Advanced SEO Techniques: Putting It In Play

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Understand search engine algorithms and how and why they change—and what this means for your search results over time. Get in depth with advanced SEO techniques, including keyword density, meta tags …

Understand search engine algorithms and how and why they change—and what this means for your search results over time. Get in depth with advanced SEO techniques, including keyword density, meta tags and page titles, alternate text, and how search engine optimization and website accessibility both complement and compete with one another. Understand link popularity and why it’s the most enduring way to build visibility over time, and learn the ins and outs of black hat versus white hat SEO.

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  • 1. Advanced SEO Techniques: Putting It In Play Sanger & Eby 29 June 2011
  • 2. About Sanger & Eby • Strategic design & technology firm focused on specialized business communications • Services Include: – Strategic planning and research – Social media strategy and execution – User experience planning – Print and interactive design – Interactive and multi-channel marketing – Content development – Search marketing (SEO & SEM) – Website development – Custom business and web applications – Mobile applications and sites Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 2 All Rights Reserved
  • 3. Quick Facts about Sanger & Eby • Founded in 1988 by Lisa Sanger & Donna Eby (certified WBE) • All strategy, design, programming done in-house • 15 years experience creating websites • 700+ Sites designed and developed • 95% client retention rate year over year • Clients include: – Macy’s – Fifth Third Bank – Luxottica – AT&T – RotoRooter – Crayons to Computers – Children’s Hospital – Turner Construction Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 3 All Rights Reserved
  • 4. How Important Is Search? • 57% of Internet users search the web every day • 46% of daily searches are for info on products or services • 20% of Google searches are for local companies • 50% of consumers start purchase with online research • 63% of B2B buyers start with online research • 85% of B2B buyers do online research during purchase cycle • To buy from you, they have to find you • 1 trillion websites and not counting any more • 75% don’t look beyond the first page of results • Rankings 1-5 10 times more likely to be clicked on than 6 & 7 • 70% of links clicked on are on organic (natural) links Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 4 All Rights Reserved
  • 5. What Effective SEO Can Do for Business • Increased visibility and awareness • Strengthened credibility and leadership perception • Powerful branding • Long-term visibility • Increased targeted traffic • Increased conversion rates for call to action • Decreased cost per lead and cost per sale • Increased sales • Measurable Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 5 All Rights Reserved
  • 6. Defining SEO: What It Is…and Isn’t • The process of improving the visibility of a website or specific page in search engines through natural or organic search • Uses search engine algorithms to elevate sites to top rankings • Considers how search engines work and what people search for • Thousands of criteria in algorithms, with constant change • Trend toward more human-oriented results • Key techniques include: – Editing content and HTML within a site – Increasing relevance for specific keywords and phrases – Removing barriers to search engine indexing – Building inbound links • Related negative category: Black Hat SEO Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 6 All Rights Reserved
  • 7. How Do Search Engines Work? • Automated site crawlers(AKA “spiders” or “bots”) • Index content in search engine database • Return results from index based on user search queries • Utilize specialized algorithms to determine relevance • Continually adjust and refine algorithms – Better user experience – More relevant search results for users – More traffic for search engines – Level playing field for quality sites Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 7 All Rights Reserved
  • 8. How to Get Started • Determine your objectives • Determine how search fits into overall marketing strategy • Develop a search strategy based on targeted objectives • Identify strategic keywords (including long-tail keywords) • Develop quality content featuring identified keywords • Promote it • Don’t wear a black hat (more on that later) Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 8 All Rights Reserved
  • 9. SEO Techniques and Best Practices • Well-written, value-added content • Strategic keywords including long-tail keywords • URLs • Page titles • Headings • Body text • Alternate text for images and interactive components • Accessibility • Meta tags • Social media • Inbound links Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 9 All Rights Reserved
  • 10. How to Choose Keywords • Relevant to your business • Leverage for both PPC and SEO…but in different ways • Brand keywords – What is our brand about? – What is our equity? – What products/services do we want to be known for? – What are our business goals? • Non-brand keywords – Think like your audience – “Footwear” v. “shoes” – “low fares” v. “cheap flights” Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 10 All Rights Reserved
  • 11. Do Your Research! • Relevant blogs and blog comments • News sites, trade and industry sites • Media contacts and press releases • Discussion boards and forums • Trade associations and chambers of commerce • Suppliers and partners • Competitive sites and related category sites • Groups on social media sites • Start over (keep looking for new news!) • Bookmark the links (we’ll use them again later) Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 11 All Rights Reserved
  • 12. Building Your Keyword List • Long-tail keywords: 44% of clicks are for 2-3 word phrases • Keyword identification tools – Google AdWords – Microsoft AdCenter Labs – Google Analytics – WordTracker • Think about intent: what is the user trying to accomplish? • Don’t forget frequently misspelled words Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 12 All Rights Reserved
  • 13. Writing Effective Content • People buy. Search engines don’t. • Search engines are getting “smarter” about content • The primary purpose of your content is to inform, inspire, and engage your audience • Ensure your content adds value—understand target needs • Write for the target audience and the search traffic will follow Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 13 All Rights Reserved
  • 14. Blogging and SEO Results • Search engines love rich, frequently updated content • Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages • 97% more inbound links • 55% more website visitors • Blogging B2C companies get 88% more leads per month • Blogging B2B companies get 67% more leads per month Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 14 All Rights Reserved
