Designing Websites for Visibility, Rob Garner at the Association of National Advertisers conference, 2010


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Presentation covering the search-informed website redesign process, along with a case study for Presented at the Association of National Advertisers conference in Houston, Texas, January, 2010 by Rob Garner.

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  • you need to know where you were to find out where you went.
  • Rich Internet technologies that are implemented without search engines in mind can instantly render a once-thriving natural search program into total obscurity. Flash and Ajax are key tools in the design and development toolbox, but considerations must be made for search upfront.
  • For the most part, search engines are still very literal, and truly effective semantic intelligence still lies far ahead. Position content and language that reflects the way users search, in order to rank for those terms. The path to understanding this language is through linguistic and keyword research, and also by studying and knowing your target. Language and keywords impact and guide information architecture and content strategies, among other aspects.
  • When you change phone numbers, the phone company will leave a recorded message telling the new number to the person who called your old number. This is the effect a 301 permanent redirect has on a search engine -- it applies the old URL and backlinks to the new URL; the search engine is happy, and your site is happy. A canonicalization problem occurs when 302 redirects are pointed to permanently moved pages. I have seen instances where clients have gone through four or five redesigns using 302s, and a string of six-to-eight redirects points to a single page, each with its own set of inbound links. This basically makes it difficult for engines to determine the "real URL" to show in results and apply backlinks to. How do you fix it? See the next point.
  • Search has expanded well beyond Web pages and 10 blue links to offer video images, news and social streams, among many other vertical asset types.  Many industries tend to have assets that are more relevant than others (images, maps, and video tend to fit more for travel-related sites, for instance).  Ensuring that there is a search strategy and place for these optimized assets is critical in the planning and design stages. 
  • Develop your target user's search persona, and use search to develop a picture of your user's journey both in-search, and on-site.  When some sites receive 25%  to 45% of traffic from search engines, a huge area of research is being ignored by not finding out how those same users seek out content in engines, both linguistically, and from an engagement standpoint.
  • Designing Websites for Visibility, Rob Garner at the Association of National Advertisers conference, 2010

    1. 1. Designing for Visibility ANA Digital Marketing and Social Media Day January 27, 2010 Hope Ross Account Director iCrossing Rob Garner Strategy Director iCrossing
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>About Combined Insurance and iCrossing </li></ul><ul><li>General best practices for search informed web design </li></ul><ul><li>Project outline </li></ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><li>Research approach </li></ul><ul><li>Creative results </li></ul><ul><li>Performance results </li></ul>
    3. 3. About Combined Insurance <ul><li>Founded in 1922, Combined Insurance is a leading provider of supplemental accident, health and life insurance products </li></ul><ul><li>Company background </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Services customers in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sales force and corporate staff in excess of 10K worldwide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2008, sold by AON and became a member of the ACE Group of Companies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is to provide personal service and exceptional products tailored to help protect the needs of individuals and families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This mission is the basis of Combined Insurance’s brand promise “Let’s Make this Easy” </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. About iCrossing <ul><li>iCrossing is a global digital marketing agency that combines talent and technology to help world-class brands find and connect with their customers </li></ul><ul><li>Company background </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded in 1998 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>550 employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12 offices in the U.S. and Europe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digital marketing services include; paid search, search engine optimization, Web development, social media, mobile, display, research and analytics </li></ul>
