“Think about what a
user is going to type.”
Matt Cutts, Google
- 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
- 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 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.
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 :)
1. Content is King.
Search “Nike Air Max 95”
Nicekicks.com #1, #2. Nike.com #3, #4.
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 corresponding
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
Content is King….
But Google has to be able to find it!
- 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
Best of lists:
from the top.
y to navigate.
and new Category list:
places. each link goes
Content & to topical
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
- 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’.
- 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.
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 impact
conversions by improving search result content:
Notice the search
title & description
are same as meta
tag. OPTIMIZED by
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.
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.
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
11. Blogging (Wordpress)
Blogging is a tremendously powerful. And under-utilized.
Wordpress is a great tool for SEO, traffic acquisition.
- install All in One SEO Pack Plugin
- make sure site “visibility” & “pingomatic” are on
- Optimize URL permalinks (per step #5!)
11. Blogging (continued)
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
Having other sites cover & link is
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)
to videos to
is a chance
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
14. Bounce Rate.
Traffic from search is usually a first time visit.
You must also optimize for retention, conversion.
The landing page must be descriptive, welcoming
SEO is top of the funnel.
Reducing bounce means increasing conversion.
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