IBPA PubU: Optimizing Your Content for SEO HANDOUT
IBPA Publishing University 2013The Virtual Marketer: Optimizing Your Content for SEOPresented by Christopher Robbins and Deltina HayThis handout is intended as a guide to help you get your book the best possible online exposure and click-through-rate. Specific examples and methodology can be found on the slides used in the presentation(http://www.slideshare.net/deltina/ibpa-pubu-optimizing-your-content-for-seo) and in the resources.SEO 101: PreparationPrepare Your ContentIn todays online search environment, relevancy and authenticity actually pay off! Your first order of business inpreparing to optimize your content for search is to produce your content organically. In other words, dont stuffkeywords into your content—write your content first and pull your keywords from the “organic” text.Write your sell sheets, press releases, book descriptions, author bios, and testimonials in a natural way. Then,use that organic content to build a keyword phrase list you can use to optimize your entire online presence.Prepare your book content organically, including:• Press Release• Author Bio• TestimonialsPerform a keyword analysis on the content:• Flow the content into a temporary HTML page.• Enter the temporary URL into Google Adwords Keyword Tool (1).• Alternatively, choose a “logical search phrase” taken from your content and use it in the tool.• Additional tip: Use Google Instant (2) to find popular search phrases.• Choose a long list of possible keyword phrases.• Download a spreadsheet containing your selected keyword phrases.• Filter 10 to 20 “long tail” phrases from the spreadsheet by removing “high” competition terms (over .75)and terms with low global searches (less than 1,000).• Choose your final keyword phrase list (20 is a good start) based on relevancy.• Order your list by relevancy.Finalize your keyword phrase list using:• Long tail phrases from the previous step• Author name, book name, publisher name• Any local or regional terms relevant to the book• Dont forget to use the word “book” in some of the phrasesApply Your Keyword ListUse your keyword phrases everywhere you are online, including:• As the focus of static web pages• As blog post topics• As topics for guest posts and articles (3)• As search terms for finding guest posting opportunities
• Within social media profiles, descriptions, and “about” areas• As social media tags and categories where applicable (e.g. Scribd, Facebook, Goodreads, Authors Den,Google Plus, etc.)• Within book descriptions you post online (Amazon, B&N, etc.)Optimize Your Web Page/Blog Post ContentIt is best to focus on one keyword phrase for articles and blog posts. If you are developing a static web pagewith a lot of content, then focus on more – but never more than three.Create web pages/blog posts using keyword phrases in:• Title of page/post (limit to 65 characters)• Page/post description (limit to 155 characters)• First paragraph of page/postFor each image on the page, use the keyword phrase - or something similar - that is relevant to the image as:• The image file name• The image title• The image alt textFor each link on the page/post, use the keyword phrase - or something similar - that represents the outgoing linkappropriately:• As the anchor text• And/or near the anchor text• As the title of the linkFor blog posts, use the main keyword phrase and other relevant phrases as tags.SEO 201: Discoverability (or “How to Get Found”)Diversify Your Online PresenceToday, getting found through search engines is much more than placing at the top of Google website searchresults. “Universal Search” is used to describe inclusion of items other that websites in search results. Theseinclude results for images, blog posts, books, products, videos, news, and more.These items reside in their own respective databases, and are searched independent of Googles main searcharea. You want to diversify your online presence so that you and your books get the best possible exposure in allthe relevant search databases.For Google, focus on optimizing your content for these “universal” search databases:• Google Image Search: Optimize every image you put online using your best keywords relevant to theimage.• Google Books Search: Add your book to Google Play (formerly Google Books). (4)• Google Shopping: If you have a shopping cart on your website, add your product details to GoogleMerchant. (5)• Google Blogs: Post relevant and frequent blog entries, and guest post often.• Google Video: Add your videos to YouTube and use your best keywords as tags and within uploadedvideo titles and descriptions.• Google News Search: Publish new releases regularly using a reputable service such as PRWeb.
