This week, it seems that all my previously articulated views on the perennial hot topics of SEO have been reflected in articles by the industry leaders.  In one sense, this feels very satisfying as, naturally, it’s nice to have influencers agree with you.  However, on the other hand, it’s a bit disappointing that these positions haven’t become more settled by now.

Google Authorship

The first is with regards to Google Authorship, where there’s been a nice catch-up on Search Engine Journal around the timeline of the last couple of years that I think distils my hunches about the subject quite well.

As Neil says, Authorship is still a thing.  And whilst it may not, in its previous iteration (rel=author, Google+, etc) be the way The Big G is going to corral its thinking on Authority Factors, the philosophy behind it still essentially reflects Google’s ideal for the future – that content will, when cached and parsed effectively by Google, be a key source of credible authority.

I’ve said this myself in previous Weekly Digests – the lessons learned from following Google Authorship best practice will not be wasted lessons; on the contrary, they will return stronger than ever in the future.

The second trope to be revisited is the position of social signals within the SEO firmament.  There’s been no real development in the published positions on this subject and I’ve been fairly clear on how DSM see the difference between correlation and causation in the relationship between good social signal data and good ranking data.  Nevertheless, Mark Traphagen’s piece is, as usual, very well written and clarifies the difference well.

In essence, if your site is looking good in its social signals, it’s probable that you have authoritative site indicators that will result in good ranking signals.  As Mark says, the real power comes from the synergy – by balancing your marketing across all key variables, you will achieve success.

Structured mark-up

We have talked previously about the importance of structured mark-up in the development of a site’s technical communications with search engines.  Google has been explicit in its expectations that this forms a part of its future and we’ve highlighted several guides to getting stuck into the processes required.

What we’ve not looked at, however, is how to monitor and analyse the impact of these adaptations.  This article remedies that omission and then some.  As with all elements of this aspect of site optimisation, it is not for the faint-hearted – nevertheless, I would strongly recommend that you find a quiet space, pour a strong coffee and get to grips with the advice therein.

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Also, we’ve consistently pushed the importance of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) over the years as a clear acknowledgment that years of putting all your eggs in one basket when it comes to concentrating on SEO can, potentially, lead you to overlook your most treasured possession – your site’s users.

However, the flipside of this argument is that by giving all your attention to CRO, you may find yourself caught in some SEO traps.

Even the very best practitioners can become blind to the bigger picture when their focus is too narrow.  This represents a good reminder to step back occasionally and review your site marketing holistically.

Lastly, a timely (given the recent rollout of Google Penguin) warning on the mounting threat of negative SEO.  Barry Schwarz is unequivocal that a new sort of SEO Wild West is growing – and he thinks Google should be doing something to clean up Dodge City.