1. An Introduction to SEO
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 at The Lowry
3. What is SEO?
“Search engine optimisation”
Search engine friendly techniques & practices
Aimed at generating conversions and RoI from search
Not about getting to “number one on the Google”
Not about driving masses of irrelevant traffic to your site
4. Why does it matter?
How much traffic does your website drive from search?
How many of these search visitors are simply searching
How many more people are searching for what you do?
5. How does SEO work?
Better to ask, “How do search engines work?”
6. How do search engines work?
Crawl Index Query Rank
7. Now, how does SEO work?
Make your website code more search engine friendly
Target content to reach the right search audiences
Build connections to increase your visibility on search
Focus on conversion
8. How long will it take?
1. It depends...
2. 3-6 months
SEO is a process, not a goal
9. Can you do it yourselves?
What are your strengths?
Web design & development
SEO works best across the marketing mix
Needs buy-in from decision makers
Terrain is constantly shifting; do you have time to keep up-to-date?
10. 1. Code
11. By the end of this section...
I’m not a web developer
Once this is over, you won’t be one either
But you should be able to
Name some common SEO issues
Identify whether these problems affect your site
Propose high-level solutions
Instruct competent developers
12. Content Management
How easy is it to update the content on your site?
How often do you do it?
Build your site around a user-friendly CMS
Adding content should be easy as breathing
Let your CMS do the heavy SEO lifting
Quality matters, but so do quantity and freshness
Committees make terrible content managers
Designers (and architects) love it. Why?
Lets them re-invent standard web interface
Search engines (and Steve Jobs) hate it. Why?
Excludes users with low bandwidth or mobile devices
Buggy, frequent cause of crashes
Makes tracking difficult
Expensive and time-consuming to update
14. Text to code ratios
Google wants websites with the best content to appear
at the top of search results
Googlebot has a short attention span
Use a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to control layout, colours & fonts
If in doubt, pad it out
15. Web standards & accessibility
W3C compliance (validator.w3.org)
World Wide Web Consortium
Sets guidelines as to how websites should be created
SEs find compliant websites easier to read
Section 508 = US standard
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) = UK
Ensure compatibility with screen readers & Braille technology
16. Put content in its place
Ensure your design templates provide ample space for
Ensure your CMS allows you to edit the following:
Headings (<H1>, <H2>, etc.)
17. Tell search engines where to go
18. Load time optimisation
Simple: How long it takes to load a page
Increasingly important factor in ranking
Checking page load times
Improving load times
19. Webmaster Tools
Google & Bing Webmaster Tools
Yahoo Site Explorer
1. Create Account
2. Verify (FTP upload)
3. Monitor crawling and indexation issues
4. Submit sitemaps
Do it this afternoon!
20. 2. Content
21. By the end of this section...
You should understand how to
Select relevant and opportune search terms
Structure your website around target terms
Focus content on your website around keywords
Monitor keyword performance
Theory is no substitute for practice
23. Keyword research process
I’m not going to make this easy for you
Be prepared to compromise
Define your objectives first
Define your keyword research strategy
24. Keyword research strategy
The Long Tail of Search
25. Keyword research tools
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Google search results
Yahoo Site Explorer
Paid tools & resources
26. Google Keyword Tool
27. Mapping keywords
“One page per topic, one topic per page”
Only 1-3 closely-related keywords or phrases per page
28. Keyword focus
who you are
what you do
what else your audience is
29. Thematic Sitemap
Page URL Keywords
Home / contemporary art gallery, contemporary art
galleries, manchester art galleries
Collection /collection contemporary art collection, contemporary
Paintings /collection/paintings contemporary paintings, contemporary
Lucian Freud /collection/paintings Lucian freud, lucian freud paintings, lucian
/lucian-freud freud portraits
Girl with a white dog /collection/paintings girl with a white dog, dog paintings (??)
30. On-page optimisation
31. Optimising written content
The first rule of SEO copy-writing is:
Don’t write SEO copy
Make content readable and engaging
32. SEO copy-writing sample
33. Optimising other content
34. 3. Connections
35. In this section...
What is a link?
Why do links matter?
What makes a link powerful?
How do you build them?
36. What is a link?
Reference to a web page or other document
Users can follow from
37. Why do links matter?
Query algorithms match search term to content in index
Ranking algorithms determine order of results
Links are “votes” for content
Not all votes are equal
38. Google PageRank
39. What makes a link powerful?
Relevance of source page to target page
Relevance of anchor text to target page
Authenticity of link
Authority of link source
Google PageRank (prchecker.info)
Authoritative domains (.ac.uk)
40. How to you build links?
Don’t build links, build relationships
These relationships should be
41. How do you build relationships?
Compile a Relationship Register
Add details of
Professional associations, organisations
Suppliers, clients, funding partners
Websites, blogs, Twitterers...
Talk to your PR team
Keep talking to your PR team
42. Relationship Register
Items to include:
Source website name
Source page URL
Description of source website
Target page URL
43. Realising benefits
Take it slowly
Make it easy for them
Don’t be afraid to suggest target pages and anchor text
Monitor link status and chase
Keep chasing (for years, if necessary)
44. Monitoring links
Yahoo Site Explorer
Maintain Relationship Register
Absolute numbers don’t matter
Compare your site with competitors’
Monitor change over time
Quality more important than quantity
45. 4. Conversion & Tracking
46. In this section...
Determining your objectives
Tracking visitor behaviour and engagement
Tracking goal conversions
Testing approaches and improving results
47. What are you trying to do?
Build brand awareness
Sell products or services
Engage with and retain customers
Where is your traffic coming from?
Search, referring sites, direct...
Paid / non-paid search
Branded / non-branded search
What are visitors doing on your site?
How effectively is your site converting traffic?
49. Tracking goal conversions
Simplest method: page as goal
Create under GA “profile settings”
Enables you to track & compare:
How various traffic sources convert
How particular search terms convert
Return on Investment from advertising campaigns
50. Testing and Improvement
Map paths toward conversion goals
Track funnels (pages & clicks)
A/B split testing of calls to action across site
Monitor keyword conversion through Analytics and re-target
Multivariate testing of content & calls to action (Optimizer)
Optimise page titles & descriptions to improve click-thru from search
51. What next?
Webmaster Tools & Analytics
Website MOT (lunch)
Keyword research, mapping & content updates
Understand your site’s back-link profile
Compile a Relationship Register
Start building relationships (and links)
Start measuring and testing
Get your hands dirty!