Why search results matter and how to matter to them


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These slides were created for the course:
Comm 350R Social Media
Dr. Matthew J. Kushin
Department of Communication
Utah Valley University

For more on the course see:

For more about the professor, see:
or @mjkushin on Twitter

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Why search results matter and how to matter to them

  1. 1. Social Media CourseDr. Matthew J. Kushin<br />Assistant Professor<br />Department of Communication<br />Utah Valley University<br />profkushin.wordpress.com<br />mkushin@uvu.edu<br />@mjkushin<br />
  2. 2. Optimizing Content for Search<br />Dr. Matthew J. Kushin<br />Course: profkushinsocial.wordpress.com<br />
  3. 3. Importance of Search<br />People turn to search engines (e.g., Google) to find info<br />Strategies have emerged to increase visibility of a web page in search engine results.<br />
  4. 4. How do we search?<br />With<br />No matter what we search, we think of keywords:<br />Cars:“fuel economy” “safety” “price”<br />Restaurant: “pizza” “Italian”<br />
  5. 5. Keywords are king<br />So are vitally important to search!<br />Knowing what terms others search when looking for what we’re offering is critical<br />We’ll focus on this later<br />For now, let’s look at how we try to use these keywords to our advantage!<br />
  6. 6. Two ways to visibility<br />SEM – search engine marketing – buy adds for certain search terms<br />Ex: I search “gardening supplies” and Lowes comes up.<br />SEO – search engine optimization – process of adjusting website architecture in attempt to rank highly in desired search terms<br />
  7. 7. Paths<br />SEM & SEO are critical<br />But, generally not done by media practitioners<br />SEM - done by marketers buying paid ads<br />SEO – techies<br />They should be used in tandem w/ strategies we’ll talk about today<br />
  8. 8. Your Role<br />Edelman notes 2 key functions for media practitioners:<br />Reputational Search<br />Social Search<br />
  9. 9. Reputational Search<br />
  10. 10. Reputational Search<br />Application of “a search mindset to tried-and-true PR tactics” thereby impacting search results<br />
  11. 11. Reputational Search<br />Employs traditional promotional strategies<br />But, involves<br />Crafting messages to be optimized for keyword search<br />
  12. 12. Problem is<br />We don’t write the same way people search<br />
  13. 13. Edelman’s 3 steps<br />1) Research & Planning<br />2) Content Creation<br />3) Measurement<br />
  14. 14. 1) Research<br />Goal:<br />Find keywords people use when searching for your topic<br />Best the competition<br />
  15. 15. 1) Research<br />A) Mimic Natural Language<br />B) Be uncommon – so they don’t compete with other articles out there!<br />C) What do people care about most related to your topic?<br />
  16. 16. A) Mimic Natural Language<br />How do people talk about your topic online? On Twitter? On blogs? What do they search on Google?<br />Apply social data analysis:<br />Search <br />Twitter search<br />Real-time web (socialmention or addictomatic)<br />Google Search Insights<br />
  17. 17. Example<br />How do people talk about lacrosse ?<br />We might find people say “lax” instead of “lacrosse”<br />Is there another idea, product, topic, etc. you’d like to check?<br />Twitter<br />Addictomatic<br />
  18. 18. B) Be uncommon<br />You don’t want to compete with other content out there!<br />What kind of keywords are heavily used, and what ones are less common? <br />Common words include: <br />brand names<br />generic words e.g., “hybrid car” “soda”<br />
  19. 19. B) Be uncommon<br />It is though to think of uncommon terms!<br />What are less common terms or adjustments we can make to terms to make them more rare?<br />Example: “Macintosh competitors”<br />Say, instead of: <br />Soda or Coke? <br />
  20. 20. B) Be uncommon<br />But not too uncommon….<br />Search your terms to see if others are actually using them!<br />2 common strategies:<br />Google Insights<br />Google Keywords Tools <br />(search google: Google Keywords Tools)<br />
  21. 21. Google Keywords Search<br />Part of Adwords<br />Can be used to see frequency of search & competition in terms of paid ads<br />While SEM (ad competition) is not our focus, it can help us see how often people search for terms<br />
  22. 22. C) What do searchers care about most?<br />Applying Social Data Analysis<br />On Google Insights, I search “laptops” & scroll down to find top searches. I realize PRICE and QUALITY are key attributes people look for:<br />
  23. 23. Result<br />Create a list of keywords that reflect<br />How people naturally search<br />Are not too generic but are still sort of things people search for<br />Focus on key attributes people hone in on when searching for your topic<br />E.g. price & quality<br />
  24. 24. 2) Content Creation<br />Apply these keywords when creating content<br />Journo story / press release / etc.<br />
  25. 25. Writing Titles w/ Keywords<br />Incorporate keywords into headline, toward front<br />These keywords also appear in body<br />60-character limit (blame Google)<br />Avoid superlatives (e.g., “best”) – Google may think its spam & penalize<br />
  26. 26. Writing body w/ Keywords<br />Focus on position of keywords in text body, not frequency<br />Make sure it still reads naturally<br />
  27. 27. 3) Measurement<br />What were the results of your efforts?<br />Are you getting more traffic? <br />Image grabs of search results pages with your story is great evidence!<br />Social Data Analysis tools discussed in more depth during another lecture can be used for this<br />
  28. 28. Social Search<br />
  29. 29. Social Search<br />Many people rely on social networks when searching content<br />E.g., Twitter<br />Maximize visibility of content via establishment in social networks<br />
  30. 30. What do we put on social networks?<br />Use them as “embassies” to build relationships w/ public<br />Employees provide content useful to community and bolster brand<br />Example:<br />Customer relations<br />Professor Kushin complains on Twitter he doesn’t own car, so tired of Geico sending him weekly auto insurance mail ads<br />Within minutes, Geico responded saying my name will be removed from mailing list<br />
  31. 31. Thought Question<br />What are some types of content that’d be useful to YOUR org’s community?<br />Say you worked for a SLC music magazine?<br />Did PR for a snowboarding equipment company?<br />
  32. 32. Search Engines like:<br />good content published often<br />That means lots of participation<br />Blogs<br />Frequent updates on social networks<br />
  33. 33. Search Engines like:<br />Others linking to your content<br />Important to generate discussion and having content others want to link to<br />Having content on social networks that link back to your main content<br />
  34. 34. Keywords<br />Others linking to our social media content can increase visibility in search<br />
  35. 35. Social Search<br />Search engines are integrating our social networks in search results<br />
  36. 36. Summary<br />Understanding how people search for topics related to your content is critical<br />Consider search: think keywords<br />Relational & Social Search don’t replace SEM or SEO, but are helpful tools<br />
  37. 37. For upcoming assignment<br />1 person in your group needs to provide everyone in group w/ a copy of an article or press release they’ve written for a previous class<br />Tip: post it to Google Docs & share it<br />Today: Talk among your group for who will do this and share this file<br />
  38. 38. Resources<br />Search Engine Visibility: An Edelman Digital Position Paper<br />Journalism Next by Mark Briggs<br />Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories by Ryan M. Thornburg<br />