SEO Demystified by Havas Digital


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Today, most traffic tends to go to the top ranking websites for any specific search term. For that reason websites need Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Review the Basics and Learn How to Apply Advanced On- and Off- page SEO tactics to improve site visibility.

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SEO Demystified by Havas Digital

  1. 1. SEODemystified Review The Basics and Learn How to Apply Advanced On- and Off-Page SEO Tactics to Improve Site Visibility December, 2009
  2. 2. Havas DigitalLead Contributors Rob Griffin SVP, Director of Search, Data & Analytics Media Contacts US Mark Egan SVP, Director of Global New Business Havas Digital Marta Martinez Global Business Development Havas Digital Worldwide Ravi Kabra Managing Director Center of Excellence India Polyana Oliveira SEO Analyst Media Contacts São Paulo Steven Skroce SEO Manager Media Contacts Boston Carolina Vicente Head of Search Media Contacts United Kingdom© 2010 Havas Digital
  3. 3. Havas DigitalCONTENTS1. What is Search Engine Optimization? Types of SEO.. . . . . . 42. SEO Strategy.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63. Research Keyword Research | Competitor Research. 74. On-Page SEO.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 · Content (9) · Robots.txt (13) · Title (9) · Sitemap.xml (13) · IA, URL - The Website Address (10) · HTML & CSS (13) · Content Heading Hierarchy (11) · Internal Link Building (14) · Accessibility & HTML Use (11) · Anchor Texts (14) · Use of Flash (12) · Nofollow Attribute (14) · JavaScript (12) · HTML Site Map (15) · Frames (12) · URL Migration (15) · Webmaster Portal (13)5. Off-Page SEO.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 · Sharing Tools (18) · Social Networks (22) · Building Links (19) · Not So White (23) · Directories (20) · Who Links to the Site? (24) · Other Methods of Link Building (21) · VideoSEO (24) · Social Bookmarking (22) · Images (26)6. A Case Study.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277. Summary.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298. Contact Details.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30© 2010 Havas Digital
  4. 4. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedWHAT IS SEARCH ENGINEOPTIMIZATION? 1Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of structuring a website and devel-oping links to the website so “crawlers” or search engine robots can easily find, read,understand and categorize the content.Once the search engines have completed the site crawl this data is then stored in thesearch engine’s index and used to retrieve the most relevant content based on a searchengine user’s query. A well optimized website that includes relevant keywords and au-thoritative inbound links will, over time, rank well in organic search.Search Engine Optimization is ultimately a communications plan for search engines so awebsite can be found during a relevant inquiry. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION IS A COMMUNICATIONS PLAN FOR SEARCH ENGINES SO A WEBSITE CAN BE FOUND DURING A RELEVANT SEARCH ENGINE ENQUIRY.Why is SEO important?According to Nielsen over 75% of consumers use a search engine to find informationabout products and suppliers. For many businesses, up to 50% of new traffic is sourcedfrom a search engine.However, most of the traffic tends to go to the top ranking websites for any specific searchterm. Click through rates for a number 1 ranking are typically 40% falling to 15% for anumber 3 ranking. A recent study showed that most consumers will modify their searchquery if a suitable listing is not found within the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP).Generating traffic requires term-discovery which in turn requires high ranking withinsearch engines. Search Engine Optimization provides the steps to achieve a top rankingfor any given search term.According to Nielsen, over 75% of consumers use asearch engine to find out information about productsand suppliers. For many businesses, up to 50% of newtraffic is sourced from a search engine.© 2010 Havas Digital 4
  5. 5. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 1. What is SEO?Types of SEOSEO has been around since the late 1990’s when Google’s first appearance forcedYahoo, Inktomi, Altavista and Looksmart to move away from a directory approach. Thebasic strategies and campaigns have since matured into different types of SEO that varydepending on the businesses objectives.For SEO campaigns the most common priorities are campaign support, brand awareness,customer retention and customer acquisition. These will decide the breadth and time ofthe project as well as where and how the site is optimized.Campaign support tends to involve brand or language specific optimization for onlinevideo, micro-sites and page/page clusters within a site. More recently, optimization forbrand awareness has focused on social media. Brand awareness is wider with the goalof increased exposure on search engines earlier in the ‘search journey’ or buying processof the consumer.Customer retention usually involves concentrating on specific brand-based searching soreturning customers have easy access to the company’s website and any unique productlines. Customer acquisition (CA) targets high sale-converting search phrases that tendto be used when a customer is looking for a supplier and wants to purchase immediately.CA may also involve targeting Local Search for offline sales or vertical search engines likeYouTube, Yahoo Finance and Google Product search. All campaigns are complicated bythe customer’s domain knowledge, price sensitivity and frequency of purchase.Every communications plan begins with the business marketing objectives and thepriorities placed on each objective. SEO is no different. In addition, the path a SEOcampaign takes is also swayed by the technical support and capability of the businessand the timeframes in which the business must achieve those objectives.Once the business priorities are revealed, SEO campaigns will go through a process todevelop a strategy. Brand Customer Awareness Retention Campaign Customer Support Acquisition© 2010 Havas Digital 5
  6. 6. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedSEO STRATEGY 2Generally, when devising a full Search Engine Optimization strategy, Havas Digitallooks at the following elements:• Research · The words search engine users apply compared to those directed by the business objectives. · Search trends to understand what is emerging or reducing. · Targeted phrases and strategies employed by competitors. · Gaps between the business objectives and what the customers are searching for.• Technical analysis · The overall capability of the website to allow search engines to access, understand and index well. · Identifying any impediments and improvements. · Understanding how search engines currently interpret a website.• Content Optimization · Identifying any gaps between what the search engines understand and what is trying to be communicated. · Developing content and recommending coding techniques to bridge these gaps.• Link analysis · Understanding whether other websites and search engines see the site as an authority on the subjects being optimized for. · Developing a plan to increase that level of authority.• Strategy · Developing projections and targets for particular rankings. · Providing a recommendation on the best way to optimize towards the business objectives.• Delivery · Ensuring campaigns are implemented alongside changes to the website.• Measurement · Key Performance Indicators (KPI) developed during the strategy are reported. · The progress of each campaign is tracked.© 2010 Havas Digital 6
