SEO for Universal Search


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Learn how to optimize and distribute your digital assets for success in universal search. Learn tips on how to create those assets in a cost effective way.

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  • The search engine’s algorithm for determining who gets on the first page of their results is their “secret sauce” Based on years of experience, seeing what works and what doesn’t and doing a lot of reading we have come up with the following criteria that we believe the search engine’s use to determine what sites/content shows up in their results:Site accessibility – can their “bots” get into the site – if there are any obstacles preventing them from indexing (i.e. storing the content in their database) the site, then they will not be able to display that content to the user – such as robots.txtSite structure – is there duplicate content or pages that redirect them endlessly? Certain server related (IT issues) can make it difficult for the spider to index the contentRelevancy of the search – does the content contain the keywords that people are using when they search? If not, how can the search engine display that content?Links – many search engines use the number and more importantly, the quality of the links pointing to a website or piece of content in order to determine its popularity. Think of a link as a vote – from registered voters. The more votes a site/content receives, the more popular it is. Linking could take up a whole session in and of itself.User actions – if one listing gets more clicks than another, the engines may use that information to determine that that particular listing is more relevant and thus give it higher position. And it’s all about to change…. (next slide)
  • The importance of optimizing and distributing your digital assets is of critical importance. The first page of most search results is a combination of news/press, blogs, video and images.You have many more opportunities to rank highly for terms relevant to your business
  • Everyone will potentially see a different results page. By optimizing and distributing your digital assets you are taking the early lead in the race where page 1 visibility will have less of an impact. Being present in multiple channels – especially where your clients and prospects are most likely to be, increases your chances of being found and improves awareness for your brand.Plus – more content = more opportunities for your customers to vote and have it part of their history
  • Google recently add the ability to “promote” or “remove” a search listing based on whether you felt it was relevant and/or appropriate based on your searchSearch results are personalized based on your previous searches – scaryThe goal of the search engine is to provide the most relevant results based on your query – as social-based functionality (i.e.. Voting) and web history evolve the importance of page 1 ranking will be significantly diminished. Companies will need to focus more on conversions (ex. sales, leads) that originate from organic search as the more important metric of success
  • The “bot” sees the title tag as one of the key indicators of what the page is about – most heavily weighted element on the page First the most part, the title tag is what the “human” user will see in the search engine results page (toggle back to demonstrate)A unique title should be mandatory for every pageA few best practices:The ideal title should be no more than 80 characters as some search engines will cut off anything greater. Spaces are counted as characters. Stop words (i.e. “the”, “is”, “of”, “a”, “and”) and punctuation are ignored by spidersSpecial characters (© ™ ®) must use the character entity. Example ™ = &trade. Do not include HTML code in the title tag The title should be relevant to the content on the page. Target 2-3 keywords per pagePlacing irrelevant keywords or duplicate keywords (i.e. stuffing) in the title is poor practice and can be deemed as spam – this may negatively impact your ability to achieve high visibility within the search engine results pages
  • The Meta description gives the search engine “bot” more information about what the page is about.The “human” user will typically see this description on the search results pageThis description should be unique and relevant to the content on the pageThe max length of the Meta description tag is 325 characters – same rules apply regarding spaces, stop words and special charactersThe ideal description should be 2-3 sentences using the same targeted keywords (as used in the title) for the pageAlways use proper grammar and spellingTry and incorporate a “call to action” to incent the user to click on your listing
  • Most search engines have deprecated the importance of the Meta keywords tag because it has been abused for so long – SpamStill good to include targeted keywords – just in case – but no more than 3 per page. Works for Yahoo and MSN
  • the <h1> or header tag is another important on-page element that gives the search engine “bots” and visitors, more information about the theme of the page. Only 1 ,<h1> tag is allowed per pageDo not “stuff” the <h1> tag with keywords – use derivatives of the primary termsThe <h2> and <h3> tags can be used to provide additional context and support for the primary page themeThese tag recommendations will be applied in the template (h1 in the title box) with the 2009 public Web update 
  • Be concise and use proper grammar/spelling – remember, you are writing for humans – people scan text – lists are a better choice and can help break up blocks of text. In terms of spelling/grammar – there has been some discussion that the search engines use the quality of the on page content, which could include spelling and grammar, in its algorithm – air on the safe side and always checkThe visible copy on a page provides both humans and search engine spiders the necessary context to understand what the page is about. Not having enough copy limits both audiences from obtaining this understanding and can negatively impact the page content’s ability to gain visibility within the search engine result pages.  The major search engines all state that copy should be written with the human visitor in mind. “Stuffing” a page with keywords intended to artificially boost the visibility of the content within the search engine results pages is manipulative and is viewed as such by the search engines. If discovered, this could result in the devaluing of the content and subsequent drop or removal of such content from their results.Where possible link to other pages or websites that support your content. Make sure to incorporate the targeted keywords in the link text (aka anchor text) to further improve the context of the content. See the Banner Health Public Web Linking Guidelines document for further information. Some additional best practices:Search engines favor websites where content is updated regularly and tend to crawl these sites more often. By visiting the site more often, there is a greater opportunity for the site’s content to be indexed. A site that does not update its content regularly will potentially get crawled less often and may have a more difficult time obtaining visibility for its content within the search engine results pages.  Care should be taken when placing copy within images as search engine spiders and those using text-based browsers are unable to “see” this copy. A balance must be achieved between design aesthetics, accessibility and visibility. Having a great looking page that isn’t accessible will cause problems with visibility within the results pages. When writing copy, consideration must always be given to both human and non-human visitors. Remember: updates are not reflected in the search engine’s index immediately – it may take a few days or even weeks or longer. It depends on the rate at which the site is being “crawled”. This information is available from the Online Services team.
