Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition (Stephan Spencer, Startonomics SF 2008)

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Published on September 30, 2008

Author: Startonomics

Source: slideshare.net

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Presentation by Stephan Spencer, http://NetConcepts.com, on startup stragies & tactics for using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a core customer acquisition channel.

Searching for Users: SEO as an Engine for Customer Acquisition By Stephan Spencer, Founder & President, Netconcepts

The 4 Big Keys to SEO Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses. Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content. Links – No links? No rankings. Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure)

Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses.

Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content.

Links – No links? No rankings.

Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure)

SEO Fundamentals Tried-and-true SEO tactics Topically relevant links from important sites Anchor text Keyword-rich title tags Keyword-rich content Internal hierarchical linking structure The whole is greater than the sum of the parts Synergistic effect of natural + paid search

Tried-and-true SEO tactics

Topically relevant links from important sites

Anchor text

Keyword-rich title tags

Keyword-rich content

Internal hierarchical linking structure

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

Synergistic effect of natural + paid search

SEO Fundamentals Links (internal and inbound, along with the anchor text) beat out content Link building, link baiting, blogging, SMO are crucial SEO activities SMO (Social Media Optimization) = infiltrating Digg.com, del.icio.us popular, Netscape.com, reddit, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia,… “ A rising tide lifts all boats”

Links (internal and inbound, along with the anchor text) beat out content

Link building, link baiting, blogging, SMO are crucial SEO activities

SMO (Social Media Optimization) = infiltrating Digg.com, del.icio.us popular, Netscape.com, reddit, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia,…

“ A rising tide lifts all boats”

Light on content, but on page 1 in Google for “silver earrings”

Their CEO’s blog accounts for over 13% of online sales

SEO Fundamentals Rewrite your URLs Avoid ? & = characters, minimize directories, include keywords, hyphens preferred over underscores Rejig your hierarchical internal linking structure Optimize your HTML templates and CSS Reduce code bloat, separate out “presentation layer” from “content layer”, image replacement, optimized elements like H1

Rewrite your URLs

Avoid ? & = characters, minimize directories, include keywords, hyphens preferred over underscores

Rejig your hierarchical internal linking structure

Optimize your HTML templates and CSS

Reduce code bloat, separate out “presentation layer” from “content layer”, image replacement, optimized elements like H1

SEO Strategies for Your “Head” Terms Focus a page on no more than 3 keyword themes – place targeted term in the title tag, H1 tag, & high up in the body copy Build link gain (PageRank) to that page through internal links & inlinks Consistent keyword-rich anchor text from internal links For deep inlinks, vary the anchor text a bit

Focus a page on no more than 3 keyword themes – place targeted term in the title tag, H1 tag, & high up in the body copy

Build link gain (PageRank) to that page through internal links & inlinks

Consistent keyword-rich anchor text from internal links

For deep inlinks, vary the anchor text a bit

SEO Strategies for “The Long Tail” Focus on unbranded search markets Leverage website scale and brand strength Employ testable strategies that scale Treat consumers as co-creators Measure against a new set of KPIs Grow your long tail of search

Focus on unbranded search markets

Leverage website scale and brand strength

Employ testable strategies that scale

Treat consumers as co-creators

Measure against a new set of KPIs

Grow your long tail of search

The “Freeloaders” on Your Payroll Most merchants have 80%+ of their pages driving no search traffic Most don't even know this, or why it is a problem (no javascript based analytics package will tell them this either) It’s a red light that they lack a long tail of unbranded keyword traffic The # of searches for unbranded keywords is nearly 40x as great as searches for the brand name (put another way, 97x the # of pages onsite) Tapping that opportunity means leveraging the size of the website and the brand strength to convert unbranded searches into clicks How to achieve this tail?

Most merchants have 80%+ of their pages driving no search traffic

Most don't even know this, or why it is a problem (no javascript based analytics package will tell them this either)

It’s a red light that they lack a long tail of unbranded keyword traffic

The # of searches for unbranded keywords is nearly 40x as great as searches for the brand name (put another way, 97x the # of pages onsite)

Tapping that opportunity means leveraging the size of the website and the brand strength to convert unbranded searches into clicks

How to achieve this tail?

