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Search Engine Optimization Beyond META Tags. Brian Smith Web Developer [email protected] Flunky. Objectives. Move beyond META tags SEO in Higher Education Define terms Establish “The Factors” Keyword Research Techniques Discuss Google Keepin’ it real - practical Resources.

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objectives
Objectives
  • Move beyond META tags
  • SEO in Higher Education
  • Define terms
  • Establish “The Factors”
  • Keyword Research Techniques
  • Discuss Google
  • Keepin’ it real - practical
  • Resources
the rise of search
The Rise of Search
  • Search is the 2nd most popular online activity, after email.
  • Percentage of net users who search on a typical day grew 70% from 2002 to 2008

Pew Internet and Americal Life Project

seo search engine optimization
SEO = Search Engine Optimization

Definition

Using targeted keywords and phrases so a website’s pages will rank high on SERPs.

SERP = Search Engine Results Page

Note that SEO also stands for Search Engine Optimizer

sem search engine marketing
SEM = Search Engine Marketing

Definition

All endeavors that utilize search engines to promote a web site, increase its traffic and/or stickiness, and ultimately augment return on investment.

SEM methods includeSEO, paid placement, pay-per-click and paid inclusion campaigns.

slide8
SPAM

"Dear google.com,I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..."

it s not a quick fix seo is a best practice
It’s not a quick fixSEO is a best practice
  • Web developers
  • Writers
  • Editors in various departments
  • Application developers
  • Administration
  • Vendors
conversions what is a higher ed conversion
ConversionsWhat is a higher ed conversion?
  • Getting a sale = convert a prospective into a confirmed
  • Get students involved in activities
  • Building school pride
  • Provide audience for experts
  • Allow faculty and research to publicize their findings, discoveries which could lead to more students, grants, funding, collaboration, tenure
  • Job postings
pay per click
Pay Per Click

Definition

Advertisers submit bids to search-engine companies for words.

They pay each time the “sponsored link” is clicked.

ppc related terms
PPC Related Terms

Definitions

CPC – Cost-per-clickThe cost to advertisers per click by a user.

CTR – Click through rateThe number of users who clicked on an ad divided by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions). Usually seen as a percentage.

pay per click18
Pay Per Click

Competition

Universities and CollegesEspecially the online Universities with a national/international presence such as Phoenix, Capella, Walden etc…

Advertising Agencies & Online Directory CompaniesUse PPC to draw Web searches to sites they use to find prospective students, or "leads."

ExamplesPetersons, OffToCollege.com, CollegeBoard.com, etc…

slide20
PPC

WeekendMBA

BiologyMajor

slide22
PPC

Growing in Cost

  • Prices for popular keywords…
    • "associate\'s degree"
    • "master\'s degree”
    • "business program"
  • …on Yahoo have each about doubled in the past two years.
slide25
PPC

Growing in Competition

  • "It\'s both more expensive and less
  • effective because more people are doing it."
          • Margee Ensign
          • Dean of the School of International Studies
          • University of the Pacific
slide26
PPC

Bidding Techniques

  • Start a campaign at the end of the day or the end of the month
  • “It’s often possible to find popular keywords available for lower prices at those times because other groups have already spent their budgets.”
          • Greg Jarboe
          • Co-founder
          • SEO-PR Inc
slide27
PPC

Bidding Techniques

Bid on less popular words/phrases

You’ll get less clicks, so it will cost you less.

Those who actually click will more likely lead to a conversion = Quality Traffic

the golden triangle eye tools research
The Golden TriangleEye Tools Research

Pay Per Click $$$

Organic = Free

focus on organic listings
Focus on Organic Listings

Conversion Rates

Organic Listings 4.2%

Paid Listings 3.6%

Organic clicked 5x more than PPC

From “Marketing Sherpa” - Search Marketing Benchmark Survey 2005

Metrics

search result page
Search Result Page

Average Participant

6.5 seconds to clickRead 4 to 5 listings.

