The Best of the Thunder SEO Blog 2011

By Gary Magnone

As 2011 comes to a close, it’s only natural to take a moment and review the work we’ve done, the links we’ve built, and the progress we’ve made throughout the year. By far, the most popular pages on are our various blog posts. Each week, one member of our team strives to post content that’s new, exciting, and interesting to our visitors. Sometimes, our posts are a big hit and get shared and linked to from around the web by our friends, colleagues, and clients. Here are our 5 most popular posts of 2011 on the Thunder SEO blog:

5. The Power of Exact Match Domains: Fact or Fiction

The fifth most popular post on the Thunder SEO blog this year is from February 3rd, when I had an interesting Twitter convo with Bill Slawski, the industry’s foremost search engine patent guru. At the time, there was a lot of complaining about the power of Exact Match Domains for ranking in Google, and Bill set the story straight when he proclaimed “The benefit of exact match domains is SEO mythology and folklore, and sloppy exact match domains can be more harmful than helpful”. I’m still not 100% sold on that statement, but it was great to hear Bill’s point on the matter.

Image: Blind 5 Year Old

4. Eating Panda for Breakfast – 5 Ways to Stay Ahead of Google’s Algorithm

The fourth most popular post on the Thunder SEO blog in 2011 is from June 16th and talks about some of the concepts that comprise Google’s Panda update, and specific things you can do to avoid getting penalized by it. At that point, Panda was on it’s 3rd iteration of many to come, but the advice I gave then still rings true today: Use microdata to tell the search engines about your content, build up your “author authority”, strive for on-site engagement & maximum usability, only host quality, unique content, and build links from authority domains.

Image: Know Your Meme

3. How to Use Social Media to Find and Connect with Cougars

Kevin wrote the third most popular post on the Thunder SEO blog on July 22nd about how to find and connect with cougars using social media. He took the knowledge and advanced strategies from his day-to-day SEO tasks, and applied them toward one of his favorite pasttimes, hunting down San Diego’s wild cougar population. This hilarious post actually broke down very solid ways to find any type of person using popular and even some more obscure social media tools. It even led to the founding of the hit blog,

2. 5 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your SEO Presence

The second most popular post on Thunder SEO’s blog came from Monique on July 1st and gave five really awesome ways to use social media to help with your SEO efforts. She touched on some really cool social media tools and platforms, many of which are easy to use and free, including Facebook Comments,, Pinterest (before the recent SEO hype!), FollowerWonk, Quora, LinkedIn Answers, Aardvark, and Wistia. While posts on this same topic can be found around the web, Monique did a great job showing the ways social media can work for SEO, and showing how to actually do it yourself, with some solid examples.

1. Do Directories Really Matter for Local Search Rankings in Google?

Finally, the most popular Thunder SEO blog post of 2011 came from Max on March 5th. This post was inspired by some intense research Max was conducting for his upcoming presentation at SMX West and it ended up answering some very interesting questions that many in the industry were asking. After Google introduced blended local results at the end of 2010, a lot of SEO’s were left wondering what the impact of traditional organic SEO signals would be on this new form of local SERPs. Max’s research showed the increased influence Google was placing on external linking pages and anchor text for maps results compared to the typical citation signals. This hit post came away with 29 total external links, 81 Tweets, and 33 Facebook Likes. Way to go, Max!

It’s great to go back in time, re-read these excellent blog posts, and re-live the roller coaster ride that was SEO in 2011. Be on the lookout for some even more awesome content coming out of the Thunder SEO blog in 2012. We’ve got some great things in store and can’t wait to share them with you!

Share with Your Colleagues: