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Improving SEO at CBC

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  • 1. Search Engine OptimizationA Presentation to CBC News OnlinebyBlake CrosbyMedia Production SupportCBC TechnologyMarch 2009
  • 2. © July 26, 2011 2What is Search Engine Optimization?Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process ofimproving the volume and quality of traffic to aweb site from search engines via "natural" ("organic"or "algorithmic") search results. - WikipediaIn other words…SEO is a tool to use to modify the way your siteappears to search engines so that your site appearsmore frequently in search results.
  • 3. © July 26, 2011 3Scope of Presentation•Description of how Google crawls our website•Rundown of a typical Google search result•Reported problems/frustrations•How we’re currently using SEO•How we should be using SEO•How to use diagnostic tools from Google.•Q&A Session
  • 4. © July 26, 2011 4How Google Crawls cbc.ca1. Google starts with an entrance page.2. It indexes the text and compiles a list of links to follow.3. It follows a link in the list, indexes the text and finds more linksto follow.4. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • 5. © July 26, 2011 5Google Search Results (Glossary of Terms)Search QueryOne Box (Google News)SnippetTitle
  • 6. © July 26, 2011 6Problems to solve…•Results ranking too low
  • 7. © July 26, 2011 7Problems to solve…•Incorrect Snippet Data
  • 8. © July 26, 2011 8Problems to solve…•Missing stories from Google News, but…
  • 9. © July 26, 2011 9Problems to solve…•They appear in regular web search results!
  • 10. © July 26, 2011 10Problems to solve…•Speed of crawling/index too slowSome users have complained that it takes too longfor news stories to appear in the Google index.
  • 11. © July 26, 2011 11Problems to solve…•Lower page rank for most cbc.ca pages
  • 12. © July 26, 2011 12How we’re currently using SEO•We are doing some SEO:• Using META tags (description, keywords)• Using unique URLs (sort of)• We have a HTML site map. (www.cbc.ca/sitemap)• Using proper heading tags (h1, h2, etc..)
  • 13. © July 26, 2011 13What more can we do?•Provide a news site map to Google•Ensure proper keywords are used•Ensure the description tag is accurate•Encourage users to link to our news stories•Provide relevant outbound links to other sites•Use the webmaster tools•Reconsider story sharing•Talk to Google!
  • 14. © July 26, 2011 14Google News Best Practices•Be Unique• Each news story needs to have a unique URL.•Be Permanent• Each news story URL must not change.•Display a three-digit number (dates don’t count).• A unique number at least three digits must be inthe URL. Exceptions are made for Google NewsSitemaps.•Links To Articles• Should be 22 words (not characters) or less.
  • 15. © July 26, 2011 15Google News RankingGoogle news ranks which news source appears at the top of aparticular story based on the following criteria:•Freshness of content• Being first (breaking the news) isn’t always the best•Diversity of content• Make sure your story contains a lot of relevantinformation•Rich contextual content• Make sure your story contains keywords that people arelikely to search for
  • 16. © July 26, 2011 16Google News SitemapA Google News sitemap allows you to submit yourarticle URLs (and metadata) directly to Google tobe crawled and indexed.A sitemap will include the following information:•URL to news story•Story publication date•Story keywordsThe sitemap will also be used by other searchengines as well.
  • 17. © July 26, 2011 17Using Proper KeywordsPoor Keywords:http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/03/02/markets.html“markets,s tocks”Good:•Keyword matches word in URLBad:•Only one valid keyword (“s tocks” doesn’t count)•Article is about more than just market and stocks.Suggested Keywords:“tsx, stock market, canada, closed down,weakness”
  • 18. © July 26, 2011 18Using Proper KeywordsPoor Keywords:http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2009/03/02/canada-reads-starts.html“canada reads, book battle, champion”Good:•Keyword appears in the URLBad:•Will users actually search for “book battle”?•Story is not about “book battle” or “champion”Suggested Keywords:“canada reads, campbell, slean, lewis, withenshaw, books”
  • 19. © July 26, 2011 19Using Proper KeywordsGood Keywords:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/03/03/speeding-bust.html“speeding, stunt-driving, toronto, ontario, highway400, street racing”•Keywords appear in the URL & story•Sums up contents of article well•Keywords most likely used by users performing asearch•Not too many (not overloading META tag)
  • 20. © July 26, 2011 20Using Proper KeywordsIt’s important to remember:•Ensure keywords are correct (no typos or spellingerrors)•No need to supply synonyms (ie: “bc” and “britishcolumbia”)•4-6 Keywords are sufficient•Try to use words that users will use whenperforming a search•Use keywords that are found in the URL, header,and first paragraph of the story
  • 21. © July 26, 2011 21The META Description TagThe contents of the description tag will appear asthe snippet in search results.This is important to get users to click on your searchresult instead of somewhere else.
  • 22. © July 26, 2011 22The META Description TagPoor Example:http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/harper_stephen/<META NAME="description" CONTENT="Stephen Harper">•Description too small. Google will compile its ownsnippet instead.•In this example, it’s the image caption
  • 23. © July 26, 2011 23Inbound & Outbound LinksGoogle ranks pages based on the number andquality of links to and from your pages.Try to link to other sources that have a high pagerank, and vise-versa.You can adjust the position you appear in searchresults based on who links to you.For Example:
  • 24. © July 26, 2011 24Inbound & Outbound Links“stephen harper”•Wikipedia: 1•CBC: 16 (second page of results)“conservative party”•Wikipedia: 3•CBC: 5WHY?
  • 25. © July 26, 2011 25Inbound & Outbound Links“stephen harper” (Rank: 16)•Wikipedia Pagerank: 6/10•CBC Pagerank: 5/10•Conservatives website Pagerank: 7/10Wikipedia article links to Conservative Party in depth. (NOTStephen Harper in depth)•Change article to point to Steven Harper in depth instead.•Update in depth to point to Wikipedia Article•Update in depth to point to Stephen Harper bio onConservatives website
  • 26. © July 26, 2011 26Inbound & Outbound Links“conservative party” (Rank: 5)•Wikipedia Pagerank: 6/10•CBC Pagerank: 5/10•Conservatives website Pagerank: 7/10Wikipedia article links to OTHER pages and not indepth.•Add link to Wikipedia page to point toConservative Party in depth.•Update in depth to point to Wikipedia Article andConservatives website.
  • 27. © July 26, 2011 27Improving Pagerank•Link to pages that have a higher pagerank thanyou:• Link to Stephen Harpers website from in depth &news stories.•If possible, get higher pagerank sites to link backto you:• Edit Wikipedia articles to cite cbc.ca or add a linkto “see also” section•The more inbound links the better.•Use Google Toolbar to find out a sites pagerank
  • 28. © July 26, 2011 28Story Sharing and SEO•Google expects to only find one copy of a story atone URL•Story sharing makes available the same copy atmultiple URLs•Google sees this practice as “spammy” and maylower the page rank for those pages or cbc.ca
  • 29. © July 26, 2011 29Google Webmaster ToolsDemo Webmaster Toolshttp://www.google.com/webmaster/
  • 30. © July 26, 2011 30To Recap…•Results ranking too low• Increase page rank by linking to other pages•Incorrect snippet data• Make sure your META description tag is correct•Missing stories from Google News• Use a news sitemap•Speed of indexing/crawling• Remember: Google News prefers “fresher”content.
  • 31. © July 26, 2011 31To Recap…Some suggestions:•Copyedit the keywords field•Contact DP&BD to set up a Google News sitemap•Ensure stories have “related” links that leavecbc.ca. for example: to wikipedia, official sites,press releases.•Use inline links (see Arts stories)•Reduce use of story sharing (or eliminate).
  • 32. © July 26, 2011 32Further Reading…Google’s Own SEO Guidehttp://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/11/googles-seo-starter-guide.htmlGoogle Website Optimizerhttp://www.google.com/websiteoptimizerGoogle Support Pageshttp://www.google.com/support/Search Engine Optimization Bibleby Ledford, Jerri L.ISBN:978-0-470-17500-2
  • 33. © July 26, 2011 33Thank You!Any Questions?