    5. 5. Agency services Media Research & Analytics Website Development Search Optimization Social Media Mobile Marketing <ul><li>Paid search media </li></ul><ul><li>Display and rich media advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Online to offline integration </li></ul><ul><li>Global campaign integration </li></ul><ul><li>Market research </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated dashboard reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistic Profiling </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential Mapping </li></ul><ul><li>Site development strategy </li></ul><ul><li>User experience development </li></ul><ul><li>Creative and technical design and development </li></ul><ul><li>Natural search optimization </li></ul><ul><li>RSS Feeds </li></ul><ul><li>Content syndication </li></ul><ul><li>Social media audit </li></ul><ul><li>Reputation management </li></ul><ul><li>Word-of-mouth campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile strategy development </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile site development and optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile media campaigns </li></ul>Technology <ul><li>Merchantize™ Paid Media </li></ul><ul><li>Interest2Action™ Search Analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Network Sense™ Reputation Monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Network Sense™ Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>Sharp View™ Marketing Dashboard </li></ul>
    6. 6. with clients including…
    7. 7. Awards and Accolades Top Digital Agency Top Search Agency Top 25 Interactive Fastest Growing Companies Top 25 Interactive Number One Search Agency Search Agency of the Year
    8. 8. CONSIDERATIONS FOR SEO IN A SITE REDESIGN designing for visibility
    9. 9. Internal SEO considerations that a site owner controls <ul><li>Article Syndication </li></ul><ul><li>Body Content </li></ul><ul><li>Canonicalization Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Cloaking </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Assets </li></ul><ul><li>Directory Presence </li></ul><ul><li>Document Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Duplicate Content </li></ul><ul><li>Frames </li></ul><ul><li>Hidden Text </li></ul><ul><li>Internal Linking Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Javascript & Flash Navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Meta Descriptions </li></ul><ul><li>Meta Keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Micro Sites and Sub-Domains </li></ul><ul><li>Obtaining Links from Relevant Sites </li></ul><ul><li>On-page Javascript and CSS </li></ul><ul><li>Optimizing Images </li></ul><ul><li>Page Titles </li></ul><ul><li>Redirecting </li></ul><ul><li>Requiring User Actions </li></ul><ul><li>Robots.txt Files </li></ul><ul><li>Secure Servers </li></ul><ul><li>Server Location </li></ul><ul><li>Sites Built in Flash </li></ul><ul><li>Splash Pages </li></ul><ul><li>URL Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Using Ajax </li></ul>
    10. 10. Start with these considerations… <ul><li>Budget and scope for search </li></ul><ul><li>Start with search at the onset of all design and dev discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Include search as both a business and technical requirement </li></ul><ul><li>Build a business case if necessary – there is always a risk of losing dollars from natural search equity in every redesign </li></ul><ul><li>Don't remove content that supports coveted rankings without assessing risks first </li></ul>
    11. 11. Focus on strong benchmark analysis, followed by post-launch reporting <ul><li>The following data points can be used as benchmark metrics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ranking visibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Traffic volume from search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volume of various defined actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue generated from natural search </li></ul></ul>Before launch After launch
    12. 12. Ensure that Flash is both crawlable and indexable <ul><li>Factor: </li></ul><ul><li>Valuable website content is implemented using Flash technology </li></ul><ul><li>Implications: </li></ul><ul><li>Search engine spiders cannot read content or follow links implemented in Flash </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practices/Action Required: </li></ul><ul><li>Implement a static HTML, low-bandwidth version of the website that mirrors the content within your Flash files </li></ul><ul><li>Implement user-agent detection to deliver the HTML site to spiders and the Flash version to human visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative Practices: </li></ul><ul><li>Break up the Flash movies into smaller components and lay the SWF files into optimized, linked HTML pages with unique URL’s </li></ul>
    13. 13. Ensure that Ajax is both crawlable and indexable Factor: AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a web development technique used to load content from a server without changing pages. AJAX relies heavily on JavaScript to display and swap content. Implications: Search engine spiders generally cannot read AJAX content. Implementation could block content visibility to spiders. Best practice/Action required: Use AJAX selectively, primarily for supplemental content associated with low search volumes. Alternative Practices: Create a static, spider friendly version of your site that includes content from within your JavaScript.
