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Introduction to SEO, Who can you trust?

In our first Meetup of the year, we met at Milton’s Pizza to hear these two remarkable people

Jake Bohall is the Vice President of Hive Digital and an instructor for Fortis College through ASPE, leading their Search Engine Optimization Boot Camp course. Jake is recognized as an online columnist, entrepreneur, and serves as a board member of an educational non-profit. His near-decade of experience in these diverse areas make him often sought-after to speak on topics of entrepreneurship, education, and web-based marketing strategies.

Phil is the Director of Technical SEO at Adapt. He has been working on the web since the late 1990’s doing everything from web development and system administration. He found his true calling about ten years ago when he started to move from web development to online marketing. Phil has worked for multi-million dollar e-commerce websites, SaaS software companies, advertising agencies and even other SEO agencies.

Getting started with SEO

Did you know that more than two million blog posts are published every day?

This means that more than one thousand people have posted their blog post since you started to read this.

These days, when content publishing has become so massive, it is necessary to stand out; it’s a priority.

SEO techniques give you visibility among the sea of content that has become the web nowadays.

First of all, we need to define what SEO even means, sure it stands for Search Engine Optimization, but we need to know what is being optimized.

It’s not only the images, or the design, or even the links… you need to optimize all of these aspects, but not only that.

It is the process of optimizing your content to be in the top results after a search of a particular keyword is performed online.

In simple English: SEO is about making sure that if someone introduces a set of keywords such as “Gluten free pasta,” and if you have a gluten free pasta business, your content appears in the top results.

You could check out the Wikipedia’s definition of SEO for deeper information

Who can you trust?

You can trust the Raleigh SEO Meetup, so join us!

One of the most important things out there is trust, and who you can trust; there are plenty of techniques known as Black Hat SEO which are aggressive strategies that focus not on a human audience but the search engines, and frequently don’t obey search engines guidelines.

Among the techniques that might be used for a Black Hat SEO strategy, we could find keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping (changing the web page entirely after it has been ranked by search engines).

This kind of strategy might lead you to a quick financial return, but in the long term it would end up with your website being banned from search engines, leaving you without traffic. So if you think that this is the way, you should think twice before using Black Hat techniques.

What is Machine Learning?

This concept is pretty important because it’s all about non-explicit programming, the computer explores, studies, and constructs an algorithm that it can learn from to make predictions based on data.

Being such an important part of the future of SEO strategies, machine learning is something you can expect to make Black Hat techniques increasingly difficult. Check out Wikipedia’s definition of Machine Learning to get more insights.

Here’s an important definition: Mobile First

When we refer to Mobile First we are talking about a mobile UX Design by implementing responsive JavaScript, it’s possible to tell websites to adapt to whatever device a person is using to view a website. Want to know more about mobile-first UX design?

Which direction is Google taking?

You have probably noticed the direct answers offered by Google for various search queries. As an example, take a moment and type “miles to feet” into Google. The result is not only a direct answer, 5280 feet in 1 mile – but also a conversion calculator built into the top of the results page. Think about the Star Trek computer and the number of people that carry a smartphone in their pocket, making those mobile devices into Star Trek computers is probably not far from what Google envisions for the future.

What should you do now with SEO strategies?

The best strategy is to join the Raleigh SEO Meetup

Make sure that your strategy follows the following aspects:

Additional important in SEO strategies

These are also important, but there’s no need to rush it. Take your time to implement the following aspects:

Recommended reading for your SEO strategy:

This being said, and after all this explanation you should go and read the following:


Check out the slides of this Raleigh SEO Meetup

The Technical SEO Renaissance with Mike King of iPullRank

Learn why technical SEO is more important than ever, and why SEOs need to truly understand JavaScript and its impacts. Crawling has changed, and our tools need to change with it. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the impact on how just the technical items can still have a dramatic impact.

Do you have questions about content strategy, marketing automation, SEO, and using data to inform your marketing decisions?

Join us to learn from one of the best data-driven marketers in the country.

Continue reading

Deep Dive Into Performance – Understanding Analytics & Conversion Metrics

You’ve used the latest SEO technique to build the most search engine friendly site around. How do you know that it’s successful?

You can measure revenue, traffic, phone calls, form fills and downloads, but you need to put all of that information together to understand what your online marketing spend has produced. Going from your spend to your earnings is more than a one-step process.

Mark Sherwin and Greg Shadik take a deep dive into conversion funnels, analytics, and metrics, so you get a complete picture of how well you’re performing actually.

Mark Sherwin



Co-founder of LeadsNearby@surewins is president of client solutions for the full-service digital marketing agency. Mark has more than 17 years of experience in both online and traditional marketing.

