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Web Analytics and SEO: Learn the Ropes, Work a Plan, Measure the Right Stuff... Declare Victory!


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Updated web analytics and SEO workshop presented by Brian Alpert at MCN2016, New Orleans, LA. The workshop is designed to make Web Analytics and SEO understandable, manageable and actionable. A common sense, multi-stepped web analytics process is discussed, and carefully-crafted exercises help familiarize you with Google Analytics' most powerful features. The conversation shifts to today's SEO landscape and where SEO is heading. Safe, effective steps practitioners may take to improve findability are outlined, including specialized metrics for demonstrating whether or not website findability is improving.

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Web Analytics and SEO: Learn the Ropes, Work a Plan, Measure the Right Stuff... Declare Victory!

  1. 1. #musedata#musedata 11/1/2016 Web Analytics and SEO Learn the Ropes… Work a Plan… Measure the Right Stuff… Declare Victory!
  2. 2. #musedata#musedata 2 Part One: Web Analytics
  3. 3. #musedata#musedata 3 What web analytics is often about
  4. 4. #musedata#musedata Web analytics is often about: “So What?” 4
  5. 5. #musedata#musedata What web analytics is really about: 5
  6. 6. #musedata#musedata 6 Your goal: use data to tell a story  What was happening.  What it meant.  What you did.  What’s happening now.
  7. 7. #musedata#musedata 7 There is a systematic, step-by-step process  Articulate your program’s goals.  Decide strategies to achieve those goals.  Decide tactics to pursue the strategies.  Decide what and how to measure to validate the tactics.  Benchmark to get a sense of what’s normal.
  8. 8. #musedata#musedata 8 Articulate specific goals  Express what you’re trying to accomplish.  Make high-level goals more specific:  “Increase influence” - too broad.  “Become the definitive source on Smithsonian history” - more specific.  Specificity makes it easier to identify strategies and tactics.  Not too many! It’s a Wonderful Life Start the conversation! Articulate goals and next steps on your own; work with management to finalize.
  9. 9. #musedata#musedata Determine strategies & tactics  Strategies – the plans you make to achieve the goals.  Employing social media is a strategy.  Tactics – the things you do to advance the strategy.  Producing a specific type of content is a tactic.  Individual channels (facebook, twitter) are tactics.  Per the example:  Goal: “Become the definitive source on Smithsonian history.”  Strategy: Increase engagement with history of the Smithsonian content.  Tactic: Make SI-history content more findable and measureable. 9
  10. 10. #musedata#musedata 10 Decide how to measure your tactics  Choose measurements to learn if your tactics are succeeding.  Choose a few measurements.  Trend them over time.  Per the example:  Strategy: increase engagement with SI history website content.  Tactic: make website history content more findable / measureable.  Make a “history-content” segment and measure for engagement:  Visit frequency  Visit depth  Bounce rate History-related visits All visits “Deep history visits” were 94% higher!
  11. 11. #musedata#musedata Decide how to measure your tactics (cont’d)  Acquisition-related goals  Sessions  Users  Campaigns  New vs Returning  Entrances  Referrals  Engagement-related goals  Session frequency  Page depth  Time on site  Bounce rate  Events  Content-related goals  Pageviews  Page depth  Bounce rate  Issue-related goals  Event-based conversions (exits from on-site search results, etc.)  Contact form submissions  Funnel abandonment  Design-related goals  Users / Events flow  Page depth  Time on site  Funnel abandonment 11  The measurements you choose depends on your goals:
  12. 12. #musedata#musedata Examples!  Measureable Goal: Increase social media followers in the 5 key regions by 20%  Tactic: Facebook and Twitter Ads targeted to the five regions  Measurement: Twitter and Facebook followers by geography  Measureable Goal: Increase website sessions and engagement from 5 key regions by 20%  Tactic: Google AdWords targeted to the five regions  Measurement: sessions, pageviews, page depth, time on site 12  Broad goal  Raise national visibility, especially in five key regions  Strategy  Digital advertising in the five key regions
  13. 13. #musedata#musedata 13 You can’t set targets w/o benchmarks  You need at least six months of data.  Data is seasonal.  Depends on your traffic.  Balance targets with factors beyond your control:  Are the improvements you’re seeking difficult to achieve?  How much resources will you have to implement tactics? Drinks Enthusiast
  14. 14. #musedata#musedata 14 Keep it simple!  Don’t do too much!  Minimize the number of measurements.  If they turn-out to be inconclusive, change up.  It’s an ongoing process!