• Google Discussion Search: Keep active on Google Plus, relevant online forums, and on “knowledgebases” like Wikipedia.com, Ask.com, Quora.com, and Yahoo AnswersEstablish Google Plus and Other Social Media AccountsGoogle “Discussion Search” mentioned in the last section specifically pulls activity from Google Plus profiles.“Google Plus Your World” (6) is a search feature that includes activity in your search results from other peoplein your Google “Circles” when you are logged in to Google Plus. These are only two examples of why it isimportant to establish a Google Plus presence.Specifically, you want to:• Create a Google Plus (7) profile.• Engage and share around topics relevant to your books.• Create a Google Plus business page (8).• Link your Google Plus page to your website (9), if applicable.Other search engines, like Bing, include activity from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.So establishing a presence in at least one more of these platforms is a good idea.Create Sharable Content that is Easy to ShareGoogle uses “social signals” to help determine the relevancy and popularity of a web page or blog post. Socialsignals are actions visitors take to share your content on social media sites such as Google Plus, Twitter,Facebook, and StumbleUpon.Google tracks how many “plus ones,” “Tweets,” “Likes,” and “Stumbles” a page receives, and this helps inranking the site for specific search terms or topics. So, the goal is not to get anyone and everyone to share yourcontent, it is to get people who typically share your type of content to share it with others who typically sharethat type of content.Create content that:• Brings value to your readers• Prompts readers to share the content with others• Is relevant to your book topics and keyword phrasesOnce you have published “sharable” content, make it easy for visitors to share by:• Placing easy-to-find share buttons on every page of your website or blog, *using a good service• Marking up your content using the Open Graph protocol (see “SEO 301” section below) so it looks itsbest on your readers social media profiles• Sharing it yourself: dont rely on others to find it on your site – get it out there!WordPress solutions:• WordPress SEO plugin (10) for Open Graph• ShareThis plugin (11) or Jetpack plugin (12) for share buttons*Google Analytics can be used to track social signals. Analytics will track Goole Plus-Ones automatically, but itwill only track signals from certain services like AddThis.com or ShareThis.com.
SEO 301: ConversionLanding on the first page of search results does little good if nobody clicks on your listing. You can make yourlistings stand out by applying Google Authorship and Schema.org microdata to your bylines and bookinformation, respectively. You can also improve how your content is displayed and featured when shared onsocial media platforms by using Twitter cards and Open Graph meta tags.Use Google Authorship to Claim Your Online ContentGoogle Authorship is a tactic you cannot afford to ignore – especially if you have your own blog, contributeonline articles, or do any guest blogging. Google Authorship is a way for you to associate all of the articles andblog posts you author with your Google Plus account. This, in turn, features your profile images, your GooglePlus profile, and other articles you have written within search result listings.To establish Google Authorship on every post or article you author online:• Create your Google Plus profile.• Place a link to your Google Plus profile, followed by the “rel=author” attribute.• Place a link referencing the article or site in your Google Plus profile.• More specific instructions can be found on the Goole Authorship page (13)You can test Google Authorship using the Google Rich Snippets testing tool (14). Apply Google Authorship toeverything you publish online to get maximum exposure.Apply Microdata Markup to Produce Google Rich SnippetsMicrodata markup is a type of “semantic” markup that provides Google with information about your books thatit uses to create “rich snippets.” Rich snippets (15) are a few additional lines of information under a searchlisting.For books, rich snippets can include the books price, starred reviews, availability, and more. When you applymicrodata markup to the information about your book on your website, your search result listings will look justlike an Amazon book listing, and this can result in more click throughs.Google uses the Schema.org “vocabulary” for microdata markup, so the first step is to use the Schema.orgvocabulary for books (16) and add the relevant markup to your books. The site has good examples to guide you.There are also some nice tools like the microdata generator (17) that can help you create the markup easily.WordPress solutions:• Schema Creator plugin (18)• WordPress SEO plugin (10)Add Open Graph MetadataDont let Facebook and other social networking platforms decide how to feature your content. You want tocontrol which images, titles, and descriptions are used when your content is shared on social media platforms.Take control by using “Open Graph” metadata. These are meta tags you add to individual web pages that informsocial sharing sites how to display your content.Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other social networking, crowd sourcing, and news sharing sites willautomatically use the values assigned to open graph meta tags. If they do not find the meta tags, they will usetheir own method of displaying your content, which is not always pretty.
