Danny opens the session with welcomes, ask for a hand survey on a number of “who uses this and that” type things and then announces his kids are here with him and in the room. I came in right as things were to start (with Dan Thies) and so we had to sit in the back of the room.
There are many ways to be listed in the search engines. Everyone would like to be #1 but we know that isn’t going to be the case. Google has free listings, or what we refer to as organic and editorial/paid listings. The paid listings are on the right side of the screen. Local listings has maps, directions and telephone numbers.
News and local search results are taking the number one and two spots in some searches lately, even if you don’t want to see them they popup. Says google is trying to showcase their local engine by putting the results in the organic serp space since people apparantely aren’t clicking those links off their main search page.
Why do they call it vertical search? Because the info is narrowed down to one slice of information. Free listings come from the search engines crawling the Web.
Don’t depend on free listings. It’s best to mix things up and have free and paid searchc listings (meaning – work the organic side and pay for ads). When you do, write a clear and concise call to action, know your message.
Use the top 10 phrases for your site and don’t use single keywords, use at least two words. If you don’t have the time or money to do the research for your terms, go with your gut. You know your business.
Where can you go to do research for your keywords?
Danny stops and does joke about his kids who now head out of the room. They’ve had enough of dad.
So – the research tools…. Use Wordtracker, Yahoo keyword tools etc. You can’t guess at everything people are searching for but you should have good content on different topics using html text. That means if you can cut and paste it, the engines can read it.
Ideally have a page or section with real content on it for each key term you’re going after. Hits for less important or long tail terms add up.
Danny explains process behind the long tail. Sometimes the less popular terms end up bringing in far more targeted traffic and end up equaling more searches than popular terms. He puts up a chart that shows the hits for primary keyword terms, and then the sum of all the long tail searches and surprisingly, the long tail terms produce more traffice.
The reality is, people searching for something specific don’t enter your site through the main dot com but through an interior page. The more people you catch with long tail terms the more people will come into the site.
How crawlers work.
They follow link and read age found Text of pages are stored in an index and when you search they are retrieved for matching text. Page content is crucial, Title is important, Design issues have an impact Link analysis plays an important role.
Other off the page criteria may be considered such as the age of the site, clickthrough and the neighborhood a site is associated with. Crawler should find some pages naturally and they especially like to get pages with many or important links pointing at them. Submitting may speed the listing process and may increase representation.
Danny lists free add your url list for Google, google sitemaps, yahoo msn and ask
What to submit
Submit home page and key section pages, turnaround for this could be a couple days to 2 months.
Should you deep submit? Use google sitemaps and submit a file with URLS to Yahoo.
Yahoo Slurp crawler.
Like google, yahoo has a crawler that may list your pages for free Like all crawler it may not find and include everything so yahoo also has paid inclusion program. Danny makes joke about bots having cute names.
What is paid inclusion? A submission program that guarantees your pages will be mixed into the free listings and revisited on a regular basis. Only Yahoo does this.
Why should you do paid inclusuion? Because you want to have pages added right away, you have dynamic pages or not all were picked up. Paid inclusion is definitely something you want to do if you have a product database.
Ground floor content.
Article was written by Debra Mastaler at Alliance LinkLook at each page in your site and ask yourself what words are relevant to that page. Try searching for those terms and see what comes back. Text in graphics don’t count and using alt text helps but isn’t enough. You need text on the pages.
Have the keyword phrases on your pages you want to be found for, use your keywords in your Title and descriptions. Don’t stuff either with keywords.
