Class 13

Topics: Search Engine Optimization, WordPress Resources
In-class:
Working with team
Deliverables due: Home page & landing page (Technical Producer)
Deliverables due next week: Mobile web prototype (Technical Producer)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Five Basic Steps

1) Meta Tags
2) Home page title
3) Home page content
4) Initiate link agreements with other websites
5) Submit site to search engines and directory services

Step 1

Keywords Meta Tag
Example from Starbucks Web site

<meta name=”keywords” content=”Starbucks, Starbucks.com, Starbucks Corporation, Starbuck, Starbucks Card,
Gift Card, Coffee, coffe, coffie, Coffee beans, Coffee sampler, Coffee at home, Coffee gifts, Coffee
brewer, Coffee brewers, Coffee maker, Coffee makers, Business Gifts, Corporate gifts, Espresso machine,
Espresso machines, Espresso, expresso, espreso, Encore, Foodservice, Frappuccino, Gifts, Home delivery,
Latte, Mocha, Music, HearMusic, Hear Music, Mugs, Office Coffee, Tazo, Pods, coffee filter, Brewing
Equipment, Steep, Tea, Ice Cream, Double Shot, Brewing Equipment, Seattle, Pike Place, 1971, Siren,
doubleshot, jazz”>
  • Include keywords or phrases of all subjects related to your site
  • Place a comma after every keyword or phrase (except for the last one)
  • You should use many applicable keywords for your web site. You can use up to 1000 characters (80-90 words) for the keywords in the tag.
  • Don’t repeat keywords more that 4-6 times. Your site may be disqualified by search engines if you do (it is considered keyword spamming)
  • Only use keywords related directly to your web site. Search engines check the keywords against the content of your site and will disqualify sites that put fake keywords in their list.
  • Put your most important keyword or phrase first in the list, and place the rest of the keywords in order if importance.
  • Include the misspellings of commonly misspelled keywords in the list
  • Use upper case letters only for proper names

Description Meta Tag
Example from Starbucks Web site

<meta name="description" content="Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand
of specialty coffee in the world. The Company's other brands enhance the Starbucks Experience through
best-of-class products, including Tazo Tea Company and Hear Music.">

The description text is used by about half of the search engines to describe your site in the results section of a completed search.

  • The description should be a 1-2 sentence description of your web site with maximum of 250 characters (25-30 words)
  • Use as many of your important keywords in the description as possible, especially your primary keyword
Step 2

Home page title tag
The title tag serves to identify your site to the user, as well as to the search engines

  • The title can be up to 100 characters
  • It should include as many important keywords/key phrases as possible
Step 3

Home page content

The home page content is important because many search engines use this text to analyze the site and create appropriate match-ups with search requests.

  • Put your most important keyword phrases in larger text and make it bold.
  • Include your important keywords in your content, and place these keywords in the upper part of the web page. The search engines check your keywords against your page content.
  • Limit the amount of content on the home page, and focus on your most important search words. Put the most important searchable content at the top of the page.
  • If your content is embedded in images, be sure you use ALT text for all images.
  • If your page is heavy in images, you should also include HTML text of your content. If you want to hide this text, there are a few techniques: put the text in a layer, but put the layer off the page. e.g. the left/top coordinates are set to -500, -500. When you create the layer, be sure the actual HTML is near the top of the document because the search engines will pay more attention to it.  You can try to conceal the text, but some search engines will reject sites that make text the same color as the background or make the text size=”1″, especially both.
Step 4

Initiate link agreements with other websites

Many search engines (especially Google) determine the placement of a site based on how many other sites link to the site.

  • To increase the numbers of sites linking to your site, initiate link exchanges with other sites. These work by a mutual agreement where each site links to the other site.
  • Make sure any of your affiliated sites have links to the your new site. Often companies will create multiple sites related to a topic, and link between them to enhance their position.

If your site already exists, you can search for other sites that link to your site and see how well you are doing. In Google, go to Advanced Search and find the Page-specific field called “Find pages that link to the page:”

Internal links

It’s important to have links within your site to your different pages.  The text used in the links is also very important and should directly correspond to the key phrases you would like people to use to find these pages when  searching.

Step 5

Submit site to search engines and directory service

Search engines may not find your site automatically or very quickly. To improve your listing among the search engines, you must submit your site to the search engines. There are several approaches to submitting sites:

  • Submit your site to Google: http://www.google.com/addurl/
  • Submit the site manually to each search engine using their free submission forms
  • Submit the site to a web directory
  • Pay the search engine to submit your site. The policies vary depending on the search engine, but this will at a minimum ensure that your site will show up sooner than the free submission. Some sites will list your site better if you pay them.
  • Pay a submission service to submit your site to many search engines.  This saves you time, but opens you up to spam mail.
  • Hire a professional organization to manage your site search engine status
  • Buy SEO (Search Engine Optimization) software to automatically analyze and submit your site to many search engines.
Advanced Strategies
.
  1. Set up and analyze web statistics in order to monitor site (Google analytics). http://www.google.com/analytics/
  2. Identify best key phrases using available software tools. Craft phrases that other companies are not using.  There are ways to find out what people are submitting when they search for moving companies and we will use these tools to create phrases. There are many free tools. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  3. Placement of  Google AdWords: display your ads on Google and our advertising network. Pay only if people click your ads. (Not AdSense: that’s putting ads up on your site). https://adwords.google.com/select/Login

