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SEO 101 for tech


Henry Phillips

on 5 February 2013

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Transcript of SEO 101 for tech

SEO 101 for developers How search engines* work What is SEO? * Note - we say "search engines", but we mean... Spiders/bots/crawlers travel the web, hoovering up content
They take it home for processing
Google applies complex algorithms
Content is included (or not) in the index
Users provide the final dimension: search terms What is a spider/bot? It's a software agent.
It's very stupid
It can't see pictures
It can't fill in forms
It can't execute JS
It's your most disabled user This is what it sees: HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Content-Location: http://www.pokerdiagram.com/index.htm
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 05:00:11 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Last-Modified: Wed, 03 Feb 2010 21:03:31 GMT
ETag: "3cc7245714a5ca1:a1c"
Content-Length: 14227

<DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<html lang="en">
<META name="verify-v1" content="C5VfOZtBa1X2tcHnxwEOfa7fec1qEJtRsw0MggbKzBE=" />
<meta http-equiv="content-type"
content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<script src="http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js"
<script type="text/javascript">
_uacct = "UA-172433-1";
<title>PokerDiagram - poker podcasting from London</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="stylesheet1.css" media="screen">

<link href="http://www.pokerdiagram.com/rss.xml" rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="PokerDiagram MP3 Podcast" />

<-- Start of StatCounter Code -->
<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">
var sc_project=683315;
var sc_partition=5;
var sc_security="34e038a7";
<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"
<noscript><a href="http://www.statcounter.com/" target="_blank"><img
alt="free hit counter code" border="0"></a> </noscript>
<-- End of StatCounter Code -->
<div id="container">
<div id="header" title="PokerDiagram">
<h1>PokerDiagram</h1> What does Google want to know?
Two things:
What is the page about?
How important is the page? Aboutness is difficult.
Google uses a variety of signals
to determine aboutness.
Page title
On page signals eg headings, bold text
Other page content
Incoming links clues - internal and external
Outgoing links
This is easy to get wrong... Aboutness The text within the <a> tag.
This is what allows Googlebombing

"These terms only appear in links pointing to this page"

To see the power of anchor text, Google "click here" Anchor text The importance of any page depends on:
how many other pages link to it
how important those pages are
Not a circular definition, but an iterated process

This is the fundamental insight of PageRank (which Google claims is nothing to to with pages) Importance LINKS Search engines like big indexes. Mostly, if you get crawled, you go into the index. Exceptions:
Insufficiently unique content aka "duplicate content"
Gibberish - although quite a lot gets through
Spam - again, a lot gets through Indexation Ensuring that your site gets the maximum benefit from search engines.

***Three secrets to SEO Success***

Publish fantastic content that people want
Let people know how great it is
Don't screw up the site Content SEO Marketing In SEO terms, linkbuilding Technical SEO Seven SEO issues to watch for 1) Changing Domains Don't do it.

If the boss or the marketing manager insists, then resign, or kill them.

Why so bad?

Age of domain is significant to search engines
New domains can be held up in the Google sandbox
Danger of losing existing content from index
Danger of losing existing link equity
Danger of losing brand equity

If you absolutely have to (avoiding legal action, etc):

Use Google Webmaster Tools to inform Google
Add 301 Permanent redirects, on a page-by-page basis where possible
Give dire warnings about loss of search traffic 2) URL discipline Many URLs --> one piece of content: BAD
One URL --> lots of different content: NOT GOOD
One URL --> one distinct content page: VERY GOOD Parameters One of the most common causes of multiple URLs pointing at the same content

Session and source information should NOT be in the URL
URL should be an address, not a set of directions 3) Changing URLs The number of changes to URLs should be kept to a minimum
Potential problems with internal crawlability/navigation
Danger of losing existing content from index
Danger of losing existing link equity

Where necessary to do so:
Keyword-rich, descriptive URLs better
URL structure should reflect site hierarchy
Guessable URLs a good sign
Ensure old URLs are redirected to their new counterparts via 301
Update internal navigation to reflect all changes
Update XML sitemaps to reflect changes 4) Internal linking To ensure crawlability and passing PageRank, use only standard HREF links.
Don't rely on Google NOT parsing other links also
Don't use rel="nofollow" unless there are UGC issues on your site eg forums, comments etc 5) Hidden content Don't do it.
Your heart may be pure and your reasons may be perfectly sound, but Google sees hidden content as an indicator that you may be spamming.
So, for example, don't put your "no results" message on your results page, and hide it when there are some results. 6) Control the robots One misplaced character in your robots.txt file can block your whole site.

User-agent: *
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Page level robots allow control of indexation at a more granular level. Be careful when specifying noindex or nofollow here. Google algo Q & A Other stuff XML sitemaps
Canonical URL element
Personalised search - social search
Paid links
Black hat vs White hat
Crawl rates
Metatags - description, keywords 7) Make it snappy Fast is the new good.

Sites that can serve pages rapidly have always had an advantage in terms of crawl rates, but Google is now strongly indicating that it considers pageload times to be a crucial indicator of site quality.
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