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Tips and technics for search engine market

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  • 1. Tips & Techniques forSearch Engine Marketing An Annual Review Mark Shay & Clara Gruen GradSchools.com NAGAP Chicago 2005
  • 2. Overview Search Engines and Directories Overview Improving Rankings in Free Search Results Tools to Help Optimize Pages and Improve Free Search Rankings Blogs for Search Engine Rankings
  • 3. Search Engines vs. Directories Search Engines (Google.com)  Active  Database driven  Keywords Portals & Directories (Yahoo.com)  Static  Pre-defined  Human categorizations
  • 4. How Search Engines Work Based on relevance to user’s search Spiders index web pages Algorithm to define position  Content  Popularity Constantly changing Can take steps to improve rankings
  • 5. Improving Rankings in Free Search Site Structure & File Names Every Page is important - each must be optimized separately Clear Purpose for Each Page Title Tags & Meta Tags Choosing Keywords Web Page Optimization Link Popularity More Tips
  • 6. Site Structure & File Names Important pages at root level Meaningful folder names using broad keywords when possible URLs should be as short as possible File names including keywords Think about what will best describe the page http://www.GradSchools.com/Programs/Accounting.html Site Map  Text links to all pages on site (for spiders)
  • 7. Every Page is Crucial Only 30% of visitors to GradSchools.com enter through the home page Most go directly to inside pages based on the keywords they used to search Each page addresses a different topic - should have unique keywords Optimize pages individually to maximize traffic to each inside page
  • 8. Clear Purpose Know the target audience for each page - know how they search Strong cross-linking to related pages within your site Provide links to other related sites
  • 9. Title Tags & Meta Tags Title Tags  Lead with most important keyword (Grad School Search Guide)  Include several keywords but be meaningful  Do not make too long Meta Tags  Robot Meta Tag <META NAME="ROBOTS” CONTENT="INDEX,FOLLOW">  Description - Phrase or sentence to describe website  Contain primary keywords and be readable (appears on search engines to describe site)  Keywords - 15-25 keywords that describe the particular page (or whole site) trying to include the most popular search terms or phrases
  • 10. Choosing Keywords Home Page: Choose 15-25 keywords to include in meta tags and around five on which to concentrate the content Inside Pages: Choose one or two unique keywords for each page Keywords should be specific to the page, but also terms that are searched regularly (ex: chemistry graduate school vs. northeastern chemistry graduate school) Keywords should be in the content - browsers can’t read graphics.
  • 11. Optimizing Pages Content  First 250 words of the website are highly valued by search engines  Paragraph using chosen keywords should start off each page Headline Tags  Use keywords within Headline Tags  <h1>Graduate School</h1> Images  Use Alt tags in all images that include keywords for the page
  • 12. Link Popularity How many sites link to you  Determines relevance to the keywords  Evidence of quality of your site Reciprocal Links  Link to related site and have them link to you Submit sites to directories (human maintained) Paid advertising (links to your site) Request Links from related sites (non-reciprocal)  These may perform better than reciprocal links. Text of link matters - “Graduate School Directory” works better than “GradSchools.com” in link text.
  • 13. Niche Portals & Directories Sector sites specializing in unique content Typically require submission - not automatically indexed Often have free listings for all related sites and upgraded listings for advertisers Examples:  http://www.GradSchools.com  http://www.Petersons.com Good places to advertise to reach a specific audience - this will increase the number of links to your site and therefore your Link Popularity
  • 14. Improving Rankings: More Tips Update your site!  Changes are seen by search engines  Freshness of content is important  Blogs can help keep site current Resubmit your site  Each time a major change is made, resubmit to all the major search engines.
  • 15. Improving Rankings: More Tips Moving Target - always changes, always have to update Focus pages, keep content heavy and graphics light Use keywords carefully Plan ahead - think through file structure and names to improve rankings When building sites - never forget the business logic behind the technology
  • 16. Improving Rankings: Don’t Tips Don’t use redirects  Temporary solution ONLY for site changes Don’t imbed content within JavaScript Don’t use frames when avoidable  Content on page isn’t seen Be careful with tables - too much code reduces how much content the search engine sees Don’t use too many images - rely on content
  • 17. Tools to Help Improve Rankings Online Tools available Web Site Logs  Search Words and Phrases  Web site Referrers Keyword Suggestion Tools
  • 18. Search Tools Google Page Rank SEO Toolbox (seo-toolbox.seoinc.com) Alexa Tool Bar Rankings Scrub the Web Meta Check http://www.GradSchools.com/NAGAP for the full list Email your suggestions to Clara@GradSchools.com
  • 19. Using Your Web Site Logs Every time your website is accessed, a log is kept of user activity Logs provide detailed information about what your site visitors do and how they got there Use logs to evaluate keywords
  • 20. Log Reports Available  Extensive reporting options available  Numerous products on market to process log information
  • 21. Search Words  Shows each word that was used in free and paid searches which resulted in clicks to your site  Includes little words: “in”, “for”, etc.
  • 22. Search Phrases  Shows phrases used to locate your site  More valuable than words alone  Use to determine what gets traffic to your website in free and paid searches  Guide decisions on keyword usages  Monitor progress
  • 23. Web Site Referrers  Logs will show sites that “refer” visitors to your site  Use Information to determine where your traffic is coming from and maximize volume.
  • 24. Web Site Referrers  Search for specific type of domains in referrers.  Determine the schools from which most of your visits come.
  • 25. Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool 72,087 -!graduate school 3,352 -!usda graduate school 3,209 - graduate school ranking 2,652 -!keller graduate school !2,520 -!online graduate school !2,442 -!scholarship graduate school !2,323 -!graduate school search !1,850 -!psychology graduate school !1,365 -!keller graduate school of management !1,289 -!graduate business school !1,054 -!best graduate school ! 988 -!graduate school letter of recommendation ! 896 -!graduate school personal statement ! 893 -!graduate school political science ! 892 -!graduate school grant ! 885 -!high school graduate ! 863 -!top graduate school ! 814 -!graduate letter recommendation sample school ! 784 -!graduate school essay ! 733 -!graduate school rating ! 707 -!graduate school interview ! 654 -!graduate purpose school statement ! 627 -!anesthesiology graduate school ! 561 -!graduate intent letter school ! 524 -!education graduate harvard school !514 -!claremont graduate school ! 512 - !graduate school for social work
  • 26. Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool
  • 27. Blogs (Web Logs) What is a Blog?  A “blog” is an interactive journal available 24 hours a day on the internet. A person who creates a blog is referred to as a “blogger,” and updating a blog by writing new entries is called “blogging.” - From Matisse’s Glossery of Internet Terms
  • 28. Blog Facts In 2004, Dictionary publisher Merriam- Webster named “blog” the word of the year. “Blog” now appears in the 2005 print and online editions of the Collegiate Dictionary In a recent report, Pew Internet & American Life Project found blog readership increased sharply, up 58%, between February and November 2004
  • 29. Blogs in EducationMBA Admissions Blog - Wharton Weblogs at Harvard Law School McGann’s Factor Rhetorica - Professors MIT Admissions Blog who Blog
  • 30. What can Blogging do for you? Share information quickly and easily - updating content regularly increases rankings in the Search engines Search engines love blogs - extensive content, all relevant to a particular topic Drive traffic directly into specific pages on your site - increases links to pages - Blogs seen as high quality links (for link popularity)
  • 31. Summary It’s all about keywords Sites should be designed around Google searchability Search sophistication increases - what was once 2 words is now 3-4 word search phrases What are appropriate keywords for your pages? How do you rank on appropriate keywords?
  • 32. Summary Cont. Align Title, Meta, Headline Tags and keywords in page text Seek links that include keywords in the link text Experiment with keyword advertising (focus on less competitive terms) Monitor progress, track search phrases and trends
  • 33. Questions?MShay@GradSchools.comClara@GradSchools.com

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