    14. 14. Use site language that is consistent with the user's perception of your product or service Industry Language Oral care Oral health Locate dental professional Good oral hygiene Oral hygiene Good Oral hygiene Whitening Battery-powered toothbrush Kid’s toothbrush Professional whitening system 148 5,232 10 190 5,155 190 5,075 145 592 670 17,407 Search Volume per month Consumer Language Dental care Dental health Find a dentist Dental hygiene Dental hygiene Personal hygiene Tooth whitening Electric toothbrush Child toothbrush Tooth whitening system 188,818 74,588 29,525 24,558 24,558 17,670 146,212 16,522 835 6,205 529,491
    15. 15. Avoid the creation of URL canonicalization issues <ul><li>Factor: </li></ul><ul><li>Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices, usually referring to the homepage of a website. </li></ul><ul><li>Implications: </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engines may not pick the client-preferred URL, rather the one they determine to be most relevant. </li></ul><ul><li>Best practice/Action required: </li></ul><ul><li>There are a few ways to ensure that the proper URL is indexed: </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent linking: </li></ul><ul><li>When linking to on other pages within the site, always use this method </li></ul><ul><li>When requesting links from other sites, always point to if using this method from the example above </li></ul><ul><li>Use 301 Permanent redirects on the web server </li></ul><ul><li>Redirect the non-www homepage to the www version of the homepage Use the canonicalization tag </li></ul><ul><li>Viewed as the same by most search engines: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    16. 16. Set up a URL redirection plan <ul><li>In just about every redesign project, at least some content is removed, and URLs go away </li></ul><ul><li>Redirection helps the engines and users to point them to the most similar page on your site </li></ul><ul><li>Important to spend time mapping map out which URLs are going away, and where they should be pointed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. site map, home page, custom 404 page, similar new page of content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don't sit on the plan -- execute it on the day or evening that a site is pushed out of production </li></ul>
    17. 17. Consider a relational approach to architecture, as opposed to &quot;top-down&quot; Creating experiences that meet the unique needs of each visitor Dog Breed: (category total: 611,743 monthly searches) Standard Schnauzer Type of Dog (70,197) “ hunting dog” (15,892) “ Fancy Dog Bed” (5,088) Travel Plans Cheapest Tires Size (61,044) – included small, large, miniature Feeding baby Kittens Both Dog and Cats: both dog and cat owners searched for pictures and names frequently Pictures (955,145) vs. Photo (77,475) Names (390,909) tires Boxer Photos “ hunting dog” <ul><li>Dog Health (143,703) </li></ul><ul><li>> Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ dog health problem/question” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>> Grooming </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ dog grooming tip” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>> Health/Solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ dog health symptom” </li></ul></ul>Minivan tires “ Premium Dog Food” (22,358) Cat Breeds (307,140) “ Persian cat” Volkswagen Rims ‘ dog grooming tip’ Cocker Spaniel Puppies Puppy Breed (category total: 1.7 million monthly searches) Mercedes Wheels Kitten Descriptors (63,273) – these included cute, baby, kitten color 5Zigens Wheels Cat Breeds (307,140) Kitten Breeds (119,383) Sweet rims Cat Behavior (21,782) Cats (72,640) “ older cat care” Travel Expedition
    18. 18. Educate your organization about search <ul><li>Start by convincing your team of the value of SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Convince your Project Managers to budget time for SEO education, and SEO related tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Create and distribute a PowerPoint deck or handout with an overview of SEO for everyone on your team </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate SEO training into each phase of the project, specific to that phase </li></ul><ul><li>Present a list of technical obstacles of your current site, and how they could be remedied, to your team </li></ul><ul><li>Teach that SEO is an on-going process, not a finite task   </li></ul>
    19. 19. Determine which types of digital assets make sense, and create a place for them   <ul><li>The days of ten blue links are gone </li></ul><ul><li>Universal search leverages various asset types </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This includes images, video, social status, news, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on the most appropriate asset types, depending upon your vertical </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that your new site design has a place to accommodate these asset types </li></ul><ul><li>Optimize and distribute assets both internally (within your public facing site) and externally (locations outside your domain like social networks, feeds, etc) </li></ul>
