Search Engine Optimisation: A High Level View


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High level view of what SEO is; Keyword optimisation; building websites optimally for search; Social Media search and the Future of Search

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  • 17: Personalised search is influenced by your contacts +1s
    19: Having a video on landing page is gold as it kills bounce rate. Lower bounce rate -> more
    21: Heading tags very important
    27: Also use Google Keyword Tool (part of adwords)
    40: Chose which links to allow google to follow with rel='nofollow' in anchor tag
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Search Engine Optimisation: A High Level View

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimisation Justin Spratt // twiitter: @justinspratt //
  2. 2. Agenda 1.  Intro to SEO 2.  Key Concepts: Conversant in SEO 3.  Keyword Strategy & Research 4.  SEO savvy website design 5.  Some Technical SEO considerations 6.  White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO 7.  Social Media & SEO 8.  The Future of SEO
  3. 3. 2.7% 11.2% 66.1% 16.7%
  4. 4. SERPs
  5. 5. Google Innovation
  6. 6. Key Concepts •  Crawling (Googlebot) •  Your blog: about once a week •  Media24 sites: many times a day •  Indexing – decoupled from database – relevancy key •  Serving - relevancy paramount •  PageRank algorithm – citation model •  Hilltop algorithm – semantic model for relevance •  LinkJuice – popularity – sites linking to your site •  TrustRank – Stanford model for spam tracking
  7. 7. Onsite vs. Offsite SEO Onsite - what you can do on your site to optimise organise search Offsite – links to you; popularity contest; biggest gravitas
  8. 8. Google Insights & Google Trends •  Google Trends is broader – what is hot, regionally, now •  Google Insights more specific, designed for advertiser research – excellent for keyword determination ….Both valuable for SEO
  9. 9. Hiring a SEO •  Show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories? •  Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines? •  Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business? •  What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success? •  What's your experience in my industry? •  What are your most important SEO techniques?
  10. 10. Universal Search Pushes textual searches down But can offer richer real estate
  11. 11. Personalised Search The SEO nightmare Based on… Search history Previous SERP interactions Location User selection
  12. 12. Local Search Big opportunity for local specific
  13. 13. Some other SEO considerations •  The age of the domain •  Add regular fresh content •  Text navigation is better than images r •  Rich content creation (video, podcast, eBooks) •  Offer RSS feeds (AND RSS to email) •  Blogger birthdays •  Competitions …bottom line: be remarkable – make your site a resource!
  14. 14. SEO Myths debunked •  Paid search does not help SEO •  Submissions to search engines don’t help •  Meta keyword tag not that useful – spammed to death •  Title and Description Tags on other hand, very useful for end user experience •  “Keyword Stuffing” is baloney
  15. 15. Search Engine Spam •  Used to be big business. Top ranked Viagra query once yielded $20,000 in business… for a single day •  Link farms suck, badly – organic search will deprecate
  16. 16. Primary goal: Site must be fully indexable and optimised around a set of well researched key phrases Your own site should take the top two positions Used to be near impossible to get more than two, but Google has relaxed this recently with Universal Search
  17. 17. Keywords & Keyword Strategy •  Keyword based indices – faster crawl •  Keywords also drive search queries, therefore content needs to match •  Titles, text and meta data •  Example: books vs. War & Peace – competition much higher the more specific due to less results •  “Keyword Density Myth” – relevancy & quality issues
  18. 18. Keyword Strategy What is important for keywords: 1. Search Volume – “common sense” only right about half the time. Google Insight and Trends are your friends 2. Competiveness of the keyword 3. Propensity to convert – Google Insights; run trial campaigns 4. Value of that conversion – “hotel” vs. “bed and breakfast”
  19. 19. Keywords & Keyword Strategy •  Keyword optimisation: •  At least once in title (70 characters max) •  Once in H1 •  x3 in body, one of which in bold •  Once in the alt attribute of image •  Once in URL •  At least once in Meta data (description in SERPs) •  Not in link anchor text
  20. 20. Keyword Research Popular keywords only make up 30% of searches, the rest is the “long tail”
  21. 21. Keyword Exercise •  Common sense words and phrases – call to action •  Search for it: are there ads running along top and right? Then powerful keyword / key phrase •  Buy sample adwords campaign and check the conversions over 200 clicks •  Make educated guess of value of each visitor •  Example: 100 visitors, 3 converted at total profit of R300, then each keyword is worth R3 •  Click-thru rates for number 1 ranking can be as high as 30%
