Today, I was asked to look into SEO conferences in the United States. Here’s a listing of the major ones.
- Get listed, with a link to your site in local or category-specific directories. Local directories include Yahoo! Local, Google Places, and Yelp. To find category directories, do a web search for <your topic> directory. For example, if you’re a realtor, try Kansas City realtor directory, or Brookside business directory.
- Be sure each page has a unique title that makes sense out of context, and fits in about 60 characters.
- Take a few minutes to summarize your page content via the page/meta description. Do so in about 160 characters.
- Make your web content conversational. Be sure it answers your visitors questions. A great book on writing for the web is Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works. I also have a post on Writing for the Web.
Agenda for SEO 101
- SEO & why it’s important
- SEO Factors
- Tools for SEO
- SEO & WordPress
SEO 101 Slides (PDF-file)
Use SEO tools to evaluate your progress
Online SEO Tools
- SEOmoz Tools – A comprehensive suite of SEO tools (some require paid subscription)
- Yahoo! Site Explorer – Examine who’s linking to your site.
- SEOmoz Term Target – Assigns a letter-grade to a page that represents how well certain keywords are targeted.
SEO Browser Extensions
- SEOmoz Toolbar (Firefox and Chrome)
- SEO Site Tools (Chrome)
- Quirk SearchStatus (Firefox)
- SEO Quake (Firefox, Chrome & Safari)
- SEObook – SEO for Firefox
WordPress SEO Tools
- All in One SEO Pack – Allows you to customize just about everything related to SEO.
Learn more about SEO
- Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF file)
- SEOmoz Search Engine Ranking Factors – Report from collective wisdom of 37 leaders in the world of organic search engine optimization.
- SEOmoz Beginners Guide to SEO
- SEO Infographics from Elliance – Learn SEO visually with these infographics.
Changes to search engine result pages mean big wins for SEO
Domain stacking, went live about two weeks ago, allows the same domain to appear in top 3 results. For this to happen Google must consider your site a brand. It’s a great way to filter out competition.
Additional metadata, you can now embed ratings for your content, number of reviews, price range. When a page is about a person, you can also embed companies, titles. The big one is thumbnail images. Having a thumbnail has a big impact on the number of click-throughs.
Winning Rankings in Local Search and Maps
This is one area where Google isn’t the dominant player, as they are on the rest of the web. The importance of local search is more important than ever before, especially if you’re targeting a specific region. Google is already doing some geo-location based on your IP address and returning local results, when available. Local does have the potential to push organic listings down.
One of the best research tools is Google Insights, which allows you to narrow down by location. The algorithm for local is vastly different. In tests, restaurants with Flash web sites are ranking in local results. Local Search Ranking Factors is a report which is updated yearly.
Claim your place: It’s important to claim your places, to ensure the search engines and local directory services know they have the correct info for your business. There’s so much bad data in local data, verifying data goes a long way for ranking. Only 2 or 20 million have claimed their Google places page. The other 18-million were fed from Acxiom, InfoUSA and Universal Business Listing.
Use the name of the business in the title, along with one-two descriptive keywords.
Example: name of business, North 45; provide a keyword or two, such as North 45 Pub, but don’t overdo it, such as North 45 Pub – Drink beer, meet local area singles.
Fill out as much information in your listing as possible. Include links to your site, photos of your business, special incentives, etc. If you have multiple locations, fill out and verify each location individually. It’s also a good idea to add your business address and geo-coordinates to your Wikipedia page, if one exists.
Tracking successes: You can set up Google Analytics to track traffic from local results in SERP’s.
How to Pitch SEO
Find the people who know SEO works, get them to choose you. Understand that overnight success takes years. Provide knowledge, offer training. When you do host an event, don’t do it for free, charge a small fee. This will help you plan how many people are committed and will attend.
