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Web Search Basics for Writers
 

Web Search Basics for Writers

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A bit of explanation about how writers and editors can improve the search results of their online postings and articles.

A bit of explanation about how writers and editors can improve the search results of their online postings and articles.

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  • Search includes Google and Bing, but it also includes your own site’s search feature. © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved..
  • Writers and editors can influence a page’s ranking in search results. Even if you aren’t get to the top of Google’s search, you can appear higher in results for searches done from your own website.
  • You can’t influence how quickly your page loads, but you can use terms your audience is searching for and you can update your content regularly so you have content that is fresh. Reviewing your older content should be scheduled maintenance task for editors.
  • What makes your page unique?
  • Let’s look first at page titles. It’s what readers first see in search results and it’s what they see in their bookmarks and browser tabs. The term “title” means something very specific to the person coding your page. The page’s title does not necessarily match the heading for a page. Headings should also be relevant and include important keywords. In this example, the authors could have included more keywords or keyword phrases such as “delayed planting’ or other synonyms and related terms.
  • The first example might be a good breadcrumb showing the site’s directory structure, but it’s not a good title. The second title lets me know that I will see a comprehensive listing.
  • The first example might be a good breadcrumb showing the site’s directory structure, but it’s not a good title. The second title lets me know that I will see a comprehensive listing.
  • Asking others for links to your pages can be a PR or editorial task if you don’t have someone responsible for online marketing. Better titles will make linking to your site much easier for webmasters or bloggers or newsletter editors. Your social media person should also be informed before you are about to publish a new page. We’ll look more closely at descriptions in a couple of slides.
  • Give those sentences or two to your social media person, too. That will make his or her job a bit easier.
  • Adding the description to your code is an extra step the person uploading your page to your website must take. Make sure it is done. See how these descriptions make it clear how their content differs and who the intended audience might be?
  • Don’t leave your page’s description up to Google.
  • Give those sentences or two to your social media person, too. That will make his or her job a bit easier.
  • Give those sentences or two to your social media person, too. That will make his or her job a bit easier.
  • Sometimes authors and editors can use a little extra help determining the best word choice or how to frame an article. These tools can help.
  • I might have grown up using the word creek but this shows me that globally and locally people more frequently search for the term stream. This type of information can be used to convince a boss that their word choice is problematic. For example, “I could use the word ingest instead of eat but my research on keywords shows that very few readers will search for the word ingest. Let’s use eat in the headline and ingest later in the body copy and in your quotes.”
  • I might have grown up using the word creek but this shows me that globally and locally people more frequently search for the term stream. This type of information can be used to convince a boss that their word choice is problematic. For example, “I could use the word ingest instead of eat but my research on keywords shows that very few readers will search for the word ingest. Let’s use eat in the headline and ingest later in the body copy and in your quotes.”
  • Sometimes authors and editors can use a little extra help determining the best word choice or how to frame an article. These tools can help.
  • Terms deemed more suitable or accurate can always be introduced in the copy of your page. If you want to limit your audience to one that uses your specific terminology, do so. That is sometimes very appropriate. You might have content that’s really only appropriate for scholars or experts.
  • Sometimes authors and editors can use a little extra help determining the best word choice or how to frame an article. These tools can help.
  • Writing an article about the benefits of soy? Maybe you’ll want to address these two concerns people obviously have. And instead of using “during pregnancy” you’ll want to use the phrase “ while pregnant.”
  • Post your apple story by August. If you post it in October, you’ll miss some of your audience. If you’re writing a news story you might want to write a second one later in the fall so you’ll have a more recent article appear in search results. This tool can be very helpful when creating your editorial calendar.
  • Here I limited my Google Trends search to just the state of Colorado.