  7. 7. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedRESEARCH 3The next stage of any SEO project is research. The first step is to understand the keywordstargeted by the business and what is searched by users. When developing the content fora site, questions that should be asked are: “What does my site do for my users?”; “Howwould my users search?”; and “What will make my users eventually convert?”Keyword ResearchThese questions bring together the business goals with consumer behaviour and turnit into customer actions. Do the words on a website tell the user what the website willdo for him or her and reinforce why the visit is valid. Is the site e-commerce oriented? Arewords such as, “buy,” and “price of” in your product’s pages? Is the site an online bank?For a new visitor unfamiliar with the Brand, make sure emphasis is on the products byfunction and not by name per se. Make sure that marketing speak is also integrated withwhat consumers are looking for. For example, in the case of banking sites, preference isgiven to “checking account” and “savings account,” over special product names. (Ide-ally product names would be created to be search friendly).Since search terms are incredibly important, a number of keyword research tools existthat identify the words and phrases people use when they search. Some of these toolsalso identify geo-targeted searches, topics, demographics and the target visitors’ userbehaviour according to historical search trends.keyword research tools used by search marketers worldwide*, 2008(% of respondents) Google keyword tool 24.1% wordtracker 19% competitive research 17.2% keyword discovery (trellian) 15.5% google trends 8.6% 5.2% google / yahoo! / suggest NOTE: *US (65%), Canada (12%), UK (11%), Australia (4%), 3.5% msn labs New Zealand (1%) and other (7%). Search Engine Marketing Insight, 1.7% yahoo! search assistant “SEM Pro Series 2008”, December 9, 2008. 5.2% other Source:© 2010 Havas Digital 7
  8. 8. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 3. ResearchThe keywords suggested by these tools identify terms to integrate into the content ofthe site. They also provide information on whether the business is aligned with con-sumer preferences. The historical volumes of search data should also prioritize terms andproject traffic levels from rankings.After selecting keywords for optimization, a brand can use paid search to test the results.The key performance indicators from this test help highlight the terms that drove resultsas candidates for SEO. Web analytics can also provide additional insights to the termsalready drawing users to a website.If the site wants to target a specific user, then focusing on the “long tail” is important. Longtail keywords are those which contain more than two words and are often descriptive.With more sites competing on search engines, this strategy has become more important.However, success with generic one-word keywords (shoes, tires, cruises, etc.) for a welloptimized website may negate the long tail effect.The following are strategic examples for marketers and site owners. If a site owner no-tices people looking for store locations, then local search optimization would be part ofthe SEO strategy. If the competition includes dominant domains like Amazon or Wikipe-dia, then leveraging a vertical or specialist search engine like Google Products or YahooFinance can also work.Additionally for local search, if a customer is looking for pizza to be delivered in Brooklyn,“pizza delivery,” is not going to provide a satisfactory search. The right way to help thatcustomer find relevant results would be to optimize the site for, “pizza delivery BrooklynHeights New York”.Competitor ResearchIdentifying competitors and their share of voice within search engines providesvaluable insight into delivering successful strategies. An assessment of each com- petitor should reveal the overall ranking position of the website in relation to top keywords and phrases within the targeted key- word list. Identify strengths, op- portunities, and content strate- gies in use by the competition. Checking competitors’ back links used to increase distribu- tion of competitor brands will help identify techniques for building a website’s authority and ranking capabilities within search engines.© 2010 Havas Digital 8
  9. 9. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedOn-Page SEO 4The technical capability to access information and the content on the website determinewhether a website will index well on search engines. For content there are also variouselements that search engines look for as clues to the subject of the website and impor-tance of particular words.ContentPut simply, a website needs to say in text what it is about. It needs to use the language,words and phrases of your audience. Websites that fail to optimize content will not beincluded within the search engine’s index for those terms. The placement, use, and detailaround the words must be relevant and repeated in a normal, logical syntax.TitleThe ‘Title Tag’, besides attributing a name to the page, is also displayed in the top leftcorner of the browser window when open to the page in question.The ‘Title Tag’ text also represents the first line of information a user will see in SearchEngine Result Pages (SERPs) in the form of a link to the page.Some points worth making on Title Tags and their bearing:• Search engines will provide more emphasis to the subject of a page based on thepage’s title.• This title is the link in the SERP results. It also gives the potential user an idea as to whatthe page is about.• The title should be limited to 66 characters. This is the highest number of charactersmajor search engines will show in SERPs for a single result. Pages which have longer titlesthan this will risk having important keywords cut off from search results. It is also helpfulto be exact in the description to avoid diluting the target phrase.© 2010 Havas Digital 9
