Written By: Adam Dince
Last week, many Web optimization professionals saw a major blow to a key component of their inbound linking strategy. StumbleUpon.com announced that they were fundamentally shifting the way it renders content, thus eliminating any link benefit that StumbleUpon had been passing on to its content providers.
Prior to the change
StumbleUpon.com passed on a ton of search equity to its content owners. The way it worked was—if you shared a Web page on StumbleUpon.com, it would link users (traffic) and search engines (indexation and link juice) back to the content owner. The traffic, indexation and link juice from StumbleUpon.com was important to boosting organic search rankings and Website performance.
In a Search Engine Land article posted on February 1, 2012, blogger Brent Csutoras, shared the following,
Additionally not a week or two before the change, a StumbleUpon employee discussed with me how happy they were that StumbleUpon pages had so much SEO value for the content owners… well not anymore. http://goo.gl/Fk4tg
After the change
Now, all content on StumbleUpon.com will render in an iFrame as opposed to taking users and search engines to the content owner’s Website, thus potentially negating any benefit the old links had once passed on.
What to take from the change
Let StumbleUpon’s recent change serve as a good reminder of how dynamic and unpredictable the Web truly is. It is also a reminder that as the Web changes, so must our strategies and tactics. This means that we must be be forward thinking and future proof our organic search strategies as much as possible. A simple three-step model that I use is:
- Try to anticipate as many of the potential risks within our Web optimization strategy (speaking white hat of course)
- Organize tactics accordingly
- Communicate risks and rewards openly and honestly to our clients
Web Optimization Strategy Table – A Communication Tool
If you’re not already talking to your clients about the dynamic nature of the Web and how it might affect your optimization strategy, you’re behind the eight ball. It’s important to set expectations from the get-go to avoid a loss in client trust later.
A simple way to organize your organic search strategy is to create a strategy table that consists of two buckets: fixed tactics and variable tactics. Fixed tactics serve as methods that should always provide organic search value. Variable tactics are methods that may provide a powerful juicy punch now, but is subject to change later.
|Fixed Tactics||Variable Tactics|
|On-Page Optimization||Inbound Links|
|Meta-Data Optimization||Facebook Fan Pages|
|Freshness of Content||StumbleUpon (prior to change)|
|Depth and Breadth of Relevant Content|
|Optimized User-Experience||Pinterest Optimization|
|Optimized Technical Infrastructures|
You can break the above table into as many columns as you wish–just make sure to include a column for your variable tactics. If you have created your strategy table well and have communicated it properly to your clients, you will have put yourself in a much better position to manage expectations and build trust.
Furthermore, I highly recommend placing your strategy table in each monthly and/or quarterly report that you send to your clients. This will help reinforce the fixed and variable tactics being executed within your Web optimization strategy.
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