“Think about what auser is going to type.”Matt Cutts, Google
Intro- I spent 2003-2007 at eBay, in part focused on user acquisition and SEO- While the web has evolved, the basics of SEO remain the same… and SEO is arguably more important today: - Google is dominant search engine, and - Paid acquisition gets more expensive by the day
How it works: basic overview.Google’s three steps: 1. 2. 3. Crawling Indexing Ranking1. Google must first FIND your content.2. After CRAWLING your site, they INDEX the pages.3. And ultimately RANK them within the greater index.
1. Content is King.Google’s goal is to match each search querywith the best, unique content.That can come from any site / author.(obviously NYT.com has advantage over ryanspoon.com)But: the best content wins in the long term.It’s that simple :)
1. Content is King. Search “Nike Air Max 95” Nicekicks.com #1, #2. Nike.com #3, #4. Why? Better content.
Page is huge! Product description, reviews, related products, etcSearch “Canon Rebel”.Amazon #1. Canon #2, #3.Why? Better content.
2. Keyword Portfolio.What queries do you want to target? Considerations: - How realistic & relevant is the query? - Will target customers search it? - Is there enough volume for that query? - Is it already too competitive? - Who is the competition: big brands?Once you target queries, build a correspondingkeyword portfolio.
2. Keyword Portfolio.A great way to build the right keyword portfolio:1. Use Google’s Traffic estimator2. Then analyze results for those queries
3. Findability.Content is King….But Google has to be able to find it!Best practices: - Link to content from high ranking / traffic pages - Feature mix of popular, recent & ‘random’ content - Create topical hubs, guides, and lists - Leverage header, footer and/or sidebars - Update robots.txt (overview coming, #4) - Create Google Sitemap (overview coming, #11)
3. Example: Yelp Top locationsBest of lists: linked rightbest from the top.content, conti “More” linksnuously to sitemap.refreshes, easy to navigate.Homepagecontentincludes:popularand new Category list:places. each link goesContent & to topicalcategories hubpages.refresh.
3. Example: Wordpress.com Content mix: popular, new and changing variety. Each tile features specific blog post and blogger. Each linked respectively. Links to topic pages (“posts about Cars”). This goes to a topical homepage.
4. Accessibility.- Not all content should be accessible to search engines.- Robots.txt files declare what should / shouldn’t be crawled.- Note: it’s a public file. Anyone can see what sections you ‘hide’.Learn more:- About: http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html- Robots.txt checker: http://www.robotstxt.org/checker.html
5. URL Structure.URLs are as important as the text!Should be descriptive and reflect the content. Good Bad
5. URL Structure: Tips- Use keywords - not encoding!- For needed encoding, minimize and move towards end- URL keywords should reflect content & headers- shorter URLs put more weight on keywords (“pitchdeck”)- URLs that are too long appear spammy & dilute keywords
6. Page Titles & Headers. Similar strategy to URL structure: 1. Remember your query goal / keyword mix 2. URL + Page Title + Header should be related 3. Short and crisp > long and descriptive extra words are dilutive! 4. Headers should read like a newspaper: - most important (H1) go atop - declines left-to-right and top to bottom
7. Meta Tags.- Less important than URLs, Titles and Headers…- But meta tags are easy, small wins and can impactconversions by improving search result content: Notice the search title & description are same as meta tag. OPTIMIZED by Amazon.
8. Anchor Tags.Anchor Tags are important for two reasons: 1. They’re hyperlinks so they improve findability 2. They give context to linksThe same keyword targeting / optimization should applyto anchor tags as it does to URL, Title, Headers, Metas.
9. Google SitemapsGoogle Sitemaps are automated feeds that alertGoogle of new, updated content.Particularly useful for: - large amounts of content (i.e. Yelp locations) - dynamic content (i.e. eBay listing pages) - tough-to-crawl sites (i.e. search driven, lots of AJAX)Improves findablity and crawling.…but does not affect rankings.
10. Indexing ImagesImages are integrated into coresearch & in Google ImagesUse Alt Tags to optimize images forsurrounding target keyword(s)…and to provide another route toaccessing that demand:<img src=”URL.gif” alt=”shawnmarion” title=”shawn marion dallasmavericks”/>
11. Blogging (Wordpress)Blogging is a tremendously powerful. And under-utilized.Wordpress is a great tool for SEO, traffic acquisition.Tips:- install All in One SEO Pack Plugin- make sure site “visibility” & “pingomatic” are on- Optimize URL permalinks (per step #5!)
11. Blogging (continued)Other tips:Write about what’scurrently being searched(Google Hot Trends is a great tool)Distribute & spreadSubmitting to Twitter, Facebook(public), Reddit, etc helps withfindability.Having other sites cover & link isbetter!
12. Adopt New Media, New Formats Search results pages continue to change. Google wants the most relevant and current content & formats. It’s your advantage to be a first-mover and to adopt new platforms & formats: - Social: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc - Local: Yelp, Google Places, etc - Images & media: ie YouTube
12. New Media (Example)From imagesto videos toblogs tolocation –each formatis a chanceto optimizeand drivetraffic.
13. Track, Track, Track.Look at the data to determine what’s working & what to target:- Referring queries- Rankings for those keywords- Your competitors rankings- Related keywords, queries- Breakdown by source / search engineTools: Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, SEOmoz, Seobook
14. Bounce Rate.Remember:Traffic from search is usually a first time visit.You must also optimize for retention, conversion.The landing page must be descriptive, welcomingand actionable.SEO is top of the funnel.Reducing bounce means increasing conversion.