Outline What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) How Do Search Engines Work SEO Speed Bumps & Walls. SEO Step #1 - Keyword Discovery SEO Step #2 - On Page SEO SEO Step #3 - Letting The Search Engines Know Off-Page SEO – Why Link Building Off-Page SEO – How SE’s Evaluate Links Off-Page SEO – Link Building Strategies SEO – The Shampoo Theory Q&A:
What is (SEO)? The active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal (on-page) and external (off-page) aspects to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines organically and to increase impressions of brand for brand awareness purposes. Search engines are always working towards improving their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return increasingly relevant results to users. The online environment is becoming increasingly competitive, and those companies who perform SEO will have a big advantage in visitors and customers. 80% of all Internet activity starts at a search engine and 90% of all visitors do not go past the first page of results. Results differ from SE to SE. Each SE uses a unique algorithm (math equation for sorting). This algorithm is unknown to the public, has over 100 different parts to it, and changes constantly.
How Do Search Engines Work? Crawl the web - Search engines run automated programs, called "bots" or "spiders", that use the hyperlink structure of the web to "crawl" the pages and documents that make up the World Wide Web. Indexing documents - Once a page has been crawled, its contents can be "indexed" - stored in a giant database of documents that makes up a search engine's "index". This index needs to be tightly managed so that requests which must search and sort billions of documents can be completed in fractions of a second. Process Queries - When a request for information comes into the search engine (hundreds of millions do each day), the engine retrieves from its index all the documents that match the query. A match is determined if the terms or phrase is found on the page in the manner specified by the user. Ranking results - Once the search engine has determined which results are a match for the query, the engine's algorithm (a mathematical equation commonly used for sorting) runs calculations on each of the results to determine which is most relevant to the given query.
SEO Speed Bumps & Walls Certain types of navigation may hinder or entirely prevent search engines from reaching your website's content. As search engine spiders crawl the web, they rely on the architecture of hyperlinks to find new documents and revisit those that may have changed. In the analogy of speed bumps and walls, complex links and deep site structures with little unique content may serve as "bumps." Data that cannot be accessed by a search engine spider qualifies as "walls." Some of them are: URL’s with 2+ dynamic parameters. More than 100 links on a page. Session ID’s Frames Flash Drop Down Menus Search Boxes Pages behind login
SEO Step #1 – Keyword Discovery Keyword discovery is the center of SEO. Knowing the most popular terms web visitors use to find what they are looking for on the web is critical for SEO success. Brainstorming - Thinking of what your customers/potential visitors would be likely to type in to search engines in an attempt to find the information/services your site offers (including alternate spellings, wordings, synonyms, etc). Applying Data from KW Research Tools - There are several tools online offer information about the number of times users perform specific searches. Using these tools can offer concrete data about trends in keyword selection. Term Selection - The next step is to create a matrix or chart that analyzes the terms you believe are valuable and compares traffic, relevancy, and the likelihood of conversions for each.
SEO Step # 2 – On Page SEO In-depth SEO phase that reflects targeted keyword terms. The following guidelines should be used for each page: At least once in the title tag. At least once in the meta description tag. Once in the header tag of the page. Once in a hyperlink. Use at least 3X in the body copy on the page. Each page should have 300-500 words. At least once in bold. Search engines give bolded words more “authority”. At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. Not only does this help for SEO but for obtaining traffic from Google’s images directory. Keywords in bulleted lists. Once in the URL if not the home page. Keeping file size of page under 150K. Valid Html & CSS with W3C Guidelines. No broken links.
SEO Step # 3 – Letting The SE’s Know The three major SE’s (Google, Yahoo, & Bing (MSN) all offer “Webmaster Tools” section to introduce your site to them. These tools offer valuable information to SEO including: Incoming link counts Crawl rate Preferred domain Geo targeting options Manage site verification Other cool SEO stuff
Off-Page SEO – Why Link Building? Link building is the practice of getting other sites to implement hyperlink back to a web site. Many consider link building to be the holy grail of SEO. In principle, each link to a web page is seen as a vote for that web page. In simple terms, if there are two pages that are equally relevant to a given search query, the page with the better inbound link profile will rank higher than the other page. Mandatory for the site publisher to go out and tell the world about their site and get people to link to it. Publishers who do not pursue link building are quite likely to be at high risk of losing their search engine traffic, or never building up their web sites to the point where the traffic they are getting meets their goals.
Off-Page SEO – How SE’s Evaluate Links The notion of using links as a way of measuring a site’s importance was first made popular by Google, with the implementation of their Page Rank algorithm. In simple terms, each link to a web page is a vote for that page. However, votes do not have equal weight. The three ways SE’s evaluate links: Relevance. If the link comes from a site that is on the same topic as the publisher’s site (or a closely related topic), that link is worth more than a links that comes from a site with an unrelated topic. Authority. It is generally accepted that search engines attempt to measure how much they trust a site. If a site is highly trusted, its vote will count for more than if it is not that trusted. Anchor Text. Anchor text has been rated by leading SEOs as one of the most powerful factors in search rankings. Search engine representatives have also acknowledged that anchor text is a significant ranking factor. They use anchor text to provide further evidence of what the page receiving the link is about. Since these are assumed to be specified by the person giving the link, it is a factor that is potentially very powerful.
Off-Page SEO – Link Building Strategies Asking for a link - Sometimes simple is best. If the site looking for links is a high quality site with unique and/or authoritative content, the publisher may simply need to tell the world about what they have. Directory Submissions – Yahoo, Business.com, DMOZ, Best of the Web. Most of these have pay to play. Niche Directories – Directories within the education field, subject, or degree. Local Directories and/or Associations – BBB, Chambers of Commerce, and local directories. Memberships/Vendors/Testimonials – Use existing relationships to your advantage. Press Releases – Making sure each release is optimized for your top keyword phrases. Social Media Profiles /Blog Commenting – Recently SE’s have placed less importance on these links due to have spamming. Donations/Sponsorships – Top sponsors get links on web site. Giveaways/Contests/Polls – Ties in great with press releases and creates buzz. Content Syndication – Submitting articles to article directories, being a guest blogger, or creating RSS feeds that visitors can subscribe to or re publish. Purchasing Links – Through brokers or website owners.
SEO – The Shampoo Theory SEO Work Is Never Done – As the search engines evolve so does your SEO. Those who are want to achieve long term SEO success must continue and repeat the process: Continued Keyword Research – Just because you know the top keywords for your industry today does not mean you will know them in 6 months. Terms like going green, bailout, staycation, desperate search, and others. On-Page SEO – Need to change (tweak) the way words are positioned on the page and include new ones should and in the meta tags. New Quality Web Content - It keeps the SE’s coming back, gives more pages included in the SE’s index, and giving you the ability to drive more links and traffic to the web site. Link Building – You can NEVER have enough quality links! Social Media Profiles/Blogs – New ones pop up and pick up momentum and you need to have a profile. Think Twitter!