  22. 22. Blogonomies “Content should be as natural as possible. Use semantic rich concepts that reinforce content. Use HTM DOM. Ignore blogonomies” Edel Garcia
  23. 23. ORM: Automatically route unlinked, low positive mentions to the SEO Team
  24. 24. High level considerations -  Indexable content (images, flash, java, CSS) -  Crawlable link structures -  Keywords paramount (obviously) -  Defend against scrappers; verbose URL embeds
  25. 25. Content Roughly speaking, a webpage should have around 250 words of content only, surrounded by your keywords Remember, no keyword stuffing! “Keyword Density is a myth” - Garcia
  26. 26. URL structures •  Usability key – if user can predict content by URL, good •  Shorter is always better •  Keyword is important (don’t overuse) •  Static URLs, good (rewrites for Apache & IIS) •  Studies: in excess of 15% increase in traffic
  27. 27. Canonicalisation -  Process that unique content has only one URL -  Engines don’t like duplicate content generally and will discount your rank accordingly -  Use 301 re-directs or use the canonical tag
  28. 28. Site Maps They help search engines crawl your site Examples: -  XML -  RSS -  Text files
  29. 29. Robots.txt Tell search engines what not to index Indicates sitemap location Dictates who quickly a crawler can crawl its site (CPU cycles and bandwidth costs)
  30. 30. Reasons Sites are not crawlable
  31. 31. Meta Robot Tags •  Index / NoIndex – content crawl instruction •  Follow / NoFollow – links crawl instruction (wikipedia) •  NoArchive – no cached copy
  32. 32. Understanding the Search Conversion Funnel
  33. 33. Link Building •  Reciprocal link requests •  Directory/Portal Submissions •  Article writing •  WebPR Submissions •  Blog Comments •  Social Media Sites •  Link buying/renting
  34. 34. Link Building In conclusion: Valuable websites build links and those links will guard your online reputation
  35. 35. Link Building Case 1: An example of simplicity earning 6000 links…
  36. 36. Often it s just how you package content which makes the difference
  37. 37. Link Building Case 2: Almost 500k downloads
  38. 38. More people downloaded this book in the first week, than had read our articles in the previous year
  39. 39. Google Earth layers
  40. 40. Link Building Case 3: Boston Globe Pictures
  41. 41. Most news sites have small photos. These are not… Run as a side project by one of their web developers...
  42. 42. 1,5 Million page views and 1500 comments in the first 20 days! Bottom line: cheap to run with massive ROI
  43. 43. Link Building Case 4: Links you don’t want
  44. 44. 12 million people search for “Ryan Air”
  45. 45. A Ryanair employee comments on a random blog…
  46. 46. Followed by the official response…
  47. 47. Then the online community got hold of it….
  48. 48. Then the newspapers got hold of it…
  49. 49. These powerful sites often linked to this site…
  50. 50. And we know how important good links are…
  51. 51. Black Hat vs. White Hat •  Black Hat = gaming and manipulating, often unethically the system •  White Hat = confirms to Google’s Policy
  52. 52. Black Hat •  Invisible Text – white text; same colour text as background •  Cloaking – showing one page to Googlebot and another to the user •  Keyword Stuffing – poor quality, Google dislikes •  Doorway Pages – worthless pages designed specifically for ranking well and yielding advertising revenue
  53. 53. White Hat – part one 1.  Clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link 2.  Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site 3.  Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number 4.  Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content 5.  Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site includes those words 6.  Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links
  54. 54. White Hat – part two •  crawler doesn't recognize text contained in images. If using images for textual content, consider use the "ALT” •  Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate •  Check for broken links and correct HTML •  If you decide to use dynamic pages, keep the parameters short and the number of them few
  55. 55. Real Time Search brings Social Web to forefront
  56. 56. Social Media Optimisation twitter •  Choose good handle (no underscores) •  Twitter uses “nofollow” •  Retweetability •  Select first few characters carefully •  Write keyword rich tweets if possible •  Provide linklove in tweets
  57. 57. Social Media for Insights Put simply, real-time search inclusion can help SEO immensely It can show what new keywords and provide insights
  58. 58. The Link vs. The Like
  59. 59. Search & Mobile Phones “60% of searches in South Africa done on weekends are done on mobile phones” Google Employee
  60. 60. Vertical Search Bing buying travel, flight and health insurance data companies
  61. 61. The Semantic Web “Web 3.0” The meaning of language (intention) No longer need to know “Google Code” to search effectively Semantic HTML (XML) – intentions rather than layout