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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  1. 1. May 2008 Dennis Deacon – [email_address]
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What is SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engines: How content is obtained </li></ul><ul><li>Site / Domain Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Page Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul><ul><li>Other optimization ideas </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is Search Engine Optimization? <ul><li>A subset of Search Engine Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes considered to be unique to SEM </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on the natural, organic relevancy and ranking of content in search results. </li></ul><ul><li>Some practices extended into Search Engine Marketing (i.e. obtaining links) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Then, what is Search Engine Marketing? <ul><li>The act of promoting content. </li></ul><ul><li>The overall activity around using search engines to market a site or online entity. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engine Optimization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paid Inclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pay Per Click (PPC) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. SEO vs. SEM & PPC
  6. 6. SEO vs. SEM & PPC SEO SEM/PPC Pros <ul><li>Free (not including resources) </li></ul><ul><li>Searchers click on organic search results more often than paid PPC links </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent at creating awareness quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Campaigns can be budgeted to fit a business’s needs </li></ul>Cons <ul><li>Time consuming </li></ul><ul><li>Takes longer to see results </li></ul><ul><li>Can be pricey ($25-$100,000 a month) </li></ul><ul><li>Must be managed constantly (daily/weekly) </li></ul><ul><li>ROI can be difficult to manage </li></ul><ul><li>Clickfraud </li></ul>
  7. 7. SEO Ethics <ul><li>White Hat/Good vs. Black Hat/Evil </li></ul><ul><li>White Hat </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Follows search engine guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strives for best possible search engine ranking; #1 ranking if possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Black Hat </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowingly breaks many/most of the search engine guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Misrepresents content via techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses techniques to trick either the search engine, searcher, or both </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promises #1 ranking </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Relevancy <ul><li>The overall goal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search engines: to deliver the most relevant search results possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Searchers: to find the most relevant search result </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Owners: to optimize their site and it’s content for the most relevant searcher </li></ul></ul><ul><li>True relevancy has become hip; it’s not a fad </li></ul>
  9. 9. SEO Workflow Keyword Research and Analysis Analyze Site for Crawl / Performance issues Implement Optimizations Monitor results Repeat as needed
  10. 10. Keywords <ul><li>The core of Search Engine Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords are the terms used by searchers to find information </li></ul><ul><li>The goal is to leverage and implement the same keywords throughout your content in a natural manner, to match the audience who’s searching for your information and you’re looking to attract </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword discovery and analysis is never ending </li></ul>
  11. 11. Keyword Discovery <ul><li>Known keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask the business owner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask the customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check the current server logs or analytics tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check the site search logs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Competitor’s keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at the words in the <title> tag / browser bar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>View source to view their META keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use tools to harvest the keywords or phrases prominent on their site </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Keyword Discovery & Analysis <ul><li>Always include variations of keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plurals (widgets, churches) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Synonyms (cruise, sail, journey, tour) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stems (fish, fishing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International spelling differences (Harbor /Harbour) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Online Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Created for PPC, used for SEO as well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google Adwords Keywords Tool </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trellian (free trial) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WordTracker (free trial) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SEOBook SEOTool Keyword Suggestion Tool </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use multiple tools to cross-check & validate findings in other tools </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Google Adwords Keywords Tool
  14. 14. Trellian Keywords Tool
  15. 15. Wordtracker
  16. 16. Which Keywords to Use? <ul><li>It depends on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the context & themes of your pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the audience you’re targeting (researchers, buyers) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That are being searched on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That have medium to low competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That you can build quality content that site visitors will appreciate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use keywords that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aid the search engines in understanding your content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aid users and persuade them to act </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Organize Site/Content in Themes <ul><li>Possible direction of search engines to determine relevancy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Site/folder structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link text </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. How Search Engines obtain content <ul><li>Search Engines send “bots,” that spider the web. </li></ul><ul><li>Crawls via hyperlinks </li></ul><a href=>
  19. 19. The “PacMan” Metaphor Content Meta Data Links Theme
  20. 20. Search Engine Bot <ul><li>So what happens when a search engine bot visits your site? </li></ul><ul><li>First, it checks for the robots.txt file for any instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Second, it begins to crawl, following links in your site from the current page. It also pays attention to any page level robots instructions (noindex/nofollow). </li></ul><ul><li>It grabs the content and meta data (title, description, link labels, text, attributes) </li></ul><ul><li>Adds to it’s index </li></ul>
  21. 21. Controlling Robots - Robots.txt <ul><li>Site-wide control </li></ul><ul><li>Adhered to by most search bots </li></ul><ul><li>Can control access to areas of your website </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disallow crawling of portions of your website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can limit control to all or select search bots </li></ul><ul><li>Placed in the root of your website </li></ul><ul><li>More Robots.txt info: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Controlling Robots - Robots Meta Tag <ul><li>Page level control </li></ul><ul><li>Placed as a meta tag in the <head> portion of your pages </li></ul><ul><li>Controls who the search bot crawls through the page </li></ul><ul><li>Variations: </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=“robots&quot; content=“index,follow&quot; /> </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=“robots&quot; content=“noindex,nofollow&quot; /> </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=“robots&quot; content=“noindex,follow&quot; /> </li></ul><ul><li><meta name=“robots&quot; content=“index,nofollow&quot; /> </li></ul>
  23. 23. Search Engine Crawling Issues <ul><li>Robots.txt/Meta Robots conflicts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One set of instructions in robot.txt, different instructions in meta robot </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Server performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If sever not available when search bot visits, will revisit, but learns and decreases the frequency of visits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If server slow, bot will crawl what it can, then move on (incomplete crawl) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>JavaScript </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot follow hyperlinks embedded or generated by JavaScript </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pop-ups </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>DHTML pull-down menus </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Search Engine Crawling Issues <ul><li>Dynamic URLs Example: ?id=20&cat=bd&cty=102&sessionid=56720938762s345h10293847nnm65748392021&cookie=WEGQIEMCE... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Numerous parameters can prevent crawling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Session ids can cause crawling issues; duplicate content issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make URLs are short as possible (1000 characters too long) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Up to 2 parameters OK, more a risk </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not use session ids; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If multiple parameters & session ids a must, use a URL rewrite method (mod-rewrite (Apache)) Example: Before: After: </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Search Engine Crawling Issues G o o g l e
  26. 26. Search Engine Crawling Issues
  27. 27. Search Engine Crawling Issues <ul><li>Content-to-Code Ratio ( example 203kb ) </li></ul>In browser, view source to view code bloat Code used to display page vs. Content that is displayed (X)HTML + attributes & CSS (embedded & inline) & JavaScript vs. Text & Images vs.
  28. 28. Search Engine Indexing <ul><li>How to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtain links to your site from authoritative sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will get crawled/indexed organically </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submit your site to the search engines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Yahoo </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MSN </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask (?) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What about the others? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor your indexed pages </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Bruce Clay Search Engine Relationship Chart
  30. 30. Google Webmaster Central
  31. 31. Google Webmaster Central
  32. 32. Google Sitemaps <ul><li>Trusted Feed to push your content into Google </li></ul><ul><li>Generate Site Maps online - </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be used for both Google & Microsoft Live Search </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Implementing Optimization <ul><li>Domain / Site </li></ul><ul><li>Page Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul>
  34. 34. Domain / Site Optimization <ul><li>Age of site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds prominence, credentials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inbound link popularity into site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Topical inbound link relevancy into site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link/Content topical theme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequency of new inbound links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of queries over time where site appears in results </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keywords in Domain </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords in folder structure </li></ul>
  35. 35. Page Optimization <ul><li>Age of document </li></ul><ul><li>Freshness of document </li></ul><ul><li>Page filename (use keywords, hyphens as separators) </li></ul><ul><li>#/Quality/Relevance of inbound/outbound links </li></ul><ul><li>Page theme (content focused on a single topic, not topically scattered) </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage CSS layouts with external stylesheets and external JavaScript to increase Content-to-Code ratio </li></ul>
  36. 36. Page <title> <ul><li>One of the most important things you can do – fast </li></ul><ul><li>Unique title for every page on your site </li></ul><ul><li>Should contain one or two keywords, specific to the content on the page </li></ul><ul><li>Most important keyword/phrase at beginning of <title> </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat keyword/phrase up to 2 times </li></ul><ul><li>Limit to approx. 65 characters </li></ul><ul><li>Will appear as browser window title, link label in search results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write the title to be persuasive to humans </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Page <title> <ul><li>Code example: </li></ul><ul><li><title> Rubber Widgets – Largest Selection of Rubber Widgets </title> </li></ul><ul><li>Dreamweaver example: </li></ul>
  38. 38. Page <title> <ul><li>What about dynamic pages? </li></ul><ul><li>Use variables in the <title> to interject keywords for the content of that page/record Example: <title><%Prod_Name%> - Best Select of <%Prod_Name%></title> </li></ul>
  39. 39. Page META Description & Keywords <ul><li>Meta tags placed in <head> portion of page Example/Syntax: <meta name=“description” content=“Description info goes here” /> <meta name=“keywords” content=“keywords,seperated by,commas,go,here” /> </li></ul><ul><li>Description: Not used by search engines for relevancy; displayed as result snippet under link label & above URL. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limit to 100-200 characters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keywords: Banished long ago by search engines due to spamming. No value </li></ul>
  40. 40. Use the Description to persuade Glacier Bay Highlights - Alaskan Glacier Bay Cruise Save up to $300 per cabin - ends 3/31/08! This Alaskan Glacier Bay cruise itinerary is a perfect shorter getaway cruise in the beautiful remote wilderness of Alaska's ... GlacierBay Highlights.asp - 32k - Cached - Similar pages < title>Glacier Bay Highlights - Alaskan Glacier Bay Cruise </title> <meta name=&quot;description&quot; content=&quot;Save up to $300 per cabin - ends 3/31/08! This Alaskan Glacier Bay cruise itinerary is a perfect shorter getaway cruise in the beautiful remote wilderness of Alaska's Inside Passage. Experience the true meaning of wonder in the soaring sanctuary of Glacier Bay National Park.&quot;> <meta name=&quot;keywords&quot; content=&quot;glacier bay, short cruises, glacier bay alaska, glacier bay cruise, glacier bay national park, cruise west cruises, cruise west alaska&quot;> =
  41. 41. Content / Body Text <ul><li>Everything visible in a web browser </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords implemented should support the overall theme of the page </li></ul><ul><li>Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword prominence: where on the page it appears </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Main keywords at beginning of content, supporting keywords throughout the middle, then the primary repeated again near the end of the content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword density: how often your keywords appear in relation to all other words on the page (goal: 5-7%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword frequency: number of occurrences on the page </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search engines also look at content around the keywords; check for theme relevancy </li></ul>
  42. 42. HTML Headings <h#> <ul><li>Include primary or supporting keywords in your highest heading tag (<h1>) </li></ul><ul><li>Place supporting keywords in these heading tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li><h2> … <h6> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make sure it makes sense to humans </li></ul><ul><li>Use CSS to format the look of standard HTML headings </li></ul><ul><li>If graphical text desired for headings, consider image replacement methods </li></ul>
  43. 43. Emphasizing Keywords <ul><li>Emphasize text & keywords to show search engines & users that “this is important” to the theme of the page. </li></ul><ul><li>Use <strong> for bold </li></ul><ul><li>Use <em> for emphasize </li></ul><ul><li>Do not use <b> or <i> (outdated/obsolete) </li></ul><ul><li>Only emphasize short segments of words (1-4 words). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any more loses impact & value of emphasis; everything is emphasized; dilutes keyword meaning </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Images <ul><li>Give your images descriptive filename </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include keywords where it makes sense </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use the alt attribute to provide information about the image </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short description of image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include keywords where it makes sense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure it makes sense to humans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aids in usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t stuff keywords here; considered </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t use images in place of text. If required, consider image replacement techniques </li></ul>
  45. 45. Links <ul><li>Important part of overall search algorithm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>However, not as important as it once was… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Links within your site to pages within your site (internal links) have some value </li></ul><ul><li>Inbound links to your site/pages/content from quality, authoritative sources (external links) considered unbiased, proof that your content is quality </li></ul><ul><li>The link’s anchor text is very important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should contain relevant keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raises the link’s value </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Inbound Link Best Practices <ul><li>Obtain links only from quality, authoritative sources related or relevant to your site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strive for top sites (example: CNN, Wikipedia) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top sites have good PageRank </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google term for the quality of inbound links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can view PageRank levels from Google Toolbar </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Top sites have been around a while </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Links to any page on your site; not just homepage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deep linking good </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do not obtain links from “shady” sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Link farms, rings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link exchanges from sources of little/no Page Rank </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do not purchase links from others </li></ul>
  47. 47. Link Building Ideas <ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>create a blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>link to your site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>comment on other subject related, relevant blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RSS Feed Syndication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndicate information from your site / blog to be displayed on other websites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control the anchor text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press Releases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>submitted to online PR distributors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link back to your site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Articles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>topics of expertise, syndicated on the web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link back to your site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industry Sources / Subject Authority Websites </li></ul>
  48. 48. Who’s linking to you <ul><li>Google – Webmaster Central </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal & External (inbound) links </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yahoo – link:[URL] </li></ul>
  49. 49. Other Optimization Ideas <ul><li>Google Base / Product Search / One Box </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Base: Online database of products. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Originally created for classifieds </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can upload information about your products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Product Search (formerly Froogle) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shopping search engine providing searchable index of products for purchase </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google One Box </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For certain keywords, displays content above the organic search results </li></ul></ul></ul>
  50. 50. Google Base / Products Search / OneBox
  51. 51. Google Base / Products Search / OneBox
  52. 52. Google Base / Products Search / OneBox
  53. 53. Analyze/Monitor your site <ul><li>Use an Analytics tool to monitor your site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Referrals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sites, URLS, Keywords </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Use a Monitoring tool to monitor your site’s ranking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ranking (based on keyword) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research competitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Inbound links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords used </li></ul></ul></ul>
  54. 54. Content is King!
  55. 55. Summary <ul><li>Perform detailed keyword analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your site is crawlable </li></ul><ul><li>Use Web Standards to create clean, light pages </li></ul><ul><li>Implement keywords on appropriate page elements </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain links from quality, authoritative sources </li></ul><ul><li>Design/implement with the user first, then the search engine in mind </li></ul>Catch this and like videos at
  56. 56. Resources <ul><li>Search Engine Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bruce Clay’s Search Engine Relationship Chart </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keyword Tools (online) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google AdWords: Keyword Tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trellian Keyword Discovery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wordtracker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEOBook SEOTools Keyword Suggestion Tool </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keyword Tools (client-based) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web CEO </li></ul></ul>
  57. 57. Resources <ul><li>Analytics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Analytics (Web-based - Free) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stat Counter (Web-based - Free) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mint (Web-based - Fee) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Omniture (Web-based - Fee) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Webtrends (Web-based – Fee) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Monitoring </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web CEO (Client-based – Trial/Fee) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO Tool Rank Checker (Web-based – Free/Fee) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO for Firefox (Browser-based) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Toolbar (Browser-based) </li></ul></ul>
  58. 58. Resources <ul><li>Books </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engine Marketing – Mike Moran & Bill Hunt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engine Optimization for Dummies – Peter Kent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building Findable Websites – Aaron Walter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Marketing Strategies – James Colborn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web Analytics Demystified – Eric Peterson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web Metrics – Jim Sterne </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Online Copywriter’s Handbook – Robert Bly </li></ul></ul>
  59. 59. Resources <ul><li>Web Sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engine Land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEOmoz </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web Engine Watch </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Podcasts (search for these in iTunes or Google) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Daily SearchCast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO 101 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Online Courses </li></ul><ul><li> – Search Engine Optimization </li></ul>
  60. 60. <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Dennis Deacon – </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul>

Editor's Notes