  10. 10. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEO• It is crucial that key phrases relevant to the content of the page be used for the title.In addition to giving the user information about its content, it raises the importance anddensity of terms that should be ranked in SERPs.• Meta Keywords provide clues to some search engines of the related content. AlthoughGoogle and Yahoo do not use them as a determining factor, representatives from majorsearch engines recommend including Meta Keywords as there may be use for them inthe future. Notwithstanding, they pass on information to search engines if aligned witheach page’s content.• Meta Descriptions often show in SERPs so it’s important to provide information abouta page’s content. They are, in essence, promoting a call-to-action to the page.• It is also important the Meta Description is aligned with the content of the page. TheMeta Description must make use of important keywords from the page itself. TheseMeta Tags should be developed individually according to the content of each page on awebsite, highlighting targeted keywords. <meta name ="pagename" content =" Havas : Home Page" /> <meta name = "title" content =" Havas is a worldwide communications Group " /> <meta name ="description" content =" Havas is organized in 2 worldwide networks: Havas Worldwide & Havas Media" /> <meta name = "keyword" content =" Havas , vincent bolloré, jacques séguéla, fernando rodes, david jones, havas group, publicité, advertising, marketing, media planning, media buying, branding, market research, communications, communication, euro rscgIA, URL - the website addressThe Information Architecture (IA) provides the crawl path for search engines to in-dex a website. Websites designed with few internal links are difficult to index as searchengines’ primary source of discovering content is by following these links. A well struc-tured, three-level website with strong internal linking between similar subjects and aneasily accessible menu structure will provide accessible crawl paths for search engines.The information architecture can also provide unique, strong opportunities to index wellon search engines by leveraging anchor links (see internal link building).URLs that contain keywords related to the page’s content will also help in the rankingposition of a site in SERPs. All search engines publicly support optimized keywords inURLs. Additionally, they are intuitive for the user. Generally what is good for users is alsobeneficial to search engine indexing.© 2010 Havas Digital 10
  11. 11. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEOHow to optimize a URL? URL Keyword Optimization • Name site categories with keywords that are also search terms typed in by search engine users. • Use keywords in different levels of the site’s URLs (each word in the URL should be separated by a hyphen). • Use keywords that are the same as or similar to the page’s title.Content Heading HierarchySearch engine robots follow heuristic guidelines pointing out which parts of a pagecontain more important text than others. This helps search engines to crawl throughthe page more easily while prioritizing certain words over others and defining what thepage is attempting to portray. In addition to defining page content hierarchy, it is alsoimportant to note that cleaner HTML (no in-line formatting or JavaScript) also helps raisecontent weight.The image below shows the importance of HTML code units in the eyes of the searchengines. This should serve as a guide in determining the site’s semantics.Accessibility & HTML UseIn order for a site to be SEO accessible, search engine crawlers should be able to read allimportant information on a site. Think of Google as a site’s most influential user. Barri-ers to accessibility exist on many sites and this handicap is seen in their SERP rankings. Afew of these barriers are the use of Flash, JavaScript, and Frames.© 2010 Havas Digital 11
  12. 12. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEOUse of FlashSites in Flash without the use of alternative text can be virtually invisible to search en-gines. Search Engines can only read text, so when a site in Flash is not built with instruc-tions for where to go for non-Flash enabled browsers the content is effectively non-ex-istent to search engines. The issue is simply remedied by inserting Alternative Content.This will only be visible to the user without an installed Flash player and will be indexedby search engines. It’s important that the content inserted in this placeholder match thecontent in the Flash file so it will not be considered spam. If the Flash is inserted via Java-Script, the <noscript> tag can be used. A better option is to use the SWFobject ( This method allows for a javascript-based standards-friendlyway of making Flash content accessible to browsers without Flash installed, includingscreen readers, text-based browsers and search engines.JavaScriptJavaScript should only function to change the page’s behaviour (e.g., form validation,user interaction with the page) and not to generate content. This is recommended be-cause search engines’ robots cannot parse between text and code in content-generatedJavaScript. Therefore the robots will not index relevant page content. Ajax based siteswill need to ensure that the code is written in a way that allows search engines to indexthe content in the specific modules created by the designers.FramesUsing a Frame allows web developers to divide a site’s page into two or more sections.Each section has different HTML and is compiled into a sole “master” HTML which iden-tifies each section. When a user solicits a page with frames, many pages will be shownin different frames.These frames are used often to separate parts of a page that are usually fixed (menus,headers, etc.) from those that are dynamic or alternative (content). Despite facilitatingthe maintenance of a site with many pages, the use of frames can be inconvenient tosearch engine robots. It is not rare to see frames indexed separately from their pagesin search engine results where the user is only able to see one part of the page’s contentwhen clicking on the result. However, used properly, frames can also be a logical dividerbetween the content to be indexed and the content that shouldn’t be indexed, whilepresenting visitors with a complete picture. If a marketer or individual decides to useFrames, it is important to include the <noframes> tag.© 2010 Havas Digital 12
  13. 13. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEOWebmaster PortalA website owner is able to authenticate ownership of the website, run diagnostics onlinks and direct search engine robots through the search engine’s webmaster portal. Thishelps in small measure to identify how well the website has been optimized, as well asensuring that the robots.txt file works correctly on the website.Robots.txtA robot.txt file can be used to tell robots which pages to crawl. It is placed in the serverroot and often notified to search engines through the webmaster portal. The robot.txtprotocol permits unimportant content to be separated allowing for search engines tocrawl relevant content only.Sitemap.XMLA sitemap.xml is a file inserted into the site’s root directory which lists all URLs on thesite. A verified account on Google, Yahoo & Bing allows access to the site. From therethe site map directs the search engines to all the URLs to be crawled, how often to returnto each page and what priority is put on each page. As of this year priority is not takeninto account by the engines. A great place to read about the sitemap protocol can befound at & CSSWhen developing a site with SEO in mind, HTML formatting should be kept minimalto provide quick access to content . This should be done using cascading style sheets(CSS). The HTML simply points to the externally referenced file. CSS can also ma-nipulate the Heading Hierarchy to fit the design while still placing importance on thehierarchy itself.© 2010 Havas Digital 13
