Digital Visibility Guide
Contents
Introduction ..............................................................................
Introduction
This document offers guidelines for the development of digital content that will
enable the achievement of di...
may not be the same as the words that are employed in other, off-line marketing
activities.
The “Top 20” keywords are the ...
Implementing the Keyword Strategy
1

Every value page of your website should feature at least 250 words that exist in
supp...
Meta content
The meta title is the HTML code that specifies the title of a certain web page and
is very valuable. Its purp...
The meta description should be no less than 80 and no more than 150
characters in length. (150 characters are about the mo...
Content Authoring for Finding Engine Visibility
As mentioned in the sidebar, content excellence is the key factor in achie...
because search engines linguistically process the content of your website, if no
or too little content exists in support o...
How to write
Your goal is to write at least 250 words of content for each web page. As you
write:
•

Focus on the theme

•...
Factors of Finding Engine Visibility Not Involving Keywords
Content freshness
Recency is a factor of search engine algorit...
The Off-site Factors of Finding Engine Visibility
Backlinks
Backlinks originate at another website, not your own. The numb...
If you have more than 10 locations, Google Places permits you to upload a file:

Yahoo Local also permits more efficient u...
Bing’s Business Portal also requires registration:

© 2014. All rights reserved

13
Social Media
The importance of social media to search engine visibility has become
inarguable. Search engine algorithms no...
Technical Components of Finding Engine Visibility
Site map
Search engines rely on an XML sitemap for clues about a particu...
Mobile SEO
Without exception, all of the best practices detailed above apply to Mobile SEO.
However, you should develop an...
Summary of Differences Between Mobile and Desktop
Dimension

Desktop

Mobile

Challenge

Keywords

Descriptive

Economic

...
Mobile Website Directories
Seego.com - Mobile Optimized Website Directory for iPhone, iPod Touch, Palm
Pre, Android
Seego....
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Digital Visibility Guide

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Guidelines for the development of digital content, technical components that will enable the achievement of digital visibility including in tablet and mobile environments. Collectively, these techniques are often known as SEO (search engine optimization), although we at SapientNitro prefer the term “finding engine visibility” because the techniques detailed in this document will enhance visibility not only in the traditional search engines like Google and Yahoo/Bing, but also the evolving finding engines found on community websites like Facebook and Yelp and on devices like Siri on the iPhone. However, for clarity’s sake, in this document we will use the commonly accepted term – SEO.

