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Stephan Spencer: Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition

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					Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition By Stephan Spencer, Founder & President, Netconcepts

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

The 4 Big Keys to SEO
 Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses.  Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content.  Links – No links? No rankings.  Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

SEO Fundamentals  Tried-and-true SEO tactics
– – – – – Topically relevant links from important sites Anchor text Keyword-rich title tags Keyword-rich content Internal hierarchical linking structure

 The whole is greater than the sum of the parts  Synergistic effect of natural + paid search
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

SEO Fundamentals
 Links (internal and inbound, along with the anchor text) beat out content  Link building, link baiting, blogging, SMO are crucial SEO activities
– SMO (Social Media Optimization) = infiltrating Digg.com, del.icio.us popular, Netscape.com, reddit, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia,… – “A rising tide lifts all boats”

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Light on content, but on page 1 in Google for “silver earrings”

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Their CEO’s blog accounts for over 13% of online sales

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

SEO Fundamentals
 Rewrite your URLs
– Avoid ? & = characters, minimize directories, include keywords, hyphens preferred over underscores

 Rejig your hierarchical internal linking structure  Optimize your HTML templates and CSS
– Reduce code bloat, separate out “presentation layer” from “content layer”, image replacement, optimized elements like H1

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

SEO Strategies for Your “Head” Terms
 Focus a page on no more than 3 keyword themes – place targeted term in the title tag, H1 tag, & high up in the body copy  Build link gain (PageRank) to that page through internal links & inlinks  Consistent keyword-rich anchor text from internal links  For deep inlinks, vary the anchor text a bit

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

SEO Strategies for “The Long Tail”
      Focus on unbranded search markets Leverage website scale and brand strength Employ testable strategies that scale Treat consumers as co-creators Measure against a new set of KPIs Grow your long tail of search

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

The “Freeloaders” on Your Payroll
 Most merchants have 80%+ of their pages driving no search traffic  Most don't even know this, or why it is a problem (no javascript based analytics package will tell them this either)  It’s a red light that they lack a long tail of unbranded keyword traffic  The # of searches for unbranded keywords is nearly 40x as great as searches for the brand name (put another way, 97x the # of pages onsite)  Tapping that opportunity means leveraging the size of the website and the brand strength to convert unbranded searches into clicks  How to achieve this tail?
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Scalable Long Tail SEO Strategies
 Mass optimization:
– Single techniques capable of creating cascading effects throughout large websites – template pages for instance

 Rewriting URLs:
– Simple and static have profound impact on PageRank™ and traffic

 “Thin Slicing”:
– Touching key elements across thousands of pages quickly, monitoring, and expanding based on results
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Scalable Long Tail Strategies - Web 2.0
 User generated content (e.g., wikipedia)
– Freely append searcher vocabulary into your website

 Tagging and social bookmarking (e.g., Flickr, del.icio.us)
– Listen and create feedback loops – using search terms – Use cloud taxonomy to flatten your structure using good link text

 RSS and Blogging
– Long tail is driven by efficient distribution of pages

 Create link bait rather than soliciting link targets  Provide lists of most searched keywords  Long tail optimization means outsourcing … to your users
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Gone Off the Rails
 Misfires, mistakes, etc. often occur because your developers, sysadmins, or marketers “didn’t know what they didn’t know”  Examples…

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Not Spider Friendly
 GET http://www.bananarepublic.com --> 302 Moved Temporarily  GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do --> 302 Moved Temporarily  GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do?targetURL=http%3A%2F%2 Fwww.bananarepublic.com%2Fbrowse%2Fhome.do&CookieSet=Set --> 302 Moved Temporarily  GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/cookieFailure.do --> 200 OK

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Not so good title – where’s the phrase “credit card”?

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

No link text or body copy

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

No link text or body copy

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Duplicate pages

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Still feeling good about being at the bottom of page 1?

Search listings – 1 good, 1 lousy

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Title tags the same

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Spider unfriendly URL structures

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Yikes! Sears.com home page PageRank score looks abysmal

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Phew! – Sears.com true home page PageRank score
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

BMW.de hosted many “doorway pages” like this one

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

“Sneaky redirect” sent searchers to this page

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Hidden link – in the “All” of “All Rights Reserved” – leads to a hallway page

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Hallway page – not meant for human consumption – Let’s start scrolling…

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Everything still looks copasetic, until…

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

A-ha, spider food

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Screenfuls and screenfuls of it!

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Find Link Targets
 Review links of competitive sites, sites in your keyword market
– Use tools like the ones just mentioned – Check sites with high rankings for relevant keywords – The fewer the number of links on their page, the better

 Review links to your site; look for opportunities to get the link text revised

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Request Links
 NOT:
– – – – “Hi, Let’s swap links!” “I’ve already linked to you.” “Great site!” “You already link to our competitor XYZ.com and we offer a better product.” – “Please use the following text in your link…”

 Maybe?
– ”Hi, found a broken link on _____. btw, you might want to add xyz.com as a link.”