  15. 15. #musedata#musedata 15 Army Times GOOGLE ANALYTICS Basics
  16. 16. #musedata#musedata Dimensions and Metrics  Dimensions describe the data, or an attribute of the user (“what”):  Traffic source  City  Page  Metrics measure the data (“how many,” “how long”):  Sessions  Bounce rate  Time on page  Lunametrics  Optimizesmart  Dimensions & Metrics Explorer (Google) 16 Optimizesmart Dimensions Metrics GA’s familiar color-coding helps you keep track of Dimensions and Metrics.
  17. 17. #musedata#musedata How GA reports are organized  The way the reports are organized speaks to specific types of questions. 17 LunaMetrics Audience Acquisition Behavior Conversions
  18. 18. #musedata#musedata 18 How can Google Analytics HELP?  Improve your program?  Yes! Good for you!  Satisfy your boss with monthly Big Numbers?  Sure. It is what it is.  Validate (or not) something you’ve already done.  Um, maybe. Wikipedia
  19. 19. #musedata#musedata 19 Improve your program! Metrics as proxies for user engagement  Under Audience >> Behavior  Frequency  Recency  Page Depth (“Engagement”)  “New vs. Returning” (e-nor post)  Use with segments:  Traffic from search  Traffic from mobile  Etc.  ‘Time on site’ is great, but do not rely solely on it.  Due to technical issues
  20. 20. #musedata#musedata 20 Improve your program! Segmentation: GA’s most powerful feature? Segments are accessed by clicking “Add Segment”. “Organic Traffic” is shown. All Users Organic (Search Engine) Traffic  Analyze subsets of traffic.  Search engine traffic  Social media traffic  Demographics  Segments can be copied and shared.  Google Blog  Kissmetrics Overview  Examples (Cutroni)  Examples (Kaushik)
  21. 21. #musedata#musedata 21 Exercise: create a new segment  Google’s Avinash Kaushik wrote about a segment of engaged visitors he called Non-Flirts, Potential Lovers  “Why not analyze people who DO engage with us?”  Engagement / Page Depth shows the distribution of the # of pages people visit on your site.  “The "tipping point" at which a core group of people decide to stick with your site.  Navigate to GA’s Reporting section  Click on “All Users”, or “+Add Segment” (next to it)  Click Kaushik’s blog Occam's Razor is a great resource for making web analytics fun and understandable.
  22. 22. #musedata#musedata Set-up your segment’s Conditions  Click ‘Conditions’ (left menu, @ bottom)  Note that you can select between Sessions and Users  Select Sessions 22
  23. 23. #musedata#musedata Select your segment’s Dimension  Click ‘Ad Content’  Type-in ‘Page Depth’  Select the green ‘Page Depth’ dimension. 23
  24. 24. #musedata#musedata Make a new segment (cont’d)  In the ‘Conditions’ pull-down, change to  Type ‘3’ in the box to its right.  Name the segment “Sessions 3+ pages” and click ‘Save’. 24 Sessions 3+ pages
  25. 25. #musedata#musedata How can we use the new segment?  In his blog post Kaushik wants you to ask yourself “What’s unique about (any) segmented group?”  Where did they come from? (Source/Medium)  What pages did they enter on? (Entrances)  What campaigns have a higher percentage of these people? (Campaign referrals)  What countries? (Geo >> Location report)  What is the difference between content they consume on your site compared to everyone else?  Do they all happen to use the (comparison chart) first?  Do they all read the (Sports) section? 25
  26. 26. #musedata#musedata A ‘real world’ example from @sosarasays  Question: “Is anybody using those resources my department created?” 26
  27. 27. #musedata#musedata 27 Behavior > Site Content > All Pages >  Search for the web directories in question, e.g., /resources/guides/
  28. 28. #musedata#musedata A ‘real world’ example from @sosarasays  Next question: “How might we increase the use of these specific resources?” 28
  29. 29. #musedata#musedata A ‘real world’ example from @sosarasays  Make a new custom segment!  Allows you to benchmark the sessions which included viewing at least one of the “guide” pages.  Improve the data by working on:  Making the guides more visible in navigation  Getting more inbound links  Optimizing page metadata to help with search engine findability (SEO) 29
  30. 30. #musedata#musedata  Package entire datasets for deeper analysis.  Saves time  Shows just the data you need.  Create and manage Custom Reports (Google)  12 Awesome Custom Reports Created by the Experts (Kissmetrics)  5 Google Analytics Custom Reports FTW! (Kaushik) 30 Improve your program! Custom Reports can save you time & effort Create and access Custom Reports from the ‘Customization’ tab. Custom Reports can be scheduled for delivery via email in a variety of formats.
