SEO Explained A beginner’s guide to understanding natural search Danielle West
What is SEO? Search Engine Optimisation The process which aims to get websites listed prominently within search engine’s organic / natural search results. Organic search results have not been paid for and are ranked by the search engine (using bots / spiders & algorithms) according to relevancy to the term/s entered. Organic search results
How are Organic Results Generated? • You! • Bots • Crawlers All web robots or “bots” • Spiders Bots are software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet. The largest use of bots is in web spidering, in which an automated script fetches, analyses and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human.
This Process can be Broken into 3 Steps: crawling indexing serving
Crawling • Bil ions of sites – New sites – Site changes – Redirected sites – Dead links • Multiple factors – Site type – Layout – Code language
Indexing • Semantics • Content • Meta data • Relevance • Location • Language
Serving • Google SERPS relevance is determined by over 200 factors • Content • Keyword relevance • New content • Site activity & clicks • Link popularity • Site age • PageRank
Humans versus Robots what humans see what robots see
Page Title & Description <title>Virgin Media; The Mother of al Broadband</title> <meta name="description" Content="The future of broadband is fast, fibre optic and half price from £4.50 a month when you take our £11 a month phone line. It's the mother of al broadband.">
Positive Factors in Organic Search • Content • Page Titles • Meta data, title, image & header tags • URL • Google authority • Site historical popularity/ activity • Site age • Quality/relevance • Global, internal & topical link popularity • Site structure, architecture & flow • Anchor text • Local and Google Webmaster Tools sitemap • Content update frequency • Text over flash and images • Bot accessibility
Negative Factors in Organic Search • Duplicate content • Keyword stuffing & overuse of keywords • Duplicate title tags & meta data • Slow server response time • Link associations with Spam sites, link schemes & link farms • Bot blocking • Flash-based sites* *Flash version 9 is S earch Engine friendly though text wil alway s beat Flash & images in ranking.
Black Hat or White hat? • White Hat • Ethical • Relevant • Content focused • Transparent • Quality not quantity • Gradual but enduring results • Black Hat • Unethical • “Instant Results” • Deceptive techniques • Secret tricks • Quantity not quality • Immediate but temporary results
SEO Strategy • Audit site • Research • Identify objectives & KPIs • Marketing activity • Analysis & measurement • Testing • SEO specific activity • Maintenance
Perform Site Audit • URLs • Site architecture • Navigation • Content • Images • Titles • Anchor text • Inbound & outbound links • Pages indexed
Research • Competition • Industry • Market saturation • Potential crossovers • Historic traffic • Benchmark ranking • Identify seasonal & industry trends
Analysis & Measurement • Check historic & current • Traffic sources • Popular keywords for visit & conversion • Time on site & Page depth • Overall conversion by source • Return on investment • Immediate ROI • Lifetime value • New v returns • Ranking • Brand keywords • Long tail keywords • High volume keywords
SEO-Specific Activity • Blogs; include links with keyword rich anchor text • Optimised landing pages usually as product description or CRM provide keyword-rich content & good content for users as well • Optimise campaign micro-sites & pages with tag lines or relevant keywords • Link audits • Link building campaigns • Ensure your content can be shared on social networking sites easily • Encourage engagement • Encourage UGC • Micro-sites & websites focused on key areas
Maintenance • Unavailable_after tags • Update XML sitemap • Update web sitemap • Audit & clean links • Quarterly site audit • Regular reviews & analysis • Stay current with structure • Competitor analysis • Fresh content • Look for trends & patterns • Learn & prepare for campaigns • Staff training • Conferences • Newsletters
Tips • Be relevant not fancy or clever • Pay attention to internal search terms • Learn from competitors • Slow and steady wins the race • Keep record of all changes & the subsequent impact it has on traffic, behaviour and rank.