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SEO State of the Union 2015

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How 52 research networking sites perform on Google, and what that tells us

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SEO State of the Union 2015

  1. 1. The SEO State of the Union Anirvan Chatterjee • Brian Turner • Leslie Yuan Clinical & Translational Science Institute University of California, San Francisco
  2. 2. Agenda 1. Why SEO works 2. How we tested SEO for 52 websites 3. The SEO leaderboard 4. Three things we learned from the results 5. How to boost your rankings
  3. 3. 1. WHY SEO WORKS
  4. 4. Back in 2010…
  5. 5. Back in 2010…
  6. 6. Back in 2010…
  7. 7. Back in 2010…
  8. 8. Back in 2010…
  9. 9. UCSF Profiles launch promotion • Email every single member of faculty • Postcards to faculty • Free iPad contest
  10. 10. UCSF Profiles traffic October 2010 • 5,185 visits July 2015 • 97,864 visits
  11. 11. UCSF Profiles visits, 2010-2015 - 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 Daily visits to UCSF Profiles
  12. 12. UCSF Profiles visits, 2010-2015 - 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 Daily visits to UCSF Profiles search vs. everything else
  13. 13. The dream Latina breast cancer
  14. 14. The dream
  15. 15. The dream
  16. 16. The dream !
  17. 17. The theory Photo: Joseph Wu
  18. 18. The reality Photo: Jim Deane
  19. 19. How search-driven users navigate People search for names, e.g.: • kristine yaffe • lawrence fong ucsf • eric vittinghoff • aaron fields ucsf • jack taunton • aimee kao ucsf • joe derisi • abul abbas
  20. 20. How search-driven users navigate
  21. 21. How search-driven users navigate
  22. 22. Homepage vs. search engine Visits that start off on our home page… Visits that go from search engine to a profile…
  23. 23. Homepage vs. search engine Visits that start off on our home page… • 68% look at 2+ pages per visit • n = 3,222 in July 2015 • 2,190 visits of 2+ pages in July 2015 Visits that go from search engine to a profile… • 18% look at 2+ pages in a visit • n = 92,743 in July 2015 • 16,245 visits of 2+ pages in July 2015
  24. 24. Why does SEO matter? • Usage • Usage • Usage
  25. 25. UCSF Profiles search traffic, 2010-15 - 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 Visits per day from search engines
  26. 26. We think we’re doing great
  27. 27. But we’re not alone
  28. 28. 2. HOW WE RANKED 52 WEBSITES ON THEIR SEO PERFORMANCE
  29. 29. Inclusion criteria We picked 52 research networking sites that are… • Associated with a single institution – exclude trade groups, collaborations, etc. • Based in a majority English-language locale – exclude France, Germany, etc. • Accessible to the public and search engines – exclude systems behind a firewall • Running on a host on port 80 – exclude 54.213.177.247 or hostname.edu:8080
  30. 30. Institutions Albert Einstein College of Medicine Arizona State University Boston University Case Western Reserve University Clinical Translational Science Institute at Children's National Cornell Duke University Georgia Regents University Harvard University Indiana University Johns Hopkins University Michigan State University Montana State University Northern Arizona University Northwestern Northwestern University Ohio State University Oregon Health & Science University Penn State Scripps Research Institute Stanford University Temple University Texas A&M Thomas Jefferson University University of Arizona University of California, Davis University of California, San Diego University of California, San Francisco University of Colorado Boulder University of Colorado Denver University of Florida University of Hawai‘i University of Illinois - Chicago University of Iowa University of Maryland-Baltimore University of Massachusetts University of Melbourne University of Miami University of Minnesota University of Montana University of Nebraska University of Nevada, Las Vegas University of Nevada, Reno University of Pennsylvania University of Rochester University of South Africa University of Southern California University of Utah Wake Forest Washington State University Wayne State University Western Michigan University
