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Why Modern SEO Requires Technical Experience

Earlier this morning, I saw Andrew Isidoro tweet an article on the Entrepreneur called “Why Modern SEO Requires Almost No Technical Expertise”. The essence of the article is that:

The happier your users are when they visit your site, the higher you’re going to rank.

Modern SEO really is that simple.

So focus on your users, create great content, think about UX, get others to like your site and as a result get links and social engagement, and if you’re a local business, get your listings in order, too.

This is not entirely unreasonable and there is some truth in it. Can you do an average job of your SEO without thinking (or paying someone to think) about the complex technicalities of indexing? Maybe, yeah.

Will you capture all opportunities, globally, in the right way, serving the right content without it? Absolutely not.

IMO the main problem with this article is that it makes a fundamental mistake in saying:

most modern content management systems (CMS) have been created or modified with the intention to streamline the SEO process. Most important backend configurations are automatic, and most other code-specific entries are presented in an interface that’s easy to understand and even easier to update. As long as you’re following a modern system of web development, the technical side of SEO is easier to understand than ever before.

Yes, a CMS may make the technical side of SEO easier to understand, but the notion that if you use a modern CMS your technical SEO is automatically ticked off and you need not think about it is a dangerous one, and as a result, lots of businesses are losing lots of money. I recently worked with a big finance firm where the CMS was auto generating multiple node URLs, so for every instance of a URL there were indexable versions of that page version with any number of /node.

Let’s put WordPress aside for a second and think about Joomla, which powers millions of websites and is really, really good at creating duplicate URLs (with Joomla installations, there is no automatic redirect involving www and non-www urls) and most of us will be familiar with the /index.php errors that are a common problem with CMS systems. Or Drupal, with a taxonomy module that can create multiple duplicate URLs.

These are just the basics.

This is ignoring the complexity and importance of site speed (which the author concedes is a part where technical expertise is required), or how to handle international sites, status codes, pagination, parameters…there’s a lot of room for error here.

Also splitting out technical and content as different strategies is also a mistake, if you have a content strategy that results in a blog with multiple categories, you are as a result creating multiple taxonomies, which, in a lot of CMS’ creates technical issues. The two are linked.

In the words of Jono Alderson:

Technical SEO is more important than ever. If you’re remotely interested in your website driving valuable outcomes (visits, conversions, ad clicks, comments,  sales), then you need to consider every aspect of how search engines interact with your website – how it finds and consumes your content, the way it moves between your pages, and how it responds to the signposts you provide it with. Having a decent CMS can’t do this for you – your site, brand, needs and content are unique, and need a ‘made to fit’ optimisation strategy.

Most CMS platforms do a mediocre job at best – even WordPress, running popular plugins like Yoast SEO, only get it ‘mostly right'; and actually do an even worse job with more complex scenarios, like handling international content. There are, universally, huge opportunities to increase performance on the smallest blogs to the biggest ecommerce sites, which require users and managers to understand and consider the technical architecture . It’s naïve to ignore or pretend that the systems and platforms which form the backbone of your content, brand and user experience will ‘look after themselves’, and that it’s ok to not think about it.

So whilst CMS’ are helpful and content and users are important, modern SEO requires technical expertise more than ever.

Influence Now. A free ebook, with expert insights from 12 leading influence marketing authorities.

Today, influence marketing isn’t confined to a website or a publication, but instead spans consumers’ entire digital experiences. Welcome to Influence Now.

There is an incredible amount of potential in this organic space, and managing a great influencer marketing campaign involves a full range of digital marketing channels and disciplines — from content marketing, to search engine optimization, to PR, and more.

Consumers’ purchase decisions are massively impacted by persuasive content they seek and find throughout their decision journey – from awareness, to research, to purchase, to advocacy.

Can your brand can benefit from forging relationships with these established authors, or by creating your own influencers?

Discover how to win consumer trust through influencer marketing in our new 60+ page guide, Influence Now.

Download Influence Now

Influence Now addresses everything you need to know about:

  • Developing an influencer marketing strategy.
  • Driving engagement with influence.
  • Engaging brand communities and influencers.
  • What makes a successful influencer.
  • Identifying influencers.
  • Why subject-matter experts are important for consumers and brands.
  • Getting the most out of your influencer marketing campaigns.

Influence Now features commentary from top influencer marketing experts including Lee Odden, Andy Beal, Mel Carson, and Bas van den Beld.

Full List Of Influence Now Contributors:

  • Andy Beal, author of “Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation”
  • Mel Carson, Founder and Principal Strategist at Delightful Communications
  • Daniel Cristo, Director of SEO Innovation at Group M, Founder of Triberr
  • Liana “Li” Evans, Senior Solutions Consultant at Lima Consulting Group
  • Susan Gunelius, President and CEO of KeySplash Creative Inc.
  • Greg Jarboe, President of SEO-PR, author of “YouTube and Video Marketing”
  • Lisa Lacy, Senior Features Writer at Momentology
  • Kristen Matthews, Marketing Director at GroupHigh
  • Rebecca Murtagh, Founder & Chief Strategist at Karner Blue Marketing
  • Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing
  • Bas van den Beld, Digital Marketing Strategist at Linkdex
  • Lisa Williams, President of Sustainable Digital Marketing

Download Influence Now

Like Tom Hanks, We’ll be Sleepless in Seattle Throughout SMX

SMX Advanced begins tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited about connecting with search marketers in Seattle again this year! We hope to see you there as well!


