Advanced Site Architecture And Product Feed SEO


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You’ve got your site, done your research, got feeds coming in but you still aren’t making enough to retire to the south of France. In fact, you don’t seem to be pulling the traffic and... nope, you just aren’t ranking. But your site is HUGE and should be ranking – why isn’t it?

This session will look beyond SEO 101 to the specific issues affiliates face with large sites, product feeds, architecture and optimization. By examining beyond the basics, this session will build on existing knowledge about SEO to help those with larger, more complex sites requiring more bespoke solutions to rank well and beat the ‘affiliate penalty’.

With topics covered ranging from uniqueness, madlib, linking, and monitoring to site architecture, vertical selection, roadblocks and more, this session is going to be crammed full of interesting tips, tricks and insight.

Published in: Business, Technology, Design

Advanced Site Architecture And Product Feed SEO

  1. 1. Advanced Site Architecture And Product Feed SEO You did what with whose thing?
  2. 2. Who Am I? <ul><li>Got on the Internet in 1986 at my school lab </li></ul><ul><li>Working online with search since 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media, Paid & Natural Search with a smattering of Affiliates </li></ul><ul><li>in-house: e-Commerce, Publishing & High Tech </li></ul><ul><li>Moved to the largest European media agency & worked with Bayer, Readers Digest, NBC Universal, COI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote chapters on SEO & Social Media analytics for B2B Marketing guides plus chapter on SEO for IAB </li></ul><ul><li>One of the SEO Chicks ! </li></ul>
  3. 3. Ask The Audience <ul><li>How many people in the audience are new to SEO? </li></ul>
  4. 4. The ‘Affiliate Penalty’ <ul><li>Creating an affiliate site for the sole purpose of listing products with no value added for visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Content not listed or given low rank </li></ul><ul><li>No amount of link building will fix it </li></ul><ul><li>Consistently low quality sites just got PPC accounts killed by Google </li></ul>
  5. 5. What currently works... Pay per click search ads Email from house lists Pop-ups, pop-unders Banner ads Contextual text ads Rich media ads Contextual targeting Affiliate marketing Behavioural targeting Search engine optimisation Emails to rented lists source: Marketing Sherpa & AdTech, January 2009 n.1,260 Poor ROI Good ROI
  6. 6. Your New Huge Site <ul><li>Is it Unique? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it have unique content? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the content constantly being updated and refreshed? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it crawlable? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it properly targeted? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it on an old domain? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it segmented in a logical way? </li></ul>
  7. 7. YOUR NEW HUGE SITE – IS IT GOUNG TO RANK WELL? <ul><li>Likely not </li></ul>But don’t worry - Be Happy! You still have time to fix it 
  8. 9. Marketing Opportunity <ul><li>Let your data do the talking! </li></ul><ul><li>Create keyword list </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Export non-brand phrases from analytics and/or analyze site/content to extract relevant on-page keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluate market demand </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feed KW into Google AdWords Keyword tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use ‘exact match’ matching to get more accurate view </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Model opportunity using CTR </li></ul>
  9. 10. SEO & PPC ROI – PDQ!  source: Marketing Sherpa June 2008 n1,928 Good ROI Highly variable Very good ROI Organic Search (SEO) Paid Search (PPC) Difficult to gauge Poor ROI
  10. 11. Organic search dominates clicks source: Compete US Search Data June 2008 Which is why concentrating on Organic SEO produces the best ROI All categories: Percentage split of all clicks from Google % 5.7% 94.3%
  11. 12. Did I read that right?!? % 5.7% 94.3%
  12. 13. Vertical Selection <ul><li>Generic doesn’t work anymore </li></ul><ul><li>Choose vertical, keyword research, choose domain </li></ul><ul><li>Competitor research </li></ul><ul><li>Be a big fish in a small pond, not a small fish in an overcrowded lake </li></ul>
  13. 14. Uniqueness <ul><li>Don’t just slap product feeds up </li></ul><ul><li>Rewrite content </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Other UGC </li></ul><ul><li>Re-imagine categories </li></ul><ul><li>Add value </li></ul><ul><li>madlib </li></ul>
  14. 15. Uniqueness
  15. 16. Example <ul><li>Supplier has 25 pendants called “celitc knot” </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiate </li></ul><ul><li>Research unique content </li></ul><ul><li>People buy stories </li></ul><ul><li>Think like a retailer – be a retailer </li></ul>
  16. 17. madlib <ul><li>Auto-create landing pages </li></ul><ul><li>Especially good to target long tail </li></ul><ul><li>Use as much of database content on page as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Use copywriters to create differing versions of same sentence with each database field included </li></ul><ul><li>Vary copywritten text to fully vary text on page </li></ul>
  17. 18. Search behaviour is dynamic source: Internet sample 10 million people Hitwise March 2009 3.43% 2.49% 4.65% 8.68% 14.89% 21.92% 23.65% 20.29% Number of words used 22% 12% 8% 6% 2% 0% -5% -3% YOY percentage change
  18. 19. Identify Traffic Possibilities