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Digital Visibility Guide

  1. 1. Digital Visibility Guide Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................ 2   Keyword Strategy .................................................................................................. 2   Implementing the Keyword Strategy ...................................................................... 4   Content volume ............................................................................................... 4   Page names (URLs, canonicalization) ............................................................ 4   Meta content ................................................................................................... 5   heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) ............................................................ 6   Content Authoring for Finding Engine Visibility ..................................................... 7   Determining what to write about ...................................................................... 7   A note about keyword density ......................................................................... 8   How to write .................................................................................................... 9   Factors of Finding Engine Visibility Not Involving Keywords ............................... 10   Content freshness ......................................................................................... 10   alt text ............................................................................................................ 10   downloadable files ......................................................................................... 10   The Off-site Factors of Finding Engine Visibility .................................................. 11   Backlinks ....................................................................................................... 11   Local search .................................................................................................. 11   Social Media .................................................................................................. 14   Encouraging Social Advocacy ....................................................................... 14   Technical Components of Finding Engine Visibility ............................................. 15   Site map ........................................................................................................ 15   Robots.txt ...................................................................................................... 15   Mobile SEO.......................................................................................................... 16   Mobile Users Have Different Needs .............................................................. 16   Mobile Search Behaviors Are Different ......................................................... 16   Mobile Search Engine Algorithms Are Different ............................................ 16   Summary of Differences Between Mobile and Desktop ................................ 17   Mobile SEO Best Practices ........................................................................... 17   Mobile Website Directories ........................................................................... 18   © 2014. All rights reserved
  2. 2. Introduction This document offers guidelines for the development of digital content that will enable the achievement of digital visibility. Collectively, these techniques are often known as SEO (search engine optimization), although we at SapientNitro prefer the term “finding engine visibility” because the techniques detailed in this document will enhance visibility not only in the traditional search engines like Google and Yahoo/Bing, but also the evolving finding engines found on community websites like Facebook and Yelp and on devices like Siri on the iPhone. However, for clarity’s sake, in this document we will use the commonly accepted term – SEO. SEO is applicable only in the context of organic or natural search, not paid search (PPC or SEM). In general, SEO has the potential to deliver a much stronger and longer-term impact and return on investment than even the best paid search tactics. SEO is an investment that facilitates increases in a website’s search engine visibility and therefore has the potential to deliver increased traffic originating from search engines. The foundation of SEO is the keyword strategy. Keyword Strategy The development or refinement of a keyword strategy involves: • a laser-sharp understanding of the characteristics that distinguish your company from its competitors or peers. • intelligence about your competitors’ or peers’ search engine visibility. • analysis of your website content as well as your competitors’ and peers’ • if applicable, analysis of the content of the websites whose performance you aspire to attain. • determination of whether it is possible to reasonably achieve search engine visibility for particular keywords. • selection of your “Top 20/Next 30” keywords. Keep in mind that your “Top 20/Next 30”keywords should be those that prospective customers use when searching. These are not necessarily the same words that you – an employee – would use to describe your business, and they © 2014. All rights reserved 2
  3. 3. may not be the same as the words that are employed in other, off-line marketing activities. The “Top 20” keywords are the primary themes and topics of the website; the “Next 30” – or supporting – keywords reinforce and extend these primary themes and topics. Once you select your “Top 20/Next 30”keywords, you can begin implementing the keyword strategy. The balance of this document offers implementation guidelines, covering factors from website architecture and page names to content authoring and anchor text. High-level insights on how search engines work Search (finding) engines use algorithms that are rooted in linguistics or the mechanics of language. Similar to the way the human brain does, search engines process the entirety of a word’s context – whether a sentence, paragraph, or entire page – not merely the word alone. This means that an individual web page that offers descriptive, complete, and semantically consistent content in the support of a primary theme or topic is more likely to be deemed as authoritative by the search engines. Far more than any other factor, content excellence is the key to achieving search engine visibility. Other factors evaluated by the search engines: - the relevance and quality of all of the other pages of the website on which that page resides - how many other web pages link to this web page; how many other websites link to this website - unseen but critical attributes of the content of a web page, such as level of heading and meta content Over time, search engines have become very proficient in determining whether a particular web page offers authoritative content. The more “excellent” the content, the greater the likelihood that search engines will determine that page to be relevant and assign it a high rank. Web pages – and the websites on which they reside – that appear on the first search engine results pages (SERPs) carefully and continually have these factors in mind. © 2014. All rights reserved 3
