Make Google your friend

Demystifying SEO & Analytics with Dana DiTomaso

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  1. Again, saving me from embarrassing myself, Dana has helpfully posted her slides here.
  2. If you do anything on the web, SEO is going to become part of your job.

    Google has 80 per cent of the search market in Canada. If you're not coming up, you might as well not exist.

    There are 3 ways to rank highly on Google:
    1. Good content
    2. Present it in a search-engine friendly manner
    3. Lots of high-quality links

    Create tasty URLs; they're AS important as titles, because they describe the content for search engines.
  3. URLs must be unique for each story. If you have two different URL for the same story, Google thinks one is a duplicate and throws one out.

    Titles do not need to be headlines.

    Create great meta descriptions if you can. It's used, in search, to encourage people to click on a link.
  4. If you have a meta keywords tag on your site, forget it; it's crap. Google hasn't used it for years. Bing sees it as a sign of a spammer and dumps your content down the priority list.

    The trifecta of SEO: 
    a good URL
    title tag
    Heading 1

    Good heading structure:
    <h1> Page Title</>
    <h2>Subtitle</h2>
    <h3>Another subtitle</h3>

    etc.

  5. Learn just enough html so that you know what the headings are on a page and figure out why it's ranking where it is.

    Site speed, using webpagetest.org

    Fastest in yeg: Edmonton Examiner, CTV Edmonton, Boston Globe.... and at the bottom, the Edmonton Journal, which can take a minute for the full home page to render.

    Recommends responsive design, as the Boston Globe uses, to build elegant, speedy sites.

    Google will hang around longer and index more pages the faster it operates.
  6. If Google sees too many 404 error codes, it won't come back and spider it as often. So what happens to old articles?
    -- keep it there always, in full
    -- keep it always but abbreviated, with good information
    -- removed after time, 301 redirect to section
    -- removed after time, 404 THIS IS REALLY BAD
  7. HTTP Status codes
  8. Google News is a jerk. It is completely arbitrary. "Black box of suck." Doesn't tell you how it ranks things.
    eg. search Edmonton Oilers and non-Edmonton news sources rank much higher.

    Why dost thou suck, Google News? 
    1. Category authority: is your site authoritative on the topic that is the subject of the search.
    2. Keyword(s) in headlines and page titles: Use full names -- Edmonton Oilers not Oilers; Ryan Smyth not Smytty. Read your headlines like you're not from here. Think about the visitor's intent; your audience.
  9. 3. Domain authority: Based on unique content, how often updated, how many link to you.
    4. Social sharing of the article: How many times was it mentioned, esp. on Google+
    5. Were you first to publish a story?
  10. 6. Citation rank (are you cited?) 
    7. Unique articles: If organizations share content, they're both in a losing battle.
    8. High click-through rate (CTR) from Google News
    9. High Quality Content
    10. Use of Google News XML sitemap

    Duplicate content hurts us all.

    SEOmoz.com will tell you which of the pages on your site appear to be duplicates to Google.
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