55 hannon

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55 hannon

  1. 1. Lessons on Effectively Optimizing Content for Internal and External Search Engine Discoverability Society for Scholarly Publishers June 2005 Annual Meeting Kevin Hannon Principal Consultant and Founder, InfoCurators, LLC khannon@infocurators.com Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 1Content Optimization forSearchl Introduction • Misconceptions of Search • Search Makes a First Impression Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 2Misconceptions of Searchl What You Don’t Find Can Be Important • There is a lot of important and very useful content that you won’t find. • Just because something is relevant to your need, it may not be relevant to your search. • Search is competitive – What you will find is content relevant to your search. • Bad metadata hides good content. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 3 1
  2. 2. Misconceptions of Searchl Things Aren’t Always What They Seem • The Lost Content • This is content that is found only on occasion by Web explorers. • This is content that is unmarked by meaningful metadata – it is uncharted. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 4Misconceptions of Searchl Things Aren’t Always What They Seem • The Lost Content • With titles such as: • “Microsoft Word - 06682_0.DOC” – describes safety requirements for a company’s low-power laser products. • “Microsoft Word - 006702_1.DOC” – a PDF technical document for company field technicians. • “C10786_(company name)_AR_eng_001-014.qxd” – a company’s annual report. • This content can remain anonymous indefinitely. • When Web explorers do find it, it’s usually a one-time occurrence. • The Lost Content become mythical information that people talk about, but few actually see. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 5Search Makes a FirstImpressionl The Search Result Page • Whatever people find first, that is what they will remember about your organization. • If you don’t appear as a highly relevant result on a public search engine, you’ll lose many potential customers. • If customers or employees come to your site and use your search, but have difficulty finding anything useful, they may not come back. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 6 2
  3. 3. Search Makes a FirstImpressionl Deliver What You Promise. • Poor labeling is the cause of the Lost Content. • Labels can misrepresent content, confusing customers and employees. • This search result claims to be about head and neck surgery: The search result title is misleading. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 7Search Makes a FirstImpressionl Deliver What You Promise. • When opened, this search result has nothing at all to do with heads, necks or surgery. The searcher would be disappointed by this result. Documents that aren’t what they claim to be are a waste of time. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 8Search Makes a FirstImpressionl Deliver What You Promise. • On this particular site, however, the problem is that EVERYTHING is about Head and Neck Surgery. This search results page represents a different problem: everything claims to be the same document. This is a common problem on many Web Sites. Finding anything useful is frustrating. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 9 3
  4. 4. Content Optimization forSearchl The Basics of Effective Search Results • It’s All About the Customer • Boiled-Down Metadata Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 10It’s All About the Customerl Remember Who Is Looking for Your Content • You know your content. • Your customers, or employees from other areas of your organization don’t. • Your customers or other employees are the ones who need your content. • They are the ones who will search for it. • You need to look at your content from the perspective of an outsider. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 11It’s All About the Customerl Speak English (or Spanish or French, etc.) • Organizations, departments and working groups develop their own language. • While this helps the group to communicate internally, it hampers communication with your customers. • It is critical that you apply simple, common terminology to your searchable content. • This is a principal cause for good content to be missed in a search. • Highly relevant content is passed over because it does not match the search terms. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 12 4
  5. 5. It’s All About the Customerl Speak English (or Spanish or French, etc.) • Organizations, departments and working groups develop their own language. • While this helps the group to communicate internally, it hampers communication with your customers. • It is critical that you apply simple, common terminology to your searchable content. • This is a principal cause for good content to be missed in a search. • Highly relevant content is passed over because it does not match the search terms. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 13It’s All About the Customerl Speak English (or Spanish or French, etc.) • Non-standard terms can make content virtually invisible. Important and useful information, such as this article from Novartis Oncology can be found easily only if it is labeled with common terms. This article on Multiple Myeloma is virtually invisible on Google because of its label. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 14It’s All About the Customerl Speak English (or Spanish or French, etc.) • Non-standard terms can make content virtually invisible. Unfortunately, this article (result # 3) is labeled with non- standard language. The search term that located this content is “multiple myeloma disease”, which matches the center of the search result title. Someone looking for this information is unlikely to type in the entire phrase “Multiple Myeloma Disease”. An individual seeking this information would most probably be looking for themselves or for a loved one and therefore would be upset and anxious. The term used in this example is probably standard for an oncologist, but not for a lay person. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 15 5
