Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines


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SEO is hard. It’s a sub-section of the digital industry that has never found common ground. It's nearly impossible to tell who's good at it and who's not.

Fortunately, you can lay a foundation for good organic search traffic by implementing best practices on your own website.

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Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines

  1. 1. Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines
  2. 2. Interactive Strategy Manager Swanson Russell Tony Sattler teesatts
  3. 3. What is LAUNCH? LAUNCHis an education and communication initiative that aims to bring account teams and clients up-to-speed on new trends and technologies in the digital space.
  4. 4. • Keyword Targeting • Off-Site Optimization • Website Optimization Key Elements of SEO
  5. 5. SEO is kind of like whack-a-mole. Something works for a while, and then Google squishes it, and new strategies come in vogue.
  6. 6. “Imagine your retail store was on a road that no one ever drove down unless they found it on a map. And then imagine that they redid the maps every week and the mapmakers refused to tell you exactly how they went about deciding which roads to draw and in which hierarchy to place them. Could you imagine finding investors for that sort of store?” Source: The problem with search engine optimization, Seth Godin
  7. 7. SEO is volatile. Like chemical compositions, when the web changes, it changes a lot. You need to constantly adapt so that your rankings don’t suffer.
  8. 8. “A study of search engine results pages revealed only 15% had no news, no local, no video, no image, no paid inclusion.” Source: Beyond Ten Blue Links
  9. 9. SEO is hard. It’s a sub-section of the digital industry that has never found common ground. It's nearly impossible to tell who's good at it and who's not. Fortunately, you can lay a foundation for good organic search traffic by implementing best practices on your own website.
  10. 10. 11 Website Optimization Techniques
  11. 11. #1 Generate Keywords
  12. 12. Build a competitive keyword spreadsheet using Google's Keyword Planner Tool. Keyword Discovery https://adwords.google.com/ko/ KeywordPlanner/Home‎
  13. 13. • Assess keywords for relevance and competitive opportunities. Use these keywords in 2+ times in page copy. • Use high competition keywords in page headers and the first few sentences of copy. Build Content Around Keywords
  14. 14. #2 Focus on the Long Tail
  15. 15. Long Tail Leaders
  16. 16. Long Tail Strategy • Find opportunities to write content on very specific keywords, rather than those with more search traffic. • A benefit of staying focused on long-tail content is that it usually delivers better conversion rates.
  17. 17. #3 Clean Up Your Appearance
  18. 18. Meta Titles • By far the most important part of on page optimization. • The title should not be longer than 77 characters in length. Use Keywords. • Use pipes to divide your phrases so they look natural.
  19. 19. Meta Descriptions and Keywords • Descriptions have a restriction of about 150-160 characters and have the same weight on the first several words of a sentence. • Need to be engaging to a user. Add top keywords but also convince them to click on your link.
  20. 20. URL Structure • Must be human-readable. • Use URL paths to give users a clear look at the page structure of the your website. • Use hyphens to separate words for readability. They should not use underscores, spaces, or any other characters.
  21. 21. Image Alt Tags • Images with alt tags allow search engines to match the description to the site's content possibly aiding in search engine rankings. • Over the past few years, Google has placed more emphasis on image search results.
  22. 22. Content Management of Meta • If your site has a built in CMS platform like Wordpress, Drupal, etc., you should be able to directly input meta content • You also can have a developer build your meta content into the page header code of static pages.
  23. 23. #4 Make it Easy to Use
  24. 24. Provide a Great User Experience • Content and Navigation is easily consumed and understood. • Design is aesthetically polished and fits the brand. • Page layout makes scanning easy and important content elements are arranged in a clear hierarchy.
  25. 25. Responsive Web Design Provide a friendly user experience for all site visitors, regardless of browser or device being used (including desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.).
  26. 26. Text vs Code • Search engines want your site to be fast and efficient. Minimalist is better in many cases. • In general, it’s best practice to use the least amount of code possible. Unnecessary tags incur additional page weight, slower downloads and more inefficient browser rendering.
  27. 27. Don’t Use Flash • Remove all Flash from your site. No flash banners, no flash movies, and especially no flash website. • Google hates it. • Flash isn't iOS compatible.
  28. 28. #5 Crawl Before You Can Run
  29. 29. Generate an XML Sitemap • Search engines use crawlers to index and rate your site for search results. • An XML sitemap can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better. • Many CMS offer auto-generation of XML sitemaps.
  30. 30. Submit Your XML Sitemap • Upload the XML file into the domain root folder of your site. • Check that sitemap is working at http://yoururl.com/sitemap.xml • Create a Google Webmaster account and add your sitemap URL.
  31. 31. Submit Your XML Sitemap
  32. 32. Useable = Crawlable Search engines need to know what menu sections you have that will appeal to users. Breadcrumbs links, links to social media pages and a text footer menu will assist the crawl.
  33. 33. #6 Eliminate Errors
  34. 34. Crawl Errors • Its important to have Google Webmaster Tools installed. This tool gives you information about any specific errors your site has, sitemap submission, and how your site is behaving. • Webmaster Tools displays a variety of different errors that can be easily fixed in content or with redirects.
  35. 35. HTML Improvements • Webmaster Tools also offers an HTML improvements section which will help your search appearance. • Google will point out issues with title tags and descriptions as they appear in their crawl. • Again, most issues can simply be fixed in content.
  36. 36. On-Page Report Card http://moz.com/
  37. 37. On-Page Report Card http://moz.com/
  38. 38. #7 Decrease Bounce Rate
  39. 39. Identify Bounce Rate Issues • Sites with high bounce rates get lower organic search rankings. • Use Google Analytics to easily identify pages that have bounce rate issues. Examine to see if page content is relevant to the keywords being searched.
  40. 40. #8 (Back)Links Are Your Best Friend
  41. 41. Ethical Link Building • “Link Juice” - It’s a popularity contest. • Just ask vendors, partners, clients, and any other credible source to embed linked keywords back to your site. • Embed links in your press releases.
  42. 42. #9 Be Social
  43. 43. Integrate Social Sharing • Include sharing options to the optimal social networks for the page’s audience. • As appropriate, employ 3rd party meta data such as tags for Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, etc.
  44. 44. Create a Blog • Use the blog to write about your niche content. • Do keyword research to find out what is trending in your industry and include them in your blog posts. • Link articles back to the website when possible and the blog will increase your visibility.
  45. 45. #10 Give Them What They Want
  46. 46. Content is Everything For SEO, the best strategy is, and will always be, creating authoritative content that people like and want to share. • Who’s your audience? Personas? • Where are the gaps in content? • Do you have the resources to build content? • Where/how will it be distributed? • How will you measure its impact?
  47. 47. #11 Be Patient
  48. 48. • Free - Keyword Spreadsheet - Google Keyword Planner - Sitemap Generator - Google Webmaster Tools - Google Analytics • Paid - Moz.com - SEMRush - Compete Pro - BrightEdge Tools Round-Up
  49. 49. Questions? Interactive Strategy Manager tonys@swansonrussell.com Tony Sattler