Using his strong marketing background, he has developed effective interactive marketing campaigns including paid search, affiliate marketing, SEO campaigns and more.

Mark specializes in implementing programs that achieve high results and deliver a high return on investment.

Greg Shadik

He is LeadsNearby’s Customer Success Manager and Certified Google AdWords Specialist. He stays abreast of what Google looks for in SEO, PPC, Social Media and Digital Marketing Content.

Greg uses this information to optimize both paid search and organic search efforts for LeadsNearby’s local service clients. His specialty is analyzing results and adjusting interactive elements to improve ROI.

Watch the full replay of Deep Dive Into Performance – Understanding Analytics & Conversion Metrics Meetup

Google’s Top 3 Ranking Factors: Content, Links & RankBrain

For several years now, Google has said that it uses more than 200 signals to rank pages. Many of them have more than 50 variations within a single factor.

It’s rare that Google confirms any of the factors, but in the past year, they have confirmed the top 3 ranking factors.

Last year Google confirmed RankBrain was the third most important ranking factor, but Google refused to say what the first two were.

That is until earlier this year when Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said the other two factors were links and content.

JR Oakes and Patrick Stox will break down some of the things that Google may be looking for with regards to content, links, and RankBrain and tell you what you need to know about each.

JR Oakes

JR Oakes is the Director of Strategy for Consultwebs, an agency that specializes in online marketing for law firms throughout the United States and internationally.

He is in charge of developing and managing the company’s comprehensive approach to search marketing strategy for their clients.

In this role, JR analyzes and adapts strategy to address the constantly changing factors that affect online visibility.

He leverages data analysis, testing, and SEO / development best practices to help the team provide more value to their clients.

He is also one of the co-organizers of the Raleigh SEO Meetup, a Search Engine Land author, and is a member of several SEO groups around the country.

Patrick Stox

Patrick Stox is a Technical SEO Specialist for IBM and one of your organizers for the Raleigh SEO Meetup.

He’s also an author for industry blogs such as Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and Search Engine Journal. Patrick speaks at major search conferences and has spoken at both SMX Advanced and SMX West this year.

You can watch a replay of the Meetup Google’s Top 3 Ranking Factors: Content, Links & RankBrain

Optimizing Your WordPress Site to be Findable, Future-Proof and Fast

WordPress is growing

WordPress has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world. There are about 75 million sites running on WordPress (about 20% of all sites on the web).

If your is one of them, then you can stand out or be one of the millions being ignored.

This Meetup covered 19 things that you need to know about to get your website to the next level. Basic functionality, how to keep it streamlined, what plug-ins are worth it and which ones will kill you, adding Google Analytics or Tag Manager code without yet another plug-in, how to increase visibility, using hooks and choosing a theme that makes sense.

Phil Buckley



Phil Buckley is a self-taught web technologist from way back in the 1990’s. He learned to love search engine optimization, social media and digital strategy over the last 15 years.

His blogging insights on how to save the newspaper industry were noticed by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University but never by the newspaper company he was working at.

Phil’s super power is the ability to make the über-geek jabber understandable to mere mortals and to explain marketing speak in binary code.

He organized the country’s most successful SEO Meetup in Raleigh, NC. For five years and started the Digital Marketing for Business conference in 2013. Today, you can find Phil working as the Director of Technical SEO at Adapt.

Watch the full replay of Optimizing Your WordPress SiteOptimizing Your WordPress Site to be Findable, Future-Proof and Fast Meetup

Google RankBrain Artificial Intelligence – Next Generation Semantic Search

From the 10 Blue Links to RankBrain and Beyond

If you want to know what RankBrain and artificial intelligence means to the future of search, then you need to look no further than the history of Google and the evolution of search engine optimization including the purpose of those ever-changing algorithms.

Bob Misita










Co-founder of LeadsNearby, Bob takes us through the origins of search, the business of SEO and today’s need for instant answers.

Bob provide us an overview of how artificial intelligence tools such as RankBrain impact search today and how it is likely to revolutionize the industry in years to come.

Watch the full Google Rankbrain AI Meetup by Bob Misita

Today’s PR

Traditional PR is all about 3rd party validation. In today’s integrated marketing web, PR is more important than ever to validate your company and its products via tangible social proof, high-value earned links and credibility.

Learn the basics of traditional PR, best practices for interaction with busy media, and how you can leverage others to tell your brand story.

Speaker Bio

Molly McKinley

I’m a senior public relations and integrated marketing strategist with over 16 years of experience launching new products and brands.

In addition, I have a traditional PR agency background that has crossed over into all things digital– from SEO and link building to using data to understand how the web meets business and marketing goals.

