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Web Search Basics for Writers

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A bit of explanation about how writers and editors can improve the search results of their online postings and articles.

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Web Search Basics for Writers

  1. 1. Search Engine Basics for Writers and Editors KristeenBullwinkle.com
  2. 2. How are these results ranked?How did the these get to the top of 13,300,000 pages indexedby Google?
  3. 3. By meeting Google’s criteria Relevance Matching keywords (in bold)• Freshness (match relevance, then date; users can search by timeframe)• Likability (Others link to it, people share it, page loads quickly, and no coding errors)
  4. 4. How you can show relevanceWrite page titles, descriptions, and headingsthat accurately describe your content.When writing a link to another page, usespecific keywords. No “click here.”
  5. 5. Page titleFrom code: <title>Late planting : Crops : University of Minnesota Extension</title>To searchresults:To browser:Headings,alsoimportant
  6. 6. Bad title / Good title• Pacific Groves - Plant Descriptions - Fruit Tree Varieties (Apples) Keyword at very end of title. Page 18 result.• Directory of apple varieties starting with A Keyword phrase is in the title. The word directory tells me what to expect on the page. Page one result.
  7. 7. Good titles areReader-orientedClearConciseDefinitiveMay contain numbers, questions, “how to,”or other techniques to hook the reader
  8. 8. How you can show relevanceWrite page titles, descriptions, and headingsthat accurately describe your content.Write pages for readers, not for searchengines. Entice readers to click on your linkfrom the search page. Write content worthreading.Don’t use the same title or description formultiple pages.
  9. 9. Titles and headingsKnow your keywords: What terms does yourintended audience use?Don’t use clever titles; use meaningful titles andheadings. (Save clever titles for social media teasers.)Place keywords closer to the beginning of titles anddescriptions.Write a succinct sentence or two which use thekeyword phrases to sum up the article. Provide it to theperson posting the article for the page’s meta description tag.
  10. 10. Page descriptions Use meaningful descriptions with keywordsThis appears in the meta code of the page: <meta name="description" content=" " />
  11. 11. Page descriptions - FAILMissing descriptionsSearch engines will pull the first words it finds on the pageor make up their own descriptions if none is available.
  12. 12. Titles and descriptionsThese are inside the code.Provide these to your webmaster.If webmasters don’t have titles anddescriptions they sometimes write theirown.Blogs sometimes make it easier toinclude these meta codes.
  13. 13. Word Press Plugin Title will default to the article’s heading if left blank.Meta description Ignore keywords fields
  14. 14. Another Word Press plugin Use up to 156 characters (or so).
  15. 15. Sample article submission
  16. 16. Tools• These tools were created for marketers, but they can help you, too. – Google AdWords Keyword Tool – Google Trends
  17. 17. Google Keyword Tool
  18. 18. Choosing keywords
  19. 19. Reports on global and local searchesCompetition refers to howmuch you might have to payto bid on that word usingGoogle AdWords.
  20. 20. Use data to win arguments• If you’re fighting over the best word to use in a title or for link text, use the keyword tool.• Should you use mental health or psychological health? (You can always use both terms in the body text.)
  21. 21. Psychological health vs. mental health• Keyword tool indicates a better choice• Mental health is searched for more often and is less likely to be misspelled.• Keywords used for searches on your own site can also help you choose keywords your audience actually uses.
  22. 22. Use data to come up with story ideas• What are people searching for related to your product, idea, topic?• Let’s look at soy.
  23. 23. Peoplewonderabouteatingsoy whilepregnantand aboutdogs (notpets)eating soy.Blog ideas! Google AdWords Keyword Tool
  24. 24. Google TrendsTry Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends)Compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics.Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve beensearched on Google over time.Find ideas for narrowing a topic. (See RelatedTerms example on next screen.)Learn what interests the general population.
  25. 25. Google Trends
  26. 26. Refined by News Search
  27. 27. News trends Google News stories how often terms have been searchedApples don’t interest Canadians during the summer.
  28. 28. Following trendsGoogle Trends shows in which geographic regions people havesearched most often for your topics.Why is there more interest in ovarian cancerin Fort Collins?
  29. 29. New ways of measuringWhat was your last article’s• Conversation Rate• Amplification Rate• Applause Rate
  30. 30. Conversation Rate Conversation Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per Post• You are responding to comments, aren’t you?• And listening for their word choices (keywords!) and interests and questions, right?
  31. 31. Amplification RateAmplification = # of Retweets Per Tweet• On Facebook, Google Plus: Amplification = # of Shares Per Post• On a blog, YouTube: Amplification = # of Share Clicks Per Post (or Video)
  32. 32. Applause Rate• Twitter: Applause Rate = # of Favorite Clicks Per Post• Facebook: Applause Rate = # of Likes Per Post• Google Plus: Applause Rate = # of +1s Per Post• Blog, YouTube: Applause Rate = # of +1s and Likes Per Post (or video)
  33. 33. Data from your websiteMake sure you have access to the search logson your site and a regular listing of your mostpopular content and keywords.– Mine your search logs for content ideas and direction– Why writers need to see analytics reportsLearn from your own most successful pages.
  34. 34. Learn more aboutSEO• More details at Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.Writing headlines for the Web• How to Write Magnetic Headlines KristeenBullwinkle.com

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