Design and Layout Goal: Design search engine friendly sites

  1. The more pages linked to from the home page, the quicker and more efficiently the site will get spidered. The authority of the internal pages will also be increased.
  2. Items appearing at the top of the code will be given more weight than items at the bottom of the code. Linking important pages from the footer of the page will not inspire users to visit those pages and the search engines will treat them as minor pages due to their placement on the page.
  3. Search engines are unable to spider JavaScript links or HTML forms and do a very mediocre job of spidering Flash navigations. Use text links for links wherever possible. If you use a drop down menu, use CSS instead of JavaScript to hold the actual links.
  4. Use URLs that are short, concise, and static-looking. Long, dynamic URLs are often not spidered well and the site will take much longer to be indexed. The URL structure should also be logical.
  5. Navigation systems should be site-wide. They improve internal linking and prevent users from being confused by ever-changing menu systems.

Writing Keyword-rich Text Content Goal: Write good themed text content for search engines

  1. Pages should contain at least 500 words of text if possible. Pages with less content will not appear authoritative. Pages with more content are great as long as the keyword density is maintained.Often times, longer pages will do better in the search engines compared with shorter pages.
  2. The keyword density of your pages should be between 3 and 5%. This means, the keyword should occupy 3-5% of the total text content on the page. If the density is too high, the page will appear spam-like and most likely will not rank well. If the density is too low, the page will not appear authoritative. Another way to test keyword density is to use each of your keywords once per paragraph (of four sentences) and read them aloud to yourself. If the paragraphs do not read well, the density is probably too high.
  3. Text content should be 100% relevant to the keywords and, most importantly, be useful to visitors. Writing filler text with keywords interspersed throughout does not provide value to a visitor and will most likely not increase page views or sales. Trickery also places you in the grey area with search engines and does not provide long-term rankings.
  4. Do not attempt to optimize a page for more than 4 or 5 keywords. It’s not possible to accurately optimize or write content for more keywords and still retain the value of the page. The goal should be narrow, targeted pages with very relevant content.
  5. Always place the main keyword as the first word in the text content whenever possible. Usually, the best way to do this is to make the main keyword the header of the text content (such as ‘What Is Good Text Content?’ in this section of the document). The higher up the keywords appear in the text content, the more relevant they appear to the page as a whole.
  6. Always write unique content. Syndicated or copied content provides very little value to the site.Individual pages on the site should also be more than 30-40% unique overall. Copying the same text onto multiple pages with keywords changed out can result in a duplicate content penalty or the pages simply being ignored by the search engines. Duplicate content also provides no value to users.

Code Optimization

Goal: Optimize and Theme pages on a Code-level

The keywords, description, and title META attributes should always begin with the main keyword
and should follow a format similar to the following.
<head>
<title>keyword1, keyword2 – Domainname.com</title>
<meta name=”Keywords” content=”keyword1,keyword2,keyword3″>
<meta name=”Description” content=”keyword1, keyword2 – A short sentence containing keyword1.”>
<META NAME=”Robots” CONTENT=”index,follow”>
<META NAME=”GOOGLEBOT” CONTENT=”INDEX, FOLLOW”>
<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”style.css” type=”text/css”>
<script type=”text/javascript” language=”JavaScript” src=”javascripts.js”></script>
</head>

Optimizing code in the body of the page involves the implementation of a few attributes on existing tags and the addition of a few topic indicators around keywords. Normally, we use the following attributes containing keywords for their respective tags:
1. alt attributes > img tags (images)
2. title attributes > anchor tags (links)

SEO Resources

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

What is WordPress?

A content management system, commonly referred to as a “CMS” is “a computer application used to create, edit, manage, search and publish various kinds of digital media.” For the Thesis Blogs, we’ll use WordPress but there are many other CMS applications available such as Drupal, Joomla, and Expression Engine.

“WordPress is an open source blog publishing application. WordPress has a templating system, which includes widgets that can be rearranged without editing PHP or HTML code, as well as themes that can be installed and switched between. The PHP and HTML code in themes can also be edited for more advanced customizations. WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; multiple author capability; and support for tagging of posts and articles. Automatic filters that provide for proper formatting and styling of text in articles (for example, converting regular quotes to smart quotes) are also included. WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or article. Finally, WordPress has a rich plugin architecture which allows users and developers to extend its functionality beyond the features that come as part of the base install.” 1

WordPress.com versus WordPress.org 2

The distinction between WordPress.com and WordPress.org can cause some confusion for people. Let’s clear it up. WordPress.com is brought to you by some of the same folks who work on WordPress, the open source blogging software. WordPress.com utilizes the same WordPress software which you can download at WordPress.org. With WordPress.com the hosting and managing of the software is taken care of by the team here at Automattic. With WordPress.org you need to install the software on your own server or with a 3rd party provider.

