How to: Do a content inventory

“Content inventory”. The very phrase can strike fear in the hearts of SEOs, or make a marketing manager swoon. But what really is a content inventory?

For some companies, it’s a list of pages, and maybe some completely useless metrics like ‘images per page.’ For others, it’s a set of documents so complex you’re better off reading the entire web site, page by page, instead.

To me, a content inventory should tell me:

  1. What I’ve got.
  2. The topics for each asset.
  3. How each asset has performed, not simply in pageviews, but in actual audience response.

The metrics

When we do an inventory, here’s what

Pressing tips: Use Press Releases Without Getting Penalized

Link building with press releases is so easy. Just crank out a press release every time you land a new client, hire someone, write a blog post or make it through the day without dropping an f-bomb and poof: Instant links.

One problem: Those easy links may be getting you Penguin-ized. It seems like Penguin looks for, among other things:

  • Over-optimized anchor text
  • Link profiles with disproportionate numbers of links from a specific type of site
  • Links from networks
  • Links from spun content

Note: I said seems because really, I dont know, and you dont either. Im drawing my conclusions based on 15 or so reconsideration requests Ive handled (manual

10 things we need to stop talking about in 2013

I’m starting to get a sick feeling every time I walk past a Target or Walmart. And I flinch at TV commercials pushing new toys, gadgets and jewelry. Yep, we must be reaching the end of 2012.

It probably comes as no surprise: I’m a humbug kinda guy, at least when it comes to the retail feeding frenzy that starts in, oh, October and ends somewhere around January.

I do like the whole resolution thing, though. So, here are 10 SEO-related things

3 Hard Truths about SEO

At Pubcon last week, I noticed my teeth were starting to hurt. Turned out it was because I was grinding my teeth.

I’ve been a lot mellower of late, so it took me a little while to remember the sensation. It took me even longer to realize the cause:

The entire SEO industry, including me, is living in happy dreaming la-la land.

Here are three hard truths we all have to come to accept if we’re going to continue to be a viable piece of the internet marketing picture:

1: It’s Still About the Keywords

I’m the first to

Don’t be an AlgoMoron

What is it about the word ‘algorithm’ that turns us all into marketing idiots?

It’s been a year of spammer smackdowns:

  • The Google rank modifying spam detection patent. Read this great article by the man himself, David Harry.
  • Penguin.
  • Panda.

Lots of SEOs are running scared. Here’s why, and how you can avoid their fear-filled fate:

Why SEOs are Terrified

We hear this news and terror strikes. SEOs scatter in all directions, only peeking out of their basements once they know Google’s whisper choppers aren’t approaching. Why are SEOs so damned scared?

Penguin isn’t that subtle: If you have hundreds of links to your hobby shop web

21 Utterly Random Ideas for Content

Suddenly, content’s important again! Woo hooooo!

Actually, it’s always been important. Marketing = content. It always has. It always will. We just went through an 8-year period of insanity where folks thought Google was the new Shortcut Around Content. So maybe a better first sentence is:

Suddenly, everyone’s figured out that content’s important! Congratulations! Geniuses!

‘Content’ doesn’t mean crappy 250-word drivels that you buy for $15 off eLance. It means actual, useful stuff that

How to: Clean up your site for a reconsideration request

I’ve been right at the front of the whole “Penguin is horrible and Google’s so mean and not everyone deserves it waaaaahhhh” movement. So I thought maybe this is a good time to offer a different viewpoint.

Can You Recover?

I’ve now seen a few sites get back into the SERPs after a thorough link and onsite SEO cleanup. Both sites received spammy link warnings before they vanished from the rankings. One received an official notice that they were being paroled from Google Jail

Eight Tips if You’re Going to Be a Social A**hole

You’ll be shocked to know I occasionally rub people the wrong way.

Sometimes, I get nicely-written “Gee, Ian, I’m not sure I agree” missives. Other times, I get lengthy rants, or a quick, passive-aggressive comment on Twitter.

It’s all good. I get it. You don’t agree with my feelings on duplicate content and RSS feeds. You respond. None of this will tilt the Earth off its axis.

But Then…

But then there are the people who write stuff, apparently, just to see what’ll happen:

Okaaaayyy. Everyone