  31. 31. Platforms • 21 SciVal Experts • 13 VIVO • 11 Profiles RNS • 4 Elsevier Pure • 3 Custom front-ends
  32. 32. Methodology, step 1 of 4 Get a list of ~every profile
  33. 33. Methodology, step 2 of 4 Pick 500 random users per site
  34. 34. Methodology, step 3 of 4 Search Google for “name institution”
  35. 35. Methodology, step 3 of 4 How we picked institution names 1. First, look at the domain name of the homepage for the institution – profiles.ucsf.edu → www.ucsf.edu → ucsf – vivo.experts.scival.com/indiana → www.iu.edu → iu 2. If the site’s not on the main domain, and the RNS URL includes a common variation of the name, use that – vivo.experts.scival.com/indiana → indiana 3. If #1 and #2 give different results, use both (with OR) – indiana OR iu
  36. 36. Methodology, step 4 of 4: Record the search ranking position #1
  37. 37. Methodology, step 4 of 4: Why only consider the top 3 results? The first 3 organic search results made up 71% of all non-mobile Google organic clicks. Source: “Google Organic Click-Through Rates in 2014” Philip Petrescu, Advanced Web Ranking https://moz.com/blog/google-organic-click-through-rates-in-2014
  38. 38. Methodology • Looked at search rankings for 24,583 profile pages across 52 sites • Used the RankTank keyword rank checker tool to automate the process
  39. 39. 3. THE RESULTS
  40. 40. How we measured What % of a site’s profiles appear in the top 3 Google results for “First Last Institution”? (e.g. “brian turner ucsf”
  41. 41. The winners! 1. findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au (95%) 2. profiles.umassmed.edu (91%) 3. profiles.ucsf.edu (88%) 4. vivo.med.cornell.edu (81%) 5. profiles.ucdenver.edu (76%) 6. profiles.bu.edu (74%) 7. connects.catalyst.harvard.edu (72%) 8. gru.pure.elsevier.com (67%) 9. experts.umn.edu (64%) 10. profiles.psu.edu (63%)
  42. 42. Between 25-60% 11. scholars.opb.msu.edu (59%) 12. vivo.scholars.northwestern.edu (55%) 13. scholars.northwestern.edu (55%) 14. ohiostate.pure.elsevier.com (54%) 15. experts.scival.com/unisa (45%) 16. experts.scival.com/ctsicn (44%) 17. profiles.ucsd.edu (42%) 18. vivo.colorado.edu (42%) 19. profiles.stanford.edu (38%) 20. profiles.tsi.wakehealth.edu (38%) 21. umaryland.pure.elsevier.com (37%) 22. www.icts.uiowa.edu (35%) 23. profiles.sc-ctsi.org (35%) 24. experts.scival.com/uic (30%) 25. hawaii.vivo.ctr-in.org (27%)
  43. 43. 26. experts.scival.com/cwru (23%) 27. profiles.jefferson.edu (23%) 28. experts.scival.com/jhu (22%) 29. vivo.scripps.edu (20%) 30. unlv.vivo.ctr-in.org (20%) 31. experts.scival.com/wayneresearchconnect (19%) 32. experts.scival.com/wsu (18%) 33. vivo.upenn.edu (17%) 34. umt.vivo.ctr-in.org (16%) 35. experts.scival.com/wmich (15%) 36. scholars.duke.edu (15%) 37. www.urmc.rochester.edu (15%) Between 15-25%
  44. 44. Under 15% 38. vivo.ufl.edu (14%) 39. msu.vivo.ctr-in.org (13%) 40. experts.scival.com/nebraska (13%) 41. unr.vivo.ctr-in.org (12%) 42. temple.pure.elsevier.com (11%) 43. experts.scival.com/nau (11%) 44. experts.scival.com/arizona (10%) 45. experts.scival.com/asu (9%) 46. experts.scival.com/ucdavis (9%) 47. experts.scival.com/miami (7%) 48. experts.scival.com/einstein (4%) 49. experts.scival.com/utah (2%) 50. vivo.library.tamu.edu (1%) 51. experts.scival.com/indiana (1%) 52. experts.scival.com/ohsu (1%)
  45. 45. 4. LESSONS LEARNED
  46. 46. #1. Use your own domain Institutional domain? (e.g. vivo.cornell.edu) • average score = 49% Unrelated domain? (e.g. experts.scival.com/asu) • average score = 21%
  47. 47. #2: Pick the right software 1. findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au Custom 2. profiles.umassmed.edu Profiles 3. profiles.ucsf.edu Profiles 4. vivo.med.cornell.edu Vivo 5. profiles.ucdenver.edu Profiles 6. profiles.bu.edu Profiles 7. connects.catalyst.harvard.edu Profiles 8. gru.pure.elsevier.com Elsevier Pure 9. experts.umn.edu SciVal Experts 10. profiles.psu.edu Profiles
  48. 48. #2. Pick the right software • Custom software average score = 56% • Profiles average score = 56% • Elsevier Pure average score = 42% • Vivo average score = 26% • SciVal Experts average score = 23%
