Search Engine Optimization Analysis Training Notes
Search Engine Optimization Analysis Training Notes

These notes are a bit outdated, but the primary form and function of SEO hasn’t really changed all that much since 2000.  There are a ton off tools and resources that I will list at the bottom of the page for those looking for a quick entry into the world of Search Engine Optimization!

  • Only two important search engines at this point
    • Google
    • Bing
  • Sometimes SEO is not the problem
    • is site unprofessional looking or ugly, will not work if it is
    • quick test, load competitors in tabs next to your, then flip through and see if yours stacks up
    • usability is also critical, can your customers get what they want quickly and easily?
  • SEO Steps
    • search for indexed pages in Google and Bing, with same syntax
      • site:domainName.com
      • if unable to find, check syntax or check robots.txt file for any errors
        • most likely, there are so few links that the search engines don’t place very much importance on your content
    • Keywords
      • one or more words (1 – 5 words)
      • don’t assume you know the proper keywords, perform an analysis
        • Steps to keyword analysis
          • guess
          • check your competitors
          • Adwords Google Keyword Planner
            • finds keyword ideas based on sample keywords, or we can provide URL and Google will provide terms related to site, use one or other
    • Content really means text, and most components don’t harm and don’t help search engine placement
      • don’t use text in images or image buttons
      • content imbedded in flash doesn’t index well, and use useless with mobile devices
        • stay away from them
      • pdf’s don’t index well, either
        • convert pdf’s to html to allow them to index as normal pages
    • Frames
      • files within frames are often orphaned
      • frames reduce a pages optimization
      • data in frames does not increase search engine content on page
      • pop ups can be useful for providing contextual information, but they give no search engine value.  Consider alternatives
    • URL’s
      • getting keywords into file and directory names helps tell Google what the page will be about
      • good idea to not omit file extension from end of URL
        • .html, .php, etc.
      • put pages in folders, use dashes to separate words
      • make sure URL structure has no database strings or queries
        • use mod_rewriting or other form of URL rewriting
      • keep directory to 2 levels, 3 at most
      • use keywords instead of generic directory terms
        • “but product” instead of “shop”
      • Google recommmends that URL’s have keywords, in directory structure if not actual domain name
      • Create 301 redirect from www.domainName to domainName.com
        • add this to Apache server .htaccess file
          • RewriteEngine on
            RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^mydomain.com [NC]
            RewriteRule ^/?(.*)$ http://mydomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]
    • Title tags
      • Appears in head portion of document
      • Appears in title bar in browser, tab title, history, bookmarks, etc.
      • Conveys information about page to search engines
      • Serves as advertisement when chosen in search engines
      • Tips
        • Dont use same title tag on each page, use one with keywords relative to each page
        • Only use 60 – 70 characters
        • Use keywords at beginning of title tag, use company or website name for end, if at all
        • Capitalize important words in title
        • Don’t use unnecessary words, title tag should not be worded like a sentence.
    • Meta tags
      • read by machines, not people
      • most important is description
      • keywords isn’t really used anymore
      • can use Robots meta tag to direct search engines
      • can use Googlebot meta tag to provide archive instructions
      • can use geotag meta tags to mark your location
      • Description Meta Tag
        • Used to provide snippet of text beneath search result
        • use as a call to action, it isn’t used for ranking to a large degree
          • still want keywords in description tags
            • these display as bold in search results, helping them stand out
        • Tips
          • Only upto to 155 characters will be displayed
          • Try to have two lines
          • Titlecase (Capitalize words) to make it easier to read
          • Capitalize major calls to actions
            • FREE SHIPPING
          • Description tag is all about benefits to visiting your site
      • Keywords Meta Tag
        • not used since 2000
        • good idea to place some keywords, but don’t spend too much time as it probably wont help very much
        • keep under 150 characters
        • can place misspellings, makng it somewhat useful
      • Clearing Source Code
        • reduce page load time
        • three main areas to look for
          • stylesheets
            • don’t use inline or on page styles
            • link to the external document
          • Javascripts
            • link to external document as well
          • imagemaps
            • these suck, don’t use them.  Go with CSS relative divs, but make sure they are cross-browser compliant
      • Page Content
        • Text is king
        • Think keywords
          • dont have simple headings
            • “news” vs “product news” and “informaiton” vs “product information”
          • use keyword density tools examine figures
          • rule of thumb is that if it sounds clumsy, then you’ve stuffed it to much
        • Use H tags
          • tells search engines that text is important
          • format these with CSS
          • H1 for primary heading
          • H2 for secondary
          • H3 for everything else
        • Scatter keywords within body text
          • include them in bullets items
          • bold them
        • Put keywords in alt tag for image
        • Put keywords in image filenames and image directory names
      • Keyword Meta Tags
        • Make sure search engine can crawl your web navigation
        • items created with javascript probably won’t be read by search engines
        • Can also add link blocks to footer
        • Use XML sitemaps to ensure your pages are located, and use old school HTML sitemap if you have absolutely no other option.
      • Links Within Your Site
        • backlinks – link pointing from one site back to another
        • what Google did differently was look at links coming from other sites to decide what page is all about
          • this is based on anchor text
          • don’t use pointless text
            • “click here”
        • most sites suffer from too few links, not too many
      • Location Information
        • if brick and mortal location, can use geo meta tags and insert into top
        • search for geotag generator in Google, then copy and paste into header of page src.
        • put physical address in the footer of every page
        • in contact page, put address in title attribute and H1 and even URL if possible
          • put contact keywords in page
        • list all areas served
          • can create several location pages, each for different target town or neighborhood or other
        • Get links with location words in anchor text
      • Sitemaps
        • HTML sitemaps ensure that every page is reachable
          • try to use good anchor text in page links
        • in 2005, Google introduced XML sitemap which provides index of readable pages in site
          • very important for very large sites
        • Use plugin with CMS or use XML sitemap generator
        • Types of XML sitemaps
          • basic web pages
          • image sitemaps
          • video sitemaps
          • news sitemaps (only approved sitemaps)
        • Make sure to reference sitemap in Robots.txt file
        • Google Webmaster
          • Place sitemap in webmaster
          • go into settings and set non www version as main version
          • Do same for Bing
      • Backlinks
        • Links from different domains into your website
        • links help search engines find your site and pages
          • anchor text tells what the page being linked to is about
        • the more links pointing to your site, the more popular your site
        • the more popular sites that link to your site, the even more popular your site
          • essence of PR or page rank
        • first step is to determine backlinks
          • search link:domainName.com which is helpful but doesn’t show everything
          • Yahoo is better
            • search link:domainName.com, then select “except form this domain”
          • MajesticSEO is best backlink tracker
            • if you find none, thats a huge problem
            • make sure you are getting good keywords in the anchor text
          • To get backlinks
            • use friends and family that can give you links on their websites
              • in social media
                • linkedIn
                • Facebook Share
                • Twitter ReTweet
            • distribute press releases
            • Article marketing
              • examiner.com
              • suite101.com
            • respond to questions with backlinks
            • comment marketing
      • Local Search Submissions
        • Google Maps/Place, Bing Local, Yahoo Local
        • Tips
          • search if your business is listed
            • if it is, look for business owner link to add info to listing
            • if not
              • google.com/places
              • bing.com/businessportal
              • lisitngs.local.yahoo.com
              • make listing for each location
              • fill out form completly and add as much text and rich content as possible
          • get review from loyal clients
          • Geographic location can affect local listings if you are on outskirt of large city
          • url.org is business directory
            • can get away with $39 package