Green Hectares Rural Tech Workshop – Search Engine Optimization


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A workshop covering the basics of search engine optimization. Green Hectares offers this content as part of an initiative to enable rural communities with technology.

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  • - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Welcome to Search Engine Optimization - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The purpose of this workshop is intended to teach the students how to understand Search Engine Optimization and how to get the most out of their own website. * Instructor notes will be distinguished by italics. Make sure that the following are installed / updated: Windows 7 Other requirements: Internet Connection (High Speed Preferred) * This course should be taught by a person with a graphics / web development background.
  • Organic Optimization Organic optimization is an unpaid method of improving search engine ranking. By using some of the techniques in this presentation, one will be able to improve their search results. This method is the most effective and most recommended since ads may improve search ranking temporarily, however soon fall by the wayside when an ad campaign is complete. Paid Optimization A Search Engine Optimization method in which one pays for advertising space on a search engine. Example: Google Adwords. This method is recommended for new companies that are just starting their website. Since it may take up to six months for search engines to read a website’s contents, paid optimization yields instant results opposed to waiting for search engines to search your website.
  • Indexing collects and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval. Search Engines use programs called Crawlers (sometimes referred to as spiders or bots) to scan websites for all the relevant content that will improve search ranking for a website. Search Engines use Crawlers to find pages with specific keywords. Once a page is found it is indexed with the Search Engine. Meaning a copy is saved and analyzed in greater detail for key phrases and attributes.
  • Certain pages can be detrimental to Search Engine ranking. These include: Login Pages, Shopping carts, Newsletter sign up pages. You can exclude certain pages from Search Engine Crawlers. Use an exclusion document call robot.txt and list all the pages that you wish to exclude from Search Engine Crawlers.
  • Cross-linking Cross-linking between sites and pages will improve prominence. Cross-linking is the process in which one website places a relevant link to another website. Establishing links of relevance legitimizes a new website, thus improving its ranking. Example: Linking to government (known quality websites) receives higher rankings than linking business to business. Content with Keywords ‘ Content is king.’ Write content containing keywords. Make a list of keyword phrases that you wish to apply to your website and be sure to write content with these keyword phrases throughout the copy. * Ask students to list keywords their target audience may use to search their business. Title Tags The title is what is displayed at the top of the webpage. Be sure to use keywords within the title tag to improve Search Engine Optimization. Meta Description Meta Description is typically used in the head of the document. The head of the document is part of a webpage that is hidden by users and read by Search Engines and Web Browsers. Meta Description should be a brief one or two sentence statement of what the website is about.
  • The head of the document is a vital part of a website despite being hidden from user’s view. Search Engines search the head for Meta Tags and Meta Descriptions as one criteria for search ranking. The content in the head of the document is referenced in conjunction with the content on the webpage. Certain functionality of a website is not limited to the main web language of HTML. Languages such as javascript, PHP, and CSS are all linked from within the head of a document to add functionality. Example: Contact Forms that people fill out to contact a company is an example of additional languages needed.
  • Meta Tags are keywords that are added to the head of the document. Search Engine crawlers typically look for description tags as well as keyword tags. One suggestion is to choose Meta Keywords that use phrases rather than single words.
  • You should consider that Spiders do not take into account punctuation. The closer the keywords are together, the better it is for Search Engine Optimization. You will be able to put keywords close together and separate them using punctuation. Example: ‘Zephyr Training offers training in Alberta. Our Edmonton based office…’ Where keywords are Edmonton and Alberta.
  • Spread keywords throughout the page. Consistent use of keywords and keyword phrases will contribute to good Search Engine Optimization. To a Search Engine this will be great for keyword density, and to users you are being informative and concise. Place keywords in the following areas: Headings – Equivalent to the article title in a newspaper. Paragraphs – The content of a website. Sidebars – Any additional content along the side bar.
  • Example: Write pages that warn against the issues of having cheap software training. Your business will not be viewed as a cheap provider of software training, but will place online for Cheap software training.
  • Bullets are short and easy to pick up by scanning readers. Have you ever noticed your eye naturally picking a list out of a paragraph? Lists can be a very valuable means of drawing attention to certain topics. Unfortunately, lists are an underused function by content creators. One suggestion is to list your services in bullet form. Beware of repeating keywords within lists, as it can be easy to overuse keywords when presented in a list.
  • Some pages may have too many keywords or phrases that are unrelated to one another, having sporadic keywords may not be effective for Search Engine Optimization. For ecommerce pages that sell a variety of products, having unrelated keywords could be detrimental to search results. By creating feature pages for products and focusing on one or two keywords, a website can nullify the bad effects of having too many keywords on ecommerce pages.