Scalable Long Tail SEO Strategies Mass optimization: Single techniques capable of creating cascading effects throughout large websites – template pages for instance Rewriting URLs: Simple and static have profound impact on PageRank™ and traffic “ Thin Slicing”: Touching key elements across thousands of pages quickly, monitoring, and expanding based on results

Mass optimization:

Single techniques capable of creating cascading effects throughout large websites – template pages for instance

Rewriting URLs:

Simple and static have profound impact on PageRank™ and traffic

“ Thin Slicing”:

Touching key elements across thousands of pages quickly, monitoring, and expanding based on results

Scalable Long Tail Strategies - Web 2.0 User generated content (e.g., wikipedia) Freely append searcher vocabulary into your website Tagging and social bookmarking (e.g., Flickr, del.icio.us) Listen and create feedback loops – using search terms Use cloud taxonomy to flatten your structure using good link text RSS and Blogging Long tail is driven by efficient distribution of pages Create link bait rather than soliciting link targets Provide lists of most searched keywords Long tail optimization means outsourcing … to your users

User generated content (e.g., wikipedia)

Freely append searcher vocabulary into your website

Tagging and social bookmarking (e.g., Flickr, del.icio.us)

Listen and create feedback loops – using search terms

Use cloud taxonomy to flatten your structure using good link text

RSS and Blogging

Long tail is driven by efficient distribution of pages

Create link bait rather than soliciting link targets

Provide lists of most searched keywords

Long tail optimization means outsourcing … to your users

Gone Off the Rails Misfires, mistakes, etc. often occur because your developers, sysadmins, or marketers “didn’t know what they didn’t know” Examples…

Misfires, mistakes, etc. often occur because your developers, sysadmins, or marketers “didn’t know what they didn’t know”

Examples…

Not Spider Friendly GET http://www.bananarepublic.com --> 302 Moved Temporarily GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do --> 302 Moved Temporarily GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do?targetURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bananarepublic.com%2Fbrowse%2Fhome.do&CookieSet=Set --> 302 Moved Temporarily GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/cookieFailure.do --> 200 OK

GET http://www.bananarepublic.com --> 302 Moved Temporarily

GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do --> 302 Moved Temporarily

GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/home.do?targetURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bananarepublic.com%2Fbrowse%2Fhome.do&CookieSet=Set --> 302 Moved Temporarily

GET http://www.bananarepublic.com/cookieFailure.do --> 200 OK

Not so good title – where’s the phrase “credit card”?

No link text or body copy

No link text or body copy

Duplicate pages

Still feeling good about being at the bottom of page 1?

Search listings – 1 good, 1 lousy

Title tags the same

Spider unfriendly URL structures

Yikes! Sears.com home page PageRank score looks abysmal

Phew! – Sears.com true home page PageRank score

BMW.de hosted many “doorway pages” like this one

“ Sneaky redirect” sent searchers to this page

Hidden link – in the “All” of “All Rights Reserved” – leads to a hallway page

Hallway page – not meant for human consumption – Let’s start scrolling…

Everything still looks copasetic, until…

A-ha, spider food

Screenfuls and screenfuls of it!

Find Link Targets Review links of competitive sites, sites in your keyword market Use tools like the ones just mentioned Check sites with high rankings for relevant keywords The fewer the number of links on their page, the better Review links to your site; look for opportunities to get the link text revised

Review links of competitive sites, sites in your keyword market

Use tools like the ones just mentioned

Check sites with high rankings for relevant keywords

The fewer the number of links on their page, the better

Review links to your site; look for opportunities to get the link text revised

Request Links NOT: “ Hi, Let’s swap links!” “ I’ve already linked to you.” “ Great site!” “ You already link to our competitor XYZ.com and we offer a better product.” “ Please use the following text in your link…” Maybe? ” Hi, found a broken link on _____. btw, you might want to add xyz.com as a link.” What then?…

NOT:

“ Hi, Let’s swap links!”

“ I’ve already linked to you.”

“ Great site!”

“ You already link to our competitor XYZ.com and we offer a better product.”

“ Please use the following text in your link…”

Maybe?

” Hi, found a broken link on _____. btw, you might want to add xyz.com as a link.”

