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Launching Your SEO Effort


A presentation targeting startups & individuals wanting to initiate an SEO program. Not intended to be in-depth. Rather it focuses on the initial stages of preparing for an SEO commitment.

A presentation targeting startups & individuals wanting to initiate an SEO program. Not intended to be in-depth. Rather it focuses on the initial stages of preparing for an SEO commitment.

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  • Launched 2009 after 7 years co-founder at another SEM agencyTeam of 6 focused on SEO, PPC, Social & Analytics50+ years of combined online & marketing experience
  • Spiders traverse the web via linksBuilds a profile of sites based on cluesBuilds a weighted indexStores data to access for users
  • Web server sends query to index server which selects pages that match the queryQuery then sent to document server where search results snippets are generatedResults are compiled and sent to user’s browser in less than a second
  • Comment on distribution of clicks80-85% of all clicks occur on first page10-15% of all clicks on second page<5% of clicks on third pageSearch users change behavior to refine query vs. dig deeperOf first page clicks: 70% are on organic listings
  • This is what you’re pursuingSEO is a effort to rank pages, not sitesLogarithmic scale that distills 200+ variables in Google algorithmA comparison of all pages on the web
  • Start with a strong base of accessibility & text contentSelect keywords & integrate into page contentLinks come from content targeting relevant needs of audiencesPromote to audiences via social media marketing
  • There’s no manual for SEOAlgorithms are SE’s secret sauceSEO firms test theories but SE’s always changingGoogle averages more than 1 change per day (most minor)As such there are many uncertainties
  • High value converting traffic is the goal & measure of success
  • Insights to how search engines see your siteNot how site is viewed through a browserSites developed under Americans w/Disabilities Act often do well
  • Have search engines successfully crawled your site?How often, how deep?Use Webmaster Tools to identify where spiders are being blocked – Excessive “nofollow” robot.txt files?
  • Start building your list of keywords
  • Now start refining your list of keywordsEXPLAIN: Keyword Effectiveness IndexHow competitive a keyword isHigher the less effort is likely required
  • Start to organize your keywords Does your site messaging support the keywords your targeting?If not, you’ll have work to do.
  • There is no EXACT way. Experiment with what gets better results.
  • Think of meta page descriptions as ads for your site to generate clicks.
  • Mention a call to action
  • ExplainALT TagsRobot.txt filesSitemap.xml files
  • Don’t let blogs go stale – BIG turn off to visitors
  • Link Building is a topic of it’s ownHigh School analogyQuality of links not quantityNEVER pay for links! Highly frowned upon by engines
  • Another topic that can be 2 hours on it’s ownReal-time search is indexing content (Twitter/Facebook) in real time on certain subjectsStart by lurking in communities that would utilize your product or service. Get a feel for the conversations.
  • How to construct a title tag?Construct a meta descriptionALT tagsShow Google kw tool?


  • 1. Launching An SEO Effort
    What You Need to Know & Getting Started
  • 2. Agenda
    About Confluence Digital
    How Search Engines Work in 2 minutes
    Search Engine Optimization in 2 Slides 
    A Few Myths About SEO
    Before Optimization Starts
    Where to Start?
    Live Optimization
  • 3. Confluence Digital Work
  • 4. How Search Engines Work in 2 Minutes (or so)
  • 5. The Basics - Indexing
  • 6. The Basics – Serving Results
  • 7. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
    The higher the position of your listings, the more click-throughs to your site.
    The number one search result is worth pursuing because # 1 gets:
    4.9 X more clicks than number 3 position
    8.5 X more clicks than number 5 position
    14.1 X more clicks than number 10 position
  • 8. Search Engine Optimization in 2 Slides
  • 9. Google Page Rank
    Elite 8-10
    Above Average 6-7
    Average 3-5
    Below Average 0-2
  • 10. SEO Factors
  • 11. A Few Myths About SEO
  • 12. It’s All About the Homepage
    • False. While important, high value internal pages may have a larger role in converting actions. It’s about conversions!
    • 13. View your site as a funnel functioning to move visitors to act on a specific objective.
    Keyword Meta Tag
    No. The Keyword Meta Tag is no longer a consideration in search algorithms.
  • 14. Your Domain Doesn’t Matter
    False. A domain that includes keywords, all else being equal, will out rank a generic domain name. URL is not a primary factor.
    Example: We sell widgets
    Better URL: www.superiorwidgets.com, www.seattlewidgetsinc.com
    Not as strong: www.superiorcorp.com, depth of content can be an equalizer
    All Hosts Are Created Equal
    • False. Geographic location impacts local search results. Hosting in the location of your target audience for a modest SEO boost.