If you are there, we know you want to make the most of your time in the Pacific Northwest, so – here’s a few tips:

Keep your eyes peeled for Alaska Airlines’ Salmon Thirty Salmon when you land at Sea-Tac, go to Pike Place Market to fuel up at the first Starbucks – and maybe catch a flying fish? – and then head straight to the Bell Harbor Conference Center as to not miss any of the action.

We’d like to see you!


Of course we would like to meet up with you as well. Here are just a few of the highlights we’re most looking forward to next week, where we hope to shake your hand:

Solution Spotlight

Our head of U.S. client development, Christopher Hart, will be doing a Solution Spotlight on Tuesday, June 2 at 11am as part of the Local, Social and Mobile Track, which will be followed by a presentation by GroupM’s Daniel Cristo on “The Social Influencer as a Key Search Marketing Player”, a not too miss session either.

Cocktail Party


And after the first full day of search engine marketing sessions, join us Tuesday, June 2 from 7pm – 9pm for a cocktail party at The Alki Room at the Edgewater Hotel. We have people flying in from all over the world, London, New York and LA! Our geographically diverse team would love to meet you. Drinks and light bites will be on us!

Please RSVP to

SEO Now 2015

Want to get hold of our popular SEO Now 2015? Come by our booth to pick up your free copy! The book has gathered contributions from some of the brightest minds in Search, including SMX speakers Eric Enge and Jenny Halasz.


In addition, Danny Goodwin, managing editor of our new digital marketing publication Momentology, will also be on hand throughout the conference to talk about all the latest trends in search marketing.

Come by the Linkdex booth to meet Danny and to pick his brain, as well as to pick up a copy of a special print edition of Momentology his team has created especially for SMX.

We look forward to seeing you in Seattle!

6 Must-See Sessions at SMX Advanced

Like many of you, I’m heading to SMX Advanced today and couldn’t be more excited.

SMX Advanced is one of my favorite events each year because the content is catered specifically to experts in the search marketing industry and there are phenomenal network opportunities both during the show and after hours. SMX also always has a packed expo hall where Linkdex will be exhibiting at Booth #27.


Since you’re spoiled for choice and may have a tough time deciding what panels to attend at this event, here are my picks for the 6 Must-See Sessions at SMX Advanced 2015:

1. The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors: 2015 Edition. See Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting and contributor to SEO Now 2015, speak on search ranking factors.

2. Gary Ilyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, is speaking about both Mobilegeddon as well as in an AMA in which he’ll answer questions with Search Engine Land Founding Editor Danny Sullivan one-on-one, and these sessions are always enlightening.

3. There’s actually a trio of panels on Day 1 you won’t want to miss: Bryson Meunier, SEO Director of Vivid Seats Ltd. and contributor to Mobile SEO Now will be speaking about white hat SEO; Jessica Bowman, founder of, will be speaking about communicating SEO objectives and priorities; and the Wizard of Moz himself, Rand Fishkin, will weigh in on the Future of Search Signals.

4. Conversion Rate Rockstars on Day 2 focuses in part on search funnel and user navigation path sculpting, which is an important focus for us at Momentology and Linkdex. What’s more, speaker Purna Virji, CEO of Purview Marketing, will be featured in a special print edition of Momentology for SMX, which you can pick up at the Linkdex booth.

5. Ask the SEOs, which features MobileMoxie CEO Cindy Krum, who was another Mobile SEO Now contributor, as well as speaker in our recent Mobilegeddon webinar.

6. And, finally: Jenny Halasz, who gave a fine contribution to SEO Now 2015, will speak at the SEO Track on ‘The Latest In Advanced Technical SEO’.

I’ll be on hand at the Linkdex booth and at networking events throughout the conference, including Linkdex’s cocktail party. I look forward to connecting with old and new faces alike!

Get Your Free Guide to International SEO Now

international seo email banner

Working International isn’t easy. You need to get a grip on a lot of different things. Who is your audience, do keyword research in a strange language, find local influencers and much more. It’s a lot of work!

Luckily there are plenty of experts to help you get under way. We gathered information from a group of industry experts when it comes to International Marketing. Anne Kennedy, Michael Bonfils, Gianluca Fiorelli, Bill Hunt, Motoko Hunt and yours truly contributed to a mini guide that will get you under way.

Using this guide you can get a head start when you are looking to expand your business globally. International SEO Now, will help you learn to think about ways to create strategies that will ensure you’re reaching global consumers at the moments they’re searching for you in their country and language.

Access The Free Guide

What to expect?

Next to a very insightful Coca-Cola China Case Study you can find the following chapters in the guide:

  • Introduction: Creating International Search Strategies (Michael Bonfils)
  • International SEO Strategy: What’s Vital in 2015 & Beyond (Anne Kennedy)
  • International SEO Challenges: Boost Global Digital Marketing Results & ROI (Gianluca Fiorelli)
  • Understanding Your International Audience: Consumer Behavior & Culture –
  • Lessons Learned From Speaking Around The World (Bas van den Beld)
  • International Keyword Research: Dominate Local Markets By Understanding The Consumer Decision Journey (Bill Hunt)
  • Content Strategy For International SEO: The Keys to Efficient And Effective
  • Content For Global Brands (Motoko Hunt)
  • Measuring International SEO Success: Determining Whether Your Strategy & Efforts Are Paying Off (Michael Bonfils)

It’s a not too miss guide for CMOs, senior marketers, or anyone involved in international marketing!

Access The Free Guide

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