  6. 6. It’s All About the Customerl Speak English (or Spanish or French, etc.) • Non-standard terms can make content virtually invisible. • When the common term “multiplemyeloma is used ” alone, the article’s search rank drops from #3 to #79. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 16Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Up to now, you have seen ways in which metadata can hurt your search performance and ranking. • How can metadata help? • How much metadata? • What metadata? • What is metadata? • We’ll discuss this briefly. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 17Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • What is metadata? • Metadata is descriptive information about a thing (in our case, it is a document or a Web page). • Metadata is only visible under certain circumstances. • You don’t see keywords or a description when you view a Web page. • You DO see titles and descriptions when you view a search results page. • When documents from Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat are published to the Web, they need the same types of metadata as Web pages require. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 18 6
  7. 7. Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • There are three key pieces of metadata that are common to most search instances, both public and corporate. • Title • Keywords • Description Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 19Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Title • This is arguably the most important piece of metadata. • Up until now, I have called it a “label”, but its real name is “Title”. • A Title is the name of a search result and it is the first thing that you notice when scanning a search result page. • The Title is usually the key element that decides whether someone will click on a search result or pass it over. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 20Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Title on a Search Result Page Title The title is what identifies a search result. The title is the easiest way to tell one result from another. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 21 7
  8. 8. Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Title on Web browser window Title Once a search result is selected, the title is visible at the top bar of the browser window. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 22Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Title in MS Office and Adobe Acrobat are accessed as “Properties”. Properties Properties is accessed via the “File” menu in MS Office and Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat’s menu item is “Document Properties”, while MS Office is just “Properties” as illustrated to the right. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 23Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • The Properties Window Title The information in the “Title” field becomes the Search Result title. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 24 8
  9. 9. Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • When Title Goes Awry Identical Titles Many sites suffer from this problem – where every page has the exact same title, which makes it difficult to find anything. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 25Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • When Title Goes Awry Useless and Misleading Titles Another common problem is when Acrobat documents claim to be something that they are NOT. (Note the PDF file icons combined with the titles “Microsoft Word”.) Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 26Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Description • The metadata Description is a useful tool to deliver meaningful search results. • The Title is critical for communicating to your customers and employees. • The Description supports your Title and gives searchers an additional reason to click on your search result over someone else’s. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 27 9
  10. 10. Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Description • The Description is ONLY visible on the search result page. Meta Description The meta Description supports your title and can add relevance to your search performance. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 28Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Description • The Description is ONLY visible on the search result page. Meta Description The meta Description as HTML code. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 29Boiled-Down Metadatal A Little Metadata Goes a Long Way • Description • The Description does NOT appear on the Web page. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 30 10
  11. 11. Boiled-Down Metadatal The Myth of Keywords • Keywords are an important piece of metadata. • Keywords, when used correctly, can help drive search results effectively within a corporate search engine. • When used incorrectly, keywords can dilute search results by delivering too many results for certain search terms. • Keywords do little, if anything to improve search relevance on public search engines. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 31Boiled-Down Metadatal The Myth of Keywords • Public Search Engines • Search relevance is driven more by titles, descriptions and content than keywords. • Search results that contain your keywords in the title or description will be ranked much higher than YOUR content. • Keywords will help your content to be returned in search results, but will do little for your search result rankings. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 32Boiled-Down Metadatal Keep It Simple • The best metadata is simple. • Your Titles and Descriptions need to communicate to searchers quickly and directly. • Remember that people are scanning a search results page quickly and don’t care that you have good content (unless you can pique their interest). • Get to the point. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 33 11
  12. 12. Boiled-Down Metadatal Keep It Simple • The best metadata is simple. • Your titles and descriptions need to communicate to searchers quickly and directly. • Remember that people are scanning a search results page quickly and don’t care that you have good content (unless you can pique their interest). • Get to the point. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 34Content Optimization forSearchl Optimizing Your Content – What’s Right and What’s Wrong • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Content Organization Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 35Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • Natural ranking is based on several variables: • How relevant is your content to the search terms provided? • How often is your content indexed by the particular search engine? • Do you represent an Authoritative Source? Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 36 12
  13. 13. Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • How relevant is your content to the search terms provided? • We have covered this in the previous sections. Your content needs to match the search terms in the title, description and the text. • However, other content with similar metadata may be ranked higher than yours. Why? • The answer is in the next topic: How often are you indexed? Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 37Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • How often is your content indexed by the particular search engine? • This will effect relevance. • If a search engine such as Google or Yahoo visits your site regularly and often, then the chances that your content is considered relevant are increased. • But how do you make sure that you get indexed? • You need references. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 38Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • To Get your site indexed regularly and often by public search engines, you need to have other Web content pointing to you. • If other Web sites point at your content, then your site is considered more important. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 39 13
  14. 14. Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • When sites link to you, you are more important.Public search enginesindex many Web sties If some of those sites point (link) to you, then the public search engines will index you also Your Site Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 40Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • In order for this to be a “natural” ranking, you need to use legitimate site links. • The best strategy is to use: • Partner companies whose Web sites that list you as a business partner and hyperlink to your Web site. • Press releases to major media outlets that include your corporat e URL and active hyperlinks to your site. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 41Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • Maintain your site and avoid broken links. • Avoid Search Engine Optimization Web sites. • These are Web sites that sell space for you to publish your corporate URL. The purpose is to create artificial references to your Web site. • The problem with these sites is that, as Google discovers them, URLs that are included are penalized by being UN- indexed. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 42 14
  15. 15. Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Natural and Artificial Search Ranking • Natural and Artificial Search Ranking for Public Search • Avoid Search Engine Optimization Web sites. Example of a Search Engine Optimization site. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 43Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Content Organization • Make sure your site is searchable. • Flash animation is NOT searchable content. • While flash is effective for communicating a message, it needs to be used sparingly. • Avoid pictures of text. • Search Engines can’t understand text unless it can be recognized. • Just because you link to it, doesn’t mean it can be found. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 44Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Content Organization • Make sure your site is searchable. • Just because you link to it, doesn’t mean it can be found. Link This link will take the site visitor to a PDF excerpt of the book. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 45 15
  16. 16. Optimizing Your Content –What’s Right and What’s Wrongl Content Organization • Make sure your site is searchable. • Just because you link to it, doesn’t mean it can be found. Actual Document If a site visitor were to come across that excerpt in a search result, he or she would not recognize that they found anything significant. Too often, links are relied on too heavily to direct site visitors to content. More Web users are turning to search before they will navigate to content. If search doesn’t work, they will probably leave the site. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 46Content Optimization forSearchl Search Maintenance • Content Stewards • Process, Process and More Process Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 47Search Maintenancel Content Stewards • Content Needs Ownership • When content has owners, it is well-managed. • Content management systems DON’T replace content stewards. • Content management systems provide function ONLY. • Content stewards provide intelligence. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 48 16
  17. 17. Search Maintenancel Content Stewards • Content Needs Ownership • Sites that lack content stewards are obvious. • When sites have poor metadata, disorganized and out- of-date content, they most probably lack stewardship. • Content stewards will assure that your information remains relevant. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 49Search Maintenancel Process, Process and More Process • In order for content to work well with search engines, it needs maintenance and stewardship. • In order for the content stewards to work effectively, they need to have solid processes to follow to maintain active and relevant content. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 50Search Maintenancel Process, Process and More Process • Content and document management systems provide out -of -the-box processes and workflows. • You need to go back to basics and identify the best processes and workflows for your organization. • These well-defined business processes need to be programmed into your content management software. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 51 17
  18. 18. Search Maintenancel Process, Process and More Process • YOU drive the technology. • When you allow the technology to drive your process, you are in trouble. • Well-managed information is managed by people. Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 52Search Maintenance Thank You Content Optimization for Search DiscoverabilityJune 1, 2005 khannon@infocurators.com 53 18

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