  • Testimonials legitimize your website to users but are also a good opportunity to improve Search Engine Optimization. Many clients providing testimonials will not use keywords. With permission, replace their content with keywords to improve Search Engine Optimization.
  • Break up paragraphs They are a great way to capture a user’s attention when they are scanning. Subheadings used to describe a paragraph’s content will help users develop a general idea of what an article is about. Quality subheadings will encourage individuals to read the content that is under the subheadings. Headings make pages less dark The more paragraphs and words there are on a page, the darker the page seems. When headings are added between paragraphs, there are top and bottom margins that are added to the headings. The more space you use to separate the paragraphs, the easier it will be for users to scan and pick out the content they require.
  • The page title is a the line of text that is at the top of the Internet browser. This line is searched by the Search Engine Crawlers and is one criteria used to determine search ranking. When creating titles for Search Engines you may be tempted to place the company name first and then the keywords second. However, unless your company is a household name this is a mistake. Words in titles have less precedence the further down the title goes. Therefore the first couple words are ranked the highest, while towards the end of the tile has the weakest ranking. If one were to put the company name first, while adding keywords after, the effectiveness of the keywords will be diminished. Place the keywords and phrases first in the title and then the company name later.
  • The longer a website has been running, the better for organic Search Engine Optimization. For those website owners that are establishing keywords for their websites, it may be difficult to rank well against the competition with common keywords. Choose keywords that are less popular or offer your website little competition. Organic search ranking takes time to establish, however making the investment in time yields the best results for retaining a high keyword ranking. By establishing search ranking with less popular keywords, traffic will dictate higher search rankings when more popular keywords are searched. Slowly start building traffic to the website by starting small and working up.
  • The home link for your website should link to your domain not the index page. What is the index? The index page is the default page that a user will land on when typing in your domain or directed via a Search Engine. The convention is to link the ‘home’ button to the index page, but to improve Search Engine ranking, link to the domain name instead since it leads to the same place.
  • Links in Content When creating your content, go through the website and attach links to certain words. This will increase traffic to other pages in your website and leads the user through your website. Keywords within link Rather than using ‘Click Here’ as a link use ‘View Zephyr Training Schedule.’ Avoid Images Images are content that Crawlers can not read. Avoid using images as links as they do not provide much content for Crawlers to work with. Links breathing room Allow links to be visible. Do not clutter links with other links. Be sure to make them clear and underlined.
  • Images If you must use images as links be sure to use the Alt Attribute properly. The Alt attribute is a piece of HTML code that screen readers will read to visually impaired individuals to let them know what is the image. Example: The Alt on the Green Hectares logo, the Alt attribute will read ‘Green Hectares Logo.’ Screen readers will in turn read ‘Green Hectares Logo’ to the user. Adobe Flash Adobe Flash is a format that Crawlers can not read. Avoid using this format whenever possible. If Flash is insisted upon, combine Flash elements with text content that Crawlers can read. Try using a Flash banner rather than using an entire Flash website. *Search for an example of a Flash Banner and a Flash website. Drop down menus Drop down menus are another way of confusing Search Engine Spiders. In some cases using drop down menus are unavoidable, especially when used on a larger website. Be sure to use other methods of improving Search Engine Optimization using content and links.
  • Content King Links Queen Content and keywords are extremely important. Another important piece of your website are links. Links to other websites as well as links from other websites helps legitimize your website. Ask suppliers to put your website onto their website. Scratching backs The more you are willing to link to other websites, the more likely others will link to your website. Link vs. submission In many cases linking to an established or highly ranked site will help your search ranking opposed to submitting your website to Search Engines for Crawlers. Quality vs. quantity 1 link to a highly ranked website is better than 20 mediocre ranked websites.
  • Consistency Do not change the order of links. Typically once a user has scanned the page and has grown accustomed to the links and learn the navigation. If you change the order, it prolongs the period of time the user familiarizes themselves with your navigation which increases frustration. Conventions Stick to naming conventions such as ‘Gallery,’ ‘Photos’ and ‘About.’ Stay away from abstract navigation names. Primary navigation is typically near the top of the page as well as along the left column. Links should stand out Do not rely on users interacting with a link in order to ‘discover’ it is a link. Make all links clear and defined. Links swept under carpet Pages should not be hidden under several layers of navigation. If the page is placed three layers deep on a website, consider removing the page completely. Absolute links Primary navigation should contain absolute links. Rather than linking ‘About Us’ to the HTML page ‘about.html’ use ‘’ This will increase the frequency that the domain name is accessed by a link.
  • Place keywords into the link name. Example: Instead of using ‘Our Locations’, use ‘Edmonton Locations.’ The purpose of sitemaps is to allow users to see your site in its entirety as well as allow Search Engines to rank the website well. Crawlers are able to scan your site more accurately with a sitemap. The sitemap can be created in bullet form. Use synonyms for keywords: ‘online training’ vs. ‘internet classes.’ Using synonyms allows better coverage for more keywords. Rather than using the term ‘online’ exclusively, use ‘internet’ instead.
  • Once you have optimized your website with all the previous steps you may submit your website to search engines to ensure that your website is Crawled by their spiders. * Go to and fill out all information. Do not submit your website until you have completed optimization. Since it takes weeks or even months to get.
  • Webmasters choose keywords or key phrases for their listing and to create ads. How it works? Webmasters bids against others that have similar key phrases for page order on search results. When a user types in keywords or keyword phrases, sponsored links and ads will show up. The more Webmaster is willing to pay per click, the higher their listing will be on the list. Problem with pay per click is you’re in constant competition for position. The question is raised, how valuable can Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns be? Does the money spent on these campaigns generate additional business? Since Search Engine Optimization typically involves patience and waiting. PPC offer instant gratification. Once your account is set up you can instantly see the listing on the internet.
  • PPC campaigns have no influence on organic Search Engine Optimization results. Many users don’t click on paid listings. Do you? Many people think that PPC campaigns are an easy way to the top. This is not the case because PPC can become quite expensive. Poorly optimized sites will fall by the wayside once PPC campaigns are ended. PPC will help show Webmasters which keywords should be used in organic Search Engine Optimization.
  • Green Hectares Rural Tech Workshop – Search Engine Optimization

    1. 1. Search Engine Optimization
    3. 3. What is SEO• Search Engine Optimization – Organic Optimization – Paid Optimization
    4. 4. Methods• Indexing – Crawlers – Spider to the Internet’s ‘web’ – Search for key phrases and attributes
    5. 5. Methods• Preventing Crawling – Pages you don’t want crawled – Login pages – Shopping Cart pages – Newsletter sign up• How?
    6. 6. Methods• Increasing Prominence – Cross Link – Content containing keywords – Title tags – Meta description
    7. 7. Head of the document• Hidden from sight• Important to search engines and browsers• Used to link other languages to the website created in HTML
    8. 8. Head of the document• SEO and the head of the document – Meta tags – Key phrases such as “Online training in Alberta”
    9. 9. Text Content• Keywords and punctuation• Split text into paragraphs• Bulleted lists• Keyword specific pages• Testimonials
    10. 10. Keywords and Punctuation• Spiders do not recognize punctuation• Write content and have punctuation work for you
    11. 11. Split content• Utilize various areas of the website• Place keywords in the following places – Headings – Paragraphs – Sidebars
    12. 12. Using Opposites• Search engines are not aware of context• Use opposite intentions to increase traffic Example: Cheap software training
    13. 13. Bullets• Bullets are easy to read• Underused function• Beware of repetition
    14. 14. Keyword specific pages• Too many keywords on one page• Typical for E-Commerce sites• Create pages dedicated to one or two keywords
    15. 15. Testimonials• Use keywords in testimonials• Request permission to replace keywords
    16. 16. Paragraph Headings• Break up paragraphs• Headings make pages less dark
    17. 17. Title• The line of text at the top of page• Put keywords first• Company name last
    18. 18. Unique Keywords• Establish keywords that are not your typical keywords• Use traffic from less popular keywords to slowly start taking traffic from competitors
    19. 19. Links• Internal Links• Link format• External Links
    20. 20. Internal Links• Home links should link to domain – Not index.html
    21. 21. Internal Links• Apply links to content• Use keywords within link• Avoid Images• Give links room to breathe
    22. 22. Rich Media• Images• Adobe Flash• Drop down menus
    23. 23. External Links• If content is king links are queen• Scratch backs and in turn have your back scratched• Links can be better than submission• Quality not quantity
    24. 24. Site Link Structure• Consistency• Conventions• Links should stand out regardless of rollover• Links swept under the carpet• Use absolute links
    25. 25. Sitemap• List keywords as links• Great for both users and search engines• Can be created in bullet form• Use synonyms of your keywords
    26. 26. Site Submission• Submit sites to various search engines• Do not submit until you have completed optimization
    27. 27. Pay Per Click• Select keyword or key phrases for listing• Bid to be listed• Constant competition• Instant gratification
    28. 28. Pros and Cons• No bearing on organic SEO• Many users do not click on paid results• Bad optimization still leads to poor listing• PPC are great indicators of which keywords to address.
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