  14. 14. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEOInternal Link BuildingWhen link building, many sites focus on external link building and forget about thebenefits of internal linking. Internal linking shows search engines what the most im-portant content is. It also allows the site to be crawled easily. A good example of thiscan be found at Wikipedia ( TextsAnchor text is the text inside a link that informs the user and search engines of the page’scontent. A link with “Click here,” or “Read More Here,” does not indicate to either thesearch engine or the user what the link is about when isolated from its surrounding text.This is why having an optimized link with relevant keywords is crucial for SEO.The construction of an anchor text in HTML is: <a href=“” texttexttext </a>In order to keep user navigation on a desired page, a link to open the link in another tabor window can also be developed. This allows the user reading an article to view linkedpages in separate tabs or windows and return quickly to the original article. The code forthis would incur a “target blank” attribute: <a href=“”target=“_blank”>texttexttext </a> HP PR 7 L2 L2 HP PR 3 PR 0 PR 3 HP HP HP PR 1 PR 0 PR 1 HP HP HP PR 2 PR 0 PR 2 HP HP HP PR 3 PR 0 PR 3Nofollow AttributeThe rel=nofollow attribute tells search engines that a link is not vouched for by thesite on which it is found. It is supported by many search engines and in most, includingGoogle, nofollow links do not pass link influence to the referenced page.Overall, this attribute is only recommended for pages like ‘terms and conditions’ thatadd no value in “sculpting” a websites’ PageRank. A better way to help search enginerobots reach important pages on a website is to avoid burying valuable goal-convert-ing pages within the website. As discussed above, pages should be easily accessiblethrough proper use of anchor links.© 2010 Havas Digital 14
  15. 15. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEOHTML Site MapA page with links to main sections of the site eases indexing of pages by search enginerobots. By presenting it in a summarised format, the use of a site map is important forimproving the site’s visibility, especially for sites that have content inside Flash files. Itcan also be used as a default for 404 and 500 pages to present consumers with naviga-tional options when a page link is no longer valid and has been archived or removed.The site map helps users and search engines find important information quickly andrelevant links for the site. Some of the characteristics of this informational page are: • It should be in the same directory as the main website in order to increase its popularity and relevance. • The links and anchor text should be in the page’s HTML code. • The site should contain a link to the “Site map” page on the page’s footer and all other site pages. • For very visual products a sitemap using pictures and anchor text allows in- creased repetition of key words on the page in an acceptable format. • Google also recommends limiting the site map to a maximum of 100 links per page. If the limit exceeds 100 links per page, divide the site map into multiple pages. XML sitemaps can be much larger in size. Their limit is 50,000 URLs per file.URL MigrationA website’s pages sometimes expire or are removed as time passes and business needschange. Whether the site is changing its domain, redesigning or evolving as part ofnormal business practice, the expired URL still exists within search engine indexes.To guard against poor user experiences and to retain any SEO benefit from the expiredpage, the old URL can be migrated. For this migration process, two optimized strategiesshould be followed: • Use 301 redirects for removed or moved pages (an exception can be to use a 302 or temporary redirect if the site is going through a product update and the link will not be deleted). • For very large sites, redirect the more important pages and have the less important pages generate a custom 404 error page (Page Not Found Error) that includes a mean- ingful sitemap. The use of 301 redirects should be solely for pages worth the effort.© 2010 Havas Digital 15
  16. 16. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 4. On-Page SEOThe 404 pages are to a great extent more natural when developed adequately. An ex-ample would be “whichever combination of characters in the URL that aren’t pages,should return a 404,” guaranteeing the non-existent pages on the site bring the correctresponse to search engines (404) and that the site’s internal pages don’t point to non-existent pages. Some tips on expired pages: • Search engine robots seem more interested in sites that present 404 pages and index them better (they return more frequently to verify if the 404 pages continue to be unavailable). • Using a Robots.txt stops search engines from indexing non-existent site pag- es or temporary pages, such as calendars, programs, etc • Optimize 404 pages. Once search engines get there, they will most likely find a path in which to follow to other pages on the site. This page should be a qual- ity page that presents positive options for the user. • Check to ensure that the site’s internal navigation is updated frequently so as to prevent users and search engines from following outdated linksMultiple domains can also redirect traffic using a 301 server redirect. This prevents thesearch engines seeing duplicate content as well as passing SEO benefits to the mainwebsite. A redirect is also necessary to ensure search engines only index the preferredDNS landing page (i.e. lands on© 2010 Havas Digital 16
  17. 17. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedOff-Page SEO 5The internet is, simply put, a series of interlinked websites. The formulas employed bysearch engines use these links to assign authority to each website. The more referencelinks from a website, the more authority the search engines assign to that website whichboosts its rank. The key to link building is distribution and link bait. Link bait is contentpeople will want to link to. Link bait for an e-commerce site will be different than that of amagazine or bank, and so on. However, some general examples of linkable content are: • Articles • Press Releases • Tools/Gadgets • Videos • Graphs/Charts • Instructional Texts© 2010 Havas Digital 17