Don’t pitch in your pitch. No one wants to hear a sales pitch. Pitch by sharing knowledge when speaking at events and posting blog content. Aim to build trust. Everyone in your business should share. Don’t hold back, the more you educate, the more people will come to you. You must give potential clients primary research. Do research and give it away in your pitch. Examples: spreadsheet of keyword stats, client standing in SERP’s, competitive analysis, etc. Show them stuff they haven’t seen yet, and won’t see in other pitches.
Make engineering and developers your friends. They are critical to making anything happen. Make them believe in what you do. They have goals they’d like to accomplish, all of these things feed directly into SEO. Help them make their case with SEO.
Remove objections, dispel myths about SEO. Compare SEO and costs to other marketing channels, use data to back up your story. Show how small changes can make a big change over time. An increase of 2%/month might not seem like a lot, but if you sustain it, it will compound over the months and years. Leverage social proof. Everyone agrees that SEO will increase effectiveness, according to a Forrester Research Study. If you’re not adding 20% per-year to your SEO budget, the competition is gaining on you.
Site Architecture + Technical Best Practices for Big Site SEO
It’s important to realize SEO can move slowly in large, corporate environments. Much of your effort will be education and marketing of your IT, Marketing, Editorial, Production staff. There are often lapses in communication throughout this process. Understand challenges and prioritize, based on evidence.
High-priority: Sitemaps, education, 301′s, template optimization (for on-page), rel-canonical, rewriting URL’s, how much will each of these make/cost?
Low-priority: Page load time, link flow, video and image SEO, duplicate content, CMS overhead.
From New York Times experience: You must take a different approach with experienced editorial staff.
I’m registered and ready to attend SEOmoz PRO Training Seminar, August 30 – September 1, 2010 in Seattle, WA. The conference provides an arsenal of Tips, Tricks & Tactics to elevate SEO skills.
Lets Meet in Seattle
SEOmoz PRO Training Seminar in Seattle
- Follow SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar (Seattle) attendees on Twitter.
- SEOmoz PRO Training Seminar Agenda (1-pg PDF)
- RSVP to the SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.
Parameters & Google Search Appliance
Search Protocol Reference for Google Search Appliance is a good place to start to see all available parameters and what they include.
Additional fields can be added to search forms to retrieve content based on meta-data, collections, date ranges, page titles, sites, and more.
URLParams plug-in for Firefox as an easy way to view and modify parameters after submitting a search.
Use getfields = * to return all meta-data for pages. If you’re going to use meta-data in your search results you must get meta-data using this parameter.
Boolean logic can be used with any parameter or collection. AND (.), OR (|), NOT (-), use parenthesis to direct to evaluate Boolean first.
Enhanced Simple Search
Using operators, but operators may be difficult for users to remember. These can be submitted in the URL string using form fields in search.
Use a simple HTML form to submit data strings on search.
Google Admin Interface
Set where to get dates from your pages using Document Dates (under Crawl and Index).
Collections Versus Meta-data
Collections are vertical. Examples, all PDF’s, all Word files, sub-section(s) of your site, or multiple web sites.
Meta-data is horizontal, across all collections.
Start out using the advanced search out of the box. By looking at the source of the page, you can see the page is generated using an HTML form.
Google Search Appliance Form Generator was built to help people understand how to put together advanced search interfaces. It generates a form which can be used as a start for your search interface. It also gives you hints for various search parameters.
Site Search Analytics – what users want from your site, in their own words.
A little goes a long way. The Zipf distribution, shows that investment in results for most frequent search terms can go a long way. Focus on small number of most popular search terms, work on those, then pick another small chunk.
Users stop (and maybe search) when they lose the scent of information.
Search Terms or Queries
Interesting parallel between meta data and what people search for on your site. Meta data distills content found on a page, and search queries distill what user is looking for on the page.
Cluster your queries and determine which terms seem to mean the same thing? This will enable you to learn more about users’ language and tone. This also gives you a sense what might go into taxonomies, meta data and page content. Can give insight on what types of what facets you might consider for your search.
