What You Need To Know About SEO by Barry Schwartz – Rocks Digital 2016 Live Blog

Kicking off the day at RocksDigital 2016, we have Barry Schwartz. Barry is the CEO of RustyBrick, Inc; News Editor at Search Engine Land, and the Founder of Search Engine Roundtable.

Today he shared everything you need to know, from a beginner level, about SEO, covering both on and off page SEO topics. On-page is what you can control about SEO, and off-page SEO is what you can’t completely control.
On Page SEO

  • Cq – Content Quality Value – Make sure your pages are written well and have substantial quality content. Google is watching, and they know what quality content is and is not.
  • Cr – Content/Keyword Research – Research the keywords people are using to find your content. Google Keyword Planner can help you find the words potential buyers will be using.
  • Cw – Content Words –  The more you use the same word over and over again, the more search engines will think the page is about that word. Make sure you are descriptive about your business, (ex. Use the Title About XXX instead of using About Us).
  • Cf – Content Freshness – Write timeless content that is relevant, and that your readers are interested in.
  • Cv – Content Vertical – Vertical search includes images, videos, news, etc. You can use these forms of media on your posts and pages to get on the vertical search.
  • Ca – Content Answers – This is fairly new, only about 2 years old. When searching on Google, you can find featured snippets, mostly used for how-to content, and you can get on a featured snippet with hard work. You can also find factional information when searching for a question, and even the live results for sports scores.


  • Ac – Architecture Crawlability – Can search engines discover and index your content? Sometimes you can accidentally block your website from being found by Google. You can use Google Search Console to submit pages to Google and track how many times Google can access and read.
  • Ad – Duplicate Content – If your site has duplicate posts/content, Google will choose what they think came first or what is better. Make sure you don’t post the same content twice, and also that you don’t have the same post under different links.
  • Am – Mobile Friendly – Check if your site works on mobile phones using the Google mobile friendly testing tool. Google just released AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) so you can make your site is mobile friendly as well as fast. If you have a mobile app, you can use Firebase App Indexing and get found on search engines.
  • As – Page Speed – Use the Page Speed Tool for Websites by Google. If your site is really slow, it can make conversions drop.
  • Au – Descriptive URLs – Make sure your URLs include keywords, not just the number it provides you with automatically. Don’t go and change all your urls, go ahead and start from now on to use unique URLs.
  • Ah – HTTPS & Security


  • Ht – Title Tags – The title tag can show up in the search results as the clickable link. It has the keywords used to find your content. You don’t want to have the same title tag for all of your posts, or it can get confusing. It should be unique, clickable, and easy for your readers to understand.
  • Hd – Meta Descriptions – Meta descriptions can be used in search result page, make sure you include it in your post/content SEO.
  • Hs – Structured Data – People like to click on images and videos when they appear in the search results. When you include a snippet/thumbnail, it becomes more appealing.
  • Hh – Headers – H1, H2, etc. These help with the structure of your pages. It is one of the smallest ranking components, but can still be important.


Off-Page SEO


  • Ta – Trust Authority – Have great content, and find ways for people to link to you.
  • Te – Trust Engage – Do readers spend some time reading on your website or “bounce” away quickly? Google has different ways to measure engagement that you don’t know about.
  • Th – Trust History – If your website or domain has been around for a long time, it has a good history with Google. A good way to build trust history is also to avoid penalties and violations. It’s hard to hurt sites with good history factors.
  • Ti – Trust identity – Verify your site/business. This doesn’t directly impact rankings, but at some point Google needs to know the identity/authorship.


  • Lq – Link Quality – Who is linking to your blog? Make sure they are from trusted, quality, and/or respected websites. If your site is linked to a personal blog, or Wall Street Journal, what do you think Google cares more about?
  • Lt – Link text – Again, use keywords and don’t make it too long.
  • Ln – Link Number – 100 links from quality websites means a lot more than 100 links from low-quality websites.


  • Pc – Personalization Country – You can’t control where people search from, but notice the differences from where they are searching from..
  • PI – Locality – What city/local area is someone located in? Make sure you have your address on your website so you can be found physically.
  • Ph – Personalization History – What your readers have searched in the past alters what they search in the future. Make sure you have a variety of different keywords.
  • Ps – Personalization Social


  • Sr – Social Reputation – Do those respected on social networks share your content? You want others similar to you to share your content. If you talk about SEO, it means more if someone who works in SEO shares your content. Google knows who is who in the social world.


Penalties & Violations:

  • Vt – Thin Content – Low quality, no value, shallow. Is your site/post lacking value content?
  • Vc – Cloaking – Tricking search engine, saying a site is about X, but it’s really about unrelated or fishy content.
  • Vs – Keyword Stuffing – Don’t purposely repeat the same words over and over again so you get found on search engines.
  • Vh – Hidden Content – Don’t use black text on black background to hide keywords/text.
  • Vd – Piracy/DMCA – If your site is flagged for pirated content, Google can remove your site from search results. (Yikes!) Thankfully, this rarely happens, but still keep a look out.
  • Va – Top Heavy Ads – Don’t push it with too many ads, and make sure it isn’t overwhelming/confusing.
  • Vp – Paid Links – Have your purchased links in hopes of better rankings? Don’t buy, sell, ask, or trade links, or you could get in a lot of trouble, especially with Penguin.
  • VI – Link Spam – Don’t do content spam to other websites, and make sure to keep your site clean by using comment spam management.

Remember these steps, and you will avoid unnecessary problems, and be well on your way to SEO and content writing success!

You can download the full SEO map/blueprint here:

Contact Barry Schwartz:

Elisha Fernandez

Elisha Fernandez is a blogger at, author of "I Love ME! Self-Esteem in 7 Easy Steps," public speaker, and passionate enthusiast in writing, singing, dancing, and using her creativity to help others. You'll most likely find her with a book stuck in her face, playing the piano, on her blue laptop, or hugging people.

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