Launching Your SEO Effort


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A presentation targeting startups & individuals wanting to initiate an SEO program. Not intended to be in-depth. Rather it focuses on the initial stages of preparing for an SEO commitment.

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  • Launched 2009 after 7 years co-founder at another SEM agencyTeam of 6 focused on SEO, PPC, Social & Analytics50+ years of combined online & marketing experience
  • Spiders traverse the web via linksBuilds a profile of sites based on cluesBuilds a weighted indexStores data to access for users
  • Web server sends query to index server which selects pages that match the queryQuery then sent to document server where search results snippets are generatedResults are compiled and sent to user’s browser in less than a second
  • Comment on distribution of clicks80-85% of all clicks occur on first page10-15% of all clicks on second page<5% of clicks on third pageSearch users change behavior to refine query vs. dig deeperOf first page clicks: 70% are on organic listings
  • This is what you’re pursuingSEO is a effort to rank pages, not sitesLogarithmic scale that distills 200+ variables in Google algorithmA comparison of all pages on the web
  • Start with a strong base of accessibility & text contentSelect keywords & integrate into page contentLinks come from content targeting relevant needs of audiencesPromote to audiences via social media marketing
  • There’s no manual for SEOAlgorithms are SE’s secret sauceSEO firms test theories but SE’s always changingGoogle averages more than 1 change per day (most minor)As such there are many uncertainties
  • High value converting traffic is the goal & measure of success
  • Insights to how search engines see your siteNot how site is viewed through a browserSites developed under Americans w/Disabilities Act often do well
  • Have search engines successfully crawled your site?How often, how deep?Use Webmaster Tools to identify where spiders are being blocked – Excessive “nofollow” robot.txt files?
  • Start building your list of keywords
  • Now start refining your list of keywordsEXPLAIN: Keyword Effectiveness IndexHow competitive a keyword isHigher the less effort is likely required
  • Start to organize your keywords Does your site messaging support the keywords your targeting?If not, you’ll have work to do.
  • There is no EXACT way. Experiment with what gets better results.
  • Think of meta page descriptions as ads for your site to generate clicks.
  • Mention a call to action
  • ExplainALT TagsRobot.txt filesSitemap.xml files
  • Don’t let blogs go stale – BIG turn off to visitors
  • Link Building is a topic of it’s ownHigh School analogyQuality of links not quantityNEVER pay for links! Highly frowned upon by engines
  • Another topic that can be 2 hours on it’s ownReal-time search is indexing content (Twitter/Facebook) in real time on certain subjectsStart by lurking in communities that would utilize your product or service. Get a feel for the conversations.
  • How to construct a title tag?Construct a meta descriptionALT tagsShow Google kw tool?
  • Launching Your SEO Effort

    1. 1. Launching An SEO Effort<br />What You Need to Know & Getting Started<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />About Confluence Digital<br />How Search Engines Work in 2 minutes<br />Search Engine Optimization in 2 Slides  <br />A Few Myths About SEO<br />Before Optimization Starts<br />Where to Start?<br />Live Optimization<br />Resources<br />
    3. 3. Confluence Digital Work<br />
    4. 4. How Search Engines Work in 2 Minutes (or so)<br />
    5. 5. The Basics - Indexing<br />
    6. 6. The Basics – Serving Results<br />
    7. 7. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)<br />The higher the position of your listings, the more click-throughs to your site.<br />The number one search result is worth pursuing because # 1 gets:<br />4.9 X more clicks than number 3 position <br />8.5 X more clicks than number 5 position <br />14.1 X more clicks than number 10 position<br />
    8. 8. Search Engine Optimization in 2 Slides<br />
    9. 9. Google Page Rank<br />Elite 8-10<br />Above Average 6-7<br />Average 3-5<br />Below Average 0-2<br />
    10. 10. SEO Factors<br />Off-site<br />On-site<br />
    11. 11. A Few Myths About SEO<br />
    12. 12. It’s All About the Homepage<br /><ul><li>False. While important, high value internal pages may have a larger role in converting actions. It’s about conversions!
    13. 13. View your site as a funnel functioning to move visitors to act on a specific objective.</li></ul>Keyword Meta Tag<br />No. The Keyword Meta Tag is no longer a consideration in search algorithms.<br />
    14. 14. Your Domain Doesn’t Matter<br />False. A domain that includes keywords, all else being equal, will out rank a generic domain name. URL is not a primary factor.<br />Example: We sell widgets<br />Better URL:,<br />Not as strong:, depth of content can be an equalizer<br />All Hosts Are Created Equal<br /><ul><li>False. Geographic location impacts local search results. Hosting in the location of your target audience for a modest SEO boost.</li></li></ul><li>Frequent Site Updates Are Needed <br /><ul><li>False. Regular content updates are great but quality of content & relevance is paramount.</li></ul>More Visits = SEO Success <br />False. Quality traffic trumps quantity. Focus on tailoring your content to your ideal human visitor. <br />Paid Ads Help SEO<br /><ul><li>False. Ads may help with visibility but the official word from SE’s is there is no influence.</li></li></ul><li>Before Optimization Starts<br />
    15. 15. Success Starts with Support<br />Company Dynamics<br />Executive level support is essential<br />Marketing >> drive web strategy &<br />positioning<br />IT >> recommend SEO friendly<br />technologies & solutions<br />Finance & Operations >><br />providing adequate resources<br />Collaborate or lose.<br />
    16. 16. Site Analytics<br />Install an analytics solution <br />that provides the following:<br />Who’s coming?<br />What are they doing?<br />Where are they coming from?<br />When do they act? <br />Why do they convert?<br />How loyal are they?<br />Google & Yahoo Analytics are free powerful tools<br />Easy Natural/Organic traffic report set-up<br />
    17. 17. Diagnostic Tools from the Engines<br />Search Engine Diagnostics & Troubleshooting<br />Google <br />Bing<br />Set up Accounts and Start Collecting Data<br />See Your Site How Engines See It<br />Gain Insights into:<br />Find queries that drive visits<br />Crawler access, stats and errors<br />Broken links and barriers to indexation<br />Internal and external link reporting<br />Direct the engines how you’d like them to interact with your site<br />
    18. 18. Baseline The Current State<br />For Keywords you think are important now, how do you rank?<br />How do your Branded Keywords rank? <br />How do you compare to a select group of competitors? Are there new competitors?<br />Conduct a competitive SEO audit versus 2 or 3 competitors (template at the end)<br />
    19. 19. Put Together Your Team<br />Assemble a cross functional team<br />Representatives from Corporate, Marketing, Customer Support, IT and outside perspectives<br />No “team”? Recruit interested parties who’ll offer unbiased feedback: business advisors, peers, significant others, friends/family, etc.<br />
    20. 20. Where to Start?<br />
    21. 21. On-site: “Crawl-ability” & Indexation<br />Data from the webmaster tools will indicate crawl errors, crawl stats, broken links, top search queries, etc.<br />If plans include moving your site, use the Change of Address tool to notify Google.<br />Use 301 redirects to permanently tell users and search engines of changes to page locations.<br />Compare known page count to amount indexed by search engines. This ratio indicates how you may be impacted by issues.<br />
    22. 22. On-site: Keyword Research <br />Brainstorm<br /><ul><li>Ask customers & co-workers
    23. 23. Visit high ranking competitors
    24. 24. Visit industry sites</li></ul>Take your Marketer hat off<br /><ul><li>What problem does your company solve?
    25. 25. Describe the situation & solution without buzzwords</li></ul>Is analytic data available?<br /><ul><li>Review site logs, if not…
    26. 26. Google Analytics (free) & collect data (Visitors > Keyword)</li></li></ul><li>On-site: Keyword Research <br />Use Tools to Find New Words<br /><ul><li>Google Keyword Tool
    27. 27. WordTracker
    28. 28. KeywordSpy</li></ul>Quantify Opportunities<br /><ul><li>Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI)
    29. 29. Estimated monthly volumes
    30. 30. Strength & volume of competition</li></ul>Review the List, Reprioritize<br /><ul><li>Begin to organize the list
    31. 31. Do searches to see what results come up. Are they relevant to you?</li></li></ul><li>On-site: Keyword Research <br />Map Keywords to Strategy<br /><ul><li>Are these the visitors you’re looking for?
    32. 32. Do the keywords filter traffic well</li></ul>Conduct a Content Gap Analysis<br /><ul><li>Do you have relevant content for targeted keywords?</li></ul>Bucket Keywords: Core & Supplementary<br /><ul><li>3-5 core keywords
    33. 33. 5-10 qualifying keywords to further target (i.e. geographic, special function, etc.)
    34. 34. End with 10-15 high value phrases</li></li></ul><li>On-site: Title Tags<br />Title Tag or Page Title<br /><ul><li>Succinctly summarizes the page’s content
    35. 35. Appears as the headline in search results
    36. 36. The <title> tag should be placed within the <head> tag of the HTML document.
    37. 37. Example: <title> Primary keyword + supplemental keyword w/call to action or brand</title></li></ul>Best Practices <br /><ul><li>Create a unique title for every page
    38. 38. Include a keyword or two, no more
    39. 39. Describe the page contents
    40. 40. Avoid vague titles (i.e. Home Page, Products)
    41. 41. Recommended 50-60 characters, up to 64-66 displayed</li></li></ul><li>Title Tags Example<br />
    42. 42. On-site: Meta Description<br />Meta Page Description<br /><ul><li>Summarizes the page with more detail
    43. 43. Appears as text below Hyperlinked Title Tag on search engine results page
    44. 44. Support the headline & work in 1-3 keywords
    45. 45. Google may supply a description for you if you don’t</li></ul>Best Practices<br /><ul><li>Craft unique descriptions designed to drive click throughs
    46. 46. Support concepts in Page Title Tag
    47. 47. <meta name="description" content=“A keyword rich description of products available on this page. Write it like an ad and include a call to action." />
    48. 48. Recommended 150 -170 characters
    49. 49. DO NOT use keywords excessively</li></li></ul><li>Meta Description Example<br />
    50. 50. On-site: Other Low Hanging Fruit<br />Include Keywords in URL/directory structure<br />Add Keywords to image ALT tags<br />Create Sitemap.xml file & submit to engines<br />Include robot.txt files with a pathway to the sitemap.xml<br />Introduce text-based Keyword rich navigation links<br />Use Flash wisely. Accentuate and highlight content vs. using as a vehicle for content<br />
    51. 51. On-Site: Content is King<br />Your website must be relevant to your audience<br />Content should be regularly updated within reason<br />Create and maintain a copy blog<br />Ideas for content<br /><ul><li>Develop a list of frequently asked questions
    52. 52. Tips & Tricks for issues faced by the market
    53. 53. Create case studies and publish tutorials/help files
    54. 54. Ask peers to write guest articles/blog posts</li></ul>Too busy to develop content?<br /><ul><li>Online freelance communities: Elance, oDesk, many others
    55. 55. Hire a grad student researcher in your field with solid writing skills </li></ul>Buy “Content Strategy for the Web” by K. Halvorson<br />
    56. 56. Off-site: Link Building<br />Link Building is…<br /><ul><li>Acquiring in-bound link from reputable sites which are relevant to your target audience.
    57. 57. Strategies & tactics which entice others to link to your site.</li></ul>Why is Linking Important?<br /><ul><li>Engines like links. Links drive traffic. Links improve visibility.
    58. 58. Engines puts heavy emphasis on qualityand diversity of inbound links.</li></ul>Create & Distribute Quality Content<br /><ul><li>Avoid distributing to content farms.
    59. 59. Seek sites that are authority sites within your domain of expertise.</li></ul>Pursuing High Value Link Partners<br /><ul><li>Treat as you would a business development opportunity.
    60. 60. Create a relationship for the long term.</li></ul>NEVER PAY FOR LINKS<br />
    61. 61. Off-site: Social Media<br />A growing influence on SEO likely to a key factor.<br />Engines are indexing & serving social media sites and content in their results pages.<br />Establish company accounts for Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.<br />Use to distribute notification of company news, content updates, items of interest to your audience.<br />Once you start, do not stop. Experiment, Test & Measure. <br />Start here: What is Social Media Marketing?<br />
    62. 62. Ongoing Activities<br />Benchmark efforts against initial baselines and target objectives.<br />Research keywords for new opportunities quarterly or monthly.<br />Tweak and add content to fill gaps.<br />Link building is continuous. Track efforts.<br />Social media updates & connecting with others.<br />Watch your analytics: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.<br />
    63. 63. Live Mini SEO Reviews?<br />
    64. 64. Resources<br />
    65. 65. Tools & Resources<br />Free SEO Tools<br /><ul><li>Google Keyword Tool – free
    66. 66. RankChecker from SEOBook</li></ul> <br /><ul><li>SEOMoz -
    67. 67. Live Search (MSN)
    68. 68. SpyFu –
    69. 69. KeywordSpy -
    70. 70. WebCEO free version -
    71. 71. The Google Guide -</li></ul>There are hundreds available. Find the one that suites your style.<br />SEO News<br /><ul><li>
    72. 72.
    73. 73.
    74. 74.</li></ul>Key Blogs / Forums<br />Matt Cutts:<br />Rand Fishkin:<br />Aaron Wall:<br />John Battelle:<br />DigitalPoint:<br /><br />Confluence Digital:<br />
    75. 75. Competitive Comparison Template<br />
    76. 76. About Confluence Digital<br />What We Do <br />Digital Brand Enhancement<br /><ul><li>Search Engine Optimization
    77. 77. Paid Search
    78. 78. Social Media Marketing
    79. 79. Display/Banner Programs
    80. 80. Digital Video/Image Distribution</li></ul>Program Optimization<br /><ul><li>Digital Marketing Program Management
    81. 81. Landing Page/Conversion Path Optimization
    82. 82. User Experience Analytics
    83. 83. Consulting, Training & Education
    84. 84. 3rd Party Program Audits & Vendor Selection</li></ul>Dave Pektas Search Marketing Specialist<br />Jason Gritten Search Marketing Specialist<br />Alonso Chehade Social Media Associate<br />Eric Layland Client Strategy<br />Dorota Umeno SEM & Brand Advisor<br />Margery Spears SEO & Social Specialist<br />Complemented by an extensive network<br />
    85. 85. Got A Question?<br />Confluence Digital<br />711 Sixth Avenue North<br />Seattle WA 98109<br /><br />Phone: 206-852-7102<br /><br />