At Webdirexion, we believe new-school SEO = SEO3. Search optimization (old-school SEO), Social Engagement, and Schema Optimization. Three S. You now need to do all of these things for the best optimization for your content. If it seems a little abstract, we have a slideshow and overview PDF here.

SEO, Content Strategy & The Ranking Brain

Google SEO and Artificial Intelligence

Ready to meet an Artificial Intelligence? You already have — every time you do a Google Search you are working with one.

Google calls it’s AI, “RankBrain”, and while only an infant, it already thinks for itself.  That’s called “machine learning.  According to a recent (SEL) article, “Machine learning is where a computer teaches itself how to do something, rather than being taught by humans or following detailed programming.”

According to wikipedia, “RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system, the use of which by Google was confirmed on 26 October 2015. It helps Google to process search results and provide more relevant search results for users.[1] In a recent interview, Google commented that RankBrain is the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm along with links and content.”

SEL also reports that all of a sudden, RankBrain is the 3rd most important “ranking signal.”  What are ranking signals?  Again, from that SEL article, “Signals are things Google uses to help determine how to rank webpages. For example, it will read the words on a webpage, so words are a signal. If some words are in bold, that might be another signal that’s noted. The calculations used as part of PageRank give a page a PageRank score that’s used as a signal. If a page is noted as being mobile-friendly, that’s another signal that’s registered.”

“There are over 200 different ranking factors[4] which make up the ranking algorithm, of which their exact functions in the Google algorithm are not fully disclosed, so it is impossible to know with 100% certainty. The general consensus is that RankBrain interprets the user searches to find pages that may not have contained the exact words that were used in the user search query.” — Wikipedia entry for Rankbrain

SEO Periodic Table from

Feed the RankBrain: The above chart (click to enlarge), along with other research, form the evolving models for best SEO practice we follow (produced by

We asked our resident SEO Expert, Julie Hume, what she makes of the RankBrain impact on SEO these days:

In the relatively short time since its deployment, RankBrain has quickly risen to become Google’s third highest ranking factor. Initially, it was launched to handle the 15% of new searches that Google had never seen before but it clearly did a stellar job because now RankBrain is used “…to process every query that the search engine handles, and the system is changing the rankings of lots of queries.” Wow. Talk about coming out of left-field.

Realizing the influence of RankBrain and that it is not going to go away, you might think, well, let’s just optimize for RankBrain. And that right there is the kicker. You can’t optimize for RankBrain.
There are no direct ways to optimize for RankBrain but what you can do is make sure the content on your site is written in natural language, that it serves the searchers’ intent and that visitors engage with and interact with your site. Which is what Google have wanted all along isn’t it –  less artificial ranking signals and more quality content.  Well played Google, well played. — Julie Hume

Recently a couple of clients have asked us about our SEO education (it is always continuing), why we mention it less than CRO — Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO is newer, not as well known, and we just wrote a book about it), and how we stay up to date on SEO.  There are a few ways we stay up to date including reviewing leading research models like the infographic from SEL at right (click to enlarge), and MOZ survey of SEO professionals with a polling of top ranking factors in their work.

What does this mean for your SEO success these days?

So… how do we put this all together for our clients?  First, Google continues to stress that we should all worry about good, relevant content first, and let it worry about the science behind its machine intelligence.  This has been true even before computers — in marketing communications, quality content wins every time.  In addition we take the following steps:

  • Four members of our team train regularly on SEO principles so we incorporate the latest factors into our writing and editing
  • We use market leading SEO WordPress plugins like “Yoast” WordPress SEO
  • We use top research and SEO project management software like SEMrush (this software also factors in other search engine marketing data and indicators from online advertisements in addition to organic SEO)
  • We seek to remain friends with the all powerful RankBrain AI — we want to feed it “food” that makes it happy  🙂
  • For those of you working with us on a full SEO marketing campaign (6 month minimum) we track and report goals and progress via a dynamic visual dashboard:
Webdirexion SEO campaign clients dashboard

Webdirexion SEO campaign clients enjoy reviewing progress toward goals on a smart dashboard accessible across devices.




Fort Lauderdale Hotel SEO Audit

Relevance. Are you aware that Google places relevance as the prime indicator for how highly a site ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs)? Google lives or dies on serving the most relevant returns in order of priority.

It’s one thing to be relevant to the “Google bot” so you rank well, but how can you tell if your website is relevant to your target audience? At Webdirexion, we use SEO site comparison audits, along with other tools, in order to determine what is working well, and what isn’t. And, in order to check your relevance to your specific target “personas”, we always recommend you first outline their pain points and motivators, then track your conversion rate results.  In this article, we focus on SEO and compare two websites in the hotel industry, an industry we specialize in, to consider how both websites could improve their SEO and Content Marketing.


SEO Without CRO is a Plane Without an Engine

Are you practicing SEO... without the "engines" of CRO?

Are you practicing SEO… without the “engines” of CRO?

What is it that you want to achieve with your company website? Is the end goal the sheer glory of seeing your web appear high in the search engine pages for random keyword phrases? Or perhaps the c-suite execs push for numbers – the more people that arrive at the site each month, the better?

Of course not.

Search engine rankings and number of visitors are meaningless unless they convert into leads or clients. Even if the only goal of the website is to provide information,  it is still desirable that the visitors that land on the site have an interest in the topic and their path through the site to find the information they seek should be productive.

The point of the website is  to have visitors interact with it in one or more of  any number of pre-determined conversion goals. SEO gets the visitors to the site but CRO gets them to interact with it and hit those conversion goals. (more…)

What is SEO and Why Isn’t It Dead Yet?

Is SEO dead

Spammy Engine Optimization is SEO is deader than a dodo but Search Engine Optimization is very much alive and well.

In the last two years there have been countless articles published on internet marketing websites and online publications declaring that ‘SEO is dead’.  In fact, if you were to do a filtered search on Google for webpages that contained the SEO is Dead term published in the last month alone, you would find hundreds from which to choose. So, is it true?

Is SEO dead?

Well yes and no. Scammer SEO is dead. The kind that relied on creating false profiles and blasting thousands of links to spammy link directories. The kind that involved  ‘spinning’ the same piece of content multiple times and plastering the resulting gibberish all over the web. That kind of  seo worked for a while to get dubious sites ranked well  for terms that they really did not deserve (more…)

Tactical Take-aways from Content Marketing Strategies – 2013

Claremont Hotel

The Content Marketing Strategies Conference is held at the beautiful, historic Claremont Hotel in Berkely, CA.

No matter how much you think you know about marketing, there’s more to learn and that was proven again at the 3rd annual Content Marketing Strategies Conference in Berkeley this week (May 7-9 2013). Here are some primary take-aways from the first couple of days including notes from my own presentation there (on Google+ tactics).

Day 1: Social Strategies and Tactics

Arnie Kuenn, President of Vertical Measures, had some great insights about SEO.  Some of my favorites:

  • Though a lot of gurus advise that you keep your blog posts short, at least one study found that longer posts — 2000 words or more — were their best performing content.  We’re going to experiment with same at Webdirexion.
  • Google looks at captions to understand how to rank images.  Years ago, before the web, I learned that people tend to read picture captions a lot more than actual copy when they are in a hurry.  So this is a win-win… captions are good for your readers, and good for Google.
  • Blog 15 times or more per month and your traffic will shoot way up… and also your leads.

Scott Frangos (me), President of Webdirexion, spoke about (more…)