Introduction to SEO


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Slides for my 3 hour lecture on the basics of SEO for the DMI Digital Marketing Bootcamp in February 2011 in Belfast.

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Introduction to SEO

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimisation<br />A quick & dirty intro guide to playing tag with search engines<br />Barry Adams<br />Senior Digital Marketer for Search<br />Pierce Communications<br />
  2. 2. Slide 2<br />Barry Adams credentials<br />Who is this guy and why is he teaching SEO?<br /><ul><li>Senior Digital Marketer for Search at Pierce Communications
  3. 3. Previous:
  4. 4. SEO & PPC consultant for the Independent News & Media (Belfast Telegraph, nijobfinder, nicarfinder, Property News)
  5. 5. Web Consultant to SMEs in the Netherlands
  6. 6. In-house webmaster and digital marketer for Honeywell & Philips
  7. 7. Search blogger on State of Search ( and Search News Central (
  8. 8. Prolific twitterer (@badams)</li></li></ul><li>Slide 3<br />Agenda<br />What is SEO?<br />1<br />2<br />Why is SEO important?<br />How do you do SEO?<br />3<br />
  9. 9. Slide 4<br />What is SEO?<br />1<br />
  10. 10. Slide 5<br />Search Engine Optimisation<br /><ul><li>Wikipedia: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.
  11. 11. Getting more relevant traffic to websites via search engines' organic results.</li></ul>Definition of SEO<br />
  12. 12. Slide 6<br />2<br />Why is SEO important?<br />
  13. 13. Slide 7<br />Search Engines<br />
  14. 14. Slide 8<br />UK Search Engine Market Shares<br />SE Market Share 2010<br /><ul><li>Google 92.03%
  15. 15. Bing 3.17%
  16. 16. Yahoo! 2.95%
  17. 17. AOL 0.91%
  18. 18. Ask 0.85%
  19. 19. Other 0.09%.</li></li></ul><li>Slide 9<br />Some Relevant Statistics<br />Worldwide Internet Usage<br /><ul><li>2 billion users online
  20. 20. Dec 2009: 131 billion searches (that’s more than 49,000 searches/second)</li></ul>UK Internet Usage<br /><ul><li>51.4 milion users (82.5% of the population)
  21. 21. In April 2010, Google received 4.1 billion search page views in the UK
  22. 22. The UK internet economy is worth £100 billion = 7.2% of UK gross domestic product</li></ul>Search Engine Usage<br /><ul><li>89% of all online purchases in the UK begin with a search
  23. 23. 92% of all UK Internet users choose Google as their preferred search engine
  24. 24. Organic search results receive over 75% of all clicks
  25. 25. 91% of users do not look past the first page of search results</li></li></ul><li>Slide 10<br />Google<br />
  26. 26. Slide 11<br />Search Engine Results Page (SERP)<br />
  27. 27. Slide 12<br />Organic (natural) Results<br />
  28. 28. Slide 13<br />Paid Advertising (PPC: Google Adwords)<br />
  29. 29. Slide 14<br />Google Instant & Google Suggest<br />
  30. 30. Slide 15<br />Verticals & Search Refinements<br />
  31. 31. Slide 16<br />Universal Search<br />
  32. 32. Slide 17<br />News Results<br />
  33. 33. Slide 18<br />Image Results<br />
  34. 34. Slide 19<br />Video Results<br />
  35. 35. Slide 20<br />Local Results (Google Maps)<br />
  36. 36. Slide 21<br />How do you do SEO?<br />3<br />
  37. 37. Generic SEO Tools<br />Slide 22<br />Google Analytics<br />Free world-class web analytics<br />Know what is happening on your website<br />SEO purposes: discover which keywords drive the most traffic & sales<br />Will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses<br /><br />Rankchecker (Firefox plugin)<br />Free tool to check where your website ranks in Google for a given set of keywords<br />Not 100% accurate: rankings are fluid (personalised results, local results, etc.)<br /><br />
  38. 38. Slide 23<br />SEO is about two things:<br />Keywords<br />Links<br /><ul><li>Keywords match a search query to a webpage.