  • The best place to start is.. Your own backyard Use the data from your own search results to see what people are searching for most – make sure this content is prominent, updated regularly (where appropriate) and there is plenty of it for people to find.Conversely, find out what searches are producing no results – this could inform content that needs to be createdLook at “Ask the Expert” on – what “Read more about”, “Watch more about” or “Listen to” topics generate the most trafficFind out what questions/comments are most frequently left with your online feedback formTalk to your customer or patient care team – what kinds of questions do they answer most oftenLook at discussion forums and find out what people are talking about/have questions about
  • The next best pace is… your web analytics tools (Google Analytics) to find out what keywords are driving the most searches. Analytics are reported on a quarterly basis in the Quarterly web update – reports can be run anytime by putting in a request through the request centerAgain, make sure this content is fresh (current), easily accessible
  • Scan social networks like Facebook to see what groups are out there for some of the services you provide – what are they talking about?Look at well-known discussion groups and forums like WebMD to see what topics are of most interestAnd last but not least – use keyword research tools like Google’s AdWords: or WordTracker: – these are two of the most popular
  • 80% of internet users watch online video - eMarketerYouTube is the #2 search engine behind GoogleA new blog is created every six secondsFacebook has more than 150 million active users – 70% are from outside the US
  • Ideas for improving the portability of content:Provide users with different formats of content – downloadable PDF, video (multiple formats), podcast (Mp3 and iTunes)Allow users to forward to content to a friendAllow users to post content to their Facebook or other social network profileAllow users to bookmark content and add it to their favorites on Digg and Del.icio.usAllow users to receive an RSS feed of your contentThese recommendations are especially important for content like press releases or other frequently updated content like a blogFor video/audio – add transcript to the page the content is on so spiders have more to feed on. Allow people to embed this content in their own pages/profiles
  • Your blog, video, audio, PDF content (Press, articles), logos and other rights-managed contentBasically – any piece of content that can be read, viewed, listened to or commented on
  • TitleDescriptionTagsTranscript
  • Flash, Windows Media (best), MPEG4 (best for search)
  • Google AnalyticsTubeMogul DashboardYouTube InsightFlickr stats
  • SEO for Universal Search

    1. 1. Search Engine Optimization for Universal Search<br />Has it all changed, what still works, what doesn&apos;t?<br />Fionn Downhill | CEO<br />Elixir Interactive<br />5425 E. Bell Road, Suite 145,<br />Scottsdale AZ 85254<br />602.494.6326<br />866.734.9650<br /><br />
    2. 2. So has it all changed?<br /><ul><li>NO
    3. 3. Great content
    4. 4. Great Links
    5. 5. Follow the rules. It’s Google’s search engine they are entitled to make their own rules
    6. 6. PPC is still an auction based model
    7. 7. Experience still counts more than anything</li></li></ul><li>So what has changed?<br /><ul><li>More content to optimize
    8. 8. More opportunity for integration
    9. 9. PPC is more expensive requires more expertise and skill
    10. 10. Marketers are much smarter about search
    11. 11. Local Search and Geo searches in Google
    12. 12. It’s not about traffic and clicks anymore its about SALES!!