What then?…

Hi Lois, My name is Eric Ward, and I am working with StormwaterAuthority.org to help them announce the launch of their new web site located at http://www.stormwaterauthority.org I am hoping you will consider mentioning or linking to the StormwaterAuthority.org site on your Water and Wastewater Engineering page at http://www.library.umaine.edu/science/waterresources.htm I have included a brief overview of the site below, and should you need anything at all I am a real person and actually reply to email. You can also contact me by phone. Thank you for your time and consideration. Regards, Eric Ward (On behalf of StormwaterAuthority.org) eric@ericward.com voice 865.637.2438 ------------------------------------------------------ Overview of StormwaterAuthority.org Source: Eric Ward

More on Links... Some links get “discounted” Anchor text opportunities Linking best & worst practices Blogging for links “ Baiting” for links

Some links get “discounted”

Anchor text opportunities

Linking best & worst practices

Blogging for links

“ Baiting” for links

Watch Out For… Types of links that are likely to get discounted: Reciprocal links Affiliated sites (on the same IP range or hostname) Footer links (at the bottom of the page) Site-wide links Links contained on a page called links.htm / links.asp Links with the exact same anchor text Remember: the more links on the linking page, the less PageRank you’ll get

Types of links that are likely to get discounted:

Reciprocal links

Affiliated sites (on the same IP range or hostname)

Footer links (at the bottom of the page)

Site-wide links

Links contained on a page called links.htm / links.asp

Links with the exact same anchor text

Remember: the more links on the linking page, the less PageRank you’ll get

Update Link Text Link text (anchor text) is critical for SEO Review your existing links and link text SEOBook’s Back Link Analyzer tool Are the keywords you are targeting in the link text? Contact webmasters, particularly those who you have a relationship with & those with the most valuable links

Link text (anchor text) is critical for SEO

Review your existing links and link text

SEOBook’s Back Link Analyzer tool

Are the keywords you are targeting in the link text?

Contact webmasters, particularly those who you have a relationship with & those with the most valuable links

SEOBook’s Backlink Analyzer

Best Practices: Linking Offer link-worthy content. Keep it fresh. Try to get good keywords in the link text Make it easily shareable (RSS feeds, Email to a friend, Submit to Digg/delicious/etc.) Simple keyword-rich urls encourage deep linking When you redesign your site, keep your old URLs or 301 redirect them to the new URLs “ Nofollow” any links you don’t want to spend PageRank on <a href=“/privacy-policy.htm” rel=“nofollow”>

Offer link-worthy content. Keep it fresh.

Try to get good keywords in the link text

Make it easily shareable (RSS feeds, Email to a friend, Submit to Digg/delicious/etc.)

Simple keyword-rich urls encourage deep linking

When you redesign your site, keep your old URLs or 301 redirect them to the new URLs

“ Nofollow” any links you don’t want to spend PageRank on

<a href=“/privacy-policy.htm” rel=“nofollow”>

Worst Practices: Linking Participating in “link farms” or FFA (“Free For All”) sites Hallmarks of a link farm = more urls per page & less organization Splogging, comment spamming, guestbook spamming Linking to “bad neighborhoods” Hiding links Hoarding all your PageRank Unnatural link structures Too much symmetry, link text never varies, or otherwise “engineered” Acquiring links from sites all on the same IP block Acquiring links only from the same TLD (.com, .org, .edu, etc)

Participating in “link farms” or FFA (“Free For All”) sites

Hallmarks of a link farm = more urls per page & less organization

Splogging, comment spamming, guestbook spamming

Linking to “bad neighborhoods”

Hiding links

Hoarding all your PageRank

Unnatural link structures

Too much symmetry, link text never varies, or otherwise “engineered”

Acquiring links from sites all on the same IP block

Acquiring links only from the same TLD (.com, .org, .edu, etc)

Blogs Search engines – and Google in particular – love blogs Inherently link-rich “ Hat tips” – part of blog etiquette Blogrolls RSS feeds Trackbacks Comments The dark side of the blogosphere: Blog comment spam Splogs (spam blogs)

Search engines – and Google in particular – love blogs

Inherently link-rich

“ Hat tips” – part of blog etiquette

Blogrolls

RSS feeds

Trackbacks

Comments

The dark side of the blogosphere:

Blog comment spam

Splogs (spam blogs)

Blog SEO Don’t leave title tags to be auto-generated. Use the “SEO Title Tag” WordPress plugin Don’t squander your “crawl equity” by letting pages get indexed that don’t deserve to be (“Email this page” etc.) Having multiple “homes” for your blog Utilize “Optional Excerpt” to minimize duplicate content Use rel=nofollow to direct PageRank flow (e.g. date-based archives)

Don’t leave title tags to be auto-generated. Use the “SEO Title Tag” WordPress plugin

Don’t squander your “crawl equity” by letting pages get indexed that don’t deserve to be (“Email this page” etc.)