  18. 18. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOSharing ToolsIn order to encourage sharing of all this interesting content, there are a number of toolsthat are SEO friendly and help with external link building. However, many websites, espe-cially social networking sites, are limited by NOFOLLOW tags on links so the SEO ben-efit is not passed back to the website. These should be viewed as alternative mini-sitesthat allow indexing of further information about the business. This information relies onwhat other people are saying rather than conferring direct link benefits for the website.“Share This” ButtonsThese buttons facilitate sharing in social networking sites. They can be developed by thesite owner or found on sites that develop the buttons, such as “Add This,” which evenhelps track the Analytics of the button and its effectiveness ( Thebuttons usually link to the site author and the technology can be leveraged to optimizetitles as anchor text, depending upon the blog or social network.BadgesBadges are like stickers people can paste onto their sites’ pages through a simple andalready optimized HTML code. They are not only beneficial linking tools; they bring thebrand closer to the user by allowing the user to interact with it.Employing catchy phrases or making the badge a sort of affiliation sticker are some in-centives for users to place these badges on their pages.© 2010 Havas Digital 18
  19. 19. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOWidgets/Search toolsThese small applications that people can place on their personal blog or website arenatural links with controllable link quality. They can constantly feed into the page (likea Twitter widget) or provide interaction and direct traffic (like Google search box).Once a marketer or site owner has built a widget or application, it is important topromote it in directories and social networks. Two of the best widget directories areWidgetbox ( and Google’s Gadget directory ( LinksEffective link building must always consider link quality as high quality links improvesearch ranking. The quality of a link is based on multiple factors: 1. Website Authority. Website authority plays a key role in determining the quality of a link. The more the important the website ( or the better the link value. 2. PageRank (PR). PageRank is Google’s measure of the popularity of any web- page based on the way it is linked to other websites. Links coming from pages with high PageRank are considered to be of better quality than low PR links. 3. Link Position. The position of a link on a webpage also determines its qual- ity. While stand alone links might be good, in-content contextual links are bet- ter. Google in particular does not pay much importance to footer links or site wide links when evaluating them for quality. 4. Outgoing Links. The number of outgoing links on a page also influences the quality of a link. Fewer outgoing links on a page increases the quality of those links. 5. Link Volume. Quality is important in link building. Volume cannot be ignored either. The higher the number of links to a page the better its SEO value. 6. Relevancy. Relevancy is another key factor that search engines take into consideration while evaluating back links for any website. If the links to a web- site comes from other websites that are in the same niche, those links are given much more importance. 7. Anchor Text Optimization. Successful SEO campaigns require a well coor- dinated strategy. Anchor text optimization highlights the need for coordination among all parties involved in the success of the site. This can include the crea- tive agency writing the copy for the site, the public relations agency crafting the© 2010 Havas Digital 19
  20. 20. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEO press releases, the SEO agency, etc. Ensure the links to a webpage use targeted keywords as the anchor text. Also ensure the anchor text used for the links are the same or are variations of the keywords that are used on the landing page. Take care however, variations of keywords are important in the anchor text. Us- ing the same anchor text across all links might result in anchor-text spamming and raise an alarm with search engines. 8. No Follow Links. Make sure the links established for a website are not using the “rel=nofollow” tag. When a link has the “nofollow” tag attached to it that tells the search engines not to follow the link and or pass on any PR credit to that website. These links typically do not contribute to search engine rankings. 9. Bad Neighborhoods. As good quality links are appreciated by the search engines, links that associate a website with other bad websites are typically frowned upon. In any link building exercise it is important to avoid not becom- ing a part of any bad neighborhood (a cluster of bad sites involved in unethical optimization practice) or FFA (Free For All) directories.DirectoriesDirectories were the original search engines and a classic method of building links to awebsite. Directories are websites that list other websites in a systematic and categoricalway. Webmasters can submit their websites to directories for consideration and onceapproved can list website properties within specific categories.Given the importance of directory links in the initial years of Search Engine Optimiza-tion, thousands of directories have mushroomed. Not all of them are of good quality.As a consequence today, directory links are no longer valued as much as they used tobe. There is however still a handful of directories that are considered of high quality bysearch engines. The fact remains that directory submissions are one of easiest way tobuild links for new websites.The following criteria will help discern the quality of a directory: • Good quality directories are human edited. • Try to find how old the directory is – the older the better. • Check how many websites are listed in the directory. If the directory requires payment that is a good sign. • Check the sites listed in different categories and see if any spam sites are listed. • Identify whether the directory is part of a search engine.© 2010 Havas Digital 20
  21. 21. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOOther Methods of Link BuildingBesides directory submission there are a few other popular methods that help to buildlinks for websites at no additional cost.1. Article MarketingWriting informative articles with links to an individual or marketer’s website and syndi-cating them. The various article directories help to generate one way links to websites,augmenting the use of optimized anchor text.2. RSS FeedsMost web properties today have an RSS feed. If a site has an RSS feed with high contentquality, make sure to submit the feed to RSS directories. This will help build links fromRSS feed directories. Also many publishers on the web scour these directories to findnew sources of content. As readership to the RSS feed increases, the likelihood of ad-ditional links to the website grows.3. Press ReleasesPress Releases can also effectively build links. They function much the same way as articlemarketing, the only difference being in this case Havas Digital submits press releases tovarious press release distribution services. While there are a lot of websites that providefree distribution of press releases, paid distribution services like PRWire offer a muchwider reach. Submission into services like Reuters can also facilitate higher authority forthe article as well as getting links from high authority press websites.4. Website ReviewThere are various websites and forums that conduct website / product / service reviews.Submitting websites to these review sites can be a good way to garner new links. Thesesites deliver the added benefit of a few suggestions on how to improve the website /product / service.5. FreebiesDistributing small freebies can be an excellent way to get links. A site can increaseinbound links by creating useful shareable apps, widgets or tools for the webmaster/blogger community.© 2010 Havas Digital 21