  39. 39. Links determine which webpage ranks highest.</li></li></ul><li>The SEO process<br />Slide 24<br />KeywordResearch<br /><ul><li>Find the right keywords to optimise for</li></ul>On-Page Optimisation<br /><ul><li>Implement those keywords on the website
  40. 40. Make the website search-engine friendly</li></ul>Linkbuilding<br /><ul><li>Build links to the website to increase its authority </li></li></ul><li>Slide 25<br />KeywordResearch<br /><ul><li>Find the right keywords to optimise for.</li></li></ul><li>Slide 26<br />Keyword Research<br /><ul><li>Start with a basic set of keywords related to the website and the industry it operates in
  41. 41. engagement ring, diamond engagement ring, gold engagement ring
  42. 42. Use a keyword tool to expand the list and research competitive info
  43. 43. wedding ring, wedding band, platinum bands, white gold engagement rings, cheap engagement rings, custom engagement rings, hand-made wedding rings, design your own wedding ring, celtic wedding rings, ...
  44. 44. Refine the list to a set of target keywords
  45. 45. diamond engagement rings, celtic wedding rings, gold wedding rings, platinum wedding bands, white gold engagement rings</li></li></ul><li>Slide 27<br />The Long Tail<br />
  46. 46. Slide 28<br />Keyword Research Tools<br />Google Adwords Keyword Tool –<br />
  47. 47. Slide 29<br />Google Adwords Keyword Tool<br />Advanced options: country & language settings<br />
  48. 48. Slide 30<br />Google Adwords Keyword Tool<br />Match Types: Broad / [Exact] / “Phrase”<br />
  49. 49. Slide 31<br />Keyword Research Tools<br />Wordtracker -<br />
  50. 50. Slide 32<br />Keyword Research Tools<br />Google Trends –<br />
  51. 51. Slide 33<br />Keyword Research Tools<br />Google Suggest<br />
  52. 52. Keyword Research<br />Slide 34<br />Tips and advice:<br /><ul><li>Make sure your target keywords are relevant to the website’s business
  53. 53. Go for keywords that you can actually rank for (hint: ‘car insurance’ is probably out of your league)
  54. 54. Try to mix generic keywords (‘wedding ring’) with long-tail keywords (‘white gold engagement ring’)
  55. 55. Don‘t rely too much on keyword tools, their data isn‘t 100% accurate – use common sense
  56. 56. Monitor your SEO results to find out which keywords perform the best, and focus your efforts there
  57. 57. Re-do your keyword research for ongoing clients regularly</li></li></ul><li>The SEO process<br />Slide 35<br />On-Page Optimisation<br /><ul><li>Implement those keywords on the website
  58. 58. Make the website search-engine friendly</li></li></ul><li>On-Page Optimisation<br />Slide 36<br /><ul><li>Search Engines rank webpages – not websites
  59. 59. Build a page around a theme and stick with it:
  60. 60. One page about wedding rings
  61. 61. One page about engagement rings
  62. 62. One sub-page about white gold engagement rings
  63. 63. Don’t stuff a webpage full of keywords – moderation is key
  64. 64. Always keep the end user in mind – don’t write for search engines, write for users!</li></li></ul><li>Slide 37<br />On-Page Optimisation<br />Elements to be optimised:<br />Title tag<br />+<br />Meta Description tag<br />+<br />Headlines and paragraph structure<br />+<br />Body text<br />+<br />Image alt attribute<br />+<br />URLs<br />+<br />Internal links<br />+<br />Sitemap (HTML and XML)<br />+<br />
  65. 65. On-Page Optimisation<br /><title>Digital Marketing Training Courses from the Digital Marketing Institute</title><br />Start with your focus keyword, end with your brand name (you can use separators like – and | )<br />Keep it short – 65-70 characters<br />Unique title for every page on your website<br />Usually shown on SERPs (but not always)<br />Slide 38<br />Title tag<br />+<br />
  66. 66. On-Page Optimisation<br /><meta name=‘description’ content=‘The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) provides online marketing training courses on a range of digital marketing throughout Ireland: Dublin, Cork and’><br />Not a ranking factor – but a very important click-through factor<br />SERPs only show 150 characters – but no guarantee they’ll actually show your description.<br />Try to include the focus keyword once<br />Slide 39<br />Meta Description tag<br />+<br />