  19. 20. The Long Tail of Search <ul><ul><li>Tons of keyword strings but few visitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do the math: thousands of keywords x few visitors = most of your traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easier to rank </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on product titles – ready to convert! </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Keywords & Content <ul><li>Semantic targeting </li></ul><ul><li>The merchant feed isn't always right… </li></ul><ul><li>Need more content than links </li></ul><ul><li>Target: Create a page of content a day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog on site, How To guides – video, Buyers Guides </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mine your internal site search for keywords </li></ul><ul><li>WRITE UNIQUE PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS </li></ul>
  21. 22. Relevant Landing Pages (not SEO) <ul><li>Generated Landing Pages work for PPC or SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Make your landing page relevant to EVERY ad </li></ul>Direct Visit or No KW detected Children’s Beds Search “Princess Bed” Princess Children’s Beds PPC Click w/param cmp=3&grp=2 Princess Children’s Beds
  22. 23. Relevant Landing Pages <ul><li>Use PHP code to: </li></ul><ul><li>Parse referrer token for keywords (PPC & Natural Search) </li></ul><ul><li>Parse request token for parameters set in PPC URL (PPC) </li></ul><ul><li>Display alternate content based on incoming keywords/ params. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Param ?src=ggl&cmp=1&grp=2 selects “Princess” content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Session cookies for consistent tracking </li></ul>
  23. 24. Convert (or DIE) <ul><li>Analytics rule! </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword referrals from the search engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find multiple-word phrases on homepage or highest traffic page and sort by volume </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is this visitor landing on the best page in terms of relevance, consistency and opportunity? </li></ul>
  24. 25. Convert More <ul><li>Run a simple a/b test to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Segment visitors by keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Redirect visitors to a better ‘engagement’ page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test response rates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Talk to suppliers about their own landing pages if you convert then they don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Think like a retailer – you are selling as much as supplier is </li></ul>
  25. 27. Domains <ul><li>Age important factor </li></ul><ul><li>Hosting also important </li></ul><ul><li>Radically different content does not work (new content, old domain) </li></ul><ul><li>Trust </li></ul>
  26. 28. Site Architecture <ul><li>Bricks and mortar of your shop </li></ul><ul><li>Can help increase relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>Help humans understand your site </li></ul><ul><li>Create non-dynamic, static, content rich pages </li></ul><ul><li>Code in an SEO-friendly way </li></ul><ul><li>Can help you rank better </li></ul>
  27. 29. Site Architecture <ul><li>Site strategy must be holistic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the path my visitor would like to take? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What groups logically together? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be your own customer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Utilize your tools & data collection to help identify key areas </li></ul><ul><li>Understand source of traffic (SEO, PPC, Other) </li></ul>
  28. 30. Some Top Criteria <ul><li>Sitemaps </li></ul><ul><li>URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Internal linking </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Internal linking </li></ul><ul><li>Backlink acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>Internal linking </li></ul>
  29. 31. Sitemaps <ul><li>What is a sitemap? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From “Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Human sitemaps vs XML sitemaps </li></ul><ul><li>Inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling </li></ul><ul><li>Provides page importance, update date </li></ul>
  30. 32. Crawlable Architecture <ul><li>Establish the bedrock of your website & become more “Crawlable” and “Search Engine friendly” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HMTL Standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Follow W3 standards (HTML, XML, CSS) & validate. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Try to be browser agnostic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consider semantic standards such as Microformats and RDF </li></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 33. Discovery Architecture <ul><li>Improve Crawler discovery by leveraging what the search engines all read </li></ul><ul><li>Robot.txt/meta tag exclusion ( </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use robots only if required and fully understood </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Allow most frequented/important areas of the site </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protects private/restricted access, or duplicates etc </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disallows non essential areas of your site </li></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 34. Crawlable Architecture <ul><li>“ Crawlable” and “Search Engine friendly” Content </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Static HTML for key content, structure, and navigation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meaningful page titles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simple clear and descriptive Anchor text </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Good internal linking that is balanced </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Not too deep or Not too wide” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t link to spam! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 35. URLs – the Good, the Bad & the UGLY