  22. 22. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOSocial BookmarkingSocial bookmarking is one of the most popular activities on web 2.0 and it is useful forSEO. Social bookmarking websites allow users to bookmark any content that they like onany website and share the same content with other users on their network.A popular variation of this niche is content voting websites. Users submit content to thewebsite and the community members vote on whether they like the site or not. Crowdsourcing selects the best quality content.How Does it Help SEO?Marketers and individuals can take advantage of social bookmarking services in multi-ple ways. • While most of the social networking websites provide no-follow links to websites, some do provide a normal link without any no-follow tag. This increases link volume. • Publishing an article on a social bookmarking website may put it in front of millions of users and there is the possibility that the content can become viral. With an expand- ing blogosphere it might be cited in blogs and websites generating additional links and traffic for a website.For a brand new website, social bookmarking websites can be an easy way to index yourwebsite in the search engines. These websites house the submissions from millions ofpeople with fresh content added continuously. Search engines are always indexing thesewebsites to keep pace. Leveraging popular social bookmarking websites can provideadditional links for search engines to reach a website.Social NetworksSocial Networks like Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc. have also become a crucialpart of the SEO puzzle. These platforms bring tremendous marketing potential. Nowbrands can develop presences within Twitter and Facebook that can be crawled andindexed by search engines. While each of these social networking platforms have theirown dynamics, the underlying principle remains the same. It’s all about rapport buildingand sharing.Any content shared through these social networks can easily go viral due to the “net-work” level connectivity among members. In addition, when a piece of content reachessomeone through a friend, it carries with it additional credibility compared to a mes-sage from an advertiser. According to Facebook, “Huffington Post launched FacebookConnect in mid-August, and now Facebook accounts for 15% of Huffington Post’s 2.2Mmonthly comments.”Marketers, brands, and individuals are reaching out to a larger audience through theseplatforms. Providing link-worthy content through the social networks generates links. Acaveat is that these social networks are increasingly carrying NOFOLLOW tags and thus© 2010 Havas Digital 22
  23. 23. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOdo not pass SEO benefit to the linked website. The key take away is to ensure that allSEO efforts are done to benefit the site user. Algorithms may change in the future totake advantage of crowd sourcing, as seen in Google’s selection of ratings and reviewsfor business.Not So WhiteSearch engines’ approved methods for SEO and link building are referred to as WhiteHat. Other methods they do not approve of are referred to as Black Hat or Grey Hat(when it’s a marginal issue). For link building and off page optimization, two major black/grey methods are link exchange and link buying.Link Exchange - Also referred to as link swapping or link trading, this is the most primi-tive method of link building. This is where a website links to another website in exchangefor a link from that website. With the advance algorithms in place Google has been ableto discount these links; however, the links still work as it is extremely difficult to classifya true link exchange and a friendly linking practice. To elaborate, if a blogger links to abrands blog and the brand links back, it is a link exchange but the exchange might nothave beeen done for the sake of manipulating search ranking. Rather it is part of the fluidnature of hyperlinking. Cases like this can be determined by judging the intent and rely-ing on the webmaster/SEO community to report known sites engaged in the process.Link Buying - Link buying as the name suggests is simple – marketers pay a website toadd a link to their site. Google discounts these links as they unfairly influence searchrankings. While search engines try to identify paid links they also rely on the webmastercommunity to report to them. The best strategy is to invest in tactics that will draw or-ganic links to a domain.© 2010 Havas Digital 23
  24. 24. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOWho Links to the Site?As link building is a major component of any SEO campaign, it is important to monitorlink growth. At the same time it is always helpful to keep a tab on competitors’ links.There are various ways to do this and search engines even provide tools to do so.In Yahoo!, link: highlights Yahoo Site Explorer’s feature al-lowing webmasters to see a detailed list of the link count under the “Inlinks” tab. Also,webmasters can use the other options to view links for a page/domain/sub domain etc.In Google, the link: command also works, however, Goog-le is more conservative. They do not display the complete list of links to a website for thissearch query. To protect PageRank Google displays just a few links.Google Webmaster Tools however provides a much more comprehensive link report towebmasters. It will provide page-by-page lists of the number of links. Further, by clickingeach page it displays the exact links to those pages along with the date when Googlecrawled that link.Video SEOAll major search engines have adopted the universal search model which serves resultsfrom videos, images, news and other verticals beside the regular web results for a searchquery. This has opened a great opportunity for SEOs to work and optimize videos forspecific keyword results.Getting a video to rank for certain keywords requires obtaining a thumbnail exposurewithin the text based environment of an organic search results list. Videos are highly ef-fective as modes of communication compared to textual content and thus have muchstronger engagement.© 2010 Havas Digital 24
  25. 25. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOWhile the basic SEO principles apply to video optimization here are a few extra tips thatcan provide an edge: :: Hosted :: :: Posted :: • 1 video per URL • File name • Videos in Root • Titles very important (<= 63 char) • Navigation links to content • Vary titles across sites to cluster • Embed not pop-up • Descriptive text • Contextual related links to product pages • Tag liberally • On page text • URL at start of description • Allow sharing/interaction • Branded channels • Optimize permalink • Watermark inside URL • RSS 2.0 or MRSS sitemap • Allow commenting/rating • Include thumbnail • Set <video:player_loc allow_ embed=”yes”> • Bookmarking esp to FB • File nameVideo Page VideoSEO Benefit H1 Key phrase Description Include KP Link equity Video - Make content it similar Video Video to the Related Index-able More link Transcript content links Category content equity Authority Comments UGC authority© 2010 Havas Digital 25
