SEO 101 | New York University

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SEO 101 lecture at New York University

Text of SEO 101 | New York University

  • 1.

2. 3. How search engines work
Early search engines
Found pages based on on-page content
Easily manipulated results
4. How Search Engines Work- Google
In 1998 Google was publically launched
Innovative pagerank algorithm
5. How Search Engines Work
Crawling and indexing the web
Crawlers follow links to find interconnected documents
Store relevant information for future retreival
Data is stored on over 1 million servers spread over at least 36 datacenters around the world
6. 7. How Search Engines Work
When a user types in a query the search engine returns results based on relevance and importance
Early search engines focused primarily on this step
Importance=links (pagerank)
And hundreds of other signals
8. Why is SEO important
Nearly 400 million searches performed each day (over 15 billion per month) comscore, april 2010
Google captures 65% of share (10 billion)
Yahoo 18%
Microsoft 12%
9. Why is SEO important

  • 36% of users agreed that "seeing a company listed among the top results on a search engine makes me think that the company is a top one within its field." iProspect & Juniper Research

90% of users click on a first page result
34% click on the 1st result
17% click 2nd result
#1 ranking earns 2x the clicks as #2
#1 ranking earns 13x the clicks as #10
10. Why is SEO important
Search is extremely popular (15 billion searches per month)
Position in serps is critical (90% of clicks are 1st page)
11. How do you improve your rankings?
3 core components of SEO
Site architecture (on-site)
Content (on-site)
Links (off-site)
12. Site Architecture
Indexable content
Page title
meta data
alt tags
13. Site Architecture
Problematic content
Text vs images
Use alt tag for images
14. Site architecture
How search engines view sites
Lynx (text-based browser)
Turn off images, javascript, css in browser (web developer extension in firefox)
15. 16. Site architecture
Crawlable link structure
Anatomy of a link
Anchor text
Absolute vs relative links
17. Site architecture
Site hierarchy
3 click rule
18. Site architecture
What prevents links from being crawled?
Form based navigation
Javascript (google is can parse javascript, but its still questionable)
Iframes & frames
Blocked by robots.txt, rel=nofollow, meta nofollow
Too many variables in URLs
19. Site architecture
Best practices
No variables
Consistent hierarchy
Separate with hyphens
20. content
Anatomy of a search result
Targeting keywords
Use in title, on-page copy, url, meta description
21. content
Title tags
Most important on-page factor for targeting keywords
best practices
70 characters or fewer
Important keywords first
Use target keyword once with one variation
Plurals, alternate usage
22. content
Meta tags
Meta description
Used for click thru rate (ctr)
Google sometimes chooses to use a more appropriate on-page snippet, depending on the search query
No influence on rankings
23. content
Best practices for targeting chosen keywords/phrases
Use keyword in title once, and one variation
Use keyword (or variation) in header
Use in body copy
Multiple times and variations
Keep it natural
Use in meta description
Use in URL
If possible & naturaldont force it
24. content
Latent semantic indexing
Analyzes relationships between words & phrases
Places additional weight on words in content
Correlates surprisingly well with how a human might interpret a document
Apple vs apple
25. content
Duplicate content
Same content appears in multiple locations on sitewhich one should search engine serve to users?
Standardize, choose one URL for each piece, and stick to it
Widgets.html and widgets.html?key=test are seen as two different pages,, can all be seen as separate pages
26. content
Duplicate content
Pages targeting the same keywords compete with each other
301 redirects
Canonical tag

Meta noindex
27. Keyword research
Crucial component of SEO
Knowing which keywords to target
28. Keyword research
Keyword research tools
Adwords keyword tools - and all affiliated search properties (youtube, gmail, chrome, news, etc.) - solely on searches on
Wordtracker paid
Trellian keyword discovery paid
Google suggest
Google related searches
29. 30. 31. 32. 33. Keyword research
Use googleadwords (or yahoo search marketing or microsoftadcenter)
34. Keyword research
Short tail vs long tail
35. Keyword research
Types of queries
Obtaining information is goal of user
E.g. regions in italy
User has pre-determined destination in mind
E.g. facebook
Complete a task
E.g. pay nyc parking ticket
36. links
Serve as votes
Democracy of the web representing whats important
Most important element of how pages are ranked
SEs rank pages based on the quantity and quality of links pointing to them
Most difficult element of SEO
37. links
Types of link acquisition
Linkbait-bordering on manual
Usually cannot control anchor text
Link solicitations, directory submissions, content distribution, blog comments, guest blog posts/articles, profile links
38. links
How links are valued by search engines
Link popularity of linking page/site
Topicality of linking page
Anchor text
Location of link
39. links
Interesting enough to catch peoples attention matt cutts
Encourages natural, editorial links
Create sensational content
Interesting research
Top * lists
Anything users would find interesting
40. 41. 42. 43. links
Linkbait best practices
Email relevant blogs and other sites
Make it easily sharable
Submit to social sites
Digg, reddit, stumbleupon, etc.
Having friends helps-powerful accounts help content spread easier
You can sometimes pay power users or specialty companies to submit content for you
44. links
Directory submissions
Most general directories created over the past few years are built for SEO purposes, not users
Their ability to pass pagerank has been reduced/eliminated by the search engines
Some directories require reciprocal links
45. links
Directory submissions
Some general directories are still valuable (editorial policies in place)
Yahoo directory - paid
LIIlibrarians internet index - paid
Used to be a big factor in rankings, but corruption and neglect have diminished its value
46. links
Niche directories
Can be very effective
Search for directory + keyword, add link + keyword, add url + keyword, and variations
47. links
Stroke webmasters egos
Youve won!
Awards, top resource lists, etc.
General suggestions
Hello, FYIwe just published this interesting piece of content. You may find it interesting. Feel free to share with your users.
48. 49. links
Guest blog posts/articles
Link in attribution
Content distribution/licensing
Very powerful sites can outrank you for your own content
Make sure you get a link in the attribution
50. links
Leverage relationships
Include links as part of other business deals
Create custom content if need be
Ask customers for links
51. links
Profile links
Blog comments
Forum signatures
Low quality, but can help with content discovery and provide signals to Ses
May help with rankings in very low competition verticals
52. links
Buying links
Beware of link brokers
Text link ads
Text link brokers
All are potentially dangerous and not worth the money or risk
53. links
Buying links
Advanced link brokers
Leased links
Can be very useful in hypercompetitive verticals where natural links are difficult to acquire
E.g. gambling, pharmaceuticals, lending
54. links
Buying links
Negotiating purchases yourself*****
Be very careful
Make link placements look natural
Ideally negotiate a one-time payment
Have seller sign NDA
Use an alternate email account and dont initially mention your sites URL
Posing as a female often produces better results
55. links
Types of links to avoid
Link exchanges
Including 3 way link exchanges
Free for all pages
Blatantly paid links
Links from bad neighborhoods
Your friends can reflect poorly on you
56. links
Competitive link analysis
See who links to your competitors
Yahoo site explorer or lin