Web Entrepreneurship S.E.O.
What is SEO? • Search Engine Optimisation • Making webpages more search engine friendly. • SEO should be considered from the start. • Domain Name • Site Structure • Site Design • Site Navigation • Site Topics • Headings • Subheadings • Content • Links • Usability • Accessibility
Why is it important? • 24% of marketers said that >75% of their traffic comes from search engines • 60% of students use search engines to find online retailers • 55% of online purchases were made on sites found through search engines • 80% of users reach sites through search engines • 48% of websites depend on search engines for the majority of their traffic (Various sources)
Why is it important? • Following Search Engine rules. • If your webpage fits the criteria for a certain search term, you’ll get top ranking. • Search Engine Optimisers • Modify webpages to fit the criteria to give a page a better chance of being selected.
Design with SEO in mind • It’s tempting to build a website, and then think about SEO. • Better to design with SEO in mind
Domain Name • Get a domain name that contains your keywords • But make sure it is still memorable… • www.AAA1-Chiang-Mai-Travel-Hotel-Guide-Bookings-Tourist.com • Is not a good domain name!
Website Structure • Usability • It doesn’t matter how good the content is if the site is frustrating to use. • Linkability • Remember the internal linking structure, and its effect on PageRank
Website Design • Flash? • NO! Search Engines rely on keywords to classify pages, while flash is mostly for entertainment. • Search Engines do not index flash files. • HTML • Yes! It’s easy and spiders have no problem indexing it. • But PHP etc. is fine so long as you use search engine friendly urls & links
Website Navigation • Spiders will rarely crawl deeper than the top 2 or 3 levels of a website. So possibly spiders won’t index lower level pages; • www.chiangmaiplan.com (level 1) • www.chiangmaiplan.com/golf/ (level 2) • www.chiangmaiplan.com/golf/maejo/ (level 3) • www.chiangmaiplan.com/golf/maejo/hole1/ (level 4) • Site maps can still lead spiders to lower level content.
Website Categories • You need to split your site into categories, but what are the right categories? • Digital Camera • Canon Digital Camera • Etc. • Make sure you have content that will cater for all types of searches.
Webpage Content • Spiders use the content to know where to categorise each page. • A page with no text (flash site) • Where should it be put? • A page with lots of text on lots of topics • Where should it be put? There are too many competing keywords. • The amount of content is also important.
Links • After content, links are the most important thing… • Some would even argue it’s the opposite way around. • PageRank • The link text is just as important as the link. • It is tempting to use an attractive graphical button for the link – but how can the spider associate keywords with the link?
Usability - Frames • SEO quite often goes against good site usability design. • Frames can make webpages much easy to use, but spiders can’t index framed pages as well as standard pages.
Internet Marketing Plan & SEO • How do you promote your site? • Affiliate Marketing • Pay per Click search engine advertising • Banner advertising • Newsletter advertising • Viral Marketing • Optimise your landing pages! • If you optimise your affiliate program page then more affiliate marketers might find your program
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords • There are many factors that search engines use to decide SERPS • Link popularity • Click through popularity • Webpage age • Webpage size • Number and quality of competition • … • Probably the most important factor though is keywords • If a page has no text, there is nothing to index
Web designers • Do a good job of designing attractive looking websites • But not such a good job of SEO, as they aren’t marketers. • Web designers also don’t know what keywords people search for. • And people use a lot of different words to search for the same product / service • Unless you have all the keywords, you’re not going to ‘win’.
SEO • Search Engine Optimisation • Search Engine Optimization • Search Engine Ranking • Search Engine Placement • Website Optimisation • Website Optimization • Search Engine Positioning • High Search Engine Ranking • Webpage Optimisation • Search Engine Promotion • Top Search Engine Ranking • High Search Engine Rankings • Better Search Engine Placement • Search Engines Optimisations
What Keyword? • Before you can start SEO, you need to know what keywords to target. • Fortunately there are plenty of tools out there to help you.
Which Keywords • Each webpage should concentrate on the following • 1) One keyword or phrase matching the page content • 2) Most frequently used by the target audience • 3) With the least number of competing pages.
1) Target one keyword / phrase per page • Sprinkle the keyword throughout the page to remind the spider that the page is important for that keyword. • But, if you have half a dozen different keywords on a page, the spider might think the page is too broad to be the most relevant for the keyword.
2) Most frequently searched for keywords • But how do we know? • Google Adwords • Check the “related searches” lists – this will give you an idea what other people have searched for. • Analyse the keywords used in your site search engine • Server Log File Analysis (or Google Analytics) • Educated Guess
Target keywords with little competition • Google Adwords • Wordtracker
Sprinkle uncommon keywords • Sprinkle less common keywords through your main body text. • If someone searches for a slightly obscure phrase, then your page will only be returned if it contains all the words in the phrase.
