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Search Optimization, PPC and Organic eMarketing Conference, October 24th 2007 Kevin Lee, Executive Chairman, Didit
Who is your target audience? • Your target audience for your site and your SEM efforts may extend beyond the obvious: • Donors • Volunteers • The Press and Analysts • Foundations • Government orgs • Non-profit Rating orgs • Employees (who may use the web site as a resource) • Potential employees • Consider the needs and behaviors of all important constituents.
Search, a Psychic Mailman (postal carrier) • Search engine marketing is like direct marketing with a Psychic Mailman: • Keywords are like mailing lists – scarce, valuable • Search listings or ads are like the envelope • Your web site … the material inside the envelope • Messages hit the searcher at the perfect time • The searcher is thirsty for info, leaning forward and open to information • Search fulfills the needs of searchers, and helps you accomplish your marketing goals
What do you want to learn? I've taught classes in SEO that take 11 hours to complete. Clearly we can get very specific or cover some of the more general best practices. That all depends on you. What do you want to learn? What are you doing now about SEO?
Top Organic Position Does your boss want you to be in a top position in the organic results for a set of keywords?
Google, Yahoo, MSFT’s Mission The search engines number one priority is relevance, particularly Google. Keep your hand up if you truly believe that you are the most relevant of all possible results for your Boss’ keywords? There lies the SEO quandary. The search engines have a direct interest in making sure you are NOT at the top unless you belong there. Can you give yourself a little edge when your competition does an inferior job at SEO, yes…
SEO is not a game Organic search results appear based on a search engine spider (crawler or robot) visiting your site. Alternatively, your site may be included in the results partially based on the fact that a human-run directory has listed your site. It takes work on your part to make sure your site is “search engine friendly.” That is organic SEO. If you belong in the results for a search, then getting there is an SEO challenge. If you don’t belong in the results no amount of energy can get you there permanently. The engines police against irrelevance and reward relevance. …
Defining Success in Organic SEO: • Don’t go crazy trying to track and manage organic search position across specific keywords. Instead, get your great content as search engine friendly as possible. You’ll get more traffic and if your content is targeted so-too will be your traffic. High quality traffic drives: • Donations • Registrations and Volunteerism • Large number of pageviews (sticky visitors) • Longer time on site (minutes spent interacting and reading • Interaction with the site (commenting, blogging)
SEO Success Depends On: A) How many other sites are seeking to get organic or paid traffic on a similar keyword set and content B) How many sites have similar (or identical) content with better “reputations” C) Magnitude of resources (human capital, PR and other capital) which those sites are putting into organic SEO D) Your level of SEO investment and execution E) Changes in the engine algorithms that favor one site type over another F) Whether your supporter assets can be fully leveraged.
How Hard Should You Fight? • Ironically, for organic SEO, the worse your site is now, the higher ROI you’ll get on SEO investments • Sites with poor SEO normally have some easy fixes • Larger sites have an advantage due to more content • Older orgs that are well known have a natural advantage • Value of a visitor will impact ROI of SEO • Competitiveness of sector will impact ROI. If you are only fighting three other orgs for high position on key industry terms or product terms, your job is easier • Do your constituency use search heavily when researching issues?
If you are the most relevant and not there: Fix what’s wrong. What do search engine spiders do? 1. Find good content 2. Identify that content and separate it from extraneous information 3. Grade the content for clarity 4. Extract the essence of the content 5. Assign the content a source reputation score 6. Understand the context of that content 7. Assign communities, explore interrelationships 8. Catalog the URL of the content 9. Keep the content information fresh (re-spider)
Google Webmaster Central Most of what you need to know about SEO is available at Google’s Webmaster page: How can I improve my site's ranking? Sites' positions in our search results are determined based on a number of factors designed to provide end-users with helpful, accurate search results. These factors are explained in more detail at http://www.google.com/technology/ In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages. For more information about improving your site's visibility in the Google search results, we recommend reviewing our webmaster guidelines. They outline core concepts for maintaining a Google-friendly website.
The Google Toolbar for SEO SEO practitioners rely on more than just Google Webmaster Central. We love the Google Toolbar: Toolbar Shows PageRank plus more useful SEO info: Sites' Back-links Cache
Readability of Content by Search Engines Search Engine spiders can’t see everything on your web site the way a human visitor to the site can. Search engines can only read/interpret text. Text must be in spider-friendly readable formats: 1. HTML (file extension doesn’t matter), names of elements embedded in HTML + Alt Tags 2. PDFs (properly formatted) 3. Word documents 4. PowerPoint files 5. text files / RTF files / CSV files 8. a few other selected file types.
Back to Basics for optimal site-side SEO • SEO is about going back to basics for textual content so that the engines get what they need. • simple • compelling • descriptive • clear • complete • Many old websites do particularly well for SEO because the developers had to rely on text and copy.
Inverted Pyramid Style for Copy How many people have written a press release or a journalistic story? Writing for publication in newspapers or magazines or for press releases uses a a concept called the inverted pyramid style. Start with the meatiest part of the story, even the story’s conclusion, and then support that conclusion or the essence of the story with more facts or emotional copy. Each page of your site has a concept that describes that page, as well as how that page fits into your site. Keep that core concept in mind when writing the copy for the page.
The Almighty Anchor tag Search engine spiders have moved toward weighing external variables when determining relevance. The most important concepts to understand are. Links from trusted, reputable sites will generally improve ranking (Yahoo, DMOZ.org) An anchor link is one that includes the keyword or phrase as the underlined portion. Most engines consider the words or concepts in anchors when determining relevance. It’s quantity but more importantly quality of links
The Almighty Anchor tag • Communities exist online. For every industry or topic, communities of sites exist. Several search engines are weighing links between community sites as more relevant. • Do not buy into link farms. Build your links with online PR and leverage your support base. • Bloggers • Volunteers & Memebers • Supporting foundations • Press releases • Partner organizations
SEO Status Research, How am I doing? Google: site:www.yourdomain.com Yahoo: site:www.yourdomain.com MSN/Live: site:www.yourdomain.com This can be done with a keyword site:www.didit.com kevin will return every page on didit.com that contains the term “kevin” Links in to your site (or any other site): Google/MSN: link:www.youordomain.com Yahoo: linkdomain:www.youordomain.com
Remember Search is rarely spontaneous Consumers Search because they: Saw media/advertising Read or heard something in the news or magazines, potentially PR-driven Word of mouth conversations (online or off) Online surfing stimulates a search (content, blogs, etc.) Interacted with an offline marcom (mailing, event)
Conclusion Stay Educated on best practices Consider a request for services at SEMPO.org or SEMCares.com. Some vendors do Pro-Bono or reduced-fee work. Copies of PPT? firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions?