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Beyond SEO: Writing Findable Content

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Beyond SEO: Writing Findable Content

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"I can't find it." Yep, I hear that one too. In fact, it's the most common complaint I hear from students, faculty, and staff about their university website. I also hear them ask: "Where am I?" "Is this for me?" "Where do I go from here?" These questions are symptoms of poor findability—and we need to answer them. No page on our website should feel like a dead end. Institutions that take action often responded to these problems with a redesigned website or new information architecture, but what about the content we create? Beyond SEO, how can we effectively guide web users toward their destination—as well as enable their discovery of useful, relevant content? It starts with a content strategy and continues by educating content contributors about findability and navigation.

"I can't find it." Yep, I hear that one too. In fact, it's the most common complaint I hear from students, faculty, and staff about their university website. I also hear them ask: "Where am I?" "Is this for me?" "Where do I go from here?" These questions are symptoms of poor findability—and we need to answer them. No page on our website should feel like a dead end. Institutions that take action often responded to these problems with a redesigned website or new information architecture, but what about the content we create? Beyond SEO, how can we effectively guide web users toward their destination—as well as enable their discovery of useful, relevant content? It starts with a content strategy and continues by educating content contributors about findability and navigation.

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Beyond SEO: Writing Findable Content

  1. 1. 1 Rick Allen @epublishmedia Beyond SEO: 
 Writing Findable Content HighEdWeb 2016 #heweb16
 October 17, 2016
  2. 2. Hi, I’m Rick. 2 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  3. 3. Hi, I’m Rick. And I hate looking for things on the web. 3 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  4. 4. 4
  5. 5. 5 I can’t find it. #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  6. 6. 6 How did I get here? 
 What is this page about?
  7. 7. 7 Findability is the biggest content problem in higher ed. #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  8. 8. 8 Low 45% Medium 42% High 13% Higher Ed Findability Scorecard 22
 .edu websites 75,000+ webpages
  9. 9. Findability impacts people's ability to easily understand and find
 web content.
  10. 10. People won't use your Web site if they can't find their way around.“ 10 Steve Krug Author, Don’t Make Me Think #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  11. 11. Why SEO is important and why it’s not enough
  12. 12. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. “ 12 Moz, Inc. https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  13. 13. 13 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  14. 14. 14 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  15. 15. HOMEPAGE 15
  16. 16. 16 Our content is more than a destination…
  17. 17. 17 …it’s a helping hand
  18. 18. Search Optimization for People #SOPnotSEO
  19. 19. How people find stuff.
  20. 20. 20 Navigate or search?
  21. 21. 21 Look around or 
 ask for help?
  22. 22. 22 How may I help you? “How do I sign up for a meal plan?” SEARCH
  23. 23. 23 “Maybe financial aid is under Plumbing”?
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. 25 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  26. 26. 26 Is this the right page? Where do I go from here? I give up…
  27. 27. Context Search Browsing Wayfinding Elements of Findability
  28. 28. A note about UX and IA…
  29. 29. 29 https://www.flickr.com/photos/lakelandlocal/
  30. 30. Impact from the bottom up Improve findability 
 here.
  31. 31. Context Search Browsing Wayfinding
  32. 32. Content is made relevant by the context in which it’s perceived.
  33. 33. 33 Photo Credit: Photo by Ed Yourdon
  34. 34. 34 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  35. 35. 35 Find out more about what?
 How do these links relate?
  36. 36. 36 Content appears irrelevant when… it seems out-of-place it lacks clear purpose 
 or a clear audience #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. 38 “An unmatched faculty…”
 “…BOOTH ONLINE STORE.”
  39. 39. 39
  40. 40. 40 Old date = 
 irrelevant content?
  41. 41. 41
  42. 42. 42
  43. 43. 43 To help establish context, consider: • How does this page support or enhance related web content? • Where will people interact with this content? • How will people use this content? • What content type will be most relevant and useful for the user? #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  44. 44. Context Search Browsing Wayfinding #heweb16 • @epublishmedia #SOPnotSEO
  45. 45. 45
  46. 46. 46
  47. 47. Search optimization needs to be part of the writing process—not a post-launch fix.
  48. 48. 48 Sources: https://flic.kr/p/8X7JTF https://flic.kr/p/29rzrg
  49. 49. 49 Search optimization guidelines 
 for content contributors: #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  50. 50. 50 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia 1. Publish relevant content
  51. 51. 51 2. Make every page on your website unique
  52. 52. 52 3. Make every meta webpage title, alt text, and meta description on your site unique.
  53. 53. 53 Clear Unclear 4. Use relevant and accurate keywords
  54. 54. 54 Helpful internal & 
 external resources 5. Link to relevant websites that provide 
 value to your users.
  55. 55. 55 6. Structure content to enhance 
 keyword relevance
  56. 56. 56 6. Structure content to enhance 
 keyword relevance Clear and distinct 
 secondary headers
  57. 57. Context Search Browsing Wayfinding #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  58. 58. “It’s on the website.” 58 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  59. 59. 59 “The info is at the top 
 of the page.” “I’ve already been on this page. I don’t see it.”
  60. 60. Sigh. 60 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  61. 61. 61 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  62. 62. 62
  63. 63. 63
  64. 64. Scanning elements are your “introduction.” This is where we need to communicate purpose and relevance.
  65. 65. 65 • “Click here” • “Website” • “Homepage” • “Download” Non-descriptive link text: #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  66. 66. 66 Click here to download. #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  67. 67. 67
  68. 68. 68
  69. 69. 69
  70. 70. 70
  71. 71. 71
  72. 72. 72
  73. 73. 73
  74. 74. 74
  75. 75. 75 Content elements that 
 enhance browsing and scanning: • headers • links • highlighted text • bulleted and numbered lists • photos and graphics • captions • pull-quotes #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  76. 76. …but not too much. 76 #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  77. 77. Context Search Browsing Wayfinding #heweb16 • @epublishmedia
  78. 78. 78 Museum Wayfinding and Signage company based in London UK
  79. 79. 79 Source: https://flic.kr/p/8SZvsG “I hope someone reads this webpage and then leaves our site and forgets about it.” - said no author ever
  80. 80. 80 Source: https://flic.kr/p/8SZvsG “I hope this website only has a limited amount of information on 
 the topic I'm interested in.” - said no web user ever
  81. 81. 81
  82. 82. 82
  83. 83. 83
  84. 84. 84
  85. 85. 85
  86. 86. 86
  87. 87. 87
  88. 88. 88 Source: https://flic.kr/p/8SZvsG “Next steps” to help you 
 on you way.
  89. 89. 89 Source: https://flic.kr/p/8SZvsG “Next steps” to help you 
 on you way.
  90. 90. Findability is customer service
  91. 91. 91 Photo Credit: Photo by Ed Yourdon
  92. 92. 92 Source: https://flic.kr/p/6WWWx2
  93. 93. Findability is thinking beyond the content on the page to consider how people experience that content.
  94. 94. 94 How can I help?
  95. 95. Rick Allen Content Strategist ePublish Media, Inc. Meet Content LLC rick@meetcontent.com Thanks! #heweb16 • @epublishmedia (I hope this was helpful)

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