  49. 49. #1+2: Software and domain • SciVal Experts + institutional domain average score = 59% • Profiles + institutional domain average score = 58% • Custom + institutional domain average score = 56% • Elsevier Pure + unrelated domain average score = 42% • Profiles + unrelated domain average score = 35% • Vivo + institutional domain average score = 31% • Vivo + unrelated domain average score = 18% • SciVal Experts + unrelated domain average score = 14%
  50. 50. #3. Get incoming links <a href="http://your.site.here/">
  51. 51. #3. Get incoming links: inside pagerank
  52. 52. #3. Get incoming links: search engine ranking factors
  53. 53. #3. Get incoming links: search engine ranking factors Links to the page Links to the subdomain or domain
  54. 54. #3. Get incoming links: linking root domains A linking root domain is a domain under a public suffix that includes links to your sites. • *.cnn.com CNN • *.ox.ac.uk Oxford University • *.anoka.k12.ca.us Anoka School District, Minn.
  55. 55. #3. Get incoming links: the top 3 sites 1. findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au (95%) 2. profiles.umassmed.edu (91%) 3. profiles.ucsf.edu (88%)
  56. 56. #3. Get incoming links findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au has 488 linking root domains: • newscientist.com • f1000.com • anl.gov • duraspace.org • electionwatch.edu.au • and 483 more root domains…
  57. 57. #3. Get incoming links profiles.umassmed.edu has 249 linking root domains: • en.wikipedia.org • grants.nih.gov • theguardian.com • bloomberg.com • nih.gov • and 244 more root domains…
  58. 58. #3. Get incoming links profiles.ucsf.edu has 858 linking root domains: • sourceforge.net • harvard.edu • ucsf.edu • universityofcalifornia.edu • ucsfhealth.org • and 853 more root domains…
  59. 59. #3. Get incoming links: why (diverse) incoming links matters 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 1 10 100 1000 %of"Name[School]"intop3Googlesearchresults # Linking Root Domains (log) Linking Root Domain Count vs. Google Top 3 results %
  60. 60. 5. HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE LINK TO YOUR SITE Photo: Ryan McFarland
  61. 61. 1. Be worthy of love • Most people care about people, not generic information-finding site • Make profile pages beautiful and chock-full of information, so people will want to link to them
  62. 62. 2. Establish benchmarks • Install Google Analytics on every page • Learn how to use it – read Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik
  63. 63. 3. Get good with Google • Add a sitemap.xml (sitemaps.org) • Register on Google Webmaster Tools to: • register your sitemap • catch indexing errors early • link to your Google Analytics account
  64. 64. 4. Look good with Google <title> tag <meta name="description"> Schema.org people metadata URL
  65. 65. Virtuous cycle 1. Some people link to you 2. You show up on Google 3. More people see you, and link to you 4. You do even better on Google
  66. 66. Show the world you’re worthy of love • Get campus sites to link to your homepage as a trusted campus resource • Get campus sites to link to individual profiles from departmental profiles, news stories, directory, etc. • Encourage reuse of your data via APIs, and ask for a link back as attribution
  67. 67. If that works… • Some researchers will link to their profile pages on their own sites • Some blogs and social media will link to your profile pages as authoritative sources • Some departments may link to your profiles because your data is more current than theirs
  68. 68. The state of the union is strong.
  69. 69. The state of the union is weak.
  70. 70. The state of the union is mixed.
  71. 71. Find this online bit.ly/rnsseo
  72. 72. Thank you. Anirvan Chatterjee· @anirvan – profiles.ucsf.edu/anirvan.chatterjee – anirvan.chatterjee@ucsf.edu Brian Turner – profiles.ucsf.edu/brian.turner – brian.turner@ucsf.edu Leslie Yuan· @leslieyuan – profiles.ucsf.edu/leslie.yuan – leslie.yuan@ucsf.edu

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