To create your metadata, go to the Open Graph Protocol website (19), and follow the instructions. The sitefeatures many tags/properties, but the most important (for our purposes) are: Title, Type, URL, Image,Description, Site_name.Once you add your metadata, test it using Facebooks debugger tool (20).WordPress solutions:• WordPress SEO plugin (10)• Facebook Like Thumbnail plugin (21)Ready Your Web Pages for Twitter CardsTwitter has a feature called “Twitter Cards” (22) that Twitter uses to feature summary, photo, and videoinformation from your website right within the Twitter timeline.You tell Twitter about the content on your web pages using specific metadata – similar to how Open Graphmetadata is used by Facebook. However, you also need to go through an approval process in order for Twitter torecognize your metadata and list your summary information in the Twitter timeline. Here is a video (23) thatwalks you through the entire process.Optimize for Mobile SearchPeople browse the Internet differently on mobile devices. They tend to search mostly for local information,news, and products. They are also more likely to take action once they find what they are looking for. So makeyour calls-to-action very clear and easy to find when targeting mobile device users.The last thing you want is for someone to land on your website from a successful mobile search andimmediately move on because your site does not display properly on their smartphone. Mobile-ready websitesand landing pages are critical to conversion! There are many solutions available for both HTML and WordPress-powered websites – here is a worksheet that can help you prepare (24).Other methods discussed earlier in this handout can also help you place better in mobile search results,especially:• Including your book information in universal search databases and Freebase.com• Establishing a Google Plus profile and page• Contributing to knowledge-base sites like Wikipedia, Quora, and Ask.com• Keeping your content relevant, sharable, and organically optimizedBoth Android and iOS smartphones have voice-activated search capabilities. And while inclusion in the searchdatabases will improve your placement in Android voice searches, Apple uses Google search as a last resort.Apples Siri uses information found on installed apps as well as Wikipedia, Wolfram, and Freebase.com (25).A good resource for learning which knowledge-bases are most important is the Linked Open Data Cloud (26).As we move toward a more “structured” Internet, Linked Open Data becomes more and more relevant.Resources(1) Google Adwords Keyword Tool: http://adwords.google.com(2) Google Instant: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/instant/about.html
(3) To find guest blogging opportunities: http://google.com/blogsearch, http://technorati.com, http://alltop.com(4) Google Play: http://play.google.com(5) Google Merchant: http://www.google.com/merchants(6) Google Plus Your World: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/plus/(7) Google Plus: http://plus.google.com(8) Google Business Pages: https://plus.google.com/pages/create(9) Link Your Plus Page: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1708844(10) WordPress SEO plugin (http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/)(11) ShareThis plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/share-this/(12) Jetpack plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack/(13) Google Authorship: https://plus.google.com/authorship(14) Google rich snippets testing tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets(15) Google rich snippets: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=99170(16) Schema.org vocabulary for books: http://schema.org/Book(17) Microdata generator: http://www.microdatagenerator.com/(18) Schema Creator plugin: http://schema-creator.org/wordpress.php(19) Open Graph Protocol: (http://ogp.me/)(20) Facebooks debugger tool: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug(21) Facebook Like Thumbnail plugin: http://blog.ashfame.com/2011/02/wordpress-plugin-fix-facebook-like-thumbnail/(22) Twitter Cards: https://dev.twitter.com/docs/cards(23) Twitter Cards Tutorial: http://youtu.be/QTmYu89hW_4(24) Mobile Website Strategy Worksheet: http://thebootstrappersguide.com/mobilewebsitestrategy.html(25) Siri FAQs: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/siri-faq.html(26) Linked Open Data (LOD) cloud: http://lod-cloud.net/Presenter InformationChristopher Robbinshttp://firstname.lastname@example.orgDeltina Hayhttp://DeltinaU.email@example.comMost of the material presented here is taken from Deltina Hays upcoming book, The Bootstrappers Guide tothe New Search Optimization: Mastering the New Rules of Organic Search Using Relevancy, Context, andSemantics published by Quill Driver Books. This book will be initially released in experimental form as aninteractive web app. If you want to be part of the beta team and get a first look at this innovative, new bookcontact Kent Sorsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.