When prospects or customers search they are presented with both paid and organic (or natural) search results. <Read Quote> Today’s focus will be on how to optimize your content for the organic results.
The presentation today will not cover paid search or PPC, but detailed information can be found on Yahoo and Google regarding how to set up a paid search program.
What are the critical on page influencers of search results?
After keyword selection, page titles are the single most important factor when thinking about search engine optimization. Page titles set the stage for your website and help the search engines determine what the page is about. It is important to use specific keyword phrases and write content for the page that will support the keyword choice that appears in the title. Each page should have an unique page title. Your most important pages should have titles that are keyword oriented while pages not designed to drive traffic (legal, contact, sitemap pages, etc.) should use logical titles.
In addition to their importance in assisting the search engines in their determination of what a particular is about, page titles are used by the search engines when displaying your listing in their search results. A good page title not only will use an appropriate keyword but will be written in a way that demonstrates that the listing is a good match to the search query.
How do search engines determine the snippet they display in the results? Description Meta tags are often used by the search engines in the snippet they choose to display in their search results but they also sometimes use content snippets from the page copy to display in their results. Since the website owner does not have the ability to choose what is displayed it is a best practice to write a good description along with strong, original content. In this example, the website represented in the first highlighted listing did not use a description tag and did not have strong content on the page resulting a rather poor search result. In the second example, the website had a good description tag which was used by Google in the snippet.
In addition to titles and descriptions, header tags should be used on web pages to provide additional keyword clues to the search engines. Search engines evaluate the titles along with header tags and content to determine how well a web page is suited to represent the particular keyword choice. <click> In this example, mycorporation, is reinforcing their title in the header tag by using LLC and Incorporate providing additional clues as to what this page is about. <click> Header tags look like this in the html code.
Nothing can substitute for strong, user engaging content. But when writing content is important to understand how the search engines evaluate what they see and how you can influence that to improve your search results position.
Today we looked at the most important on page factors, but these are but one lever in good SEO. Other levers include in keyword research. What phrases do people think of when searching for the type of content or product your website offers? Link building. Does your website offer something unique and differentiating that might encourage other sites to link to you. Link building is a whole topic onto itself and there is a large body of opinion in the industry, not always in agreement, on what works and what doesn’t work. Unethical SEO. Avoid hiding text on the page, duplicate content and link farms.
If you want to learn more, there a number of respected blogs to read for more information. In addition, I recommend the book by Moran & Hunt which is a well written, in-depth guide to all the elements of SEO mentioned in the previous slide.
1. Search Engine 101: An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization Presented by: Brian Kleisner Intuit Global Search Marketing July 23, 2008
2. Paid Vs. Organic Search Results According to Nielson / Net Ratings, 46% of Web sites are found through search, and 55% of all online purchases result from Web sites found through search engines. Savvy SEO professionals think about content creation as writing for this audience . Paid Search Results (sponsored) Organic Search Results (natural)
3. For More Information on Paid Search… http://adwords.google.com/select/Login http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/index.php
4. How Do Search Engines Work? <ul><li>Search engines collect all of the words on each web page taking note of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where they are placed on the page and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How they are formatted </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The engines don’t think, they simply use pattern matching and scoring attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines look at all of the pages on the web and take note of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How they are connected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The themes running through them </li></ul></ul>
5. On Page Influencers of Search Results <ul><li>Page Title </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The single most important element on a web page for SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each page should have an unique title </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Description Meta tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May appear in the search results snippet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should utilize important keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each page should have an unique description </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Header tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide additional information to the search engine of what the page is about </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must include keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The first 250 words are the most important </li></ul></ul>
6. The Importance of Page Titles Page Title
7. The Importance of Page Titles This is how page titles appear in search results Does this search result inspire your confidence that this website will meet your needs? Compare this result to this one. Which one better meets your request as a searcher?
8. The Importance of Description Tags Compare this description to this one. Which one better describes what you are looking for? Does this description inspire your confidence that this website will meet your needs?
9. The Importance of Header Tags <ul><li>Header tags help the search engines understand what the page is about much like a headline in a newspaper. </li></ul><ul><li>Header tags also help tie the page content to the page title. </li></ul>
10. Content - Writing Tips for Search <ul><li>Do your keyword research. Think like your audience and be specific. </li></ul><ul><li>Look at each page in your site — what words do you think are relevant for each page? Now look again at the pages — are you actually using these words? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try searching your own site for these words. If you can't find them, search engines won't. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choose one keyword phrase that is targeted for each page </li></ul><ul><li>Include each keyword phrase three to four times each within your copy — more if it makes sense. If your text sounds “awkward” to you, slice your keyword phrase usage. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the exact term — “small business accounting software” is not the same as “accounting software for small business.”. </li></ul><ul><li>The first 250 words on a page are the most important. Search engines prefer body text that contains 300 to 500 words per page. The longer the better opportunity for keyword placement that sounds good — your text always needs to sound natural. </li></ul>
11. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Levers SEO Basics = <ul><li>On Page Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Title Tag </li></ul><ul><li>Description Tag </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords in Body </li></ul><ul><li>Heading Tags </li></ul>+ <ul><li>Avoid Unethical </li></ul><ul><li>SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Hidden Text </li></ul><ul><li>Duplicate Content </li></ul><ul><li>Link Farms </li></ul>+ <ul><li>Keyword Research </li></ul><ul><li>Search volume </li></ul><ul><li>Competitiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Relativity </li></ul>+ <ul><li>Link Building </li></ul><ul><li>Navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Internal </li></ul><ul><li>External </li></ul>
12. To Learn More <ul><li>Search Engine Optimization Blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.seomoz.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.searchengineland.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.searchenginewatch.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Books </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Moran, M. and Hunt, B. (2008) Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site (2d Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: IBM Press. </li></ul></ul>