  • Frequent Site Updates Are Needed
    • False. Regular content updates are great but quality of content & relevance is paramount.
    More Visits = SEO Success
    False. Quality traffic trumps quantity. Focus on tailoring your content to your ideal human visitor.
    Paid Ads Help SEO
    • False. Ads may help with visibility but the official word from SE’s is there is no influence.
  • Before Optimization Starts
  • 15. Success Starts with Support
    Company Dynamics
    Executive level support is essential
    Marketing >> drive web strategy &
    IT >> recommend SEO friendly
    technologies & solutions
    Finance & Operations >>
    providing adequate resources
    Collaborate or lose.
  • 16. Site Analytics
    Install an analytics solution
    that provides the following:
    Who’s coming?
    What are they doing?
    Where are they coming from?
    When do they act?
    Why do they convert?
    How loyal are they?
    Google & Yahoo Analytics are free powerful tools
    Easy Natural/Organic traffic report set-up
  • 17. Diagnostic Tools from the Engines
    Search Engine Diagnostics & Troubleshooting
    Google http://www.google.com/webmasters/checklist/
    Bing http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasters
    Set up Accounts and Start Collecting Data
    See Your Site How Engines See It
    Gain Insights into:
    Find queries that drive visits
    Crawler access, stats and errors
    Broken links and barriers to indexation
    Internal and external link reporting
    Direct the engines how you’d like them to interact with your site
  • 18. Baseline The Current State
    For Keywords you think are important now, how do you rank?
    How do your Branded Keywords rank?
    How do you compare to a select group of competitors? Are there new competitors?
    Conduct a competitive SEO audit versus 2 or 3 competitors (template at the end)
  • 19. Put Together Your Team
    Assemble a cross functional team
    Representatives from Corporate, Marketing, Customer Support, IT and outside perspectives
    No “team”? Recruit interested parties who’ll offer unbiased feedback: business advisors, peers, significant others, friends/family, etc.
  • 20. Where to Start?
  • 21. On-site: “Crawl-ability” & Indexation
    Data from the webmaster tools will indicate crawl errors, crawl stats, broken links, top search queries, etc.
    If plans include moving your site, use the Change of Address tool to notify Google.
    Use 301 redirects to permanently tell users and search engines of changes to page locations.
    Compare known page count to amount indexed by search engines. This ratio indicates how you may be impacted by issues.
  • 22. On-site: Keyword Research
    • Ask customers & co-workers
    • 23. Visit high ranking competitors
    • 24. Visit industry sites
    Take your Marketer hat off
    • What problem does your company solve?
    • 25. Describe the situation & solution without buzzwords
    Is analytic data available?
    • Review site logs, if not…
    • 26. Google Analytics (free) & collect data (Visitors > Keyword)
  • On-site: Keyword Research
    Use Tools to Find New Words
    • Google Keyword Tool
    • 27. WordTracker
    • 28. KeywordSpy
    Quantify Opportunities
    • Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI)
    • 29. Estimated monthly volumes
    • 30. Strength & volume of competition
    Review the List, Reprioritize
    • Begin to organize the list
    • 31. Do searches to see what results come up. Are they relevant to you?
  • On-site: Keyword Research
    Map Keywords to Strategy
    • Are these the visitors you’re looking for?
    • 32. Do the keywords filter traffic well
    Conduct a Content Gap Analysis
    • Do you have relevant content for targeted keywords?
    Bucket Keywords: Core & Supplementary
    • 3-5 core keywords
    • 33. 5-10 qualifying keywords to further target (i.e. geographic, special function, etc.)
    • 34. End with 10-15 high value phrases
  • On-site: Title Tags
    Title Tag or Page Title
    • Succinctly summarizes the page’s content
    • 35. Appears as the headline in search results
    • 36. The <title> tag should be placed within the <head> tag of the HTML document.