  67. 67. On-Page Optimisation<br />Slide 40<br />Headlines and paragraph structure<br />+<br /><H1> headline<br /><H2> subheader<br /><H3> subheaders<br /><p> paragraphs<br />Allows SEs to understand the content and its context<br />
  68. 68. On-Page Optimisation<br />Slide 41<br />Body text<br />+<br />Write for users, not for search engines<br />More content = better for search engines<br />Less content = better for users<br />Minimum 200 words (rough guideline)<br />Include your focus keyword(s) and synonyms<br />Write naturally and make it readable<br />Don’t stuff it full of keywords<br />Find the right balance<br />
  69. 69. On-Page Optimisation<br />Make images relevant to the content<br />Include a relevant alt attribute – preferably containing (part of) the focus keyword<br />Can you think of a better alt attribute than the one above?<br />Slide 42<br />Image alt attribute<br />+<br /><imgsrc="" alt="Ireland Map with pins"><br />
  70. 70. On-Page Optimisation<br />Bad URL:…<br />Good URL:http://<br />Don’t overdo it – no keyword stuffing<br />Use a logical structure that makes sense to humans<br />Slide 43<br />+<br />URLs<br />
  71. 71. On-Page Optimisation<br />Link from top to bottom<br />Link sideways & diagonally<br />Use keywords in the linkWrong:To read more about wedding rings, click here.Right: Read more about wedding rings.<br />Use breadcrumb links<br />Slide 44<br />+<br />Internal links<br />
  72. 72. On-Page Optimisation<br />Slide 45<br />+<br />Sitemap (HTML and XML)<br />HTML Sitemap:<br />Webpage listing all (relevant) pages on the website<br />Allows users to quickly find the page they’re looking for<br />Allows search engines to index all pages on your website<br />XML Sitemap:<br />XML file containing all webpages on a website that you want to get indexed<br />Can also include images and videos<br />Gives more information to search engines: update frequency, importance, preferred URL, date of last change.<br />Never a replacement for a good indexable website!<br />
  73. 73. On-Page Optimisation<br />Slide 46<br />Lies, Myths, and Disinformation:<br />Hidden text (white text on a white background)<br />don’t use it, it doesn’t work and may get you penalised.<br />Meta Keywords tag<br />mostly useless but for completion’s sake you can fill it in.<br />Keyword Stuffing<br />doesn’t work and may get you penalised.<br />Shockwave Flash<br />invisible to search engines so don’t use it if you don’t have to<br />JavaScript<br />mostly invisible so be careful when using it<br />
  74. 74. On-Page Optimisation Tools<br />Slide 47<br />XENU Link Sleuth<br /><br />Indexes all pages of a website - data is exportable to Excel<br />Use to create XML sitemap & diagnose title tags, meta descriptions, internal linking, and indexation issues<br />Firebug (Firefox plugin)<br /><br />Use to diagnose header tags, image alt attributes<br />Google Webmaster Tools<br /><br />Representation of how Google sees your website<br />Great data!<br />Pay attention to the warnings<br />
  75. 75. Google Webmaster Tools<br />Slide 48<br />
  76. 76. The SEO process<br />Slide 49<br />Linkbuilding<br /><ul><li>Build links to the website to increase its authority </li></li></ul><li>Linkbuilding<br />Slide 50<br />Links determine a page’s authority<br />Higher authority = higher ranking on SERPs<br />More links = higher authority<br />Not all links are equal<br />1 valuable link from a high authority website > 100 links from low-quality sites<br />Link text is very important<br />Branded link: Pierce Communications<br />Keyword-rich link: Web Design Belfast<br />a website needs both<br />
  77. 77. Linkbuilding<br />Slide 51<br />How to see if a link is valuable or not?<br />PageRank<br />A measure of how important Google believes the page is<br />Not an accurate measure but gives a general idea<br />0 = bad, 10 = awesome<br />mozRank<br />Developed by SEOmoz and a little bit more accurate than PageRank<br />Not ‘nofollowed’<br />rel=nofollow attribute means a link will not pass any value<br />Common Sense<br />Spammy websites = low quality link<br />Popular site = high quality link<br />Relevant site = valuable link<br />
  78. 78. Linkbuilding<br />Slide 52<br />Different types of links:<br />Reciprocal links<br />Site A links to site B, and site B links back to site A<br />Not very valuable – avoid if you can<br />Link wheel<br />Site A links to site B, site B links to site C, site C links to site A<br />Not very valuable and a spam signal – avoid if you can<br />One-way link<br />Site A links to site B. The end.<br />Most valuable type of link – get lots of these!<br />