How many keywords? • Keyword Frequency • The number of times a keyword, or phrase, appears within a page. • Keyword Density • The ratio of keywords contained in the page within the number of total indexable words • Perhaps 1-3%
Keyword Density • Is more complicated than that. • Different search engines have different preferences • Different search engines will also calculate a different density for your page; • Stop words? • Word Stemming? • Keywords in particular HTML tags
Keyword Prominence • As well as frequency and density, prominence is also a factor • Words appearing near the beginning of the page, paragraph, sentence. • Certain HTML tags (title)
Keyword Proximity • How close keywords are together could also be a factor. • Consider a search for ‘dog biscuits’ • “We sell delicious biscuits for all breeds of dogs!” • “We sell the most delicious dog biscuits in the world!”
The <Title> tag • The title tag is perhaps the most important place for keywords. • Consider it as a short version of the page, where frequency and density are important. • Don’t have the same title for all your pages. • The heading tags are also important; • With <H1> having more priority than <H2> etc.
Images • Always add an ALT parameter to your image tags. • Not just for visually impaired users, but for keyword embedding too. • You can add a title parameter too. • Some search engines index the keywords stored in the tag.
Add keywords to links • Add a title parameter to your links too. • It’s spoken for disabled users, and adds a place for keywords too. • <a href=“mypage.html” title=“Ken’s Keywords”>
Word Stemming • Some search engines manage word stemming to return results beyond what is searched for. • Cheap • Cheaper • Cheapest
Stop Words • Some search engines use stop words to avoid having to process every word in the page. • Stop words are common words that are simple ignored.
File Names • It’s probably pretty obvious… • …but you can place keywords in your filenames and directory structure as well.
To Hyphen or Not to Hyphen? • Some SEO experts say keywords in a domain name don’t need to be separated by hyphens. • Others think that the keywords in the domain are important and should be separated. • http://www.chiangmaiplan.com • http://www.chiang-mai-plan.com • What do you think?
Hyphens • Consider: • http://www.newshut.com • http://www.sportsexchange.com • A case study investigated the hyphen question, and found that hyphens did actually perform better in serps, but will people remember the site?
Subdomains • Subdomains are another great place to add keywords; • golf.chiangmaiplan.com • vs • www.chiangmaiplan.com/golf/
Meta Tags • Meta tags describe the content of a webpage, and some search engines use the information stored in it. • The 2 most important tags are; • Meta Description • Meta Keywords
Meta Description • <META NAME=“description” CONTENT=“Welcome to Chiang Mai”> • Some search engines use the contents as the search result description. • Because this unseen tag can be maliciously abused, many search engines have devalued keywords in it, and some simply ignore it. • Only the first 135-250 characters are used, so there is no point in writing too much. • It should be enticing to visitors.
Meta Keywords • Most search engines now ignore the keywords meta tag as too many webmasters abused it. • Some search engines or results providers (Inktomi?) still use it, so it might be worth adding a few keywords.
Robots.txt • Add a robots.txt file to a directory to give instructions to spiders about what pages to index. • Search engines don’t have to follow the instructions, but most honour them. • But, why might you not want a spider to visit a page?
Robots.txt • Suppose you optimise the same page for different search engines (Google, Altavista, yahoo). If they are all indexed they will be tagged as duplicate content. • Perhaps you have some sensitive content, or content that isn’t ready to be published.
Robots.txt • Contains; • User-agent: the name of the spider you want to refer to e.g. googlebot. * indicates all robots. • Disallow: specify the directories / files that shouldn’t be crawled. • E.g. What would this do? • User-agent: * • Disallow: / • And this? • User-agent: * • Disallow: /*.gif$
Pet Spiders • Google: Googlebot • Altavista: Scooter • AlltheWeb: Fast • Inktomi: Slurp • Lycos: Lycos
robots.txt • Find out what people are blocking (or their sensitive files, by looking at their robots.txt: • http://www.bbc.co.uk/robots.txt
Things to avoid • Splash Pages • Little content to index • Flash applets aren’t indexed • What does the flash page do for the site? • Frames • Just use CSS instead! • There is a <Noframes> tag where you can duplicate the content
Things to avoid • Keywords in comments tags • Comments aren’t included in the index • Keywords in Hidden CSS layers • If the search engines catch you… • Keywords in Hidden form fields • Considered spam by all search engines • Keywords in Styletags • Again, not indexed
Getting more “Black Hat” • Doorways • Hallways • Cloaking • …
Doorway pages • Doorway pages are pages created simply to gain higher rankings for particular search phrases. • The content is aimed towards the search engine spiders rather than human visitors • Human visitors are then encouraged to follow links into the site, or often redirected with a meta-refresh
Doorway Pages • Google, Inktomi have publicly stated that doorway pages are spam. • So they might ban you. • But it is difficult to tell the difference between doorway pages and regular pages. • Often even humans can’t tell the difference.
Automatic Doorways • There is software available that can automatically generate hundreds of doorway pages, virtually identical. • Around 30-40% of the web is spam, with automated doorway pages responsible for much of it. • Search engines will remove doorway pages and penalise the responsible sites, if they catch you.