    • 37. Example: <title> Primary keyword + supplemental keyword w/call to action or brand</title>
    Best Practices
    • Create a unique title for every page
    • 38. Include a keyword or two, no more
    • 39. Describe the page contents
    • 40. Avoid vague titles (i.e. Home Page, Products)
    • 41. Recommended 50-60 characters, up to 64-66 displayed
  • Title Tags Example
  • 42. On-site: Meta Description
    Meta Page Description
    • Summarizes the page with more detail
    • 43. Appears as text below Hyperlinked Title Tag on search engine results page
    • 44. Support the headline & work in 1-3 keywords
    • 45. Google may supply a description for you if you don’t
    Best Practices
    • Craft unique descriptions designed to drive click throughs
    • 46. Support concepts in Page Title Tag
    • 47. <meta name="description" content=“A keyword rich description of products available on this page. Write it like an ad and include a call to action." />
    • 48. Recommended 150 -170 characters
    • 49. DO NOT use keywords excessively
  • Meta Description Example
  • 50. On-site: Other Low Hanging Fruit
    Include Keywords in URL/directory structure
    Add Keywords to image ALT tags
    Create Sitemap.xml file & submit to engines
    Include robot.txt files with a pathway to the sitemap.xml
    Introduce text-based Keyword rich navigation links
    Use Flash wisely. Accentuate and highlight content vs. using as a vehicle for content
  • 51. On-Site: Content is King
    Your website must be relevant to your audience
    Content should be regularly updated within reason
    Create and maintain a copy blog
    Ideas for content
    • Develop a list of frequently asked questions
    • 52. Tips & Tricks for issues faced by the market
    • 53. Create case studies and publish tutorials/help files
    • 54. Ask peers to write guest articles/blog posts
    Too busy to develop content?
    • Online freelance communities: Elance, oDesk, many others
    • 55. Hire a grad student researcher in your field with solid writing skills
    Buy “Content Strategy for the Web” by K. Halvorson
  • 56. Off-site: Link Building
    Link Building is…
    • Acquiring in-bound link from reputable sites which are relevant to your target audience.
    • 57. Strategies & tactics which entice others to link to your site.
    Why is Linking Important?
    • Engines like links. Links drive traffic. Links improve visibility.
    • 58. Engines puts heavy emphasis on qualityand diversity of inbound links.
    Create & Distribute Quality Content
    • Avoid distributing to content farms.
    • 59. Seek sites that are authority sites within your domain of expertise.
    Pursuing High Value Link Partners
    • Treat as you would a business development opportunity.
    • 60. Create a relationship for the long term.
  • 61. Off-site: Social Media
    A growing influence on SEO likely to a key factor.
    Engines are indexing & serving social media sites and content in their results pages.
    Establish company accounts for Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.
    Use to distribute notification of company news, content updates, items of interest to your audience.
    Once you start, do not stop. Experiment, Test & Measure.
    Start here: What is Social Media Marketing?
  • 62. Ongoing Activities
    Benchmark efforts against initial baselines and target objectives.
    Research keywords for new opportunities quarterly or monthly.
    Tweak and add content to fill gaps.
    Link building is continuous. Track efforts.
    Social media updates & connecting with others.
    Watch your analytics: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
  • 63. Live Mini SEO Reviews?
  • 64. Resources
  • 65. Tools & Resources
    Free SEO Tools
    • Google Keyword Tool – free https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
    • 66. RankChecker from SEOBook
    • SEOMoz - http://www.seomoz.org/tools
    • 67. Live Search (MSN) http://adlab.msn.com/Keyword-Forecast/default.aspx
    • 68. SpyFu – http://www.spyfu.com
    • 69. KeywordSpy - http://www.keywordspy.com/
    • 70. WebCEO free version - http://www.webceo.com
    • 71. The Google Guide - http://www.googleguide.com/
    There are hundreds available. Find the one that suites your style.
    SEO News
    • http://searchengineland.com/
    • 72. http://searchenginewatch.com/
    • 73. http://www.imediaconnection.com/seo/index.asp
    • 74. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769
    Key Blogs / Forums
    Matt Cutts: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/
    Rand Fishkin: http://www.seomoz.org/blog
    Aaron Wall: http://www.seobook.com/
    John Battelle: http://battellemedia.com/
    DigitalPoint: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/
    SEMPO.org: http://www.sempo.org/home
    Confluence Digital: http://confluencedigital.com
  • 75. Competitive Comparison Template
  • 76. About Confluence Digital
    What We Do
    Digital Brand Enhancement
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • 77. Paid Search
    • 78. Social Media Marketing
    • 79. Display/Banner Programs
    • 80. Digital Video/Image Distribution
    Program Optimization
    • Digital Marketing Program Management
    • 81. Landing Page/Conversion Path Optimization
    • 82. User Experience Analytics
    • 83. Consulting, Training & Education
    • 84. 3rd Party Program Audits & Vendor Selection
    Dave Pektas Search Marketing Specialist
    Jason Gritten Search Marketing Specialist
    Alonso Chehade Social Media Associate
    Eric Layland Client Strategy
    Dorota Umeno SEM & Brand Advisor
    Margery Spears SEO & Social Specialist
    Complemented by an extensive network
  • 85. Got A Question?
    Confluence Digital
    711 Sixth Avenue North
    Seattle WA 98109
    Phone: 206-852-7102