  4. 4. Implementing the Keyword Strategy 1 Every value page of your website should feature at least 250 words that exist in support of a central theme. That theme should be precisely expressed in the meta title and h1 (level 1 heading) tags of the page, and should be supported by the expansion of that theme in the meta description, next-level headings (h2, h3, etc.), and page content. Content volume Each web page should feature 250 words. If a particular web page will never have that many words, then consider hiding this page from the search engines with the NO INDEX and NO FOLLOW robot instructions; otherwise the relevance and rank that search engines assign to your website will suffer. Pages that are candidates for being hidden are data capture forms such as contact us forms, user signup and login forms, copyright, privacy, or terms of use pages. In general, none of these pages provide content that will offer keywords that support your keyword strategy. If a page does not offer enough content, it will be deemed irrelevant by the search engines. Because search engines do not crawl all pages in every refresh cycle, it can take as many 90 days after the publishing of adequate new content for this irrelevance to be corrected. Page names (URLs, canonicalization) Good page naming is the bedrock of enabling the search engines to efficiently and effectively crawl your website. Page names should be descriptive and human-readable such as www.marketing-co.com/our-marketing-services rather than www.marketing-co.com/services or www.marketing-co.com/pageone. Remember: a search engine reads page names and page content similar to the way a human would. 1 Value content is defined as that which describes or exists in support of your business, product, service, or offer. In general, this is all pages except copyright, terms of use, privacy policy, and pages that are comprised only of data capture forms or the presentation of dynamic data or content. © 2014. All rights reserved 4
  5. 5. Meta content The meta title is the HTML code that specifies the title of a certain web page and is very valuable. Its purpose is to encapsulate – to machine readers (search engines) – the theme of the page. The value of the meta title can be easily seen in the top left corner of a web browser when you visit the web page as well as on SERPs: Each page on a website should have a unique meta title tag no fewer than 0 and no more than 60 characters in length. (60 characters are about the most that any search engine will display on its SERPs.) The meta description tag is also essential, both to machine and human readers. It should provide a concise but complete description of a web page's content and be unique on every page. A well-constructed meta description tag can boost your search engine visibility by reinforcing and more completely describing the theme of the web page. Also, the content of the meta description tag is typically presented on SERPs, which will influence whether a searcher will choose your page. © 2014. All rights reserved 5
  6. 6. The meta description should be no less than 80 and no more than 150 characters in length. (150 characters are about the most that any search engine will display on its SERPs.) The meta keywords tag should be added to the page and – although you can insert up to 814 characters in this tag – it is best to focus on the 3 to 7 essential keywords or phrases that appear in the content of that page. No consensus exists on whether the keywords tag affects your ranking in any of the major search engines. However there is some evidence that some search engines sometimes process this tag if the keywords or phrases used in the meta keywords tag are also found in the page content itself. heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) The first-level heading or h1 tag is a very valuable tag. Search engines look to the h1 tag to better classify the theme of the web page. It should be similar but not identical to the meta title. Each web page must have a unique h1 tag; otherwise the search engines have a greater likelihood to ignore that page – irrespective of its excellent content. © 2014. All rights reserved 6
  7. 7. Content Authoring for Finding Engine Visibility As mentioned in the sidebar, content excellence is the key factor in achieving search engine visibility. Authoring content to support your keyword strategy is not really that much different than authoring content for any other purpose: the content must be well written. Period. 2 Good expository writing practices include such basics as: • Focusing on a particular theme or topic • Presenting your topic to the reader by using emphasis, such as by isolating it at the top of the page • Expanding on your theme or topic with well-organized explanatory or descriptive information • Substantiating the point of view you have about that topic through examples or parables • Optionally, presenting your approach to expanding on the theme or topic by using emphasis, such as paragraph or section headings Keep in mind that in order to do their jobs well, search engines want (and need) expository writing – not marketing copy. That is not to suggest that marketing copy does not play a critically important role. But marketing copy should not take priority over or be more prevalent than well-written expository content. As with any expository writing endeavor, the critical success factor is to offer a point of view that engages the reader and encourages them to discover more. Determining what to write about Highest priority Your keyword strategy identifies your “Top 20/Next 30”keywords, the words you most want to be found for when people use search engines to navigate the seemingly infinite World Wide Web. For the purposes of writing website content, you can consider each of your top 20 keywords as themes. Your website should offer at least one web page that is wholly dedicated to the exposition of each of these 20 themes. Remember, 2 of the nature of exposition; serving to expound, set forth, or explain. © 2014. All rights reserved 7