Title Tags

Compelling and Attractive TITLES increase click-through!

golden triangle statistics
Golden Triangle Statistics

85% click on organic

72% click the first link of interest

25% read all listings first, then click

golden triangle statistics33
Golden Triangle Statistics

Organic Search Results Viewed

web search market share august 2008
Web Search Market ShareAugust 2008

MSN

Google 71%

Yahoo 18%

MSN 5%

Ask 3%

Other 3%

Yahoo

Google

pagerank
PageRank
  • One of the methods Google uses to determine a page’s relevance or importance.
  • Each web page - not site - has a PageRank score
  • Developed by the founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page
  • It’s an algorithm which helps rank web pages based on the probability that a random person surfing the Internet will find a given page.
pagerank36
PageRank
  • PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page\'s value.
  • Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B.
  • Votes cast by "important" pages weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."
pagerank37
PageRank

View a page’s PageRank with Google Toolbar

pagerank38
PageRank

Most Higher Ed Rank 5-8

MIT, Harvard, Stanford = 9

Maria College = 5

google pagerank
Google PageRank

Page Rank Today

  • No longer the primary ranking factor
  • PageRank is no longer recalculated on a 30 day cycle
  • Used to determine crawl frequency, crawl depth, and database selection.
authority reputation links are key
Authority & ReputationLinks are Key

Link Popularity / Authority

Links = “Votes”

Links from many pages signify an important page

Links from important pages carry more ‘weight’

Important pages rank higher

Link Reputation

Links from related pages enforce the theme

Links from related words pass on that theme

Strongly themed pages rank well for related queries

links best practices
Links - Best Practices

Bad

  • http://mysite.com
  • http://www.mysite.com/index.html
  • http://mysite.com/index.html

Good

  • http://www.mysite.com/
  • Use redirects and make all internal links point to your domain using the “http://www.mysite.com/”
  • Always include trailing “/” on folders.
link best practices
Link Best Practices

Search engines treat…

http://measuring-up.com/

and

http://www.measuring-up.com/

…as two different sites.

slide44

Link Text

4.4 Anchor Text of Inbound Link

3.1 Text Surrounding the Link

Avoid “click here”

SEO: Link nouns not verbs

View the course catalog.

View the course catalog.

how can i create a google friendly site
How can I create a Google-friendly site?

Google Webmaster Help Center

  • http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/
  • http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40349

Google on SEO

  • http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291
off the page seo aka link building
Reciprocal linking

RSS news feeds

Linkbait = good topical content

Digg, YouTube, Facebook

Forums

Off-The-Page SEOAKA Link Building

Off page optimizations consist entirely of link building strategies.

slide51

Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

4.9 Keyword Use in Title Tag

4.4 Global Link Popularity of Site – “Weight” or “Authority”

4.4 Anchor Text of Inbound Link

4.1 Age of Site

4.0 Link Popularity within Internal Site Structure

3.7 Keyword Use in Body Text

3.5 Links to Quality/Relevant External Sites

3.4 Age of Document

3.3 Keyword Use in H1

3.2 Age of Link

3.1 Text Surrounding the Link

factor 1 page title the 1 important on the page ranking factor
Factor 1: Page TitleThe #1 important on-the-page ranking factor!

Length: 70 characters or lessGoogle description uses 70 characters.

Use Keyphrases or KeywordsAlso use it in beginning of page text.

The title is your search results link. It should be clear, sensible, and encourage a click.

slide53

Page Title Strategy

  • Page titles are for more than just SEO
  • Bookmark text
  • Answers question “Where am I”
slide55

Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

4.9 Keyword Use in Title Tag

4.4 Global Link Popularity of Site – “Weight” or “Authority”

4.4 Anchor Text of Inbound Link

4.1 Age of Site

4.0 Link Popularity within Internal Site Structure

3.7 Keyword Use in Body Text

3.5 Links to Quality/Relevant External Sites

3.4 Age of Document

3.3 Keyword Use in H1

3.2 Age of Link

3.1 Text Surrounding the Link

slide57

Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

4.9 Keyword Use in Title Tag

4.4 Global Link Popularity of Site – “Weight” or “Authority”

4.4 Anchor Text of Inbound Link

4.1 Age of Site

4.0 Link Popularity within Internal Site Structure

3.7 Keyword Use in Body Text

3.5 Links to Quality/Relevant External Sites

3.4 Age of Document

3.3 Keyword Use in H1

3.2 Age of Link

3.1 Text Surrounding the Link

slide58

Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

2.8 Keyword Use in H2, H3 etc…

2.8 Keyword Use in Page URL

2.6 Keyword Use in ALT Tags

2.4 Frequency of Page Updates

2.0 Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag

1.4 HTML Validation

1.2 Keyword Use in Meta Keywords Tag

slide59

META Description

Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag

  • 70 words
  • Sometimes shows up in Google SERP
  • Page specific
  • Includes main page keyphrases
slide60

Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

2.8 Keyword Use in H2, H3 etc…

2.8 Keyword Use in Page URL

2.6 Keyword Use in ALT Tags

2.4 Frequency of Page Updates

2.0 Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag

1.4 HTML Validation

1.2 Keyword Use in Meta Keywords Tag

slide62

Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

2.8 Keyword Use in H2, H3 etc…Semantic markup

2.8 Keyword Use in Page URL

2.6 Keyword Use in ALT Tags

2.4 Frequency of Page Updates

2.0 Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag

1.4 HTML Validation

1.2 Keyword Use in Meta Keywords Tag

slide63

META Keywords

1.2 Keyword Use in Meta Keywords Tag

  • Abused and discredited
  • Stuff you don’t want in page text
  • Misspellings
  • Keyword “forks” – SUNY Albany
  • 5 to 10 phrases
  • Do not repeat too much
search engine indexing limits
Search Engine Indexing Limits

Page File SizeNo more than 150 kilobytes Before Images, CSS and other Attachments

Links Per PageNo more than 100 unique links per page

Title TagNo more than 70 characters

Meta DescriptionNo more than 155 characters

search engine indexing limits65
Search Engine Indexing Limits

Parameters in URL: No more than 2

Depth of URL: No more than 4

Bad Example

http://www.mysite.com/people/places/things/noun/danny/car

Best Practice

http://www.mysite.com/people/danny/

avoid
Avoid

Image Text

Iframes for displaying content

Flash, Silverlight or video for content without text equivalents

AJAX – Avoid navigation thatrelies on javascriptonClick="navigate(\'ajax.html#)

keywords
Keywords

Keywords are the foundation of SEO

Your institution, departments, offices etc… should determine critical keywords

Research their potential value and effectiveness

slide68

Keyphrase Research

  • Brainstorm
  • Bust out the tools
  • Finalize list
  • Implement
  • Rinse and repeat
slide69

Brain Storm

  • What words would prospective students use?
  • Avoid overly generic terms are difficult to rank for and won\'t provide qualified traffic
  • Check out competition and their Keywords META tags if they use them
  • Add location!
  • Misspellings
  • Break out sessions by category – department, school, organization etc…
number of keywords used
Number of keywords used

1 Word Query – 15% Admissions

2 Word Query – 32% UAlbany Admissions

3 Word Query – 27% SUNY Albany Admissions

4 Word Query – 15% UAlbany Admissions Campus Tour

5 Word Query – 11% University at Albany Admissions Tour

85% of searches online are with 2 or more keywords

Source: Search Engine Watch 2007 Search Engine Watch 2007

slide71

Keyphrase Combos

Word Game: Create a 3 or 4-Term Combo

  • Create as complete a sentence as possible
  • Specifically describe page content
  • Using strongest keywords and phrases
  • Avoid highly competitive phrases
slide72

Are visitors looking for“Prospective Students”?

  • Search Volumes
  • “Prospective Students”= 6,500/month
  • “University Admissions”= 135,000/month

Use keywords in the navigation that visitors use to find your site.

  • Easier for visitors to navigate the site
  • Improved rankings, search engines better understand how your site is related to searches.
slide73

Keyword “Stemming”

Swim = Swimming = Swims

It’s all the same to the major search engines

slide74

Keyphrase Brainstorm

Fountain Day

School Spirit

Celebration

Community

Campus Tradition

University Tradition

Alumni Memories

College Fountain

University Fountain

Fountain Celebration

World Record

SUNY Albany Fountain

Spring Celebration

Guinness World Record

Pillow Fight

Beach Balls

Fountain Countdown

Campus Party

Campus Unity

Fountain Party

College Rite of Spring

Food fun and fountain

Jump in Fountain

Non-alcoholic event

Student Party

College Student Party

Fountain Day Drunk

Fountain Day Drinking

Fountain Day Mayhem

Party School

SUNY Albany Party School

slide75

Keyphrase Research

Determine the value of keywords/phrases to increase traffic to a page or site.

slide77

Utilize Internal Search ResultsWhat are visitors using

Find out what words your visitors use to get to your site.

Consult web analytics or Google Webmaster Tools – Top Search Queries

slide79

Step 2 – Keyphrase Research

BrandKey Phrases

65%

of our queries

keyword research head vs tail terms80
Keyword Research“Head” vs. “Tail” Terms

Head Terms

  • Dominated by Brand key phrases
  • Drive most of your traffic
  • Most expensive for PPC
  • Most competitive
  • Less relevant
  • Shorter
keyword research head vs tail terms81
Keyword Research“Head” vs. “Tail” Terms

Long Tail

  • Dominated by generic category key phrases
  • Drives least amount of traffic per search
  • Least expensive for PPC
  • Less competitive and easier to win
  • Drives less but more qualified traffic to website
keyword research head vs tail terms82
Keyword Research“Head” vs. “Tail” Terms

Long Tail

  • The combined effect of optimizing for many longer search terms will be to bring in a great deal of highly qualifiedtraffic
  • Optimization for the general terms will occur naturally by their inclusion in these more specific phrases
slide83

Keyphrase Research Tools

  • Assists with keyword/phrase brainstorming
  • Show how often search terms are used
  • Quantifies the effectiveness of keywords/phrases
slide84

“Competition”

Less competition for a keyword/phrase mean that it will be easier to reach the top of SERPs.

slide85

Keyword/phrase Tools

  • Google AdWordsis the best free keyphrase toolhttps://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  • WordTrackerThe industry standard, a subscription is required – also has a free tool
  • Overture Database SearchNo longer consistently available
  • Microsoft AdCenterNot for Mac/Safari
other keyword search tools
Other Keyword Search Tools
  • Trellian – Keyword Discovery
  • Spyfu
  • Nichebot
  • Hitwise
  • Trends
  • Yahoo suggestion on search
slide87

Wordtracker

Uses Metacrawler Search EnginesMetacrawler and Dogpile

Metacrawler Search EnginesQueries several of the main search engines to compile its own results - Google, Yahoo and MSN

175 million searches each month

Wordtracker keeps the last two months of search results in its database

slide88

KEIKeyword Effectiveness Index

Higher the KEI, better the keyword

Ratio of Two crucial variables

  • PopularityNumber of times a term is searched
  • CompetitionNumber of pages returned by search for a term
slide89

Wordtracker

KEI - Find a Niche - Opportunities

Example

Find a baseball card that is searched many times, but has few page results.

Pete Rose baseball card

Searched 100 times daily found on 1,000 pagesRatio is 1/10

Derek Jeter baseball cardSearched 1000 times daily found on 100,000Ratio is 1/100

slide91

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Best free keyphrase tool

Helps with brainstorming

Displays keyword/phrase effectiveness

Finds opportunities

slide92

AdWords vs. Wordtracker

AdWords is a better free tool than the free Wordtracker tool.