WordPress.com Benefits

  • It’s free and much easier to setup
  • Everything is taken care of: setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc
  • Your blog is on hundreds of servers, so it’s highly unlikely it will go down due to traffic
  • Your posts are backed up automatically
  • You get extra traffic from blogs of the day and tags
  • You can find like-minded bloggers using tag and friend surfer
  • Your login is secure (SSL) so no one can get into your account if you use wifi

WordPress.com Cons

  • We provide 70+ themes (and adding more every day) which you can modify and edit the CSS, but you cannot run a custom theme*
  • You can’t hack the PHP code behind your blog*
  • You can’t upload plugins

* The VIP program on WordPress.com for high-traffic and high-profile sites allows you to run custom themes, custom PHP code, ad code, and WordPress plugins.

WordPress.org Benefits

  • Ability to upload themes
  • Ability to upload plugins
  • Great community
  • Complete control to change code if you’re technically minded

WordPress.org Cons

  • You need a good web host, which generally costs $7-12 a month, or thousands of dollars per month for a high traffic site
  • Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run
  • You’re responsible for stopping spam
  • You have to handle backups
  • You must upgrade the software manually when a new version comes out
  • If you get a huge spike in traffic (like Digg or Slashdot) you site will probably go down unless you have a robust hosting setup
How to Sign Up with WordPress.com

Video: How to sign up with WordPress.com

Free WordPress.com blogs come with 3000 megabytes (3GB) of space for storing uploaded files and images

How to install WordPress on your own web hosting

Video: WordPress One Click Self-Installation

The WordPress interface
Dashboard

  • Blog Stats

VIDEO: Customizing Dashboard
VIDEO: Blog Stats

Upgrades

  • Upgrades
  • Domains

Posts

  • Edit
  • Add New
    (Draft, Schedule, Publish)
  • Post Tags
  • Categories

VIDEO: Tags & Categories
VIDEO: Excerpt & More feature

Media

  • Library
  • Add New

VIDEO: Creating Image Gallery
VIDEO: Embedding YouTube Videos

Links

  • Edit
  • Add New
  • Link Categories

VIDEO: Adding Links

Pages

  • Edit
  • Add New

Comments

Appearance

  • Themes
  • Widgets
  • Extras
  • Custom Header
  • Edit CSS

VIDEO: Flickr Widget

Users

  • Authors & Users
  • Your Profile

Tools

  • Import
  • Export

Settings

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Privacy
  • Delete Blog
  • OpenID
  • Domains
WordPress Resources

WordPress.com
WordPress.org
WordPress Plug-in Directory
Lorelle on WordPress

WordPress.com Tutorials

WordPress.tv: Your Visual Resource for All Things WordPress
Ultimate Guide To Using WordPress For A Portfolio
WordPress Tutorial Collection
110+ Massive WordPress Video Tutorial Collection
Posting Photo from Flickr to WordPress blog

WordPress.org Tutorials

CSS-Tricks: Designing for WordPress Part One of Three
CSS-Tricks: Designing for WordPress Part Two of Three

CSS-Tricks: Designing for WordPress Part Three of Three

WordPress One Click Self-Installation

Anatomy of a WordPress Theme – exploring the files behind your theme

WordPress Themes

40 Stylish, Minimal and Clean Free WordPress Themes
Graph Paper Press

Themes: (With a focus on simple & clean)
http://speckyboy.com/2009/04/20/40-stylish-minimal-and-clean-free-wordpress-themes/
http://www.plaintxt.org/

Theme Forest — variety of themes
http://themeforest.net/

Graph Paper Press — themes with good gallery/slideshow features
http://graphpaperpress.com/

Gallery Plug-ins

Light Box2
http://stimuli.ca/lightbox/

Carousel Gallery jQuery
http://noscope.com/journal/2009/03/carousel-gallery-jquery-for-wordpress

jQuery Lightbox For Native Galleries
http://www.viper007bond.com/wordpress-plugins/jquery-lightbox-for-native-galleries/

ShowTime plugin:
http://www.youtag.lu/showtime-wordpress-plugin-demo/

SlidePress
http://slidepress.net/

Slideshow Gallery
http://wpgallery.tribulant.net/

Dynamic Content Gallery
http://www.studiograsshopper.ch/dynamic-content-gallery-configuration/

Notes:

1 “WordPress.” Wikipedia. Web. 12 May 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wordpress>.
2 “WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.” WordPress Support. 21 Sept. 2009. Web. 22 Sept. 2009. <http://support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/>.



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jamie

Instructor for Graphic Design 67