Having multiple “homes” for your blog

Utilize “Optional Excerpt” to minimize duplicate content

Use rel=nofollow to direct PageRank flow (e.g. date-based archives)

Blog SEO Intro copy on category & tag pages with sticky posts Optimal URLs (short, not too many directories) Multiple RSS feeds, optimized Hosting blog/feed URLs on a domain you don’t own Use optimal anchor text when linking internally

Intro copy on category & tag pages with sticky posts

Optimal URLs (short, not too many directories)

Multiple RSS feeds, optimized

Hosting blog/feed URLs on a domain you don’t own

Use optimal anchor text when linking internally

Link Bait Offer a niche-specific blogroll, tool, How-To, or compilation of news stories Post a scoop Expose a story as flawed or a fraud Be a contrarian about a story, product, or prominent blogger’s opinion Be humorous. Good topics include a bizzare pic of your subject, “10 things I hate about…”, and “You know you’re a when…” Source: Performancing

Offer a niche-specific blogroll, tool, How-To, or compilation of news stories

Post a scoop

Expose a story as flawed or a fraud

Be a contrarian about a story, product, or prominent blogger’s opinion

Be humorous. Good topics include a bizzare pic of your subject, “10 things I hate about…”, and “You know you’re a when…”

Link Bait Publish or commission some original research Creative-Commons-license photos you made of an event you’re blogging about Make available for free a theme, plugin or piece of software Start a meme that others can replicate and that links back to you (e.g. buttons/stickers/tools for bloggers/webmasters to post on their sites, contests, quizzes, surveys, etc.)

Publish or commission some original research

Creative-Commons-license photos you made of an event you’re blogging about

Make available for free a theme, plugin or piece of software

Start a meme that others can replicate and that links back to you (e.g. buttons/stickers/tools for bloggers/webmasters to post on their sites, contests, quizzes, surveys, etc.)

Get Creative Give awards / recognition Badges with link text underneath Allow webmasters to republish your articles Require a link in your byline Publish unique content Podcasts (e.g. SteveSpangler.com) Screencasts (use TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio) Wikis (e.g. SEOGlossary.com)

Give awards / recognition

Badges with link text underneath

Allow webmasters to republish your articles

Require a link in your byline

Publish unique content

Podcasts (e.g. SteveSpangler.com)

Screencasts (use TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio)

Wikis (e.g. SEOGlossary.com)

Get Creative Offer useful tools for webmasters, such as… Hit counters E.g. NOT like 123counters.com Weather stickers E.g. Wunderground.com, SuperPages.com RSS feeds Lottery winning numbers from SuperPages.com

Offer useful tools for webmasters, such as…

Hit counters

E.g. NOT like 123counters.com

Weather stickers

E.g. Wunderground.com, SuperPages.com

RSS feeds

Lottery winning numbers from SuperPages.com

Get Creative Start a blog Give testimonials E.g. www.wordpress.org/about/testimonials E.g. www.keyworddiscovery.com/testimonials.html Sponsor a nonprofit E.g. Kohl’s supports the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association Leverage your affiliates Get a straight link (e.g. from Legal Notices page) 301 redirect

Start a blog

Give testimonials

E.g. www.wordpress.org/about/testimonials

E.g. www.keyworddiscovery.com/testimonials.html

Sponsor a nonprofit

E.g. Kohl’s supports the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association

Leverage your affiliates

Get a straight link (e.g. from Legal Notices page)

301 redirect

The 4 Big Keys to SEO Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses. Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content. Links – No links? No rankings. Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure)

Keywords – Target the words that your target market uses.

Content – It’s got to be great, unique, linkworthy, fresh, keyword-focused content.

Links – No links? No rankings.

Site structure – It’s essential you get the technical details right (redirects, HTML templates, URLs, internal linking structure)

Q&A! For an ebook on Google power searching, SEO checklists & worksheets, an audio recording of an interview with Matt Cutts of Google, and an audio recording, executive summary & transcript of an SEO thought leaders teleconference, e-mail your request to [email_address] To contact Stephan, email stephan@netconcepts.com

For an ebook on Google power searching, SEO checklists & worksheets, an audio recording of an interview with Matt Cutts of Google, and an audio recording, executive summary & transcript of an SEO thought leaders teleconference, e-mail your request to [email_address]

To contact Stephan, email stephan@netconcepts.com

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