    20. 20. Implement RSS feeds for various types of content distribution <ul><li>Factor: </li></ul><ul><li>RSS (which, in its latest format, stands for &quot;Really Simple Syndication&quot;) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or special promotions. A great way to easily syndicate your content to website owners. </li></ul><ul><li>Implications: </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds give full control to the publisher. The big benefit to RSS is that individuals opt-in to content of interest, totally controlling the flow of information that they receive. Not to mention it is a great way to share your information with other site owners for virtually nothing. </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practices/Action Required: </li></ul><ul><li>Provide users with fresh relevant content specific to your industry </li></ul><ul><li>If you can break up frequently changing content into specific groups it may be more appealing for others to subscribe </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the information short but descriptive, tempting users to visit your website for more information </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to syndicate your feeds </li></ul>
    21. 21. Use search data and ask search questions when developing personas
    22. 22. COMBINED INSURANCE + ICROSSING designing for visibility
    23. 23. Combined’s Web Strategy <ul><li>Improve brand awareness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage the internet as a vehicle that brings our brand and products to life for new and existing consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inform interested candidates about the company and encourage applicants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improve user experience (new and existing customers) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design a wireframe with intuitive navigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop content that is clear and easy to understand (no “insurance speak”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure visitors are one click away from anything </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improve Natural Search Optimization (NSO) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a means for consumers to find us via search engines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve our position over the competition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Drive lead generation via a strong “call to action” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase web leads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase inbound calls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimize sites pages for improved PPC performance </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Project goals <ul><li>Primary goal </li></ul><ul><li>Drive more qualified leads </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary goal </li></ul><ul><li>Help existing customers find what they need </li></ul><ul><li>Success measures </li></ul><ul><li>Captured leads, qualified leads, converted leads </li></ul>
    25. 25. The project <ul><li>Challenge: Provide a meaningful experience for users searching for supplemental insurance, and enabling ease-of-use for existing customers, while staying true to the attributes of the Combined Insurance brand. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: Connect with prospective applicants to drive online leads, assisting current customers meet their needs, educating on the subject of supplemental insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics: Increase in visitors, leads, follow-ups with existing customers (reduction in call center load) </li></ul>
    26. 26. The solution <ul><li>Our approach: Combine in-depth market research with search analytics to drive the architecture, creative and search strategy for the new </li></ul><ul><li>iCrossing believes: If you truly understand what people are looking for and how they search for it, you can create online experiences that deliver on promises and engage the user at every step of the customer journey </li></ul>
    27. 27. THE PROCESS designing for visibility
    28. 28. The process: envision Develop User Experience Strategy Brief Conduct keyword research Conduct user research Interview 5 – 7 stakeholders including UK representative Gather existing & new research data / define hosting needs Envision Gather business, brand, user insights, and search data Elaborate Create site framework, design and development, page build Execute QA testing, deployment
    29. 29. The process: elaborate Establish hosting environment Develop visual design Create site map and wireframes Develop creative concept Baseline search metrics Create copy deck Envision Gather business, brand, user insights, and search data Elaborate Create site framework, design and development, page build Execute QA testing, deployment Develop test strategy
    30. 30. The process: execute Ongoing measurement and optimization Envision Gather business, brand, user insights, and search data Elaborate Create site framework, design and development, page build Execute QA testing, deployment Deploy Interest2Action Deploy new site Execute QA tests
    31. 31. THE RESEARCH PROCESS designing for visibility
    32. 32. Understanding the Combined Insurance audience <ul><li>Linguistic profiling: We provided Combined Insurance with an in-depth understanding of the vernacular used within their target categories by mining search data and applying proprietary algorithms to the data </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive search landscape: We defined competitive set and identified opportunities to capture market share in the search landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews: Extensive interviews were conducted with audience targets on how they chose insurance products, their impressions of the Combined Insurance brand, and how they behaved in an online environment </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential mapping: Using our primary research methodology, we defined current research and decision-making processes, identifying barriers and trigger moments; we also mapped keyword landscapes to the process to ensure laser-like campaign targeting </li></ul><ul><li>Personas: Customer interviews and search-informed experience mapping were synthesized in a collection of personas expressing needs, frustrations, values and behavioral tendencies to inform development of the online experience. </li></ul>
    33. 33. Methodology - how we approached the challenge 5. Keywords are classified/structured into relevant categories based upon criteria E X T E N D Seed Concepts Generate Keywords C A T E G O R I Z E Calculate Volumes R E S E A R C H Analyze Findings A N A L Y Z E S T R U C T U R E Classify Keywords 1. Seed concepts are established upon business needs and requirements 2. Keyword lists are generated through various extensions of seed concepts 3. Keywords are analyzed and annual search volumes are calculated 4. Search universe is analyzed. Criteria is established to define nomenclature patterns Identify Patterns 6. Dissect the keywords and findings to determine any unique/emerging patterns I D E N T I F Y Find Solutions 7. Formulate recommendations based upon findings mapped to business needs R E C O M M E N D
    34. 34. Category Breakdown Type 767 Searches Detail 2,003 Searches Geography 841Searches General 1,009 Searches General 6,498 Searches All Categories 24,512 Estimated Searches Supplemental Insurance 7,369 Estimated Searches Government 2,249 Searches Brand 536 Searches Type 2,354 Searches Disability Insurance 11,998 Estimated Searches Product keywords were used to generate a list of 349 search terms related to Combined Insurance’s business *Note- The total of the classification search volumes is higher than total category search volume due to the overlap of terms between classifications. **Sub-categories shown have estimated search volumes > 100 Information 730 Searches Gap Insurance 4,038 Estimated Searches Disability Income 846 Estimated Searches Type 722 Searches Type 217 Searches General 1,660 Searches Who? 818 Searches Loss of Income 148 Estimated Searches Information 219 Searches General 191 Searches Who? 369 Searches Brand 313 Searches Information 322 Searches Organization 191 Searches Who? 170 Searches Action 121 Searches Government 213 Searches Why? 152 Searches Geography 113 Searches Detail 122 Searches Who? 104 Searches Low Income 113 Estimated Searches
    35. 35. <ul><li>The topics of Disability Insurance and Supplemental Insurance were the main drivers in this analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Searches with keywords pertaining to General Descriptions and Types of insurance were present in a majority of the searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Combined Insurance can capture the consumer searching for insurance by employing SEO strategies for the general terms and optimizing their website for various types of insurance search terminology </li></ul></ul>Example: Classification
    36. 36. <ul><li>Consumers searched for specific types of insurance when looking into the “supplemental insurance” category </li></ul><ul><ul><li>18% of the searches contained the keyword “health” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ dental” was only applied in 5% of the searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Combined can improve their visibility by applying NSO optimization to develop content around the general term health when referring to supplemental insurance </li></ul></ul>Example: Classification > Supplemental Insurance > Type
    37. 37. What did we do? We interviewed 12 Combined internal Stakeholders, performed a competitive review of 5 different sites, and leveraged dozens of research and data sources.
    38. 38. Input sources <ul><li>McKinsey Brand Idea Deck </li></ul><ul><li>Buffalo Learning Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Developed personas </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chief Marketing Officer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vice-President, Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assistant VP, Database Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systems Developer, IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assistant VP, Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financing Services (Lead Processing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Director, Insurance Services (Claims) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphic and Marketing Assistant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vice President, Customer Service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vice President, Application Services, IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior Vice President </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forrester </li></ul><ul><li>Hitwise </li></ul><ul><li>eMarketer </li></ul>Combined Inputs iCrossing Inputs 3 rd Party Inputs Staffers <ul><li>Linguistic analysis and experience mapping (in progress) </li></ul><ul><li>Obstacle analysis report (in progress) </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive position analysis report </li></ul><ul><li>Content evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive analysis </li></ul>