  • 15. Domain Names and Page URLs • Work the keyword into the URL when practical • Domain name and subdomains – macysdiversityleadership.com – ecommerce.macysjobs.com • Individual page URLs – macysjobs.com/districtplanner – macysinc.com/aboutus/sustainability/socially-responsible- products-at-macys.aspx Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 15 All Rights Reserved
  • 16. Page Titles • If the keyword isn’t in the title of the page, it is going to be tougher to rank for that keyword • Content in the <title> tag near the beginning of the code • Displayed by search engines as the “headline” for your site • Inbound links often utilize titles as well • Should be written for users and designed to engage Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 16 All Rights Reserved
  • 17. Page Title Example Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 17 All Rights Reserved
  • 18. Search Engine Headline Example Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 18 All Rights Reserved
  • 19. Headings or Header Tags • Section headings within a page • Range from <H1> to <H6>, in descending priority • H1 – H2 • H3 – H4 • Signal priority and content organization – For search engines – For users – Write for the human audience Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 19 All Rights Reserved
  • 20. Headings Example Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 20 All Rights Reserved
  • 21. Body Copy • Body copy is the text content on a page visible to users • Does not include graphics, Flash, or functional code • If the keyword isn’t on the page , it isn’t going to rank well • Optimize for one keyword or phrase per page • Keyword density and keyword stuffing • Antonyms and synonyms • Search engines include a brief excerpt in results • Your homepage has the highest priority for search engines • The homepage is not always the entry point Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 21 All Rights Reserved
  • 22. Body Copy Excerpt in Google Results Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 22 All Rights Reserved
  • 23. Alternate Text & Anchor Text • Search engines can’t “read” images – so copy contained in an image has no search relevance • Alternate text (AKA alt text) – Text associated with an image – Displayed on mouse rollover – Displayed when images aren’t shown – Used extensively in accessibility compliance – Should meet both SEO & accessibility needs • Anchor text – Visible, clickable text within a link – Must link to something relevant to the keyword Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 23 All Rights Reserved
  • 24. Example of Text in Images Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 24 All Rights Reserved
  • 25. Meta Tags • Informational tags describing the content of a page • Description meta tag – brief summary of page content – 155 characters or fewer (shorter than a Tweet) – Used by Bing and Yahoo! – Used by Google in “related:” query – Often displayed on search engine results page (in place of content excerpt) • Keyword meta tag – Listing of keywords relevant to a given page – Less relevant as it was often used for spamming – Included as a “just in case” tactic Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 25 All Rights Reserved
  • 26. Inbound Links • Number of external websites that link to your site • Building your inbound links boosts search engine visibility • Develop linkable content and promote it • Ask for links (make it easy, and give back) • Put your keywords in your inbound links (link popularity) • Track your efforts and results • Check your inbound links: – Google search – Linkto: yoursite.com Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 26 All Rights Reserved
  • 27. Building Your Inbound Links • Existing site check (fix 301 and 404 redirects) • Search engines for relevant keywords and topics • Relevant blogs and blog comments • News sites, trade and industry sites • Media contacts and press releases • Discussion boards and forums • Trade associations and chambers of commerce • Suppliers and partners • Survey the competition • Groups on social media sites • Start over (keep looking for new news!) Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 27 All Rights Reserved
  • 28. Social Signals and Search • Search engines are indexing social media content – Facebook – Twitter (most influential) – LinkedIn (particularly Groups and Answers) • Increases visibility and inbound links • Impact is increasing, fast • Generates multiple and unique listings • New category: social search – Google +1 Initiative – Bing Facebook Social Graph Tie-In (Universal “Like” Button) – More personalized search results – Shows users content friends have “liked” – From page 89 to page 1 • Optimized video and images are less competitive, good targets Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 28 All Rights Reserved
  • 29. Black Hat SEO (What Not to Do) • Using unethical techniques to improve search engine rankings • Presents content differently to search engines than to users • Creates a poor user experience • Violates search engine rules and policies Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 29 All Rights Reserved
  • 30. What Not to Do – Black Hat SEO • Hidden text & Hidden links: written content not visible to users – e.g, white text on a white background • Cloaking: presenting content differently to spiders and users • Spamdexing: long lists of keywords without other content • Doorway pages: little content, many keywords – Often includes “click here to enter site” • Link Farms: long lists of unrelated links that artificially boost inbound links • Link Spamming: Posting your URL on unrelated sites • Mirror sites: the same site with a different URL • Presenting another site’s branding or content as your own Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 30 All Rights Reserved
  • 31. Well, if it works…why not? Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 31 All Rights Reserved
  • 32. Black Hat SEO According to Dilbert Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 32 All Rights Reserved
  • 33. Why Not to Use Black Hat SEO • “Black Hat SEO techniques are your Golden Ticket to that infamous Google blacklist.” –Lin Wright • Sites are penalized or even delisted when caught • Short-sighted solution to a long-term problem • JCPenney link buying case study • BMW doorway pages case study Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 33 All Rights Reserved
  • 34. SEO & Accessibility • Accessibility makes websites usable for those with disabilities – Visual impairment – Auditory impairment – Cognitive disabilities • Screen readers and voice browsers • Increasingly relevant for mobile devices • Most SEO techniques also help achieve accessibility compliance • Some techniques conflict with accessibility – Use of alt text for SEO versus image description – Screen readers read every word Advanced SEO Techniques Copyright 2011 Sanger & Eby29 June 2011 34 All Rights Reserved
  • 35. Want to Know More?Kat JenkinsVice President of Strategic Planningkjenkins@sangereby.com513.784.9046Twitter: sangerebyLinkedIn: Sanger & Eby 35