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How To Do SEO Right

Posted on Feb 19, 2012 in Digital Marketing, More Visitors: SEO & SEM | 0 comments

In two previous posts I wrote about why you need to optimize for search engines and what that means. In this post I give a series of checklists for what editorial, marketing, and technology needs to do to boost readership using SEO. SEO Part 3: How To Do SEO Right SEO is often delegated to the technology team, with the instructions “just optimize the site for SEO.”  There are certainly technology best practices in SEO, but they tend to be easily implemented by any reasonably good dev team. The bulk of SEO work is actually in marketing, content production, reporting, and analysis. You can’t just hand SEO over to developers expecting them to drive more search traffic to the site, or to magically raise the page rank. A lot of the responsibility belongs to marketing and editorial. Since this is a blog and not a book, I’ve broken out the “How to SEO” into three sets of simple checklists, for editorial, marketing, and technology: Editorial SEO Search engines use programs called “crawlers” or “robots” to analyze your site. These crawlers are not very smart; they don’t look for Pulitzer prize-winning stories. They only check for new pages, see what pages have been updated, and most important, they look for keywords and rank content by keyword relevance. Your stories have to be tagged; tags are your search keywords, and are important both for readers, who search using keywords, and for robots, who index you in a  search engine using those same tags. Make sure that tags reflect actual page content. Remember all proper nouns (People, Places, Things, Events), synonyms, and even common permutations. Some clever taggers even include common misspellings (not necessarily a good idea when tags are prominently displayed in a list next to your story, like HuffPo does). Remember that keywords are the words a person might type into a search engine; don’t choose phrases no one would ever actually type, and don’t pick phrases that are popular but would cause them to be dismayed that they linked to you. So if the story isn’t really about Lady Gaga, don’t add her as a tag, even if it might...

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What is SEO?

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 in Digital Marketing, More Visitors: SEO & SEM | 1 comment

In my previous post I discussed why you need to optimize for search. In this next installment of the SEO series, I explain a bit about what SEO really is. SEO Part 2: So what is SEO? Search engine optimization is the art and science of making your web pages rank as high in the natural search rankings as possible. Google is the largest search engine, with Microsoft’s Bing a distant second. Your placement on a search engine, or “page rank,” is a complex algorithm generally based on these attributes: Age of site (time since the site was established) Number of hits to the site (overall site traffic) Popularity (number of unique visitors and repeat visitors) Number of inbound links (links to your site from other sites) Quality of inbound links (high page rank sites will increase your page rank; low page rank sites not so much) Keyword density (based on keyword relevance as discovered by search crawlers, aka robots) Secondary characteristics like media, type, source, and domain Page rank is a measurement of the relative importance of your site according to the search engines. Like the Richter scale, it is a logarithmic scale, meaning that a rank of 5 is ten times higher than a rank of 4. For example, here are the page ranks of several major news sites: The New York Times: 9 The Wall Street Journal: 8 The Guardian: 7 Irish Independent: 7 The top 100 bloggers range from page rank 8 for blogs like The Huffington Post, Gawker, and The Onion (all 3 use a blogging platform for their CMS and are considered blogs) to page rank 6 for today’s #100 spot, a popular fashion blog. These are updated daily on Secondary characteristics are very important, and include: Media: Search engines like rich media, especially video. As we’ll discuss in an upcoming posting, video and images can increase your “Google juice.” Type: News itself gets special treatment in a search engine; blogs and social networking also increase Google juice. Source: Official news agency sites (especially government and community sites) typically get higher rankings as trusted sources. Domain: Your domain name (including your subdomain and...

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