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Search Engine Optimization for Journalists

A crash course is SEO for journalists.
by

Aram Zucker-Scharff

on 18 March 2012

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Transcript of Search Engine Optimization for Journalists

What is SEO and where does it live? A crash course for journalists Here's what Wikipedia has to say: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site or a web page (such as a blog) from search engines via "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results as opposed to other forms of search engine marketing ("SEM") which may deal with paid inclusion. The theory is that the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence. But what does it mean? SEO is the art of getting here SEO employs HTML keywords and links The first thing most search engines see are <META> Tags The most important
SEO META tags are Title
Description
Keywords The Title tag tells search engines what to call your article. It's usually the content's title, which should contain relevant keywords. Don't make it too long...
but fill it with relevant information 60 characters max! The Description tag is
a summery for search engines On many sites search engines
populate the description tag with the summary Make sure your summery includes relevant keywords and a good description of your story. A good lede would make a perfect description tag. If your lede isn't 160 characters (including spaces) you should make it 160 characters. On some sites without summery fields, the search engine may just pull that first paragraph. 160 characters max! The keywords tag helps your article show up when people type certain words into a search Many sites allow you to add these keywords
when you write the article. But where do you get keywords from? Another important element of SEO is linking, both to and from your site. Inbound When people link to your article Outbound When you have links from your article Reciprocal When a link is exchanged ? Link events to their homepages Places to local government or Google Maps Related content People's LinkedIn, personal home pages or Twitter Company pages and their products on Amazon Important sources used for the article And how should you code the links? Link with Transparency & Common Sense What types of inbound links should I try to get
and how can I get them? First, you need to know about Page Rank PageRank is used by Google to determine the relevence to a user's search and the importance of a page. For example: Wikipedia's page rank is 9
CNN's is 10
My University's is 7
Twitter's is 9
LinkedIn's is also 9
Facebook's is 10
PageRank = 9 PageRank = 10 PageRank = 9 PageRank = 7 My University! PageRank = 9 PageRank = 10 Note: .EDU sites automatically get a higher page rank. Links from higher page rank sites translate into higher exposure on search engines. So the more links you have the better. Status updates Comments Link exchanges Summaries Upvotes Link directories Another place search engines look for keywords is inside
heading tags <h1> </h1> <h2> </h2> Be consistent Be constant Market yourself
and your content. Aram Zucker-Scharff http://bit.ly/aram
@Chronotope

Assistant Director
Office of Student Media
George Mason University But what should you link? <a title="The City of New in Some State USA" target="_blank" href="http://newcity.gov"> New City </a> The title element indicates what the link is to and what terms the linked page should be associated with. Link to pages and assign them the title you'd want to use to find that content.
The title should contain keywords. The more incoming links, the higher your Page Rank The higher your Page Rank, the more value your links have towards others' Page Ranks. Every link into your page casts a weighted vote Page ranks are on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher your page rank, the better. Identify common keywords for your site (10-20) and focus your efforts. You want to pick your battles.*
Use GoogleAdwords to see keyword search stats. You can see local and global statistics.
Find the value of your keywords. Other useful HTML <b>
<i>
<img alt=""> The anchor text matters. Who do you want linking to you? Internal links also help boost your Page Rank. Links to content (deep links) are better than links to your home page *Don't fear the long tail. Useful monitoring tools Google Webmaster tools
http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools Google AdWords
http://adwords.google.com Google Analytics
http://www.google.com/analytics Website Grader
http://websitegrader.com
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