Determine content type
What kind of content is a user searching for when they use various search terms. Applications, news, reference content, contact info, instructions. This allows you to create a ranked list by content type which allows you to better understand contextual navigation. Content type can also be use to improve search performance, using content type as a search facet. Understand seasonality to determine editorial schedules.
What is unique about your queries? Product codes, course codes, proper nouns. If you see product names or unique queries you can identify, try to give search results more context, make your query string suggest sorting. When queries begin to spike, compare to current content and determine if there might be a need for more content on this topic.
Use numbers for proof you need to de-jargonify
Are people searching for jargon, where do search terms cross your company jargon? Focus on naming content what it is.
Key is to constantly tune your site’s performance. If you’re always looking at what users want from you, you have more of a chance of satisfying them than you do spending x number of dollars on a redesign every x number of years.
Remember to analyze failed search terms. Look at successes and failures in processes.
What are top pages where user searches from? What are the search terms for each page? Is page titled in an unclear or ambiguous way? Are you missing content from the page?
Test performance of most frequent queries. Measure using original two sets of metrics.
- Relevance (or queries with the best result).
- Precision (assess each result on a scale or relevant, near, misplaced, or irrelevant).
“Relevance will only work if you have an idea of the best results”
Getting Started with Site Search Analytics
If you use Google Analytics, you must enable search query collection in the settings.
Help to design an experience. Used to prototype and indicate JS functionality. They are used for page searching and modification, CSS and DOM organization, handle events, animations, transitions and AJAX (get and submit data without page reload).
Core Libraries and UI Libraries, many are considered hybrids.
Object-Oriented Programming – C#, Java, ActionScript 3. Individual components allow greater flexibility. In a well-written object-oriented program, all components function independently.
Package – Filing cabinet or a folder, where files live.
Class – The most important. In order to have and use an object, you must define it. A class defines your objects. You can think of a class as a blueprint. You can’t actually use a class, it’s just the definition of the object. The class is stored in the package.
Object – Defined in the class. What you use in your program. In many cases the term object and instance are interchangeable. This is the house or where you do things.
Property – The nouns of the object. The items in the house. Defining the parameters of the object. Variable = property.
Methods - The verbs of the object. To-do list, things you do in the object. Function = method.
Dot Notation – If you have a class inside of a package, this is how you reference it. If you’re calling a property of an object, you reference using dot notation. Examples: flash.display.MovieClip, txtFirstName.text, etc.
WordPress is the worlds most popular blogging software.
Must plan ahead for content structure. Many think WordPress isn’t capable of doing things such as departments, features, columns and sections. WordPress templates let you to filter by category name or category number. Start with a clean and logical system to simply this process. Ability to set up RSS feed for each category. Sections are set up with slightly different color schemes. Ability to display related articles on an article page left nav.
Category for front page, items classified here show up on home page. Create an e-newsletter by creating a category for stories you wish to appear in your newsletter. Keep category slugs short, but descriptive.
To change automatically generated category ID numbers, you must go into MySQL and update two tables.
Normal editorial workflow includes Story Creation, Copy Editing, Line Editing, Publishing. You must extend WordPress plug-ins and techniques to enable each of the workflow steps to work in WordPress.
Plug-ins to enable real-world editorial workflow
- Custom Field Template
- Get Custom Field Values
- Co-Authors Plus
- Capability Manager
- Peters Collaboration E-mails
- In-Series (if story is part of series)
- Custom Field Images
- Simple Pull Quote
- Peters Post Notes (internal notes which never get published)
- Remind Me (for cross references within your site, if you change permalink structure, links continue to work)
- Public Post Review (send proofing link before posting it on the site)
- Suma (to allow paid subscriptions, this one isn’t free, but worth the price)
One of the big limitation is the WordPress loop, or the text in the body of the post.
WordPress Limitations and Solutions
Slides at http://bit.ly/D2WCPSB