  26. 26. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 5. Off-Page SEOImagesImages are a vital component in the content of a website and if deployed properly theywill drive a lot of traffic. SEOs often overlook the number of searches in image searchengines but there is a substantial amount of traffic for certain products and services. Thistraffic will also convert for specific categories. Few things that can be done for image optimization: • Image Naming Use descriptive file names for images and include keywords where applicable. Use hyphens as separators for multi-word file names. • Alt Attribute Add proper descriptive alt attributes to images with proper inclusion of key- words. • Long Desc Attribute For images with strategic importance to a website’s content, use a Long Desc Attribute to explain the image in detail. The attribute allows a developer to cre- ate a HTML page with the description. • Surrounding Text The text surrounding a website’s images also helps search engines determine what the image is about. Place images in context to suitably optimized text for best results. • Image Size Optimizing image size is an extremely important step, not just for search engines. It helps the pages to load faster thereby enhancing the website’s usability.© 2010 Havas Digital 26
  27. 27. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedA CASE STUDY 6Acme (not the real brand name) is a consumer packaged-goods brand, a global house-hold name since the 1990s. Havas Digital manages Acme’s display and PPC campaigns,but until recently Acme declined SEO services. The client chose a time during a siteredesign to implement a complete search engine optimization.Acme ChallengeAcme’s main business goals are to attract new and retain existing customers. BecauseAcme’s product cannot be purchased online through its website, one of the key perform-ance indicators Havas Digital uses to measure campaign success is volume of couponpage views. Although not every consumer who downloads a coupon redeems it (andviews of this page show purchase intent without segmenting visitors into new or existingcustomers), the metric can still be used to represent customers in that slice of the pur-chase funnel.The ChallengeTo work with the creative agency tasked with the redesign; increase organic site traffic;and be accountable to the KPIs.SEO services provided prior to the redesign: • Gained a baseline understanding of the old site performance. • Keyword research. • Recommendations on building and implementing a custom 404 error page. • Mapped old URLs to new ones using 301 redirects. • Wrote meta descriptions and meta keywords for each page. • Wrote custom titles for each page.Measuring SuccessHavas Digital’s plan contributed significantly to site exposure and site ranking. Usingthe example of the term “Acme coupon” the strategy: • Increased Google ranking from the 60th position to the 1st position. • Decreased cost per click 200% in the first month and 500% in the second month for the same time period last year. • Increased organic traffic to the landing page over 400%.© 2010 Havas Digital 27
  28. 28. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 6. A Case StudyAn additional measure of success calculates the total cost of the keyword and de-termines the effective cost per landing page view. From this data a savings is deter-mined. The formula used: (Time spent on keyword research / number of keywords) / 12 months = SEO Cost per month (CPC x clicks) + SEO Cost = Total Spend CPC Pageviews + SEO Pageviews = Total Pageviews Total Spend / Total Pageviews = eCPPV (Effective Cost Per PageView)Once the eCPPV was calculated for pre- and post-Optimization the savings is derived by: • Post-Optimization Total PageViews x Pre-Optimization eCPPV = X • Post-Optimization Total PageViews x Post-Optimization eCPPV = Y • X - Y = SavingsThis bottom-line metric determines the effectiveness of the SEO efforts using Dollars as areporting criteria. The metric proves the SEO campaign pays for itself. • The savings from the one coupon keyword alone was 4% of the entire SEO cost so far. • The increase in organic traffic has driven the eCPPV down 67%.© 2010 Havas Digital 28
  29. 29. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedSUMMARYSearch Engine Optimization provides one of the best ways to increase traffic to a web- 7site. The key to optimization is no longer shrouded in mystery. SEO can be easily appliedby, first, understanding the keys to what makes search engines function and, second,providing relevant content to consumers. A study undertaken by SEOmoz in 2008 lookedto discover what the best practitioners of SEO agreed upon and tallied the results. Thefollowing are the Top 5 Search Engine Ranking factors: • Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links · 73% very high importance • External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links) · 71% very high importance • Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains) · 67% very high importance • Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag · 66% very high importance • Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.) · 66% very high importanceThis shows that content is still king. By starting with well optimized content and improv-ing link building, any marketer will reap the rewards of search engine optimization.TOP 5 RANKING FACTORS Source: Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links 73% very high importance2. External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links) 71% very high importance3. Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains) 67% very high importance4. Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag 66% very high importance5. Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.) 66% very high importance© 2010 Havas Digital 29