  31. 31. #musedata#musedata  A conversion is any measureable behavior with an implicitly (or explicitly) higher value.  Conversion rates are more informative than merely counting the number of times something has happened.  Typical conversion goals:  Destination (ex: thanks.html)  Duration (ex: 5 minutes or more)  Pages/Screens per session (ex: 3 pages)  Event (download PDF, play video)  REQUIRES CODE 31 Improve your program! Deeper understanding with Conversion Goals Studying conversion rates levels the playing field, versus merely counting!
  32. 32. #musedata#musedata Improve your program! ‘Event Tracking’ is super-important  More sophisticated Goals typically involve creating “Events”:  External links  Sign-ups, form submissions  Downloads  Many types of conversion goals  To use Events:  Define and categorize events.  Configure and add the javascript code, usually right in the link (not always).  Many social-share widgets automatically add Events.  Google Analytics Event Organizer (Smithsonian’s Michelle Herman)  The Complete Google Analytics Event Tracking Guide Plus 10 Amazing Examples (old code, but good examples) 32
  33. 33. #musedata#musedata Events in the GA U-I 33
  34. 34. #musedata#musedata 34 Improve your program! Track Campaigns with ‘URL Builder’  For more granular data about specific Campaigns:  Email Campaigns  Social Media  Banners  Anything that uses a URL-based click-to format  As with Events, the work is up front, in the categorization:  Campaign Source  (referrer: google, citysearch, newsletter4)  Campaign Medium  (marketing medium: cpc, banner, email)  Campaign Term  (identify the paid keywords)  Campaign Content  (use to differentiate ads)  Campaign Name URL Builder (Google) How To Use UTM Parameters (Kissmetrics) URL Builder for GA (Raventools)
  35. 35. #musedata#musedata 35 Satisfy your boss! The inevitability of “Quantity of Stuff”  No actionable data  Sessions (previously Visits)  Users (previously Visitors)  Pages (a.k.a. Pageviews)  Establish scope / context.  Measure growth / acquisition.  You can’t improve your site by measuring these.  Reporting them out of context can be misleading. Occam's Razor “All data in aggregate is crap.”
  36. 36. #musedata#musedata 36 Satisfy your boss! Dashboards are useful, and easy to make  Display multiple reports at once.  “My Dashboard” (default) included.  Import from the Solutions Gallery.  Share as PDFs.  Schedule for distribution by email.  About Dashboards (Google)  10 useful Google Analytics custom dashboards (Econsultancy)  How Google Analytics Dashboards Can Make Your Life Easier (Kissmetrics) Customize Dashboards by adding / deleting / manipulating widgets (up to 12 per dashboard) Google
  37. 37. #musedata#musedata Exercise: make a dashboard 1) ‘Dashboards’ menu 2) Select ‘+New Dashboard’ 3) Select ‘Blank Canvas’ 4) Give the dashboard a title 5) Select ‘Create Dashboard’
  38. 38. #musedata#musedata Next: adding widgets 38
  39. 39. #musedata#musedata You can add widgets directly from GA reports 39
  40. 40. #musedata#musedata 40 Here is the bottom line!  Your measurements validate your tactics (or not).  To work the process and improve your site, you need meaningful data:  Engagement metrics  Segments  Goal completion / Conversion rates  A-B or MAB (multi-armed bandit) tests  Qualitative data (surveys)  If your goal is purely audience acquisition, you can use “quantity-of- stuff” metrics to tell your story. NY Daily News
  41. 41. #musedata#musedata 41 New(ish), Game-Changing Features Source: Keith Srakocic, AP
  42. 42. #musedata#musedata 42 Mobile automated insights  GA mobile app only.  Looks at your data, automatically analyzes it.  Suggests insights and actions!  Other cool features too, such as the ‘Users by time of day’ heat map.  Google blog (9/2/16)  Google Analytics App now offers Google Now- like automated insights (MarketingLand)  Google Analytics can now summarize your data with automated insights (TechCrunch)
  43. 43. #musedata#musedata Demographics and Interests Reports  Demographics  Age (traffic by age ranges)  Gender (traffic by gender)  Interests – behavior by  Affinity Categories  In-Market Categories  Other Categories  No PII is tracked!  You have to turn the reports on in the U-I, and add a line of code to your pages.    You have to modify your privacy policy.  43
  44. 44. #musedata#musedata Benchmarking Reports!  Compare your site to others in the same category (or across categories).  Compare by:  Channels (traffic sources)  Location  Devices  How to find the Libraries and Museums category:  Search box, or:  Audience  Benchmarking  Use top left pull-down; click ‘Reference’  Scroll down to ‘Libraries & Museums’  Benchmarking Reports (Google) 44
  45. 45. #musedata#musedata 45 Boston Dynamics Automation
  46. 46. #musedata#musedata 46 Google Sheets Chrome Add-On  Free, official Google Product.  Directly access the GA API.  Higher-level Google Sheets skills will help.  Here’s How to Automate Google Analytics Reporting with Google Sheets
  47. 47. #musedata#musedata Supermetrics  Commercial Excel add-on.  Easy-to-use and customize.  Exceptional charting capabilities.  Schedule reports to run automatically.  14 days free.  $348 per year.  Limited documentation and support.  Free version for Google Sheets available. 47
  48. 48. #musedata#musedata Analytics Edge Excel Add-on  Wizard-driven interface is clean and (relatively) intuitive.  Auto-refresh and schedule reports.  Import data from text files, worksheets or other workbooks  Support via online community.  Free and paid versions:  Free Social Shares connector.  More features - $6/month.  Optional connectors - $4/month. 48
  49. 49. #musedata#musedata 49 Universal Analytics means all new code  We are (still…) in phase three of a four-phased, multi-year rollout.  All GA accounts have been migrated to Universal, but many website pages still carry the old code.  Phase 4: legacy code will be deprecated (date TBD – “in the near future”).  “Data received from deprecated libraries will... be processed for a minimum of two years…”  You should upgrade your code SOON!  You also need to upgrade custom code, e.g., events, virtual pageviews, etc.  Universal Analytics Upgrade Center Vampyre Fangs
  50. 50. #musedata#musedata 50 Out with the old, in with the new!  What code are you using?  It’s easy to tell!  If your site is newer than mid- 2014, you have the new code.  If your site is older, do View Source.  Search for:  gaq  old code  ga.js  old code  analytics.js  new code Scrap for Joy
  51. 51. #musedata#musedata 51 Google Tag Manager means… what?  GTM can simplify your life, IF:  You have multiple JS tags on a straightforward site.  Your implementation configuration is basic.  You’re not customizing the data layer.  You’re not doing ecommerce or Events (link clicks, form submits, etc.).  If you’re tracking complex interactions, or have multiple sites / subdomains, you have to be careful (test)!  You may need the services of a developer.  Unlock the Data Layer: A Non-Developer’s Guide to Google Tag Manager  10 Ways Your GTM Setup Might Be Broken Vampyre Fangs
  52. 52. #musedata#musedata 52 Google’s “Analytics Academy”  Free video-based courses  Digital Analytics Fundamentals  Google Analytics Platform Principles  Ecommerce Analytics: From Data to Decisions  Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals  Google Tag Manager Fundamentals
  53. 53. #musedata#musedata Web Analytics Resources  Google Analytics Academy (Google)  Google Analytics Blog (Google)  Universal Analytics Upgrade Guide (Google)  Absolute Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics (  Occam’s Razor (Avinash Kaushik)  Analytics Talk (Google’s Justin Cutroni)  Jeffalytics (Jeff Saur)  Annielytics (Annie Cushing)  Analytics Edge (Mike Sullivan)  Kissmetrics blog  Lunametrics blog / Lunametrics Training  Cardinal Path Training  Discover the Google Analytics Platform (advanced tools) 53
  54. 54. #musedata#musedata 54 Coffee Break – 20 Minutes
  55. 55. #musedata#musedata 55 Part Two: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Bone Tone Brass Band
  56. 56. #musedata#musedata What does “SEO” mean today?  Search Engines (SE’s) are smarter than ever.  Almost all traffic is personalized, which affects SE results.  Google has worked to defeat tactical SEO, but…  “Old school” stuff, (titles, text content, links, URLs, site architecture) still matters.  Depending on who you believe, Google has between 73%* and 90%** of worldwide desktop traffic.  …Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex “and the rest” still account for billions of searches every month. 56 *source **source
  57. 57. #musedata#musedata Importance of Personalization  Virtually all search results are personalized now.  This is true whether or not you are logged into Google, but especially true if you are.  SO… there is no standard rank for a given keyword.  Analyzing rankings for specific keywords is a flawed strategy anyway!  Tip: try Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ mode – Shift-Ctrl-N 57
  58. 58. #musedata#musedata SEO and Museums  In our favor:  We have great content!  We (sometimes) have ultra-high domain authority!  Smithsonian: 94 out of 100! (  We have some of the strongest brands in the world!  Brands matter on search engines  Many sites receive 40-60% of traffic from organic search.  Social media helps (but maybe not as much as we think).  Challenges:  Despite great content, many sites aren’t optimized.  Some have technical issues such as “duplicate content.”  Some are too small / unlinked, to break through. 58 Drew Bowie
  59. 59. #musedata#musedata SO MUCH going on, on a ‘SERP’ these days! (With a little help from the Google Glossary) 59 Paid Search (PPC) ads Twitter results Organic search result with “mini-sitelinks” “Google My Business” (formerly Google Places) “Knowledge Panel” – MANY things can show here – team rosters, “popular times,” etc. Social Networks Recommendations (“People also search for…”)
  60. 60. #musedata#musedata Importance of Local  Over 50% of Google trillions of searches / year are mobile  Nearly one third of those are location-related. (source)  “Every month people visit 1.5 billion destinations related to what they searched for on Google.” (source)  Searches with local intent are more likely to lead to store visits and sales within a day. Fifty percent of mobile users are most likely to visit after conducting a local search. (Google / source)  “Authoritative OneBox” (right) is the grand prize. 60  Appearing in the three-listing snack-pack is critical for businesses, but not always do-able.  Organic optimization plays a large role.  Correct/consistent “NAP” (name, address, phone) is critical.
  61. 61. #musedata#musedata What influences Google’s algorithm?  Moz 2015 Ranking Survey  150 expert opinions  One-to-ten scale  “Old school” factors still rank highest, but exact keyword matches are less influential  Social ranks lowest, but shares are impt. 61 “…The data continues to show some of the highest correlations between Google rankings and the number of links to a given page.”
  62. 62. #musedata#musedata Moz definitions (into the weeds)  Domain-Level, Link Authority Features: Based on link/citation metrics such as quantity of links, trust, domain-level PageRank, etc. (8.22)  Page-Level Link Metrics: PageRank, Trust metrics, quantity of linking root domains, links, anchor text distribution, quality/spamminess of linking sources, etc. (8.19)  Page-Level Keyword & Content-Based Metrics: Content relevance scoring, on-page optimization of keyword usage, topic-modeling algorithm scores on content, content quantity/quality/relevance, etc. (7.87)  Page-Level, Keyword-Agnostic Features: Content length, readability, Open Graph markup, uniqueness, load speed, structured data markup, HTTPS, etc. (6.57)  User Usage & Traffic/Query: Data SERP engagement metrics, clickstream data, Visitor traffic/usage signals, quantity/diversity/CTR of queries, both on the domain and page level (6.55)  Domain-Level Brand Metrics: Offline usage of brand/domain name, mentions of brand/domain in news/media/press, toolbar/browser data of usage about the site, entity association, etc. (5.88)  Domain-Level Keyword Usage: Exact-match keyword domains, partial-keyword matches, etc. (4.97)  Domain-Level, Keyword-Agnostic Features: Domain name length, TLD extension, SSL certificate, etc. (4.09)  Page-Level Social Metrics: Quantity/quality of tweeted links, Facebook shares, Google +1s, etc. to the page (3.98) 62
  63. 63. #musedata#musedata Old-School Website SEO Still Matters  Good quality “backlinks” (keywords)  Body content – keywords, semantically-related words  Page Title Tags and Meta Description tags  URLs, site architecture, page structure  Internal “anchor” links using keywords  Titles, headlines (H1) and sub-heads (H2)  Images with ALT and TITLE tags.  “301 Redirects” still matter, but not as much as before (source).  Misc. content emphasis attributes (bold, italics, underline, etc.).  The Beginner’s Guide to SEO (Moz) 63 New Orleans Public Library
  64. 64. #musedata#musedata 64 Old-School Website SEO (con’td)  Navigation and link structure  Spiders still find pages by crawling the site through navigation and links.  SE’s like flatter architectures and will index flat sites more thoroughly.  Infrastructure can impact the crawler's ability to scan and index pages. • Incorporating links in JavaScript, iFrames, Flash, etc.  URL / directory / filename structure. Search-friendly URLs:  Are descriptive, giving some idea what the page is about.  Are simple, static and short: • A single dynamic parameter can result in lower ranking and indexing. • Easier for the spider to understand and put in context  Use (but do not overuse) keywords.  Use hyphens to separate words.
  65. 65. #musedata#musedata You have control of Title and Description tags!  Page Title tags are important – every page should have its own!  They tell a search engine what the page is about.  They are the headline for the search listing.  Meta Description tag helps improve click-through.  They need to be short, provide a coherent description. 65 Awesomesauce! Uninspired, but to the point. No description tag! Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Good description, but it’s not the one they wrote, AND it’s cut off!
  66. 66. #musedata#musedata Exercise: write a title tag  Length is important (if you want the tag the display properly)!  Short! ~55 characters! (source)  Best case: individual tags for each page.  Write a headline in 55 characters or less (including spaces) that:  Imparts an accurate expectation of what the page is about.  Will serve as a clear, clickable headline for your search result.  Steps: 1. Open a browser and a text editor. 2. Make a 55-character ‘character counter’ in a monospaced (Courier) font: 3. Pick a page and choose ‘View Source’ 4. Find <TITLE> (or <title>) 5. Copy your current Title Tag, paste it into a text file under the character counter 6. Edit / write a new tag! 66 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ (55 characters) V&A · The world's leading museum of art and design Home | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Projects | National Air and Space Museum
  67. 67. #musedata#musedata Exercise: write a meta-description tag  Meta Description tag helps improve click-through.  Needs to be customized and short.  Describe what the page is about in 120 characters or less.  If for your homepage, describe the site.  BTW, 120 characters is very conservative! Moz says between 150 and 160 characters is ok.  I Can't Drive 155: Meta Descriptions in 2015 - Moz  Steps: 1. Pick a page and choose ‘View Source’ 2. Find meta name="description" 3. Make a 120-character character counter in Courier font 4. Copy your current description tag, paste it into a text file under the character counter 5. Edit / write a new tag! 67 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ (120 chars.) Museum of the decorative arts founded in 1852 to support and encourage excellence in art and design. Located in London, England. (8 extra chars.)
  68. 68. #musedata#musedata “Keyword research” was HUGE!  BUT – Google has gotten very (VERY) good at:  Understanding what pages are about.  How words relate to each other (“semantic keywords”).  If you have great content, you are probably using a rich variety of the right keywords.  I.e., the ones people actually search for!  MAYBE. You should know.  BUT… concentrated keyword research is an intense process:  STEP 1: Use Multiple Sources to Get Keyword Suggestions.  STEP 2: Selects Keywords that Match Multiple Types of Searcher Intent Based on Your Content Strategy.  STEP 3: Collect Keyword Metrics and Sort/Filter/Prioritize Based on Goals.  STEP 4: Determine Keyword Targeting & New Content Creation Needs/Priority.  These tips are easy-to-do however:  Google auto-suggest (search entry box pull-down).  Google “Searches related-to _______” (similar searches).  Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help identify keyword suggestions. 68
  69. 69. #musedata#musedata 69 Keyword research (into the weeds)  Process:  Discovering and Prioritizing the Best Keywords (Moz)  Keyword Research in 2016: Going Beyond Guesswork (Moz)  How to Do Keyword Research for SEO (Hubspot)  A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO (Moz)  Tools  Google AdWords Keyword Planner (free, but limited usefulness)  Google Trends (free)  Moz Pro Keyword Explorer (paid / limited free usage)  11 Best free keyword research tools for SEO in 2016 (SEOstack blog)  SEMrush (paid)
  70. 70. #musedata#musedata You’re relaunching your site!  Launching a new site hurts in the short run…  If you change your URLs, your site disappears from engine DBs and must be reindexed / reassessed.  You’re starting from scratch!  Don’t worry – your traffic will come back, but it can take months.  Re-launching is an opportunity to improve your rankings by:  Migrating to https.  Using unique Title and Description tags.  Incorporating logical directory structure and navigational elements.  Having search-friendly URLs. (No numerical parameters!)  Providing lots of indexable text. 70
  71. 71. #musedata#musedata You’re relaunching your site! (cont’d)  Minimize the loss of traffic and rankings by employing 301-type (permanent) redirects from your old pages.  They tell the engines that a page has permanently moved.  “One-to-one” redirects are optimal, but not always possible (practically speaking).  Google is working on lessening the importance of using 301s, but it is still the best practice.  301 Redirects Rules Change: What You Need to Know for SEO (Moz) 71 301-type redirects are the way you tell the engines your old site hasn’t died. (It’s also an old highway in Maryland.)
  72. 72. #musedata#musedata New-ish stuff that matters 72 Tyler (10-weeks)  Mobile-friendly / responsive design is boosted in Google.  Page speed matters, but what matters more is having relevance reduced for having a slow site.  People expect a page to load in about two secs.  Security - https is better than http.  There are new ways to improve the way your search results appear.  Structured data - “Rich snippets.”  User reviews matter!  Improved CTR if your Google listing shows high-star reviews.  Social media content is more integrated into search results.  Localized results – Geo-targeting is pretty accurate.
  73. 73. #musedata#musedata New stuff that matters – AMP!  Google-backed, open-source initiative.  Accelerated Mobile Pages provide a MUCH faster mobile experience!  Speed up the load time of mobile webpages using existing technologies.  AMP for mobile search results gives the appearance of these pages being prioritized…  Google says they are not boosted in search results. BUT...  Load time and page speed ARE ranking factors!  AMP Testing Tool in Google Search Console.  Testing tool blog post (Google)  Another blog post (SEO Roundtable) 73 Look for the symbol.
  74. 74. #musedata#musedata 74 Google’s ‘divided we stand’ strategy  Currently, Google has a single search index.  “Within months,” Google will be dividing its index, giving mobile users better, fresher content (10/13/16).  The separate mobile search index will become the primary, more frequently updated one. mobile searchers everyone else! A mobile-optimized site is no longer a luxury!
  75. 75. #musedata#musedata 75 “Off-Page” stuff that matters  More important:  LINKS (a.k.a. “backlinks”)! • HIGH QUALITY external links back to your site, using keywords. • Poor quality links can really hurt you! • Moz free Open Site Explorer can help identify existing links and linking opportunities.  Social shares.  Less important (but not irrelevant):  Blog appearances for domain.  Links in directories.  News releases.  Social presence (FB, Twitter, YouTube).  The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO Bernard Landgraf
  76. 76. #musedata#musedata Discredited Practices  On-page:  Keyword stuffing  Meta keyword tag  Spammy comments  Off-page:  Paid links  Poor-quality links  Content farms  Guest blogging  Exact match domains:  “”  SEO “gateway” pages  Flash (doesn’t get indexed)  Google Penalties are usually applied by algorithm 76 Behaving badly means real penalties!
  77. 77. #musedata#musedata How are SE’s getting better and better?  Machine-learning / artificial intelligence.  Microsoft Bing’s RankNet was first (2005).  Google’s RankBrain algorithm (2015).  RankBrain:  Used to process search results and rank web pages.  The third most important part of Google’s so-called Hummingbird ranking algorithm!  Google: RankBrain (Search Engine Land)  FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm (Search Engine Land)  How Machine Learning Works (Martech)  Machine Learning: Making Sense of a Messy World (Google) 77 HAL 9000
  78. 78. #musedata#musedata Hummingbirds, Pandas, Penguins – what?!  Hummingbird – Google’s algorithm changes OFTEN - weekly.  Panda (2011/2015) – Boosted high-quality sites and demoted lower quality (spammy) sites.  Penguin (2012/2016) – Penalized sites that use “unnatural” backlinks.  Moz blogs to help you plunder the Google-Algo depths:  Google Algorithm Change History  Penguin 4.0: Was It Worth the Wait?  Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet 78
  79. 79. #musedata#musedata 79 Measuring SEO  Percent of visits referred from search engines.  Manually tracked (or via API tool).  Shows your progress with engines in a context-neutral way, independent of ancillary traffic spikes. Paid-search (orange) is boosting traffic, but as the year progresses, organic share (blue) is on the increase as well.
  80. 80. #musedata#musedata 80 Measuring SEO (cont’d)  Number of keywords referring traffic.  Manually teased out of the GA interface.  Navigate:  Acquisition   All Traffic   Channels   Organic Search  Primary dimension = Keyword  Then… look to the bottom-right of chart, for “Show rows:”  1-10 of X,XXX  X,XXX (8,319) is your metric.
  81. 81. #musedata#musedata 81 Measuring SEO (cont’d)  Number of pages receiving at least one visit from a search engine.  Manually teased out of the GA interface.  Navigate:  Acquisition   All Traffic   Channels   Organic Search  Primary dimension = Landing page  Then… look to the bottom-right of chart, for “Show rows:”  1-10 of X,XXX  X,XXX (3,324) is your metric.
  82. 82. #musedata#musedata 82 ‘Organic Search’ metrics under ‘Acquisition’  Shown in GA’s “Acquisition / Behavior / Conversions” parlance.  Navigate:  Acquisition   All Traffic   Channels   Organic Search Acquisition • Sessions • % New Sessions • New Users Behavior • Bounce Rate • Pages / Session • Avg. Session Duration Conversions • Goal Conversion Rate • Goal Completions • Goal Value
  83. 83. #musedata#musedata 83 Google Analytics Search Console  Linking with Google Search Console is required.  Clicks / Impressions / CTR from search engines  Number of landing pages referred from search engines  Navigate:  Acquisition   Search Console   Landing Pages Acquisition • Impressions • Clicks • CTR • Average position • Sessions Behavior • Bounce Rate • Pages / Session Conversions • Goal Completions • Goal Value • Goal Conversion Rate
  84. 84. #musedata#musedata 84 Structured Data  metadata provides info SE’s need to understand content, provide better results.  Tells the engines what your data means, not just what it says.  Moz rates tags as a low- influence ranking factor, but…  Meta tags improve CTR in search results by displaying enhanced content.  Authorship  "In-depth articles" feature (Article markup)  Other “Rich Snippets”
  85. 85. #musedata#musedata 85 Structured Data (cont’d)  Structured data can be used to mark up:  Creative work  Event  Organization  Person  Place  Product  Recipes  Structured data may help:  Enhance CTR from search engine results.  Search engines understand your content.  Your content to appear in specialized search results like “in-depth Articles.”  Google Structured Data Testing Tool Museum content can be relevant to “in-depth articles”
  86. 86. #musedata#musedata 86 Social Media’s Role  Google’s Matt Cutts stated there is no causation of high social metrics and Google rank (2013).  I.e., authoritative “social signals" (Facebook likes, Twitter followers) do not affect rank.  Do you believe that? Not sure I do.  Social media matters:  It encourages links to your content.  These links may influence rank by helping engines understand a site’s credibility.  Bing: “We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.”  Social media profiles rank in search engines.  Google+ does influence search results, but its influence is believed to be shrinking. 5 Things You Need to Know About Social Media & SEO (kissmetrics)
  87. 87. #musedata#musedata 87 Open Graph meta tags are essential  Open Graph (OG) tags (2010) promote integration between social sites and your website.  Allows you to control how site content appears in social media posts.  OG tags can significantly affect click- through rates and conversions from social sites.  The Open Graph Protocol What You Need to Know About Open Graph Meta Tags for Total Facebook and Twitter Mastery (kissmetrics)
  88. 88. #musedata#musedata 88 The next chapter: app indexing  Google and Apple are now “deep-indexing” content within apps:  Perform a search on a mobile device.  Results will include web pages and relevant content from within an app.  Google: indexed app links influence rank for associated Web pages.  SEO is suddenly an important part of the app development process.  App Indexing: Why It Matters For The Future Of Search  Searchengineland: App Indexing (topic page)  Google’s Firebase app indexing  Apple’s Deep Linking in iOS
  89. 89. #musedata#musedata 89 As search evolves, so does our perspective  From Bruce Clay’s How to Optimize for Google Home NOW  “The … thing to keep in mind here is that less traffic isn’t always a bad thing. A broad trend (in SEO) is that many sites aren’t ranking for as many queries as they used to, which at first seems like terrible news. But many of those same sites are actually seeing better rankings for more specific queries, and a concurrent increase in conversions. As the search engines get better at understanding user intent, and as search becomes more and more personalized, rankings will be harder to track, and (in many instances) harder to get. But if your visits drop while your conversion rate improves, then that’s a net gain.” “As the search engines get better at understanding user intent … rankings will be harder to track, and (in many instances) harder to get.” Gizmodo
  90. 90. #musedata#musedata OK, so what do I DO?!  Use your time for things you can control!  Improve your “old” site’s “on-page” findability:  Add unique Title and Meta-Description tags.  Delete the old “meta keywords” tag!  Improve your text content.  Add internal links using keywords.  Switch to https.  Reduce your site’s load time.  Off-page: try and get backlinks!  When someone is going to link to you, use keywords for the link – unless your institutional name NEEDS the exposure.  Off-page: social content that stimulates shares, user reviews.  Register with “Google My Business”  Make sure your existing info is correct 90 Vampyre Fangs
  91. 91. #musedata#musedata OK, so then what do I do?!  If redesigning your site, go to the mat for:  Mobile-friendly (responsive) design.  Quick load-time and AMP compatibility.  Unique Title and Meta-description tags.  Open graph (OG) tags for social.  Search-friendly nav structure and URLs.  Text content! Sometimes sites are surprisingly devoid of this, esp. if the design mantra was a “clean look.”  Work the steps, benchmark and measure! 91 Vampyre Fangs
  92. 92. #musedata#musedata Search Engine Marketing References  Search Engine Land  Search Engine Watch  Danny Sullivan (twitter)  Matt Cutts (twitter)  Moz (free/paid)  Woorank (free/paid SEO checker)  SEMrush (paid)  Bruce Clay  SEO Smarty - Ann Smarty  SEOBook - Aaron Wall (paid) 92
  93. 93. #musedata#musedata 93 Questions?
  94. 94. #musedata#musedata 94 Thanks! @balpert