    13. 13. Analytics is much more important in setting strategy</li></li></ul><li>How to be #1 in Google<br />No one knows for sure – except Google<br />Based on our experience, this is what we “think”:<br />Accessibility of the site<br />Site structure<br />Relevancy of the content to the search<br />The popularity of the content - as measured by links<br />User actions – click-through rate<br />Links, Links, Links, did I say links?<br />And it’s all about to change<br />
    14. 14. <ul><li> Integrated results
    15. 15. Increased relevancy</li></ul>Universal Search<br />
    16. 16. History-driven results<br />Ability to customize<br />Personal Search<br />
    17. 17. Results based on surfing history<br />“Voting” functionality to customize results<br />
    18. 18. Search Engine Optimization<br />
    19. 19. On-Site <br />Improvements<br />
    20. 20. Best Practices<br />What makes a page successful<br />
    21. 21. HTML Title Tag<br /><ul><li> Most important optimization element
    22. 22. First thing users see
    23. 23. Should be unique for each page </li></li></ul><li>Meta Description<br /><ul><li>Provides search engines with context
    24. 24. Used in results page listings
    25. 25. Should be unique for each page </li></li></ul><li>Meta Keywords<br /><ul><li>Mostly deprecated tag
    26. 26. No more than 3 per page</li></li></ul><li>Header Tag - &lt;H1&gt;<br /><ul><li>Reinforces theme of page
    27. 27. Provides additional context
    28. 28. Use keyword variations here</li></li></ul><li>ALT Text<br /><ul><li> Be descriptive and accurate of the image
    29. 29. Do not keyword stuff
    30. 30. Assists visually impaired users
    31. 31. Can provide additional context to the spiders</li></li></ul><li>Copy<br /><ul><li>Be concise and use proper grammar/spelling
    32. 32. Break up large chunks with lists
    33. 33. “Sprinkle” targeted keywords – no stuffing
    34. 34. Incorporate relevant links</li></li></ul><li>Keyword Research<br />A How-to Guide<br />
    35. 35. The Best Place to Start is...<br />…your own backyard<br />
    36. 36. The Next Best Place is…<br />
    37. 37. Some Other Ideas…<br /> Social Networks and Blogs<br /> Online discussion groups/forums<br /> Keyword Research tools<br />
    38. 38. Where does social fit in the mix?<br />
    39. 39. So, what is social media?<br />It’s technology that facilitates the sharing of thoughts, ideas, discoveries and experiences with others.<br />
    40. 40.
    41. 41. Variety of formats<br />CONTENT<br />RSS<br />Forward to friend<br />Share to social/Bookmark<br />
    42. 42. Where are your customers<br />
    43. 43. The Top Social and Content Strategies<br />
    44. 44. Multiple Assets<br /><ul><li>Blogs
    45. 45. Forums 
    46. 46. RSS Feeds
    47. 47. Social Bookmarking and Tagging
    48. 48. Press Releases
    49. 49. Photo Directories/Images
    50. 50. Social Media Sites
    51. 51. Videos
    52. 52. Podcasts
    53. 53. Article Marketing
    54. 54. E-Zines, Newsletters
    55. 55. White Papers
    56. 56. Wikipedia </li></li></ul><li>Twitter<br />
    57. 57. Facebook<br />
    58. 58. Linked In<br />
    59. 59. You Tube<br />
    60. 60. What about those digital assets<br />
    61. 61. So, what’s a <br />digital asset?<br />
    62. 62. articles blogs podcasts profiles press imagesvideo<br />
    63. 63. Optimize the assets<br />
    64. 64. Video Optimization<br /><ul><li> Encode multiple formats
    65. 65. Reduce clip size to < 5 minutes
    66. 66. Brand pre and post-roll
    67. 67. Use relevant keywords
    68. 68. Add “catchy” title
    69. 69. Craft a well-written description
    70. 70. Add relevant keyword “tags”
    71. 71. Geo-tag
    72. 72. Annotate and link
    73. 73. Tubemogul is your new best friend
    74. 74. YouTube and video marketing – An hour a day-</li></ul>By Greg Jarboe<br />
    75. 75. Tube Mogul<br />
    76. 76. You Tube<br />
    77. 77. Flip tip – Make your own<br />Available at Best Buy (approx $130) <br />
    78. 78. Book tip<br />Available at<br />
    79. 79. Image Optimization<br /><ul><li> Add “tags”
    80. 80. Group into themes
    81. 81. Provide detailed description
    82. 82. Geo-tag
    83. 83. Add “tooltips”
    84. 84. Link back to website
    85. 85. Make “publicly” viewable
    86. 86. Post as many images as possible</li></li></ul><li>Flickr<br />
    87. 87. Audio Optimization<br /><ul><li> Encode ID3 tag
    88. 88. Create MP3 and iTunes versions
    89. 89. Add pre/post brand message</li></li></ul><li>Podcast Alley<br />
    90. 90. PR Optimization<br /><ul><li> Incorporate relevant keywords
    91. 91. Link back to site
    92. 92. Distribute via PRWeb
    93. 93. Post to Digg/
    94. 94. Post link on blog
    95. 95. “Tweet” and email</li></li></ul><li>PR Web<br />
    96. 96.
    97. 97. MONITORING<br />PERFORMANCE<br />
    98. 98. Some Common KPI<br /><ul><li># views
    99. 99. # comments
    100. 100. # friends/followers
    101. 101. Sentiment
    102. 102. Average rating
    103. 103. Traffic/Leads/Sales from….</li></li></ul><li>
    104. 104. Final Tip!!!!<br /><ul><li>Link to your newly created assets to ensure your rank in Universal search results </li></ul>Good Luck! <br />
    105. 105. Thank You <br />Fionn Downhill – CEO<br />Elixir Interactive<br />5425 East Bell Road, Ste 143<br />Scottsdale, AZ 85254<br /><br />602 494 6326 Ext 220<br />866 734 9650<br />Twiiter: @fionnd<br />Linked In: Fionn Downhill<br /><br />See my presentations at Slideshare<br /><br />