  30. 30. Havas Digital SEO DemystifiedCONTACT DETAILS 7We encourage you to contact us directly to discuss, in more details, any concerns youmay have regarding this Havas Digital Insight issue. We will be happy to assist you. · · · · · · · ravi.kabra@ecselis.comOr contact your Havas Digital LOCAL OFFICE:HAVAS DIGITAL ARGENTINA HAVAS DIGITAL BRAZILaddress Humberto Primo 101, Capital Federal. address Rua Luigi Galvani 42,C1103ACC, Ciudad Buenos Aires, Argentina. 11º Andar. Conj. 115. Brooklin 04575-020.Office phone +54 11 5777 7400 São Paulo, Brazil.fax +54 11 5777 7401 Office phone +55 11 2889 5650country manager Germán Abaroa fax +55 11 5506 4753email country manager André Zimmermann email andre.zimmerman@mediacontacts.comHAVAS DIGITAL AUSTRALIA HAVAS DIGITAL canadaaddress 1 Level 16, Town Hall House.456 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000. address 473 Adelaide Street West,Office phone +61 2 9266 1717 Suite 300, Toronto. Ontario, M5V1T1.fax +61 2 9283 9024 Office phone +1 416 487 9393 fax +1 416 920 5043address 2 113 York Street South, country manager Chris WilliamsMelbourne VIC 3205. email chris.williams@ca.mediacontacts.comOffice phone +61 3 9693 8107fax +61 3 9690 5706 HAVAS DIGITAL CHILEcountry manager Nick Behremail address Almirante Pastene 333, Floor 7, Of. 701. 7500506 - Providencia, Santiago, Chile.HAVAS DIGITAL belgium Office phone +56 2 7148100address Rue Maurice Charlent, 53. country manager Gonzalo Parra1160 Auderghem, Belgium. email gonzalo.parra@havasdigital.comOffice phone +32 2 349 1560fax +32 2 349 1570country manager Stephanie Radochitzkiemail© 2010 Havas Digital 30
  31. 31. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 7. Contact detailsHAVAS DIGITAL CHINA HAVAS DIGITAL FRANCEaddress 1 Room 8011-8012, 8/F, address 11 Square Leon Blum,Novel Building No. 887, Huaihai Zhong Road. Puteaux Cedex, F92806 France. Shanghai, China, 200020. Office phone +33 1 46 93 33 33Office phone +86 21 6467 6368 fax +33 1 46 93 35 37fax +86 21 6467 6369 country manager Christophe Dané email christophe.dane@havasdigital.comaddress 2 Room 2001, 20/F, Tower B,Global Trade Center No.36, Dong SanHuan Road, Dongcheng District. HAVAS DIGITAL GERMANYBeijing, China, 100013. address Hedderichstrasse 49.Office phone +86 10 5923 2923 60594 Frankfurt, Germany. fax +86 10 5825 6173 Office phone +49 69 603 292 400country manager Leon Lu fax +49 69 603 292 470email country manager Joerg Manthey email joerg.manthey@de.mediacontacts.comHAVAS DIGITAL COLOMBIA HAVAS DIGITAL HONG KONGaddress Carrera 7, No. 71-21, Torre A,Piso 12. Edificio Avenida Chile. address 32 Floor, Chinachem Building.Bogotá, D.C. Colombia. Exchange Square, 338 Kings Rd, Northpoint.Office phone +57 1 325 8341 Hong Kong, China. fax +57 1 317 3464 Office phone +852 2590 1814country manager David Posada fax +852 2516 5411email country manager Margaret Fung email margaret.fung@hk.mediacontacts.comHAVAS DIGITAL DENMARK HAVAS DIGITAL HUNGARYaddress Jagtvej 169B, DK 2100.Copenhagen O Denmark. address 1117 Budapest, Alíz u.1Office phone +45 7733 4300 (hrsz.3990/5) Office Garden Buildingfax +45 7733 4433 5th Floor (Szerémi; u-Hengermalomcountry manager Soren Bronee u.corner) Hungary. email Office phone +36 1 799 1820 fax +36 1 799 1821 country manager Attila ErosHAVAS DIGITAL ESTONIA / Zsuzsa Czagleraddress Pärmu mnt, 102C, Tallinn, Estonia. email attila.eros@mediacontacts.comOffice phone +372 669 1000 / zsuzsa.czagler@mediacontacts.comfax +372 669 1001country manager Kaarel Ojaemail kareel.oja@ee.mediacontacts.comHAVAS DIGITAL FINLANDaddress Arabianranta, 6, Helsinki, Finland. Office phone +358 4 0746 1441country manager Ismo Tenkanenemail© 2010 Havas Digital 31
  32. 32. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 7. Contact detailsHAVAS DIGITAL INDIA HAVAS DIGITAL malaysiaaddress 1 30, Hauz Khas Village, 3rd Floor. address F-39-11, Level 11, The Crest, 3TwoNew Delhi - 110016 India. Square, No. 2. Jalan 19/1, 46300 Petaling Jaya,Office phone +91 11 398 444 00/11 Selangor Darul Ehsan. Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia.fax +91 222 491 5766 Office phone +603 7628 6658 fax +603 7628 6777address 2 Brady Glady’s Plaza, Unit 1, country manager2nd Floor. Senapati Bapat Marg, Rajeev BalasubrahmanyamLower Parel, Mumbai - 400 013 India. email rajeev.bala@sg.mediacontacts.comOffice phone +91 22 300 364 00/33address 3 6-3-899/I, Second Floor, R.V.’s Kamala HAVAS DIGITAL mexicoCastle. Somajiguda, Hyderabad - 500 082 India.Office phone +91 40 645 631 86 / 661 399 68 address Prolongación Paseo de la Reforma 1015, Torre A, Piso 24. Col. Desarrollo Santa Fé.country manager Rajeev Balasubrahmanyam 01376 México Office phone +52 55 9177 6081 fax +52 55 9177 6005HAVAS DIGITAL italy country manager Mauricio Vazquez email mauricio.vazquez@havasdigital.comaddress Bastioni di Porta Volta, 10.20121 Milano, Italy. Office phone +39 02 6744 3201 HAVAS DIGITAL NETHERLANDSfax +39 02 6744 3222 address Burg. A. Colijnweg manager Gionata La Torre 1182 AL Amstelveen, Office phone +31 (0) 20 408 90 00 fax +31 (0) 20 408 90 01HAVAS DIGITAL latvia country manager Bjorn Brouwer email bjorn.brouwer@mediacontacts.comaddress Kr. Barona Street 36-9.LV 1011 Riga, Latvia. Office phone +371 2961 5655 HAVAS DIGITAL perufax +371 6728 5666 address Av. Victor Andrés Belaunde 147,country manager Janis Krauklis Torre Real Uno, Oficina Centro Empresarial San Isidro, Lima - Perú. Office phone +511 611 8800HAVAS DIGITAL LITHUANIA fax +511 611 8803 country manager Gonzalo Parraaddress Totoriu, 20. email gonzalo.parra@mediacontacts.comVilnius, LT-01013, Lithuania.Office phone +370 5261 1522fax +370 5269 0100 HAVAS DIGITAL PHILIPPINEScountry manager Vytautas Kubilius address 38/F Discovery 25 ADB Avenue Ortigas Complex, Pasig City, Philippines. Office phone +632 910 6387 fax +632 910 6420 country manager Eduardo Mapa email© 2010 Havas Digital 32
  33. 33. Havas Digital SEO Demystified 7. Contact detailsHAVAS DIGITAL Poland HAVAS DIGITAL thailandaddress ul Postepu 13, address Jasmine City Bldg, 19th Fl.,02-676 Warsaw - Poland. 2 Sukuhumvit 23 Klongtoey_nue, Wattana,Office phone +48 22 843 66 60 Bangkok 10110 - Thailand.fax +48 22 843 66 61 Office phone +66 2 259 9030country manager Robert Bernaciak fax +66 2 259 9499email country manager Rajeev Balasubrahmanyam email rajeev.bala@sg.mediacontacts.comHAVAS DIGITAL Portugal HAVAS DIGITAL uaeaddress Avenida Duque de Ávila, 46 - 5ºAv.1050-083 Lisboa, Portugal. address Dubai Media City, CNN Building.Office phone +351 21 791 3388 Number 2, Office 511, 5th floor.fax + 351 21 791 3340 PO Box 21448 Dubai, manager José Frade Office phone +971 4366 4100email fax +971 4391 8001 country manager Joe HanounHAVAS DIGITAL singapore email joe.hanoun@mediacontacts.comaddress 3 Anson Road #06-01. HAVAS DIGITAL ukSpringleaf Tower, Singapore 079909.Office phone +65 6317 6698 address 11 Great Newport Street,country manager WC2H 7JA London, UK. Rajeev Balasubrahmanyam Office phone +44 (0) 20 7393 9000email fax +44 (0) 20 7393 2525 country manager John McLoughlinHAVAS DIGITAL spain email john.mcloughlin@mediacontacts.comaddress 1 Avda. General Perón, 38, 14ª. HAVAS DIGITAL USA28020 Madrid, Spain.Office phone +34 91 456 90 50 address 1 101 Huntington Avenue,fax +34 91 770 15 86 16th Fl. Boston MA 02199 USA. Office phone +1 617 425 4100address 2 Dr. Fleming, 17. fax +1 617 425 410108017 Barcelona, Spain.Office phone +34 93 205 87 71 address 2 195 Broadway, 12th.fax +34 93 414 72 13 New York, NY 10007. Office phone +1 646 587 5000address 4 C/ Roger de Lauria, 19-4c. fax +1 646 587 500546002 Valencia, Spain. address 3 5301 Blue Lagoon Drive,Office phone +34 96 353 08 74 Suite 850, Miami, FL 33126.fax +34 96 351 15 69 Office phone +1 305 377 1907country manager Javier Navarro fax +1 305 377 1906email address 4 36 East Grand, 5th Floor. Chicago, IL 60611. Office phone +1 312 337 4400 fax +1 312 337 3898 country manager Ed Montes email© 2010 Havas Digital 33
  34. 34.