that you can make your site a little bit faster. That’s one thing I would pay attention to. It can be as simple as minifying JavaScript or CSS. Trying to merge includes, trying to make sure that your images are optimized. All relatively simple things, but they can have a very big impact on your bottom line when you start to think about real user behavior. The other thing is I wouldn’t necessarily assume that you really did have buy-in from your CTO, your CEO. It’s very few cases that I’ve seen where you have a very large corporation that gives complete buy-in to SEO because they realize how important it is and how important search engines are. So another thing I would do is I would make sure that you had control of the CMS, the Content Management System. I would make sure that you really did have everybody on the same page, because in my experience that needs to be renewed in an evergreen kind of way. You’ll have new people come in who might not know about SEO. So an education program to sort of say hey, here are the results that we’ve seen, this is why we invest in SEO, this is why it’s a good idea. I would include that as part of your strategy. Also, things as simple as making sure that your internal linking is consistent, that you’re not dropping links off of the edge of a cliff with 404 errors. Trying to make sure that when you do make internal links, they’re good key words but not spammy, but describe the product in a descriptive way. So optimize for speed, try to make sure you’ve got good internal CMS practices and internal linking and good internal education. And then the last thing, if you’ve got all that in a row, is I would think about social media marketing. So social media marketing, spreading things on Twitter, spreading things on Facebook, throwing things on to Digg or reddit or wherever you’re going to throw it, StumbleUpon. Those can be ways to get what you want to talk about out to a wider audience. Now can that affect SEO? Well, if you get 100 visitors, one of those visitors might make a blog post or might make a link, and that link could eventually flow page rank or send more visitors. So a lot of people think SEO versus social media marketing, and a lot of the times it makes sense to keep a holistic view and say OK, first you have to have great content, some reason why your site is not just a brochure– why people would want to link to your site, you want to have something compelling on your site. And then you need to tell people about it, and social media marketing can be a really good way to do that. So just to sum up, I would optimize for speed, I would make sure your internal linkings and your CMS is in good shape, which includes educating people about why SEO is a good idea internally. And then I would also pay attention to social media marketing. Thanks for the question.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: