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Search Engine Optimization . An introduction to optimizing your web site for best possible search engine results. Search Engine Optimization . Presented by: Chris Pfeiffer, University of Utah Office of Information Technology. Presentation Overview. Search Engine Basics

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Search Engine Optimization

An introduction to optimizing your web site for best possible search engine results.

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Search Engine Optimization

Presented by:

Chris Pfeiffer,

University of Utah

Office of Information Technology

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Presentation Overview

  • Search Engine Basics

  • Why Optimize?

  • Key Concepts

  • Optimization

  • Content Management Systems

  • Summary

  • Resources

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Search Engine Basics

  • Crawling the web: Search engines run automated programs, called “robots" or "spiders", that use the hyperlink structure of the web to "crawl" the pages and documents that make up the World Wide Web.

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Search Engine Basics

  • Indexing documents: Once a page has been crawled, its contents can be "indexed" - stored in a giant database of documents that makes up a search engine's "index".

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Search Engine Basics

  • Processing queries: When a request for information comes into the search engine, the engine retrieves from its index all the document that match the query.

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Search Engine Basics

  • Ranking results: Once the search engine has determined which results are a match for the query, the engine's algorithm (a mathematical equation commonly used for sorting) runs calculations on each of the results to determine which is most relevant to the given query.

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Search Engine Basics

  • Directories: Human edited search indexes

    • Yahoo Directory!

    • DMOZ = The Open Directory

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Search Engine Basics

  • Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

    • Organic: Results based on content and keyword relevancy (as per algorithm)

    • Paid Placement (PPC):

      • Google AdWords

      • Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM)

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Search Engine Results Pages

Paid Placement




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Why Optimize?

  • Web Search as a navigational tool

    • On average, 45% of visitor trafficthrough use the search engine to navigate.

    • 72% of searchers stop with the top ten search results, and 90% stop with the top 30.

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How much is too much?

  • Competition for keywords

  • Evaluating page rank

    • Baseline

    • Ongoing

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Evaluating page rank

  • Page rank calculation tools

    • Google Toolbar



  • Frequent queries

    • Web traffic analysis

    • U Web Resources

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Key Concepts

  • Target audience

    • Keyword choices

    • Directory submission

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Key Concepts

  • Conversion

    • Web site user doing what you intended them to do

      • Sales

      • Course registration

      • Forms & downloads

      • Page views

  • Conversion paths and funnels

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Key Concepts

  • Search-friendly Usability

    • Home Page vs. Landing pages

    • Top-down vs. Shallow-wide design

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Key Concepts

  • Persistent Navigation

    • Orients visitor to site

    • Provides spiders pathway through site

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Key Concepts

  • Accessibility

    • Flash

    • Javascript

    • SSL – authentication

    • Firewalls and closed ports

    • Databases & query string URLs

    • Forms

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Key Concepts

  • Site Maps

  • Non-HTML Documents

    • MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF

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Key Concepts

  • Canonical URLs



  • Redirects

    • 301 server redirect

    • Meta-refresh page redirect

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Key Concepts

  • Robots.txt file

    • Decides which robots to allow in and which to exclude

      • Site wide

      • Directory-by-directory

      • Page-by-page

    • Robots meta-tag

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  • Get indexed

    • Register URL with University Webmaster

    • Submit URL to directories

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  • Meta-data



    <title>The University of Utah</title>

    <meta name="description" content="Founded on February 28, 1850, The University of Utah offers 75 undergraduate degree programs, more than 50 teaching majors and minors, and 96 graduate majors.">

    <meta name="keywords" content="University of Utah, UU, Utes, Utah, Salt Lake City, university, universities, colleges, higher education, academic, research, admissions">

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  • Meta-data

    • HTML Page Title

      • Number one optimization factor

      • Included in results display

      • Unique title for each landing page

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HTML Title Utility in Dreamweaver

  • Meta-data

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  • Meta-data

    • Meta-description tag

      • 50% weight of HTML Title in Ultraseek

      • Included in Ultraseek results display

      • Less weight given by Google

      • Rarely used in Google results display

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  • Meta-data

    • Meta-keywords tag

      • Equal to meta-description tag in Ultraseek

      • Ignored by Google

      • Common misspellings

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  • Meta-data

    • Image alt-tags

    • H1 tags

    • Body text

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Relative weight given HTML tags

by U of U Ultraseek Search Engine

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  • Popularity

    • Inbound links

    • Remote anchor links & text

      • Anchor link –

      • Anchor text – words used in link

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How/What to Optimize

  • Popularity

    • Inbound links

    • Example

Anchor link text

Anchor link

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  • Popularity

    • Inbound links

    • Remote anchor links & text

    • GooglebombingWhen a web page places high in search engine results due to frequent anchor links using rude or insulting keywords.

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How/What to Optimize

  • Popularity

    • Inbound links

    • googlebombing

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How/What to Optimize

  • Popularity

    • Inbound links

    • googlebombing

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  • Reliability

    • .edu and .gov domains

    • Domain age

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Black Hat SEO

  • Black Hat SEO:Unscrupulous or deceptive optimization practices intended to spam users or compete unfairly

    • Invisible text

    • Keyword stuffing

    • Duplicate pages

    • Domain cloaking: serving different content to search engine robots than to human visitors

    • Link farms

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Spam Detection Threshold:The number of repeating keywords required for U of UUltraseek search engine to penalize for spamming

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Content Management Systems

  • Dynamic URLs

    • Querystring enabled

    • Consistent, crawl-able URLs

  • Cookies and session IDs

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  • Accessible pages

  • Think landing pages

  • Unique HTML page title for every landing page

  • Content relevant keywords

  • Avoid Black Hat SEO

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  • University Webmaster



    • 581-6113



  • “The ABC of SEO” David George