  8. 8. because search engines linguistically process the content of your website, if no or too little content exists in support of your top 20 keywords, you may never achieve search engine visibility with them. The well-written expository content of these 20 pages should feature the most relevant of your next 30 – or supporting – keywords. While keyword density (described above) is factor, you should avoid consciously writing to achieve it. Rather, simply be mindful of your theme and those keywords as you write and they will naturally flow in the writing process. If they don’t, you can always revise. Next priority After you’ve established a strong foundation with at least one page for each of your top 20 keywords, the next step is to create additional web pages that enhance, extend, or support those themes. Consider adding pages that offer, for example, “how to” guidance for a particular activity that is related to your top 20 themes. If there are aspects of your business that relate to your top 20 themes, then consider those aspects as candidates for content. For example, if you promote an offer for a service or an event at a certain time of the year, then write a web page about this service or event. As when writing your top 20 pages, simply be mindful of your theme and the relevant supporting keywords and they will naturally flow. A note about keyword density Keyword density is the numerical factor derived from dividing the number of words on a web page by the number of keywords that are used within it. In theory, the higher the keyword density, the better the web page will rank for that keyword. However, a web page that has too high a keyword density tend be considered as spam by search engines and may be excluded. Good keyword usage is supported not by the amount of times it is in the content of a web page, but by the combinations and frequency of other relevant words © 2014. All rights reserved 8
  9. 9. How to write Your goal is to write at least 250 words of content for each web page. As you write: • Focus on the theme • Expand on your theme or topic with well-organized explanatory or descriptive information • Substantiate your point of view on that theme through examples or parables After you have written at least 250 words, initiate the SEO cycle: • If possible, organize your content in logical groups and identify those groups using subheadings. Ideally, each subheading will feature one supporting “Next 30” keyword. • Determine if you have naturally used the relevant “Next 30” keywords. – If you have not, then evaluate whether you remained focused on the topic. If you did not, then completely re-write – this time keeping the theme in tighter focus – If you have, then ensure that the use of the “Next 30” keywords is supported by related words • Following the meta content guidelines (above), author the meta title, and meta description and identify three to four keywords for inclusion in the meta keywords tag. All of your meta content must include words that appear in your web page content and vice versa. • Create links from a particular word or phrase (also known as anchor text) on this web page to other pages on your website. If you lack linking opportunities, then revise the content to support them. • If you have substantially more than 250 words, you must use subheadings and you should create links from a particular word or phrase on this web page to another location on this same webpage. So you can now see that, aside from meta content and links, writing for search engine visibility is no different than any other writing exercise. © 2014. All rights reserved 9
  10. 10. Factors of Finding Engine Visibility Not Involving Keywords Content freshness Recency is a factor of search engine algorithms, so you must have a plan for publishing new, high-quality content on a regular basis. The general rule of thumb is to publish new (not revise existing) content at least every 30 days. You need not publish an entire new web page that frequently, but you should offer at least 250 words on a topic that is related to one of your top 20 keywords (themes). One easy approach to regularly publishing new content is to create and permit your staff or other stakeholders to contribute to a blog. Typically search engines crawl every 15 to 30 days. If you publish at least every 30 days, then your new content will coincide with at least every other search engine crawl of your website. If you lack plan for publishing new content, create and implement one right now. alt text The img (image) tag text must always include alt text. To every reasonable extent, use keywords or words that describe your image in the context of your page theme in alt text. downloadable files Many people do not realize downloadable files can boost or hinder your search engine visibility. You must give your downloadable files logical, human-readable filenames. Also, irrespective of file format, always edit the properties of all ® downloadable files. Examples of the properties form for Microsoft Word ™ appears below. © 2014. All rights reserved 10
  11. 11. The Off-site Factors of Finding Engine Visibility Backlinks Backlinks originate at another website, not your own. The number of backlinks (Yahoo! calls them inlinks) has a direct and significant impact on your search engine visibility. Many backlinks to a particular website (we call this popularity) suggests to the search engines that that website is relevant. If more backlinks go to your website than your direct competitor’s, then a search engine is more likely to deem you more relevant than your competitor – increasing your rank. Be sure that these backlinks do not simply go to your home page. Links that go to specific words or phrases that exist on web pages deep into your website offer a significant boost. This technique is sometimes called “deep links.” It can be a challenge to identify other websites who should link to yours. Some suggestions are directories, content aggregators, and relevant professional associations or clubs. In general, you will want to avoid working with anyone who suggests that you must pay for a backlink. The best backlinks are those which originate on the website of a company that exists within your supply chain or ecosystem. A good example is an automotive dealership website that links to the automotive manufacturer’s website. Local search Submitting all of your office or retail locations to Google Places, and Yahoo/Bing Local Search can be tedious and time-consuming, but the investment has an immediate and significant pay-off. By registering all of your locations – and completing the detailed description information – you become more visible to searchers. In every case, you are permitted to enter a description in your local search listing, and you are also often permitted to enter keywords as well. This is a great opportunity to reinforce your “Top 20/Next 30” keyword strategy. © 2014. All rights reserved 11
  12. 12. If you have more than 10 locations, Google Places permits you to upload a file: Yahoo Local also permits more efficient uploading of multiple listings. In order to take advantage of that feature, a representative of the business must register for a Yahoo business account: © 2014. All rights reserved 12
  13. 13. Bing’s Business Portal also requires registration: © 2014. All rights reserved 13
