Leveraging SEO Power Tools

June 8, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hello! How was your lunch? I hope it was everything you wanted it to be.  I had coffee and chocolate. My two basic food groups. Now that we’ve had our nutrition for the day, it’s time to talk about SEO Power Tools. Leading us in this discussion will be  Rhea Drysdale, Alex Edelstein, and Natala Menezes.

Up first is Natala.  She works with Amazon Mechanical Turk and that’s what she’ll be talking about today.

What is crowdsourcing? She calls it distributed problem solving. It’s about getting super powers so you can do more stuff without having to do that much stuff.  Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work. It gives businesses and developers access to an on-demand, scalable workforce.

The benefits:

  • Flexibility: Scale your workforce up and down quickly
  • Accuracy: Get high quality, efficient and cost effective results
  • Price: Pay only when you are satisfied with the results.
  • Speed: Start receiving results in minutes

How it works? You take big projects, break them down into tasks, and then workers do the tasks. You pay through micropayments via Amazon Flexible Payments. They have a huge workforce of more than 500,000, 190 countries. The platform can handle millions of tasks, via Web or API. Cool.

Business Use Cases

  • Data Management: Data verification, data entry and collection, data de-duplication, algorithm training
  • Categorization tasks: classification, tagging, sentiment analysis
  • Content & Media: Moderate photos and content, content creation and editing, transcription
  • Business Services: Search relevancy, product usability testing, research

The downside is you  have to get over your only-child control issues and actually LET other people do the work for you. Really. Go have a life. It’s probably nice outside where you are.

Search Experts <3 Bit Data

Search Marketing: Keyword Expansion

  • Adding attribute tags
  • Pulling lists from publicly available tools
  • De-duplication/data cleanup and organization
  • Search query research

Web Research

  • Competitive research – What is the tagline for this company?
  • What is the SEOmoz Score for this Web site?

Search Results Analysis

  • Of the two results shown, which is the best results.

Content Creation

  • Article writing and editing
  • Write a caption for a photo
  • summarize the benefits of a product
  • write a story about a specific topic
  • edit the grammar and style of an article

Photo Selection

  • Find a creative commons photo for an article


  • Transcribe video or audio content.

Tip: Always collect content in your HIT, never have workers post directly to a 3rd party Web site.

Content Management

Content Moderation

  • Is this photo appropriate given our guidelines?
  • Is this a good question or article for our site?

Content Discovery

  • Do these photos have useful meta tags?
  • What are the keywords used during this video?

Content Analysis

  • What is the sentiment of this tweet?

Case Study: Lead Collection

Problem: Needed to create a list of local business contacts that met certain criteria

  • Review rating above three stars
  • Vertical focus – home repair contractors only
  • Within a certain distance

The Solution: Acquired a list of data from a third party. Posted tasks to Mechanical Turk to gather information about potential contacts and to remove duplicates and find missing information. Use this data to prioritize what they were doing to do.

Things you CAN’T do on Mechanical Turk

  • Disrupting or degrading the operation of any Web site or Internet service
  • Violate the terms and conditions of an activity or Web site (asking Workers to vote for something) or that directly or indirectly promote a site, service or opinion to ask Workers to solicit third parties.
  • Capturing PII

And Natala is done. Interesting. Would you consider Amazon Turk a “power tool”? I’m not sure that I would.

Next up is Alex.

The good part about crowdsourcing and using services like Mechanical Turk is that you get a lot done.  The bad part is you create bottlenecks. You’re working with un-specialized workers, you create massive review needs and you have routing challenges.

Case Study: Leading Health Publisher

Challenges: Generate 1 million words in 30 days, have them vetted by experts and get it done in 30 days. Traditionally you may find freelance nurses. Instead, the company divided the process up into three different steps.

  1. Finders
  2. Writers
  3. Nurses

The results were very satisfying. The company was able to create a vast amount of health content, was optimized, and it ranked very effectively. Allowed them to phase out duplicate content.

Case Study: Fortune 50 Retailer

Problem: Duplicate retail content is being penalized. Need better product descriptions.

Challenges: SEO ready, tight deadline and they need it to be unique and compelling.

They turned to credentialing. They needed a crowd that was reliable and that knew how to write marketing prose. You could do that one freelance at a time but thats not very scalable. They assembled a crowd with marketing and writing capability and started generating unique product descriptions one after another. They’re doing it at more than 1,000 product descriptions a week. They’re solving an industrial-strength problem.

Credentials allow structured content and builds internal quality control.

Additional Advantage? Speed.

You need more blogs. A great source of quality content are blogs. However much more blogging you have, you need 10x more.  Maintaining a blog takes a lot of energy. That’s a scalability limiter.  He mentions DebtGoal.com. They’re using a lot of fresh topical blog content to increase their SEO efforts. They’re starting a blog for each category.

What about blog voice?

The Master Craftsmen Model. If you wanted to learn something, you apprenticed yourself to a master. You didn’t go to school.  You should treat the crowd content as a draft or apprentice work.  Apply finish and polishing so that it sounds like you and maintains your voice.

Next up is Rhea.

Rhea says that SEOs are only as good as their toys, but remember size doesn’t always matter. She’s going to present a case study of something we actually worked on at Outspoken Media.

Objective: Generate a list of more than 100,000 high quality organic keyword across 13 industries for 109 Web sties and group them.  Also, tag them. Fun!


  • Business Tech
  • Celebrity
  • Education
  • Geographic Markets
  • etc
  • etc

Which sites did we choose?  We went through, identified the leaders in the space and the leaders in organic.  We used SpyFu to do that.  To do it, pop in your domain and look at the Top Organic Competitors. They also have an Overlap section to help you find the hubs. It’s important to find keywords that competitors rank for, but also to find the terms they overlap on. They also give you the organic keywords that you can expert as a CSV or XLS.  Gives you term, average position, and tons of other data. We were most interested in organic click value.

Keyword Filtering

  • Remove brand mentions
  • Remove miscellaneous
  • Grabbed the top 900 keywords when filtered in descending order for organic value per day

But wait, not ever site had organic data!

They went to Xenu Link Sleuth to pull out the titles and break the keywords out of them. Pop in your domain and use the advanced features to cut down on the run time.  She mentions Screaming Frog as an alternative.

Now that you have your keywords (100,00 of them!), you have to tag them. By hand. NO!   She used the Wordstream Keyword Grouper Tool. Pop in your keyword set and they’ll email you the list once they’re done.  Once she had the tags she wanted for each site, they  had to get all the keywords tagged.  She used oDesk but it was taking too long so she started using Mechanical Turk (Mechanical Turk is getting quite a sales pitch in this session).  The data that came back was very good and it was done quickly.


And that’s it!  Now go out and go use Mechanical Turk!


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