    39. 39. Personas & journeys Identified Primary and Secondary Personas : collaborative exercises produced four primary personas Developed Journeys for Each : online and off-line interaction points, primarily preceding enrollment Prioritized Content and Features: established a hierarchy of requirements based on customer value, business value and development complexity/cost
    40. 40. Commonalities that show what users want <ul><li>Behavioral modes </li></ul><ul><li>Browser </li></ul><ul><li>Hunter </li></ul><ul><li>Communicator </li></ul><ul><li>Tracker </li></ul><ul><li>Investigator </li></ul><ul><li>Skeptic </li></ul><ul><li>Decider </li></ul><ul><li>Problem-solver </li></ul><ul><li>What they want </li></ul><ul><li>Assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Protection </li></ul><ul><li>A personalized experience </li></ul><ul><li>A 2-way dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Value </li></ul><ul><li>User types </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance believer </li></ul><ul><li>Reluctant researcher </li></ul><ul><li>Enthusiastic learner </li></ul><ul><li>Directed shopper </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance manager </li></ul><ul><li>Online streamliner </li></ul>
    41. 41. <ul><li>In a user’s words—based on the six primary things the site can enable </li></ul>Defining an action architecture for guide me teach me protect me connect me assist me engage me <ul><li>Assist me – “I’m short on time. I’m hunting for...hurry and help me…” </li></ul><ul><li>Guide me/advise me – “I need help finding the right solution.” </li></ul><ul><li>Protect me – “Show me that you can protect me and my family.” </li></ul><ul><li>Teach me – “Prove to me why I should trust you, your expertise, and your products.” </li></ul><ul><li>Engage me – “Give me reasons to use the site beyond research and purchase.” </li></ul><ul><li>Connect me – “Let me interact with you in the way that I choose at any moment.” </li></ul>
    42. 42. Creating a relational architecture to satisfy specific users’ search queries <ul><li>“ Let’s Make It Easy” </li></ul><ul><li>The overall tone of the new website was to be “Let’s Make It Easy”, focusing on the needs of help users who need supplemental insurance, as well as serving existing customers who need help </li></ul><ul><li>“ Findability” is a usability issue </li></ul><ul><li>Whether it was a new user coming from a search engine, or an existing user seeking information on their own policy, relevant information had to be equally represented on the site and equally “findable” through the search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Delivering on the search “promise” </li></ul><ul><li>The traditional idea of creating one primary homepage had to be modified to accommodate multiple points of entry that resulted from searches on a variety of insurance options and needs </li></ul>
    43. 43. THE CREATIVE RESULTS designing for visibility
    44. 44. Old Global Wireframe
    45. 45. New Global Wireframe
    46. 46. A creative solution: one brand supporting many user intentions, including search engine traffic Where search intention is met with relevant answers: High ranking pages get straight to the heart of what searchers are seeking Findability is a usability issue: Both new visitors and existing customers can find what they are looking for, faster Delivering on the search “promise”: Multiple points of entry create a relevant and engaging experience
    47. 47. Search drives the experience Interest: Supplemental Insurance Interest: Supplemental Health Insurance Specific branding and content Multiple points of entry reflect the expressed intent of a users’ search
    48. 48. Action-based vernacular reflects user goals Find > Browse > Learn > Connect
    49. 49. THE PERFORMANCE RESULTS designing for visibility
    50. 50. YOY Interactive Results – 2008 to 2009 <ul><li>Unique visitors = up 34% </li></ul><ul><li>Search Visits = 35% of all traffic (NSO represented 20%) </li></ul><ul><li>Natural Search Optimization efforts increased keyword visibility YOY by 46% </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Breakout by type </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Branded keywords up 47% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Non-branded keywords up 84% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top non-brand keywords – supplemental insurance, disability insurance and accident insurance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>25K+ on-line applications captured in the new Applicant Tracking System (June 8 through December 31, 2009) </li></ul>
    51. 51. Paid Search Increased keyword click-through rate by (CTR) by 45% YOY while reducing cost per acquisition (CPA) by 40%
    52. 52. Search - “supplemental insurance”
    53. 53. Search - “supplemental insurance”
    54. 54. Ranking visibility – before and after Ranking visibility for sample terms, old site Ranking visibility for sample terms, new site
    55. 55. Takeaways and discussion points <ul><li>“ Top down” vs. relational approach </li></ul><ul><li>Market research </li></ul><ul><li>Findability as a usability issue </li></ul><ul><li>Search analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Personas and journeys </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges of search informed design </li></ul><ul><li>Business cases for search in design </li></ul>
