Learning SEO, Summer 2017

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In January, I wrote a post titled, Advice Given to an Aspiring 14-Year-Old Entrepreneur Wanting to Learn SEO. I included in that post links to many pages that I thought might be helpful to someone learning SEO. On my walk this morning past the Omni La Costa Resort, I was thinking about it. I decided that it might not be a bad idea to create a Learning SEO category here and provide more resources to help people who are learning SEO access some of the resources I come across that might help them understand more.

One that I was thinking might be really helpful is this video (SMX West 2016 – How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer’s Story) with Google Engineer Paul Haahr:

I’ve written about more than one patent that Paul Haahr co-invented, and he has had been involved in many important aspects of how Google operates. His insights into ranking at Google are eye-opening.

Google keeps a careful eye upon the quality of their search results and has human beings who review those results and provide feedback on them. These people are known as human quality raters, and they are provided a set of guidelines, which Google started sharing with the public. If you want to be an SEO, having an idea of what those guidelines contain can be helpful; they can give you some ideas on what you might want to include on a website. The most recent version of the quality rater guidelines came out May 11, 2017:

Search Quality Evaluators Guideline

Many people perform searches at Google every day, entering many queries every second into a Google search box. Could we learn something from what they search for and what words they use when they search? I wrote about that idea with a post about 4 years ago called How Google Might Use Query Logs to Find Locations for Entities. What if Google tried to learn even more from query logs? They have, and they wrote about what they’ve built from query log information in a paper titled:

Biperpedia: An Ontology for Search Applications

One of the authors of that paper is Alon Halevy, the head of Structured Data at Google (the folks responsible for rich snippets, knowledge graphs, question answering, structured snippets, and table search at Google).

A tool that I have been using on almost every audit that I do is Screaming Frog, and if it isn’t in your toolbelt, it should be something that you should consider adding. It is instrumental, and this page from Seer Interactive helps learn how to use it effectively:

Screaming Frog Guide to Doing Almost Anything

Google is not the only search engine, and if you aren’t looking at what Microsoft is doing with Bing, you may be surprised.

I was surprised to see Microsoft come out with a compelling knowledge graph that covers a lot of concepts in September of last year:

Microsoft Concept Graph Preview For Short Text Understanding

I will be keeping an eye out for other pages that I think would be good resources. Also, if you have specific questions about SEO, contact me, and I will try to add answers to them to future posts in this category (thanks!)

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34 thoughts on “Learning SEO, Summer 2017”

  1. Hi Bill, this is an excellent video, thank you so much for sharing! SEO is changing so much, this video really opens your eyes about how much it’s already changed. I’m going to be looking into Screaming Frog, looking for a good SEO auditing tools to help simply the process for me. So thanks for that recommendation too.

  2. Hi Bill,
    Very nice article and more informative for me.because i was living on old SEO strategy very helpful video It’s Really Eye opener for everyone


  3. Hi Fawad,

    It is good getting insights like the ones that Paul Haahr provided. I feel the same way about the Biperpedia paper, which I believe is very much worth digging into, because it also provides some clues about what Google is doing that most people may not be aware of.

  4. I really appreciate your Efforts Bill . This is really valuable and I hope it will help me in by internet business. Thank you.

  5. Good Post. Thanks for sharing this post. SEO is changing so much, this video really opens your eyes about how much itÒ€ℒs already changed.

  6. Hi Bill,
    I am new to learning SEO and I have one simple question to you: what is the best FREE keyword research tool that you suggest to use? Will be thankful for your reply.


  7. Hi Natalia,

    The Google keyword Suggestion tool provides information about the search volumes that different keywords receive, which is really good to know. I would suggest using it. There are other tools to use, but it’s good to gather some insights into how many people might be performing searches for the keywords that you decide to use.

  8. Hey Bill, thanks for posting this on behalf of all aspiring SEO professionals. I’m looking forward to your posts in this category.
    By the way, any suggestions on how to fix wrong locale? The company has several sites with their own ccTLDs. In the SERP, however, the title is from a Swiss shop whereas the meta description is from the Austrian site. Even a cached version is messed up as it shows an image from the Swiss site. Normally, hreflang tags would be a solution, but for some technical reasons they cannot be implemented. Any ideas you may have how to solve this?

  9. Hi Zoran,

    Hreflang tags sound like a good solution for your problem. An Hreflang sitemap should work; I don’t know if that is something that was considered by was one of the things that couldn’t be implemented? I’m not sure I quite understand the problem you are experiencing as you have described it. There is a google webmaster central help forum where you could ask about this problem:


  10. I’ve already posted a question on the Google webmaster central help forum for the upcoming session on Friday, but I wanted to get your input on the problem. I’ll try to be more descriptive this time. When you go to Google.at and type in a query for any given keyword, the result displayed is for our Austrian version of the site say http://www.example.at/some-URL However, the title for the snippet is from our Swiss site for the corresponding Austrian URL (i.e. http://www.example.ch/some-URL). Hope this clarifies it.

  11. Hi Zoran,

    I’m sorry but that doesn’t help me very much either. Hreflang is described by Google here:


    If the search results are showing a URL from an Austrian version of the site, and a title from the Swiss version of the site, I would want to look at the hreflang tags for the site carefully to see if there are any errors with those, and if there aren’t, then would think it possible that Google might be making a mistake. Since I don’t have those tags in front of me; and you are going directly to the Google webmaster central office hours on Friday; I suspect that you may get an answer there. There’s not much I can do with really limited information.

  12. Hi Bill,

    In my first comment, I mentioned that hreflang tags cannot be implemented (only developers know why that is), so they don’t exist (hreflang tags not developers :)). Now, I wonder if there’s any other way (besides hreflang) to rectify the problem.

    Sorry for the confusion and thank you for bearing with me.

  13. It’s an awesome video! What I could realize is SEO is a thing which is changing constantly and every SEO person should keep up with the updates. And I liked your way of explaining it with the video. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your input: I really appreciate it. Geolocation or IP delivery seem like possible solutions. I’ll let you know if it takes care of the problem.

  15. What a wonderful resource, and a priceless category to add! It seems that SEO is really always evolving and the learning really never stops. Just when we think we’re gold, things change and we must pivot.

  16. Hi Zoran,

    I hope you are able to get that fixed. It sounds like it has the potential to confuse a lot of people.

  17. thanks for sharing the useful content, this is something how SEO changed nowadays.
    thanks for sharing an interesting and meaningful article

  18. Seo changes from time to time. That’s why it is harder to learn it. Courses changing year to year of Seo. But any learner can make a career in it.

  19. Hi,
    I mainly read content on the digital forum and found this content on top. I must say you have done the great job explaining and adding links to various topics that are helpful for Learning Seo. Thanks for such a wonderful efforts Bill .

  20. Hi Acharya,

    SEO changes when search engines make changes, often because they perceived something has changed on the Web or to searchers. It does help keeping up with those changes if at all possible.

  21. thank you very much for sharing this useful information on SEO. keep up the good work.

  22. Thanks for sharing Bill. Some very interesting insights particularly on the growing importance of mobile. The experiment regarding answers on the page snippet was revealing and the importance Google now places on quality and relevance signals. The Learning SEO addition is a great idea, looking forward to more excellent resources.

  23. Hello Bill,

    Thanks for great information. I’ve been following your blog for a while. it’s really nice.


  24. Am in the process of learning SEO so appreciate creating this thread. Video is quite interesting, not sure if I understand it but as I bone up on SEO will understand it better.

    Do you still think anyone can claim any territory from Google. I learned somewhere that over 90% of search engine traffic is sent by Google.

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