 What then?…
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Hi Lois,
My name is Eric Ward, and I am working with StormwaterAuthority.org to help them announce the launch of their new web site located at http://www.stormwaterauthority.org I am hoping you will consider mentioning or linking to the StormwaterAuthority.org site on your Water and Wastewater Engineering page at http://www.library.umaine.edu/science/waterresources.htm I have included a brief overview of the site below, and should you need anything at all I am a real person and actually reply to email. You can also contact me by phone. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards, Eric Ward (On behalf of StormwaterAuthority.org) eric@ericward.com voice 865.637.2438 ------------------------------------------------------www.netconcepts.com © 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts Overview of StormwaterAuthority.org
sspencer@netconcepts.com

Source: Eric Ward

More on Links...
     Some links get “discounted” Anchor text opportunities Linking best & worst practices Blogging for links “Baiting” for links

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Watch Out For…
 Types of links that are likely to get discounted:
– – – – – – – Reciprocal links Affiliated sites (on the same IP range or hostname) Footer links (at the bottom of the page) Site-wide links Links contained on a page called links.htm / links.asp Links with the exact same anchor text Remember: the more links on the linking page, the less PageRank you’ll get
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Update Link Text
 Link text (anchor text) is critical for SEO  Review your existing links and link text
– SEOBook’s Back Link Analyzer tool

 Are the keywords you are targeting in the link text?  Contact webmasters, particularly those who you have a relationship with & those with the most valuable links

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

SEOBook’s Backlink Analyzer

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Best Practices: Linking
 Offer link-worthy content. Keep it fresh.  Try to get good keywords in the link text  Make it easily shareable (RSS feeds, Email to a friend, Submit to Digg/delicious/etc.)  Simple keyword-rich urls encourage deep linking  When you redesign your site, keep your old URLs or 301 redirect them to the new URLs  “Nofollow” any links you don’t want to spend PageRank on
– <a href=“/privacy-policy.htm” rel=“nofollow”>
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Worst Practices: Linking
 Participating in “link farms” or FFA (“Free For All”) sites
– Hallmarks of a link farm = more urls per page & less organization

    

Splogging, comment spamming, guestbook spamming Linking to “bad neighborhoods” Hiding links Hoarding all your PageRank Unnatural link structures
– Too much symmetry, link text never varies, or otherwise “engineered”

 Acquiring links from sites all on the same IP block  Acquiring links only from the same TLD (.com, .org, .edu, etc)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Blogs
 Search engines – and Google in particular – love blogs  Inherently link-rich
– – – – – “Hat tips” – part of blog etiquette Blogrolls RSS feeds Trackbacks Comments

 The dark side of the blogosphere:
– Blog comment spam – Splogs (spam blogs)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Blog SEO
 Don’t leave title tags to be auto-generated. Use the “SEO Title Tag” WordPress plugin  Don’t squander your “crawl equity” by letting pages get indexed that don’t deserve to be (“Email this page” etc.)  Having multiple “homes” for your blog  Utilize “Optional Excerpt” to minimize duplicate content  Use rel=nofollow to direct PageRank flow (e.g. datebased archives)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Blog SEO
     Intro copy on category & tag pages with sticky posts Optimal URLs (short, not too many directories) Multiple RSS feeds, optimized Hosting blog/feed URLs on a domain you don’t own Use optimal anchor text when linking internally

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Link Bait
 Offer a niche-specific blogroll, tool, How-To, or compilation of news stories  Post a scoop  Expose a story as flawed or a fraud  Be a contrarian about a story, product, or prominent blogger’s opinion  Be humorous. Good topics include a bizzare pic of your subject, “10 things I hate about…”, and “You know you’re a when…” Source: Performancing
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Link Bait
 Publish or commission some original research  Creative-Commons-license photos you made of an event you’re blogging about  Make available for free a theme, plugin or piece of software  Start a meme that others can replicate and that links back to you (e.g. buttons/stickers/tools for bloggers/webmasters to post on their sites, contests, quizzes, surveys, etc.)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Get Creative
 Give awards / recognition
– Badges with link text underneath

 Allow webmasters to republish your articles
– Require a link in your byline

 Publish unique content
– Podcasts (e.g. SteveSpangler.com) – Screencasts (use TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio) – Wikis (e.g. SEOGlossary.com)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Get Creative
 Offer useful tools for webmasters, such as…
– Hit counters
• E.g. NOT like 123counters.com

– Weather stickers
• E.g. Wunderground.com, SuperPages.com

– RSS feeds
• Lottery winning numbers from SuperPages.com

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Get Creative
 Start a blog  Give testimonials
– E.g. www.wordpress.org/about/testimonials – E.g. www.keyworddiscovery.com/testimonials.html

 Sponsor a nonprofit
– E.g. Kohl’s supports the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association

 Leverage your affiliates
– Get a straight link (e.g. from Legal Notices page) – 301 redirect

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

The 4 Big Keys to SEO
 Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses.  Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content.  Links – No links? No rankings.  Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure)
© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Q&A!
 For an ebook on Google power searching, SEO checklists & worksheets, an audio recording of an interview with Matt Cutts of Google, and an audio recording, executive summary & transcript of an SEO thought leaders teleconference, e-mail your request to seo@netconcepts.com  To contact Stephan, email stephan@netconcepts.com

© 2008 Stephan M Spencer Netconcepts www.netconcepts.com sspencer@netconcepts.com

Social Media & Word-of-Mouth Marketing for Startups
Muhammed Saleem, ACS http://ACSseo.com


				
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Description: Learn SEO strategies and techniques for acquiring startup users & customers from search engines, links, & blogging.