  14. 14. Social Media The importance of social media to search engine visibility has become inarguable. Search engine algorithms now factor in the amount of social content that exists in support of or links to your website, and the advent of social search – whereby a searcher has insight into the search results favored by their friends and followers – has created a complex and dynamic environment. By establishing a presence and being active in social communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, you increase the likelihood of attaining rank and relevance. When you boost that presence and activity with backlinks (including deep links) and content that reinforces your keyword strategy, you secure rank and relevance, deliver a more consistent multi-dimensional/multichannel user experience, and encourage customers to become loyalists and – potentially – advocates. Encouraging Social Advocacy Just as registering your locations Google Places facilitates social sharing and advocacy through Google+, so too does registering your locations in Yelp. By being present in these kinds of social communities – which are critically important to the mobile user because they accelerate the pinpointing of category and location combinations – you also provide users an additional forum through which to supply user-generated content (UGC) such as reviews. This UGC catapults customers into advocates and has a material impact on both rank and relevance if not also sales. © 2014. All rights reserved 14
  15. 15. Technical Components of Finding Engine Visibility Site map Search engines rely on an XML sitemap for clues about a particular website – including how it is organized and how many pages it has. It is therefore critical that you create an XML sitemap and locate it at root of your website (www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml) and then submit that sitemap to each search engine every time you add pages to or move pages on your website. Robots.txt In most situations, the robots.txt file will sit at the root of your website (www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt). This file contains instructions for the web server and for search engines. For example, the robots instruction “NO INDEX, NO FOLLOW” is used to tell a search engine not to crawl (index) that page or directory and not to follow any links to or from those included on that page/those pages. A simple example of this is hiding a section of the website that is used for development or staging purposes. Another example is hiding “low value” content of the live website such as the privacy policy, copyright notices, and terms of use. © 2014. All rights reserved 15
  16. 16. Mobile SEO Without exception, all of the best practices detailed above apply to Mobile SEO. However, you should develop an additional keyword strategy and “Top 20/Next 30” keywords specifically oriented to the mobile audience. This additional keyword strategy should be complementary to that for your “desktop” website but should be adapted to the unique needs of the mobile user and the uniquely mobile aspects of search engine algorithms. Mobile Users Have Different Needs A mobile website should attract mobile users, not desktop users. When users are on the move, they are likely to search for things that are specific to a task, location, or those which are time-sensitive. A good example is a user searching for a movie theater location, movie start time, and restaurants near that theater. Mobile Search Behaviors Are Different Location, device types and content formats are more critical to and indicative of the mobile web experience, and search engines are figuring out how best to address them. According to Google's research, the average query on Mobile Search is 15 characters long, but takes roughly 30 key presses and approximately 40 seconds to enter. This means that search engines don't have a lot to work with when tasked with providing the user with an experience that roughly equates to the quality of desktop search. To improve their support for mobile users, search engines have begun to introduce “predictive search” (automatic query suggestions) based on information such as device type and location. Mobile Search Engine Algorithms Are Different In the desktop world, page rank and relevance is determined by scale. In the mobile world, rank and relevance is determined by more immediate dimensions such as location, category and even time. © 2014. All rights reserved 16
  17. 17. Summary of Differences Between Mobile and Desktop Dimension Desktop Mobile Challenge Keywords Descriptive Economic Mobile user input is generally thinner than on desktop Location Important Critical Simplified presentation of results in relation to a user’s location Categories Important Critical Simplified presentation of results in relations to a user’s need Browsers Mostly standardized to Explorer, Chrome, Firefox Very little standardization Simplified and flexible presentation that provides a positive UX irrespective of device and browser Content Generic Specific Using device information to improve results by serving relevant content. For example, a ringtone for an iPhone not a Blackberry Mobile SEO Best Practices • Deliver a top-notch mobile website that is compliant with mobile standards such as WML (or WAP 1.0), xHTML 'Mobile Profile' (or WAP 2.0) and/or cHTML (or iMode) • Validate standards compliance by using the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) mobileOK checker • Submit your mobile sitemap (m.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml) to search engines • Submit your mobile website to all of the most relevant portals, directories and business listing services; they’re good sources of mobile traffic and increase the likelihood that search engines will recognize and crawl your mobile website. (See appendix for a sample list.) • Ensure your content contains a sensible amount of outbound links that lead to other related mobile web pages or mobile websites • Encourage other related mobile and desktop websites to link to your mobile website, using deep links and anchor text that reinforces your keyword strategy © 2014. All rights reserved 17
  18. 18. Mobile Website Directories Seego.com - Mobile Optimized Website Directory for iPhone, iPod Touch, Palm Pre, Android Seego.com is a mobile optimized website directory and search engine designed specifically for iPhone, Palm Pre and Android. mpexo | Welcome MPEXO - the Mobile Blog Directory. This service is part of the WordPress Mobile Pack project. theMobilist - Mobile Website Directory Mobile Website Directory Mobile Website Directory featuring a selected list of quality compatible mobile websites. This mobile website directory is human edited. moBinks - WAP & Webapps search engine, bookmarks for mobile Directory web and mobile wap, search engine mobile website, optimized for mobile phones, iphone, pda... Mobile Directory and Mobile Website Design TheBigProject Mobile Phone Website Directory USAWAP Review - Mobile Web Directory Mobile Web Directory and Review website. Find the best in mobile web content. Great Mobile Websites A directory of the great mobile websites. Mobile Site Directory - PhoneFavs A mobile website directory. Mobile Directory Welcome to MobileMammoth, where we highlight new mobile websites and apps. idibidi mobile website directory idibidi is a mobile website directory containing links to high quality mobile websites. Read reviews, browse screenshots and vote for your favourite websites on idibidi.mobi. DMOZ The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors. © 2014. All rights reserved 18

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