    56. 56. THANK YOU ANA Digital Marketing and Social Media Day January 27, 2010 Hope Ross Account Director iCrossing [email_address] Rob Garner Strategy Director iCrossing [email_address]
    57. 57. Appendix – Specific Deliverables
    58. 58. Initial Keyword Research <ul><li>Before any work begins, research should be done to determine the “core” keywords that are relevant to the site. </li></ul><ul><li>These should be the terms that will give the client the greatest return on implementation; either based on traffic or previous conversion data. </li></ul><ul><li>Research should come from a mixture of Paid data (if available), conversion data, and search volume. </li></ul>
    59. 59. Linguistic Profiling <ul><li>Ideally, full linguistic profiling will be done on the site to determine how searchers are searching for the products/services offered by the client. </li></ul><ul><li>One useful takeaway of this is the nomenclature map, which helps to break out common things people are searching for when looking for your client’s products/services. </li></ul><ul><li>This document along with the Linguistic Profile findings should be utilized when creating the Site Roadmap. </li></ul>
    60. 60. Roadmap Review (pre-client) <ul><li>When the Roadmap is close to finalized, but has not been reviewed by the client yet, the SEO strategist should review the Roadmap to ensure a number of things: </li></ul><ul><li>Categories exist for key term types identified in Linguistic Profiling </li></ul><ul><li>Categories and Sub-Categories are named in the way that users are searching for these </li></ul>
    61. 61. Wireframe Review <ul><li>During this time, the IA’s should be developing site wireframes. These are a visual representation of where things will be laid out on the different templates of the site. </li></ul><ul><li>NSO should review these and perform Template Optimization recommendations on the wireframes. </li></ul><ul><li>(This process can possibly be avoided if you have worked with the tech team to understand the core page elements that are important to search. However, it seems best to just do the template analysis to ensure that the information is not forgotten) </li></ul>
    62. 62. Wireframe Review: Example Will this be Text or Image? If Text Header, place in <H1> Tags. Recommendation: Wrap page header in Heading Tags. If Page Header is text, wrap this Header in <H2> tag. Otherwise, place in <H1>. Will perform keyword research for Heading Text. Heading Alt Text Recommendation: Add Alt Text to images, utilizing keywords where possible. Alt Text Alt Text Alt Text Heading Recommendation: Ensure that custom Meta Data (Description and Keywords) can be entered for the Events page. Custom Meta Data will be researched for the Events page. Meta Data
    63. 63. Roadmap Review (post-client) <ul><li>Once the client has approved the Site Roadmap, the SEO strategist should then review the Roadmap and assign keywords based on the page “theme”. </li></ul><ul><li>It may not be possible to assign keywords to all pages, but there will be many pages where the most relevant keyword will be fairly apparent based on the theme of the page. </li></ul><ul><li>This information will then be passed to whatever group will be creating the copy deck for the client to ensure that these words are featured heavily within the copy and headings. </li></ul>
    64. 64. Copy Deck <ul><li>After the Copy Deck is created, incorporating your identified keywords (hopefully), the NSO will review this to determine if any further modifications need to be made to ensure copy is optimized. </li></ul><ul><li>This is also a good time to re-evaluate pages that keywords were not found for during the Roadmap review. Now that these pages have copy available, there may be more opportunities for optimization available. </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on what was scoped, this would also be the time to create Meta Descriptions. This may have already been done by the client or the web dev copywriters, though. </li></ul>
    65. 65. Concepts / Comps <ul><li>Concepts are a visual representation of how the site map look. These are images, not HTML. </li></ul><ul><li>The review of these can be tricky. Since there is no code, it is not possible to determine what will be proper HTML and what will be Flash, Images, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>I’d recommend reviewing and asking questions, however the people creating these may not have any idea how this will be coded. </li></ul>
    66. 66. URL Structure <ul><li>iCrossing will consult with the client to determine the ideal URL structure for the site. </li></ul><ul><li>NSO will need to work closely with the tech team to determine if there are any constraints from the CMS system. </li></ul>
    67. 67. Redirects <ul><li>Once all pages of the site have been identified, redirects will need to be established. This may be done by iCrossing or the client. </li></ul><ul><li>Redirects should be setup on a 1-to-1 basis. </li></ul><ul><li>EVERY page on the client’s website should be redirected to a corresponding page. If no page corresponds, it is recommended that these be redirected to the homepage. </li></ul><ul><li>This process can be handled by iCrossing or the client. </li></ul>