  34. 36. Make Just One Search Engine Happy <ul><li>Short-ish length </li></ul><ul><li>Logical divisions </li></ul><ul><li>Remove 'session ids’ - Simple URLs with no query parameters. </li></ul><ul><li>URLs should be easily readable and describe your content </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid excessive redirection chains, keep them short, fix if long </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t keep changing content or changing page names </li></ul><ul><li>Stop duplicate content with canonicalization </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t always use same anchor text but keep semantically related </li></ul>
  35. 37. 404 Pages Bad: HTTP/1.0 200 Ok (soft 404) Good: HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found Google sez: “...soft 404s are confusing for users, and furthermore search engines may spend much of their time crawling and indexing non-existent, often duplicative URLs on your site. This can negatively impact your site's crawl coverage—because of the time Googlebot spends on non-existent pages, your unique URLs may not be discovered as quickly or visited as frequently.”
  36. 39. Link Building <ul><li>Directory submissions </li></ul><ul><li>External blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Mini sites </li></ul><ul><li>Social media (Facebook/Twitter/etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Online PR </li></ul><ul><li>Buy links (but don’t get caught) </li></ul>
  37. 40. Internal Linking Issues <ul><li>Don’t bury your directories </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Have great URL conventions </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive internal links </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of Spider Traps like calendars </li></ul><ul><li>Follow or NoFollow… That is the question </li></ul><ul><li>KEYWORDS IN ANCHOR TEXT </li></ul>
  38. 41. Social Graph Metrics <ul><li>Who is linking </li></ul><ul><li>How often are links created </li></ul><ul><li>Where are links coming from </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency of link build from social sources </li></ul><ul><li>Spikes </li></ul><ul><li>Authoritative mentions </li></ul>
  39. 42. Content or Profile Links <ul><li>There are many places where you can create public profiles or content pages for free. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often they have good authority metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some offer ‘Follow’ links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The key is to create value-adding content & build links to those pages  honest </li></ul></ul>
  40. 43. SEO + Level of Competition Success is based on links as votes. High quality links come from being buzz-worthy. Buzz SEO is not easy, nor are there shortcuts.
  41. 44. Monitoring <ul><li>Focus PPC on long tail, SEO on short & long </li></ul><ul><li>Direct informational searches to contact & specification pages </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword research for possible additional traffic drivers </li></ul><ul><li>Optimise pages to bring down PPC costs </li></ul>
  42. 47. Love Your Analytics SEO cannot work properly without analytics. - Choose 1 or two and learn them well - Track sales; returning customers; bounce rate <ul><li>Create internal analytics: (save search queries </li></ul><ul><li>compare adwords data etc.). </li></ul>- Be progressive and look for trends <ul><li>Make sure it's on all needed pages (long tail) </li></ul><ul><li>but not too many (keyword canibalisation) </li></ul>
  43. 48. Understand Visitors Better
  44. 50. Search engines are complicated. So is SEO. <ul><li>SEO speak: </li></ul><ul><li>Meta tag optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Browser title optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Link building </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliate marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Submitting to search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Getting indexed </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword optimization & linking </li></ul><ul><li>Search engine speak: </li></ul><ul><li>Machine-learned classifiers </li></ul><ul><li>Latent semantic indexing </li></ul><ul><li>Proximity search </li></ul><ul><li>Co-occurrence </li></ul><ul><li>Vector space models </li></ul><ul><li>Content-link hypertext clustering </li></ul><ul><li>Agglomerative clustering </li></ul>
  45. 51. What is Successful SEO? <ul><li>The basics </li></ul><ul><li>Meta tag optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliate networks </li></ul><ul><li>Masses of links </li></ul><ul><li>Perfect keyword density </li></ul><ul><li>Proper H1’s H2’s H3’s etc. </li></ul><ul><li>But SEO is Also </li></ul><ul><li>Being viral </li></ul><ul><li>Having Buzz </li></ul><ul><li>Getting linked to and bookmarked naturally </li></ul><ul><li>Being your own “linkbait” </li></ul>The less you have of this… The more you’ll need of this!
  46. 52. Checklist <ul><li>Webmaster Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Pages do not have “noindex” tags </li></ul><ul><li>Sitemap </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword research done </li></ul><ul><li>No Query String URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Crawlable discovery archatecture </li></ul><ul><li>Link Building </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Page a Day’ content development </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics </li></ul>
  47. 53. Thank You! [email_address] Feedback is important: