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Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)
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Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)

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Presentation by Stephan Spencer, http://NetConcepts.com, on startup stragies & tactics for using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a core customer acquisition channel.

Presentation by Stephan Spencer, http://NetConcepts.com, on startup stragies & tactics for using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a core customer acquisition channel.

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  • 1. Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition By Stephan Spencer, Founder & President, Netconcepts
  • 2. The 4 Big Keys to SEO <ul><li>Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses. </li></ul><ul><li>Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content. </li></ul><ul><li>Links – No links? No rankings. </li></ul><ul><li>Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure) </li></ul>
  • 3. SEO Fundamentals <ul><li>Tried-and-true SEO tactics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Topically relevant links from important sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anchor text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword-rich title tags </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword-rich content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal hierarchical linking structure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The whole is greater than the sum of the parts </li></ul><ul><li>Synergistic effect of natural + paid search </li></ul>
  • 4. SEO Fundamentals <ul><li>Links (internal and inbound, along with the anchor text) beat out content </li></ul><ul><li>Link building, link baiting, blogging, SMO are crucial SEO activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SMO (Social Media Optimization) = infiltrating Digg.com, del.icio.us popular, Netscape.com, reddit, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia,… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ A rising tide lifts all boats” </li></ul></ul>
  • 5. Light on content, but on page 1 in Google for “silver earrings”
  • 6. Their CEO’s blog accounts for over 13% of online sales
  • 7. SEO Fundamentals <ul><li>Rewrite your URLs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid ? &amp; = characters, minimize directories, include keywords, hyphens preferred over underscores </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rejig your hierarchical internal linking structure </li></ul><ul><li>Optimize your HTML templates and CSS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce code bloat, separate out “presentation layer” from “content layer”, image replacement, optimized elements like H1 </li></ul></ul>
  • 8. SEO Strategies for Your “Head” Terms <ul><li>Focus a page on no more than 3 keyword themes – place targeted term in the title tag, H1 tag, &amp; high up in the body copy </li></ul><ul><li>Build link gain (PageRank) to that page through internal links &amp; inlinks </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent keyword-rich anchor text from internal links </li></ul><ul><li>For deep inlinks, vary the anchor text a bit </li></ul>
  • 9. SEO Strategies for “The Long Tail” <ul><li>Focus on unbranded search markets </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage website scale and brand strength </li></ul><ul><li>Employ testable strategies that scale </li></ul><ul><li>Treat consumers as co-creators </li></ul><ul><li>Measure against a new set of KPIs </li></ul><ul><li>Grow your long tail of search </li></ul>
  • 10. The “Freeloaders” on Your Payroll <ul><li>Most merchants have 80%+ of their pages driving no search traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Most don&apos;t even know this, or why it is a problem (no javascript based analytics package will tell them this either) </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a red light that they lack a long tail of unbranded keyword traffic </li></ul><ul><li>The # of searches for unbranded keywords is nearly 40x as great as searches for the brand name (put another way, 97x the # of pages onsite) </li></ul><ul><li>Tapping that opportunity means leveraging the size of the website and the brand strength to convert unbranded searches into clicks </li></ul><ul><li>How to achieve this tail? </li></ul>
  • 11. Scalable Long Tail SEO Strategies <ul><li>Mass optimization: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single techniques capable of creating cascading effects throughout large websites – template pages for instance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rewriting URLs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple and static have profound impact on PageRank™ and traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Thin Slicing”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Touching key elements across thousands of pages quickly, monitoring, and expanding based on results </li></ul></ul>
  • 12. Scalable Long Tail Strategies - Web 2.0 <ul><li>User generated content (e.g., wikipedia) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Freely append searcher vocabulary into your website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tagging and social bookmarking (e.g., Flickr, del.icio.us) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listen and create feedback loops – using search terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use cloud taxonomy to flatten your structure using good link text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RSS and Blogging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Long tail is driven by efficient distribution of pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create link bait rather than soliciting link targets </li></ul><ul><li>Provide lists of most searched keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Long tail optimization means outsourcing … to your users </li></ul>
  • 13. Gone Off the Rails <ul><li>Misfires, mistakes, etc. often occur because your developers, sysadmins, or marketers “didn’t know what they didn’t know” </li></ul><ul><li>Examples… </li></ul>
  • 14. Not Spider Friendly <ul><li>GET http://www.bananarepublic.com --&gt; 302 Moved Temporarily </li></ul><ul><li>GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do --&gt; 302 Moved Temporarily </li></ul><ul><li>GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do?targetURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bananarepublic.com%2Fbrowse%2Fhome.do&amp;CookieSet=Set --&gt; 302 Moved Temporarily </li></ul><ul><li>GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/cookieFailure.do --&gt; 200 OK </li></ul>
  • 15. Not so good title – where’s the phrase “credit card”?