I’m also passionate about finding relevant and creative ways to share stories that resonate and connect with each target audience via the most appropriate outlets.

Due to my agency background, I love managing external agencies. Therefore I can serve as the bridge between the PR, search, creative, marketing and analytics teams to ensure consistency and deliver measurable results.


For The Love Of SEO with Jenny Halasz

Contrary to popular belief, Phil Buckley, SEO is not dead.

In fact, Jenny Halasz will be sharing a bevy of reasons we should all love SEO again. Join us to geek out about some data, statistics, and advanced technical issues that will make you feel the love this close to Valentine’s Day.

Don’t forget to complete the annual member survey. This is how you have a voice in selecting speakers, topics, and events – and it takes less than 5 minutes.

Open to all skill levels. From the SEO newbie to the seasoned technical SEO, you will learn something from this talk.

If you have been frustrated with Google’s myriad updates, doublespeak and continually having to prove your value and relevance as an SEO – this is one event you don’t want to miss.

Learn why SEO isn’t going anywhere, will always be a vital part of marketing, and maybe even get a little inspired to love SEO again.

Jenny Halasz is the President of an online marketing consulting company offering SEO, PPC, and Web Design services. She’s been in search since 2000 and focuses on long-term strategies, intuitive user experience, and successful customer acquisition. She occasionally offers her personal insights on her blog, JLH Marketing, or on Search Engine Land and Marketing Land.

She has spoken at most of the major search conferences, written for most of the major publications, including Search Engine Land, and held virtually every position possible in the industry, from in-house search coordinator to agency executive. Jenny prides herself on cutting through the fat to get to the meat of a problem and the source of the solution.

Thanks to our sponsor, ROI Revolution


For the love of SEO

Click here to replay

Mautic Open Source Marketing Automation

David Hurley is a co-founder of Mautic, an open source marketing automation platform that is rapidly gaining popularity.

Mautic Open Source Marketing Automation with David Hurley


If you’re familiar with the way that WordPress is setup, Mautic has a similar structure. There’s the Mautic.org version of the project which develops the core open source platform. In addition, you have theMautic.com version of Mautic which offers a free hosted version and premium upgrades. Also, there is a growing marketplace of theme, plugin, and support providers available to help your business take Mautic to the next level.

It’s possible to replace your MailChimp ($9/mo) and LeadPages ($25/mo) with the free version of Mautic.

If you want to upgrade to the unlimited package with Mautic, that will only cost you $120/year.

Now, before you start thinking this is a push for a freemium product. Keep in mind that Mautic is open source and you could always install the software on your own server for free (well, you have to pay for the server and IT person).

Mautic offers marketing automation comparable to:

  • Marketo – $1,195 per month
  • HubSpot – $200 per month ($600 setup fee)
  • Pardot – $1,000 per month
  • Act-On – $600 per month
  • SalesFusion – $950 per month

Since Mautic is poised to disrupt the marketing automation industry, it’s important that the Raleigh SEO Meetup take the time to learn about how this platform can impact our businesses – and clients.

Did I mention there is a white label version and an agency version of Mautic planned to be launched early in 2016?

This presentation will have as much to offer agencies as it will educate new internet marketers.

Watch The Replay

Rand Fishkin’s Review Of 2015 Ranking Factors

As the year draws to a close, Rand Fishkin will share his insights about how Google’s rankings operate. Going into 2016, you can bet the ranking factors that worked in 2015 will play a role in the new year.

  • Does Google prefer longer articles, or shorter posts?
  • Can linking out to other sites improve the rank for pages on your site?
  • You may be surprised to find that ranking factors actually very by industry.

This is a new presentation that was just published in October and the Raleigh SEO Meetup is one of the first venues where this data will be shared.

Feel free to review the slides in advance and have your questions ready.

Search Ranking Factors in 2015

Food Sponsor

This month, our food sponsor is Consultwebs. You will notice they are also one of our Silver sponsors and a long-time supporter of the Raleigh SEO Meetup. If you know a lawyer looking to get more clients from their website, Consultwebs is the only contact you need to share.

It’s official, thanks to our food sponsor, we will have hors d’oeuvres catered by Relish Cafe & Bar. This includes their famous Pimento Cheese & Crackers, Salsa Flight, Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs, and Boiled Peanut Hummus.

Venue Sponsor

This month, our meeting will be hosted at The Frontier thanks to Oak City Technology.

Drinks Sponsor

Reunion Marketing wanted to buy Rand a drink while he’s in Raleigh, so they also bought all the drinks for this event. As a last-minute addition, we now have a drink sponsor which is helping us feature local craft cider from Bull City Ciderworks.

Watch The Replay

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