SMX Advanced 2014: Periodic Table of SEO: UX is New SEO


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As part of the Periodic Table of SEO, I examined Google's shift from a link-driven relevance model to a user-experience driven relevance model. I look at what user experience (UX) signals the search engines seem to be watching and offer prescriptive guidance on UX optimization for visibility in search results.

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SMX Advanced 2014: Periodic Table of SEO: UX is New SEO

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  3. 3. I work at Portent where I am lucky to work with smart people (and not just because they help me with Excel). Information architect for 16 years Found search studying for Masters at UW Search IA for 10 years Teach graduate level Intro to Information Retrieval at UW iSchool for last 3 years: know the technology to better communicate 3
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  5. 5. Pew Internet Trust 2012 56% constructed poor queries 41% got conflicting information in result and could not resolve 38% overwhelmed by amount of information in results 34% found critical information missing from results 5
  6. 6. SEO and UX went down parallel tracks SEO SE Update – tactic, tactic, tactic SE Update – tactic, tactic, tactic SE Update – tactic, tactic, tactic UX Drawing on white boards while singing Kumbaya 6
  7. 7. About content: quality and freshness About agile: frequent iterations and small fixes About UX: or so it seems (Vanessa Fox/Eric Enge: Cllick-through, Bounce Rate, Conversion) Panda 1.0: Google’s first salvo against “spam” (shallow, thin content sites) in the form of content duplication and low value original content (i.e. “quick, give me 200 words on Brittany Spear’s vacation in the Maldives”) – biggest target was content farms – Biggest Impact: keyword optimization and link building. Panda 2.1: Having unique content not enough – quality factors introduced (some below) Trustworthiness: with my credit card information Uniqueness: is this saying what I’ve found somewhere else Origination: does the person writing the content have “street cred,” do I believe that this is an authoritative resource on this topic Display: does the site look professional, polished Professional: is the content well constructed, well edited and without grammatical or spelling errors 7
  8. 8. Search visibility is influenced at each step Information Architecture: Structure is the Search Aphrodisiac Distance reflects relevance URL Depth: the further from the homepage, the less important it must be Click Distance: the further from an authority page, the less important it must be Page Structure Now a Factor Google Page Segmentation Patent: Determining Semantically Distinct Regions of a Document Based on eye-tracking studies and user behavior Similar Yahoo patent URLs Keywords found in URLs are weighted for relevance Hyphens as separators is best 8
  9. 9. ( “Cutts gamely answered, but he was quick to point out that he was doing so more to fulfill the audience’s curiosity, than to provide actionable advice. ‘How many users actually making it through my funnel?’ and ‘Are they finding good stuff that they really enjoy?’ ‘What is the design of my homepage, and do I need to refresh it because it’s starting to look a little stale after a few years?’ All those kinds of things that are generally good for users, that’s probably worth a lot more of your time and attention than thinking about the amount of PageRank or the anchor text that will flow from multiple links on a page. “ 9
  10. 10. Clickthrough: Matt Cutts on the importance of well crafted <title> and description “Think about maximizing your click through – compelling, something that invites clicks, then think about conversion rates…Title and description can absolutely maximize click through rate…What matters is how much you get clicked on and how often you take those clicked on visits and convert those to whatever you really want.” 10
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  12. 12. Fold: newspaper legacy Prototypicality: mental models Visual complexity: Ratio Image to Content 8/26/2014 12
  13. 13. 13 Click Distance: the further from an authority page, the less important it must be URL Depth: the further from the homepage, the less important it must be
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  15. 15. Put the sidewalks where the footprints are 15
  16. 16. Deconstruct content asset properties: owner, audience, purpose, change history, etc. Lists pages Page status (200, 301, etc.) Page type Page size Level in hierarchy MetaTitle MetaDescription MetaKeywords <h1> tags Links in Links out Images Audio Video Documents (downloads) Word count Spiders cannot “see” = cannot read text images Consistency in terminology and emphasis in topicality on page is good however search engines are sensitive to over optimization Headings are a user’s and the spider’s friend. Extra credit for having them and for having topic terms in there 16
  17. 17. This client invests a lot of time and effort in their News & Events directory Customers are viewing the utility pages (Contact, etc) and the product justification/ROI section. 17
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  19. 19. improvement.html “As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.” Algorithm classifying-web-blocks-with-linguistic-features/ Targets-Sites-With-Too-Many-Ads 19
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  23. 23. Comparison March through May (Jan through March) Targeted Keyword phrases Internet marketing strategies: Impressions up 500%, AVG position up 17% Internet marketing agency: Impressions up 128%, AVG position up 11% Online marketing company: impressions up 117%, position down 4% Internet Marketing: impressions up 125%, position up 15% Pay Per Click management: Impression up 5000%, Avg position down 1% 23
  24. 24. Organic search channel up 31% (Google 31%, Bing 10%, Yahoo 74%) New Users up 31% Bounce Rate down 11% 24
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