Full Wordtracker has more sophisticated tool set and is the industry standard.

Wordtracker service keeps track of multiple projects.

Wordtracker provides more precise measurements for word/phrase effectiveness.

AdWords integrates well with Google Analytics.

using adwords for keyphrase research the process
Using AdWords for Keyphrase ResearchThe Process
  • Begin with one general keyword
  • Be sure to check the “Use synonyms” box
  • Let the tool build a large list of keywords

Source: Google External Keyword Tool

keyword research building lists
Keyword ResearchBuilding Lists
  • Scroll through the results list and add all terms appropriate to the School of Business site.
  • When complete, download list into Excel or other tool.
  • Repeat the process as other terms become apparent and expand those as well with the “Get more related keywords” button.
  • Continue building the list using all free tools available
    • Don’t worry about adding duplicates at this point
    • Keep looking for new terms that have been missed and expand those
keyword strategy building lists
Keyword StrategyBuilding Lists

Repeat the process using the “website content” tool on Google.

  • Select the option “Include other pages on my site linked from this URL”
keyword strategy organizing and grouping lists
Keyword StrategyOrganizing and grouping lists

Create a full list of your keywords

Break out the list into categories

web writing
Web Writing
  • Write for the “inverted pyramid”.
  • Make the visible text on a page "search-friendly"
  • Embed links in body copy
  • Add <strong>tags</strong>
  • Add captions with strong keywords/phrases frequently
optimizing body copy
Optimizing Body Copy

YUCK!

Large blocks of text without headlines and subheadings

Bad for SEO

Bad for Visitors

web writing99
Web Writing

Use keywords – a few times per page

Create AZ indexes for Department, Organizations, College and Schools

Write more - at least 250 words per page

Add extra pages

Never sacrifice tone, feel or usability

slide100

Eye Tracking Studies Nov 2007

Poynter Institute

600 subjects in 4 cities

We have not lost our ability to read in depth

slide101

Eye Tracking Studies

Poynter Institute

Inverted Pyramid

F Pattern

slide102

Eye Tracking Studies Nov 2007

Poynter Institute

Attention spans have not shortened dramatically.

Readers are more selective about what they read.

We are more dependent on navigation, headings and bulleted text

It helps us find info or identify what not to read

slide103

Eye Tracking Studies Nov 2007

Poynter Institute

“Most surprising, they read further into stories online than in print. That was true for stories of all lengths.”

metrics measuring success
MetricsMeasuring Success
  • Track ranking in SERPs – screenshots, or excel files
  • Follow traffic through web analytics
slide105

Black

Hat

SEO

black hat seo
Black Hat SEO
  • Evil trickery
  • Breaks search engine rules
  • Poor user experience
  • Google hacks
black hat seo techniques to avoid

Black Hat SEO Techniques To Avoid

Keyword stuffingPacking long lists of keywords.

Invisible textWhite text on white background.

Doorway PagesRedirects packed with keywords.

It can get you banished from search results!

social media optimization
Social Media Optimization

Potential for organic traffic and quality backlinks

“Linkbait”

google news sitemap
Google News Sitemap
  • News releases and other campus related stories are packed with keywords
  • But they may be getting lost and not recognized by Google in a timely way
  • Search for “Google News Sitemap”
resources books
Resources: Books

Search Engine Optimization: Your visual blueprint for effective Internet marketing

resources books111
Resources: Books

Search Engine Optimization:

How to Optimize Your Website for Internet Search Engines

resources on the web
Resources: On the Web

SEOmoz.orgEspecially see SEOmoz Beginner’s Guide

SearchEngineWatch.comhttp://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/

Google Webmaster Tools

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40349

SEOBook.comhttp://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/

don t let the tail wag the dog
Don’t let the tail wag the dog.
  • SEO is a best practice
  • Write good content
  • Get everyone involved
  • Know the factors
  • Try out key phase research tools
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