Web Search Basics for Writers Web Search Basics for Writers Presentation Transcript

  • Search Engine Basics for Writers and Editors KristeenBullwinkle.com
  • How are these results ranked?How did the these get to the top of 13,300,000 pages indexedby Google?
  • By meeting Google’s criteria Relevance Matching keywords (in bold)• Freshness (match relevance, then date; users can search by timeframe)• Likability (Others link to it, people share it, page loads quickly, and no coding errors)
  • How you can show relevanceWrite page titles, descriptions, and headingsthat accurately describe your content.When writing a link to another page, usespecific keywords. No “click here.”
  • Page titleFrom code: <title>Late planting : Crops : University of Minnesota Extension</title>To searchresults:To browser:Headings,alsoimportant
  • Bad title / Good title• Pacific Groves - Plant Descriptions - Fruit Tree Varieties (Apples) Keyword at very end of title. Page 18 result.• Directory of apple varieties starting with A Keyword phrase is in the title. The word directory tells me what to expect on the page. Page one result.
  • Good titles areReader-orientedClearConciseDefinitiveMay contain numbers, questions, “how to,”or other techniques to hook the reader
  • How you can show relevanceWrite page titles, descriptions, and headingsthat accurately describe your content.Write pages for readers, not for searchengines. Entice readers to click on your linkfrom the search page. Write content worthreading.Don’t use the same title or description formultiple pages.
  • Titles and headingsKnow your keywords: What terms does yourintended audience use?Don’t use clever titles; use meaningful titles andheadings. (Save clever titles for social media teasers.)Place keywords closer to the beginning of titles anddescriptions.Write a succinct sentence or two which use thekeyword phrases to sum up the article. Provide it to theperson posting the article for the page’s meta description tag.
  • Page descriptions Use meaningful descriptions with keywordsThis appears in the meta code of the page: <meta name="description" content=" " />
  • Page descriptions - FAILMissing descriptionsSearch engines will pull the first words it finds on the pageor make up their own descriptions if none is available.
  • Titles and descriptionsThese are inside the code.Provide these to your webmaster.If webmasters don’t have titles anddescriptions they sometimes write theirown.Blogs sometimes make it easier toinclude these meta codes.
  • Word Press Plugin Title will default to the article’s heading if left blank.Meta description Ignore keywords fields
  • Another Word Press plugin Use up to 156 characters (or so).
  • Sample article submission
  • Tools• These tools were created for marketers, but they can help you, too. – Google AdWords Keyword Tool – Google Trends
  • Google Keyword Tool
  • Choosing keywords
  • Reports on global and local searchesCompetition refers to howmuch you might have to payto bid on that word usingGoogle AdWords.
  • Use data to win arguments• If you’re fighting over the best word to use in a title or for link text, use the keyword tool.• Should you use mental health or psychological health? (You can always use both terms in the body text.)
  • Psychological health vs. mental health• Keyword tool indicates a better choice• Mental health is searched for more often and is less likely to be misspelled.• Keywords used for searches on your own site can also help you choose keywords your audience actually uses.
  • Use data to come up with story ideas• What are people searching for related to your product, idea, topic?• Let’s look at soy.
  • Peoplewonderabouteatingsoy whilepregnantand aboutdogs (notpets)eating soy.Blog ideas! Google AdWords Keyword Tool
  • Google TrendsTry Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends)Compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics.Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve beensearched on Google over time.Find ideas for narrowing a topic. (See RelatedTerms example on next screen.)Learn what interests the general population.
  • Google Trends
  • Refined by News Search
  • News trends Google News stories how often terms have been searchedApples don’t interest Canadians during the summer.
  • Following trendsGoogle Trends shows in which geographic regions people havesearched most often for your topics.Why is there more interest in ovarian cancerin Fort Collins?
  • New ways of measuringWhat was your last article’s• Conversation Rate• Amplification Rate• Applause Rate
  • Conversation Rate Conversation Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per Post• You are responding to comments, aren’t you?• And listening for their word choices (keywords!) and interests and questions, right?
  • Amplification RateAmplification = # of Retweets Per Tweet• On Facebook, Google Plus: Amplification = # of Shares Per Post• On a blog, YouTube: Amplification = # of Share Clicks Per Post (or Video)
  • Applause Rate• Twitter: Applause Rate = # of Favorite Clicks Per Post• Facebook: Applause Rate = # of Likes Per Post• Google Plus: Applause Rate = # of +1s Per Post• Blog, YouTube: Applause Rate = # of +1s and Likes Per Post (or video)
  • Data from your websiteMake sure you have access to the search logson your site and a regular listing of your mostpopular content and keywords.– Mine your search logs for content ideas and direction– Why writers need to see analytics reportsLearn from your own most successful pages.
  • Learn more aboutSEO• More details at Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.Writing headlines for the Web• How to Write Magnetic Headlines KristeenBullwinkle.com