  • 16. No link text or body copy
  • 17. No link text or body copy
  • 18. Duplicate pages
  • 19. Still feeling good about being at the bottom of page 1?
  • 20. Search listings – 1 good, 1 lousy
  • 21. Title tags the same
  • 22. Spider unfriendly URL structures
  • 23. Yikes! Sears.com home page PageRank score looks abysmal
  • 24. Phew! – Sears.com true home page PageRank score
  • 25. BMW.de hosted many “doorway pages” like this one
  • 26. “ Sneaky redirect” sent searchers to this page
  • 27. Hidden link – in the “All” of “All Rights Reserved” – leads to a hallway page
  • 28. Hallway page – not meant for human consumption – Let’s start scrolling…
  • 29. Everything still looks copasetic, until…
  • 30. A-ha, spider food
  • 31. Screenfuls and screenfuls of it!
  • 32. Find Link Targets <ul><li>Review links of competitive sites, sites in your keyword market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use tools like the ones just mentioned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check sites with high rankings for relevant keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The fewer the number of links on their page, the better </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Review links to your site; look for opportunities to get the link text revised </li></ul>
  • 33. Request Links <ul><li>NOT: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Hi, Let’s swap links!” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I’ve already linked to you.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Great site!” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ You already link to our competitor XYZ.com and we offer a better product.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Please use the following text in your link…” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maybe? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>” Hi, found a broken link on _____. btw, you might want to add xyz.com as a link.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What then?… </li></ul>
  • 34. Hi Lois, My name is Eric Ward, and I am working with StormwaterAuthority.org to help them announce the launch of their new web site located at http://www.stormwaterauthority.org I am hoping you will consider mentioning or linking to the StormwaterAuthority.org site on your Water and Wastewater Engineering page at http://www.library.umaine.edu/science/waterresources.htm I have included a brief overview of the site below, and should you need anything at all I am a real person and actually reply to email. You can also contact me by phone. Thank you for your time and consideration. Regards, Eric Ward (On behalf of StormwaterAuthority.org) eric@ericward.com voice 865.637.2438 ------------------------------------------------------ Overview of StormwaterAuthority.org Source: Eric Ward
  • 35. More on Links... <ul><li>Some links get “discounted” </li></ul><ul><li>Anchor text opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Linking best &amp; worst practices </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging for links </li></ul><ul><li>“ Baiting” for links </li></ul>
  • 36. Watch Out For… <ul><li>Types of links that are likely to get discounted: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reciprocal links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affiliated sites (on the same IP range or hostname) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Footer links (at the bottom of the page) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site-wide links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links contained on a page called links.htm / links.asp </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links with the exact same anchor text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember: the more links on the linking page, the less PageRank you’ll get </li></ul></ul>
  • 37. Update Link Text <ul><li>Link text (anchor text) is critical for SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Review your existing links and link text </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SEOBook’s Back Link Analyzer tool </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are the keywords you are targeting in the link text? </li></ul><ul><li>Contact webmasters, particularly those who you have a relationship with &amp; those with the most valuable links </li></ul>
  • 38. SEOBook’s Backlink Analyzer
  • 39. Best Practices: Linking <ul><li>Offer link-worthy content. Keep it fresh. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to get good keywords in the link text </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easily shareable (RSS feeds, Email to a friend, Submit to Digg/delicious/etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Simple keyword-rich urls encourage deep linking </li></ul><ul><li>When you redesign your site, keep your old URLs or 301 redirect them to the new URLs </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nofollow” any links you don’t want to spend PageRank on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&lt;a href=“/privacy-policy.htm” rel=“nofollow”&gt; </li></ul></ul>
