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14 Steps to Successful SEO

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14 Steps to Successful SEO

  1. 1. 14 steps to successful SEO. Ryan Spoon: ryanspoon.com Polaris Venture Partners: polaris.vc Dogpatch Labs: dogpatchlabs.com
  2. 2. About Us: Sample Companies
  3. 3. “Think about what a user is going to type.” Matt Cutts, Google
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. How it works: basic overview. Google’s three steps: 1. 2. 3. Crawling Indexing Ranking 1. Google must first FIND your content. 2. After CRAWLING your site, they INDEX the pages. 3. And ultimately RANK them within the greater index.
  6. 6. 14 guidelines From very high level :)
  7. 7. 1. Content is King. Google’s goal is to match each search query with 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 :)
  8. 8. 1. Content is King. Search “Nike Air Max 95” Nicekicks.com #1, #2. Nike.com #3, #4. Why? Better content.
  9. 9. Page is huge! Product description, reviews, related products, etc Search “Canon Rebel”. Amazon #1. Canon #2, #3. Why? Better content.
  10. 10. 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 corresponding keyword portfolio.
  11. 11. 2. Keyword Portfolio. A great way to build the right keyword portfolio: 1. Use Google’s Traffic estimator 2. Then analyze results for those queries
  12. 12. 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)
  13. 13. 3. Example: Yelp Top locations Best of lists: linked right best from the top. content, conti “More” links nuously to sitemap. refreshes, eas y to navigate. Homepage content includes: popular and new Category list: places. each link goes Content & to topical categories hubpages. refresh.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 5. URL Structure. URLs are as important as the text! Should be descriptive and reflect the content. Good Bad
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 6. Example: HuffingtonPost. URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20 12/01/10/mitt-romney-new- hampshire-primary-results- 2012_n_1195638.html Page Title: Mitt Romney Wins: New Hampshire Primary Results 2012 Header: Mitt Romney Wins: New Hampshire Primary Results 2012 Content: reflects the above
  20. 20. 7. Meta Tags. - Less important than URLs, Titles and Headers… - But meta tags are easy, small wins and can impact conversions by improving search result content: Notice the search title & description are same as meta tag. OPTIMIZED by Amazon.
  21. 21. 8. Anchor Tags. Anchor Tags are important for two reasons: 1. They’re hyperlinks so they improve findability 2. They give context to links The same keyword targeting / optimization should apply to anchor tags as it does to URL, Title, Headers, Metas.
  22. 22. 9. Google Sitemaps Google Sitemaps are automated feeds that alert Google 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.
  23. 23. 10. Indexing Images Images are integrated into core search & in Google Images Use Alt Tags to optimize images for surrounding target keyword(s)… and to provide another route to accessing that demand: <img src=”URL.gif” alt=”shawn marion” title=”shawn marion dallas mavericks”/>
  24. 24. 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!)
  25. 25. 11. Blogging (continued) Other tips: Write about what’s currently being searched (Google Hot Trends is a great tool) Distribute & spread Submitting to Twitter, Facebook (public), Reddit, etc helps with findability. Having other sites cover & link is better!
  26. 26. 11. blog.readyforzero.com
  27. 27. 11. blog.kissmetrics.com
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 12. New Media (Example) From images to videos to blogs to location – each format is a chance to optimize and drive traffic.
  30. 30. 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 engine Tools: Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, SEOmoz, Seobook
  31. 31. 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, welcoming and actionable. SEO is top of the funnel. Reducing bounce means increasing conversion.
  32. 32. Learn more. Connect with us. polaris.vc dogpatchlabs.com ryanspoon.com @polarisvc @dogpatchlabs @ryanspoon fb.com/polarisventures fb.com/dogpatchlabs fb.com/ryanspoon