SearchRankings.Net just returned from the Austin based South By Southwest (  More will be written about the show, but this month I just wanted to focus on one session in particular.  In a session entitled “Dear Google and Bing: Help Me Rank Better!”   This session brought Danny Sullivan, the Editor –In-Chief of SearchEngineLand.Com, Duane Forrester from Bing, and Matt Cutts from Google.  The session was a lot of fun, lots of humor, but as one of a team of people that attend a lot of shows, there was no new information.

Here are a couple of the highlights:

New Search Signals Trending Up

Social Media signals and interaction:  All three panelists stressed a social media presence, and how the search results are going to be impacted by social signals and how a user interacts with a social network.

SearchRankings.Net Response:  This has been talked about for years, and the panel actually discussed the frequency of Google’s Panda updates.  At SearchRankings.Net we have not seen a significant impact related to social media in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).  We do think this will change as more businesses increase the social media presence, and the content on the social media websites ultimately gives the user what they want.

Improved User Experience:  Matt Cutts from Google stressed how good website layout and improved user experience are now being factored into the current algorithm.  He suggested you look at Google Webmaster Tools for more information about how to improve your website’s user experience.

SearchRankings.Net Response:  We agree, but not necessarily from a Rankings standpoint, but from a conversion standpoint.  Improve your User Experience and it will improve all areas of your business.

Don’t Buy Links:  Duane Forrester from Bing suggested site owners develop a long term social media strategy versus buying links.

SearchRankings.Net Response:  Links are still an incredibly important part of the current algorithm.  Don’t Buy BAD Links, it’s a better strategy.

Constant Improvement Never Hurts

A good question and answer session followed the session, and the panel discussed the Panda Updates, Link Spam, and Websites with too many ads.  All of the information was info we have heard before.  Search Engine Optimization is more important now than it was before.  Great Search Engine Optimization along with improved user experience and a good social media strategy should keep you on top for the long haul.