  • 40. Worst Practices: Linking <ul><li>Participating in “link farms” or FFA (“Free For All”) sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hallmarks of a link farm = more urls per page &amp; less organization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Splogging, comment spamming, guestbook spamming </li></ul><ul><li>Linking to “bad neighborhoods” </li></ul><ul><li>Hiding links </li></ul><ul><li>Hoarding all your PageRank </li></ul><ul><li>Unnatural link structures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too much symmetry, link text never varies, or otherwise “engineered” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Acquiring links from sites all on the same IP block </li></ul><ul><li>Acquiring links only from the same TLD (.com, .org, .edu, etc) </li></ul>
  • 41. Blogs <ul><li>Search engines – and Google in particular – love blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Inherently link-rich </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Hat tips” – part of blog etiquette </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogrolls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trackbacks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The dark side of the blogosphere: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog comment spam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Splogs (spam blogs) </li></ul></ul>
  • 42. Blog SEO <ul><li>Don’t leave title tags to be auto-generated. Use the “SEO Title Tag” WordPress plugin </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t squander your “crawl equity” by letting pages get indexed that don’t deserve to be (“Email this page” etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Having multiple “homes” for your blog </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize “Optional Excerpt” to minimize duplicate content </li></ul><ul><li>Use rel=nofollow to direct PageRank flow (e.g. date-based archives) </li></ul>
  • 43. Blog SEO <ul><li>Intro copy on category &amp; tag pages with sticky posts </li></ul><ul><li>Optimal URLs (short, not too many directories) </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple RSS feeds, optimized </li></ul><ul><li>Hosting blog/feed URLs on a domain you don’t own </li></ul><ul><li>Use optimal anchor text when linking internally </li></ul>
  • 44. Link Bait <ul><li>Offer a niche-specific blogroll, tool, How-To, or compilation of news stories </li></ul><ul><li>Post a scoop </li></ul><ul><li>Expose a story as flawed or a fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Be a contrarian about a story, product, or prominent blogger’s opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Be humorous. Good topics include a bizzare pic of your subject, “10 things I hate about…”, and “You know you’re a when…” </li></ul>Source: Performancing
  • 45. Link Bait <ul><li>Publish or commission some original research </li></ul><ul><li>Creative-Commons-license photos you made of an event you’re blogging about </li></ul><ul><li>Make available for free a theme, plugin or piece of software </li></ul><ul><li>Start a meme that others can replicate and that links back to you (e.g. buttons/stickers/tools for bloggers/webmasters to post on their sites, contests, quizzes, surveys, etc.) </li></ul>
  • 46. Get Creative <ul><li>Give awards / recognition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Badges with link text underneath </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allow webmasters to republish your articles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Require a link in your byline </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Publish unique content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts (e.g. SteveSpangler.com) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Screencasts (use TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikis (e.g. SEOGlossary.com) </li></ul></ul>
  • 47. Get Creative <ul><li>Offer useful tools for webmasters, such as… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hit counters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. NOT like 123counters.com </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weather stickers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Wunderground.com, SuperPages.com </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lottery winning numbers from SuperPages.com </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 48. Get Creative <ul><li>Start a blog </li></ul><ul><li>Give testimonials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. www.wordpress.org/about/testimonials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. www.keyworddiscovery.com/testimonials.html </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sponsor a nonprofit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Kohl’s supports the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leverage your affiliates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get a straight link (e.g. from Legal Notices page) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>301 redirect </li></ul></ul>
  • 49. The 4 Big Keys to SEO <ul><li>Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses. </li></ul><ul><li>Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content. </li></ul><ul><li>Links – No links? No rankings. </li></ul><ul><li>Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure) </li></ul>
  • 50. Q&amp;A! <ul><li>For an ebook on Google power searching, SEO checklists &amp; worksheets, an audio recording of an interview with Matt Cutts of Google, and an audio recording, executive summary &amp; transcript of an SEO thought leaders teleconference, e-mail your request to [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>To contact Stephan, email stephan@netconcepts.com </li></ul>

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