Understanding SEO

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  • 1. Understanding SEO
    or
    How to Help Users Find
    Your Stuffs on the Intertronz
  • 2. My Name is Tim Huegdon
    First, an introduction…
  • 3. Qualification
    Web developer for 15 years
  • 4. Qualification
    Web developer for 15 years
    Client-side specialist for 6 years
  • 5. Qualification
    Web developer for 15 years
    Client-side specialist for 6 years
    Information architect
  • 6. Qualification
    Web developer for 15 years
    Client-side specialist for 6 years
    Information architect
    Massive Nerd
    Quite literally
    SEO as a hobby
  • 7. Results
    Google “Web Development Lead”
    Top result
  • 8. Results
    Google “Web Development Lead”
    Top result
    Google “Web Development Manager”
    First page
  • 9. Results
    Google “Web Development Lead”
    Top result
    Google “Web Development Manager”
    First page
    Google “Object oriented JavaScript”
    Top result
  • 10.
  • 11. Results
    Google “Web Development Lead”
    Top result
    Google “Web Development Manager”
    First page
    Google “Object oriented JavaScript”
    Top result
    Google “Tim”
    Third result (above the inventor of the web)
  • 12. FAIL
  • 13. </smug>(I cheated; I was logged in)
  • 14. Know Thine Enemy
    Sun Tzu (paraphrased)
  • 15. Search Engines
    Google
    Microsoft Bing
    Now own Yahoo! Search
    Many, many more…
  • 16. How search engines work
    Army of robots
  • 17.
  • 18. How search engines work
    Army of robots
    Automated spiders
  • 19.
  • 20. Tree
  • 21. Graph
    England Team
    Football
    Internationals
    World Cup
    Euro 2012
  • 22. How search engines work
    Army of robots
    Automated spiders
    Work page by page
  • 23. How search engines work
    Army of robots
    Automated spiders
    Work page by page
    Cache and analyse content
  • 24. How search engines work
    Army of robots
    Automated spiders
    Work page by page
    Cache and analyse content
    Index keywords
  • 25. How search engines work
    Army of robots
    Automated spiders
    Work page by page
    Cache and analyse content
    Index keywords
    Assign an arbitrary rank
  • 26. Keywords
    Behold! The OARSUM POWAH of…
  • 27. What is a keyword?
    A word orphrase
    Contains high relevance to subject
  • 28. Keyword == Search Term
  • 29. Examples
    Sports
    Sport
    Betting
    Gambling
    Bet
    Gamble
    Sports Betting
    Sport Betting
    Sport Bet
    Sports Exchange Betting
  • 30. But wait…
    World Cup 2014
    Wimbledon
    British Grand Prix
    Cheltenham
    Spring racing
  • 31.
  • 32. Why so important?
    Search engines store references to URIs in keyword specific indices
  • 33. Why so important?
    Search engines store references to URIs in keyword specific indices
    Vast array of smaller databases
  • 34. Why so important?
    Search engines store references to URIs in keyword specific indices
    Vast array of smaller databases
    Data denormalisation
  • 35. Why so important?
    Search engines store references to URIs in keyword specific indices
    Vast array of smaller databases
    Data denormalisation
    Makes searching a whole bunch faster
  • 36. Choose wisely
    Keyword competition
    Low competition can mean low relevancy
    “Long tail”
  • 37. Choose wisely
    Keyword competition
    Low competition can mean low relevancy
    “Long tail”
    Level of use
    More commonly used search terms have higher competition
  • 38. Choose wisely
    Keyword competition
    Low competition can mean low relevancy
    “Long tail”
    Level of use
    More commonly used search terms have higher competition
    Keyword tools
  • 39. Where you’ll want to use them
    URIs
  • 40. Where you’ll want to use them
    URIs
    Link text
  • 41. Where you’ll want to use them
    URIs
    Link text
    Page titles
  • 42. Where you’ll want to use them
    URIs
    Link text
    Page titles
    Headings
  • 43. Where you’ll want to use them
    URIs
    Link text
    Page titles
    Headings
    Emphasised text
  • 44. Where you’ll want to use them
    URIs
    Link text
    Page titles
    Headings
    Emphasised text
    Within your content
  • 45. Keyword Targeting
    Never mind keyword density…
  • 46. Keyword Targeting
    Never mind keyword density…
    Think about keyword relevancy
  • 47. Keyword Targeting
    Never mind keyword density…
    Think about keyword relevancy
    Density no relation to
    Quality
    Semantics
    Content relevancy
  • 48. The web CHANGES?!
    I know; it’s terrifying, right?
  • 49. Links
    The internet is “a series of tubes…” (c. Ted Stevens, Alaskan Senator 1968-2009)
  • 50. Links win
    Links trump everything
  • 51. Links win
    Links trump everything
    Link quantity
  • 52. Links win
    Links trump everything
    Link quantity
    Link quality
  • 53. Links win
    Links trump everything
    Link quantity
    Link quality
    Largest single effect on rankings
  • 54. Link Juice
    PageRank
    Based on links into and out of the page
    Used to determine page quality
    Really is a series of tubes (and sluice gates)
  • 55. PageRank
  • 56. The juice will flow!
    England Team
    Football
    Internationals
    World Cup
    Euro 2012
  • 57. rel=“nofollow”
    Tell robots to alter the flow of link juice
  • 58. rel=“nofollow”
    Tell robots to alter the flow of link juice
    Useful for user-generated content
  • 59. rel=“nofollow”
    Tell robots to alter the flow of link juice
    Useful for user-generated content
    Designed to prevent link spam
  • 60. rel=“nofollow”
    Tell robots to alter the flow of link juice
    Useful for user-generated content
    Designed to prevent link spam
    Use for “sculpting” is futile
  • 61. Improving “crawlability”
    Flat site architecture
  • 62.
  • 63.
  • 64. Improving “crawlability”
    Flat site architecture
    Short link depth to pages
  • 65. Improving “crawlability”
    Flat site architecture
    Short link depth to pages
    Recommend max 100 links per page
    Misleading value
  • 66. Improving “crawlability”
    Flat site architecture
    Short link depth to pages
    Recommend max 100 links per page
    Misleading value
    Easily maintain 250-300 links per page
    Next level approx. 200 links and so on
  • 67. Link building
    The art of obtaining links back to content
    High quality from high relevance
  • 68. Link building
    The art of obtaining links back to content
    High quality from high relevance
    Fine line between link building and link spam
  • 69. Link building
    The art of obtaining links back to content
    High quality from high relevance
    Fine line between link building and link spam
    Full time job
  • 70. Link building
    The art of obtaining links back to content
    High quality from high relevance
    Fine line between link building and link spam
    Full time job
    Link sharing
  • 71. Link building
    The art of obtaining links back to content
    High quality from high relevance
    Fine line between link building and link spam
    Full time job
    Link sharing
    Social networks
  • 72. Third-party links
    No direct value
  • 73. Third-party links
    No direct value
    Promotes link sharing
  • 74. Third-party links
    No direct value
    Promotes link sharing
    New wave of Social Media Experts
  • 75. Third-party links
    No direct value
    Promotes link sharing
    New wave of Social Media Experts
    Exercise in marketing
  • 76. Link bait
    High likelihood of reposts
  • 77. Link bait
    High likelihood of reposts
    Viral
  • 78. Link bait
    High likelihood of reposts
    Viral
    Usually created with intent
  • 79. Link bait
    High likelihood of reposts
    Viral
    Usually created with intent
    One man’s link bait is another man’s quality content
  • 80. U.R.I.
    Addressing the
  • 81. Anatomy of a URI
    Protocol
    Fragment
    Path
    http://www.betfair.com/football/barclays-premier-league/arsenal.html?page=4#line-up
    Query
    Domain
  • 82. URI Design
    Highly important
  • 83. URI Design
    Highly important
    Embed keywords in domain
  • 84. URI Design
    Highly important
    Embed keywords in domain
    Embed keywords in path
  • 85. URI Design
    Highly important
    Embed keywords in domain
    Embed keywords in path
    TLDs are important
  • 86. URI Design
    Highly important
    Embed keywords in domain
    Embed keywords in path
    TLDs are important
    Order is important
  • 87. URI Design
    Think about archiving
  • 88. URI Design
    Think about archiving
    Try and avoid “magic numbers”
  • 89. URI Design
    Think about archiving
    Try and avoid “magic numbers”
    Use hyphen as space separator
    Google doesn’t recogniseunderscores
  • 90. URI Depth
    Try to keep URIs shallow
  • 91. URI Depth
    Try to keep URIs shallow
    Subdomains similar to first level
    http://soccer.betfair.com/
    http://betfair.com/soccer/
  • 92. Branches and leaves
    Branch URIs end with a slash
    http://betfair.com/football/
  • 93. Branches and leaves
    Branch URIs end with a slash
    http://betfair.com/football/
    Leaf URIs don’t
    http://betfair.com/football/spurs.html
    http://betfair.com/football/the-yid
  • 94. Branches and leaves
    Branch URIs end with a slash
    http://betfair.com/football/
    Leaf URIs don’t
    http://betfair.com/football/spurs.html
    http://betfair.com/football/the-yid
    Users read URIs in search listings
  • 95. Branches and leaves
    Branch URIs end with a slash
    http://betfair.com/football/
    Leaf URIs don’t
    http://betfair.com/football/spurs.html
    http://betfair.com/football/the-yid
    Users read URIs in search listings
    Sets up an expectation
  • 96. Page construction
    Empowering your content through
  • 97. Page vs. Site
    Bots have a vague understanding of site
  • 98. Page vs. Site
    Bots have a vague understanding of site
    Based on URIs and link map
  • 99. Page vs. Site
    Bots have a vague understanding of site
    Based on URIs and link map
    Domain-level ranking factors
  • 100. Page vs. Site
    Bots have a vague understanding of site
    Based on URIs and link map
    Domain-level ranking factors
    Page-level ranking factors
  • 101. Page vs. Site
    Bots have a vague understanding of site
    Based on URIs and link map
    Domain-level ranking factors
    Page-level ranking factors
    Construct as pages, link as site
  • 102. Duplication
    Duplicating content on two URIs is bad
  • 103. Duplication
    Duplicating content on two URIs is bad
    Serving the same page on different URIs is duplication
  • 104. Duplication
    Duplicating content on two URIs is bad
    Serving the same page on different URIs is duplication
    Try and avoid syndicated content
  • 105. Dynamic and static content
    Dynamic content
    Blog posts
    News stories
    Markets
    Static content
    About us
    Help
    Betting rules
    Good to have a balanced mix
  • 106. Titles
    Page title
    <title>Football – Betfair</title>
    H1
    <h1>Football</h1>
    Titles should repeat in:
    URI
    Page title
    H1
    Throughout content
    Links to the page
    This one is important!
  • 107. Meta elements
    Keywords
    Not used by Google
    Occasionally used by older search engines
    Description
    Not used for rankings
    Important for users
    noindex, nofollow
  • 108. Pertinent mark-up
    Links!
    <a href=“…”>Football</a>
    <link rel=“index” href=“…”>
    Emphasis
    <strong>, <em>
    <b>
    Headings
  • 109. Link element
    Canonical:
    http://sportsnews.com/football/
    http://sportsnews.com/football/?ads=false
    More subtle:
    …/teams/tottenham-hotspur/peter-crouch
    …/teams/england/peter-crouch
    Others
    next, prev, first, last, index…
  • 110. Google is Skynet
    Knowledge-based system
  • 111. Google is Skynet
    Knowledge-based system
    Algorithms update regularly
  • 112. Google is Skynet
    Knowledge-based system
    Algorithms update regularly
    Features added
  • 113. Google is Skynet
    Knowledge-based system
    Algorithms update regularly
    Features added
    Try to understand trends in content
  • 114. Breadcrumbs
    Google looks for them
    Tries to understand navigation system
    Improves crawlability
    Helps the user
  • 115. Rich snippets
    Microformats, microdata, RDFa
    Reviews
    People
    Products
    Businesses and organisations
    Recipes
    Events
  • 116. UI Paradigms
    Still learning
    Common patterns
    Tab widgets
    Accordion widgets
    Carousel widgets
    Widgets
    Common
    jQueryUI
    YUI
  • 117. JavaScript
    Headless browser
  • 118. JavaScript
    Headless browser
    Support for JavaScript is limited
  • 119. JavaScript
    Headless browser
    Support for JavaScript is limited
    Evaluates some JavaScript
    Results vary
  • 120. JavaScript
    Headless browser
    Support for JavaScript is limited
    Evaluates some JavaScript
    Results vary
    Trawls embedded JavaScript for links
  • 121. Robots
    Unleash your army of
  • 122. Using HTTP
    Correct status codes
    200 OK
    301 Moved Permanently
    302 Moved Temporarily
    404 Not Found
    410 Gone
    500 Errors
  • 123. robots.txt
    http://www.robotstxt.org/
    Automatically looked for
    Stored at the root
    No robots.txt is a free pass
    Use to guide bots, not control
  • 124. Sitemap Protocol
    http://www.sitemaps.org/
    Aids discovery of content
    Increases regularity of spidering
    Doesn’t have to include every page
    Useful for dynamic content
  • 125. Sitemap Page
    Improves crawlability
    Helps users
    Can help flatten site architecture
  • 126. Tools
    A brief overview of
  • 127. AdWords Keyword Tool
    Analyse potential keywords
    Shows competition
    Shows search traffic
    Useful as a research tool
  • 128. Webmaster Tools
    Track search queries
    Discover crawl errors
    Manage sitemaps
    Shows Google’s keyword assessment
  • 129. Analytics
    Track search terms
    Adapt user paths
    Some tools allow tracking of bot traffic
  • 130. Log files
    Track bot traffic
    Spot errors
    Use gnuplot to visualise
  • 131. Building SEO Test Sites
    Search bot interrogation
  • 132. TO THE BROWSER!
  • 133. Neverending Story
    SEO is a
  • 134. Rinse and repeat
    Ongoing analysis
  • 135. Rinse and repeat
    Ongoing analysis
    Keyword evaluation
  • 136. Rinse and repeat
    Ongoing analysis
    Keyword evaluation
    Link farming
  • 137. Rinse and repeat
    Ongoing analysis
    Keyword evaluation
    Link farming
    Keep up with algorithm updates
  • 138. Questions?