  79. 79. Linkbuilding<br />Slide 53<br />How to build links?<br />Directory Submissions<br />1<br />Press Releases<br />2<br />Article Marketing & Guest Blogging<br />3<br />Linkbait<br />4<br />
  80. 80. How to build links?<br />Slide 54<br />Directory Submissions<br />1<br />Online (business) directories such as:<br /><br /><br />Best of the Web (<br />The best directories are usually paid<br />Always check if a directory link is valuable<br />What is the PageRank of where your link will end up?<br />Is that page/category even indexed by Google?<br />Is the link nofollowed?<br />Usually good for building a base of branded links<br />Try to find vertical directories relevant to your industry<br />
  81. 81. How to build links?<br />Slide 55<br />Press Releases<br />2<br />Great way to build valuable links<br />Make sure your press release…:<br />Is newsworthy, relevant, and interesting enough to be worth reading<br />Contains a link back to your site (preferably with a keyword-rich link text)<br />Use professional PR distributors<br />PR Web: £40 to £200 per press release<br />PR Newswire UK: pricing per article<br />BusinessWire: pricing per article<br />MyNewsDesk: £0 to £590 per month<br />No guarantee it will be picked up by news outlets<br />But generally more money spent translates to more & better links<br />
  82. 82. How to build links?<br />Slide 56<br />Article Marketing & Guest Blogging<br />3<br />Write relevant articles / blog posts (or hire a copywriter)<br />Links in article & in author bio<br />Article sites:<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Guest blogging:<br /><br /><br />Approach blogs & websites directly and offer content<br />
  83. 83. How to build links?<br />Slide 57<br />Linkbait<br />4<br />Linkbait is:<br />Content (published on your website) that is so interesting / funny / newsworthy / controversial that people will link to it without having to be asked<br />Types of linkbait:<br />Great articles with valuable insights<br />Infographics<br />Breaking news stories<br />Top 10 lists<br />Spread via social media<br />Share on Twitter & Facebook<br />Submit to social news sites such as Reddit<br />
  84. 84. Linkbuilding Tools<br />Slide 58<br />SearchStatus Firefox plugin<br /><br />Shows a webpage’s PageRank & mozRank and highlights nofollowed links<br />SEOmoz Open Site Explorer<br /><br />Free version shows you a good overview of links pointing to a site<br />Analyse your competitor’s links and see if you can get some of them as well<br />Don’t just copy, but let yourself be inspired<br />Google Webmaster Tools<br />See some of the links that Google actually counts<br />
  85. 85. Slide 59<br />?<br />Questions?<br />?<br />?<br />Barry Adams<br /><br /><br />
  86. 86. What’s next?<br />Slide 60<br />Reading Material & Advanced SEO<br />
  87. 87. Reading Material<br />Slide 61<br />SEO is not static, so keeping up to date is crucial<br />Search Engine Land<br /><br />SEOmoz<br /><br />State of Search<br /><br />Search News Central<br /><br />Search Engine Journal<br /><br />
  88. 88. Advanced SEO<br />Slide 62<br />Search Intent<br />Informational / Navigational / Transactional queries<br />Matching user intent to your SEO goals<br /><br />Search Patents & Research Papers<br />Insight in to how search engines operate<br />Technically challenging so leave the interpretations to the experts!<br /><br /><br />
  89. 89. Advanced SEO<br />Slide 63<br />Information Retrieval (IR)<br />A discipline of Computer Science<br />IR is what search engines do: retrieve information from the web with the highest possible levels of precision and recall<br /><br />Information Architecture (IA)<br />Making information accessible to humans<br />Websites built using good IA are nearly always SEO-friendly <br /><br />
  90. 90. Advanced SEO<br />Slide 64<br />Microformats / Microdata / RDFa<br />Also known as ‘structured data’<br />Meta information – information about information<br /><br />HTML5<br />Next-generation HTML code containing new markup<br />Very SEO-proof, makes life for search engines much easier<br /><br />
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