Title tag is your secret weapon. Keep it short attractive and enticing five to 13 words long, newspaper factual type writing. Avoid using all your terms in your title
Survey recently done about search rankings from a group of SEO/SEM professionals and most agreed the Title still very important. Yahoo still uses keyword tag, and probably Ask. Description tag is often supported – don’t leave it up to the engines to write your descriptions, add a description tag and have it say exactly what you want. Meta tags go into header area of pages
Google will use descriptions from DMOZ so if you don’t want this, use the no odp tags. Yahoo also has a no yahoo directory tag
Meta tags for blocking spiders robots tag is for page specific blocking If you don’t want a page indexed, use the robots.txt tag. Still best method. Danny provides a instructional link:: www.robotstxt.org.wc.exclusion.html
Meta reveisit tag? Means nothing don’t use it
Search engines would like it if you have big dumb ugly pages. They like plain text Design issues can impact ranking, so don’t use frames, flash and dynamic delivery Consider these issues when building a site.
Internat explorer market share at 85%, then firefox at 9.75 %, then safari at 3.13%
Danny makes joke about mac users ruling the world. Audience laughs
Eveyone searches so it’s important to design sites that engines can see.
More difficult for web site owners to manipulate links than their own pages So link analysis is a great advance in relevancy of crawler based listing and is a major component of google. Also used by nearly everyone else to some degree. Get out and link build
When it comes to links, it more than having a bunch, you need links from important sites Text around link is important and aAnchor text using keywords is important.
Search engines understand anchors tell them whats coming at next page.
Outlines miserable failure phenomena, links can influence – the pages never said miserable failure – just the anchors pointing at them.
In January google made some changes that when they see a large amount of text to a page they defused the google bombing issue
How do you find important pages? How do you get them to link to you?
Take your top terms list and search for pages, what comes back in the top results is what you want to get links from. Afterall, the engines think they are important enough to rank them well so they’re good enough to get links from. Also – people will be visiting them so you’ll get traffic. Non competitive sites will be easier to snag link from but try them all.
Be polite when you ask for links and let the site owner know you’ve visited the site. Danny puts up example of letter asking for links. Letter is very old, he did long time ago but it still works.
Make it easy to link. Make it hard and people won’t link
Google toolbar shows page rank visible score, does short review of history of page rank. Forget what you hear about page rank – listen to danny’s golden rule:
1. get links from web pages that are read by your audience. 2. buy links if visitors will come from the link itself and will justify the cost 3. link to sites because you want your visitors to know about them
The no follow attribute.
Some people want to link but not pass link reputation. Using the nofollow tells engines I’m not saying they’re great nor endorsing, I’m just giving a link.
If you swap or buy links beware that they don’t have nofollows on them. Google , yahoo msn – all support no follow
Directory listing and why bother
Directories humans groups sites into categories Yahoo directory and google directory are the largest and most popular Directory listings may help crawlers see pages as important and help rank
Google directory powered by dmoz which is owned by AOL. Don’t use exclamation points when submitting to directories, they don’t like it (joke)
Submit to directory use descriptive terms. Don’t fret if you don’t get into the DMOZ right away, submit and forget about it. Non commercial sites can submit for free in yahoo directory but it may take a while.
If you pay for the yahoo directory it’s 300 and most people get in. If you’re bounced they tell you why and you can resubmit
Search engine ads
Ads give good coverage in form of guaranteed paid placement. If you buy google and yahoo you buy them and a network of sites beyond them. Ads are successful are partially based on the landing pages they fall on. Make good landing pages. Ads are also distributed to others such as aol and ask.
Hard to know exact position of adwords, since ranked by cpc x clickthroughs/quality score
Yahoo and windows live (MSN) use similar ad programs.
Q&A (note – some of this was hard to hear as people were jostling about and the woman behind me TALKED the whole time.)
How do you know what description Google will use?
Google uses the description tag. But if they like what’s on your page they may use that too.
What’s a bad neighborhood? If you’re linking to a lot of low quality sites outside your niche that may impact you. Since you control whom you link to you’re held accountable for linking to quality sites.
Are the engines using alt tags?
Yes but they don’t count for much.
What should you budge for adwords? What you’re comfortable with. Do small tests.
Does bolding count for much? No, bolding doesn’t have a lot of influence with ranking because all those types of things can be spammed. Just bold when it makes sense for your visitors.
Article written by the most talented and wonderful Debra Mastaler from Alliance Link