Friday, March 21, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) session

Session description here.
Kevin Lee from Didit is presenting this session. Usually, this content is presented over 11 hours, so we'll be moving quickly here!

I'll admit that I really don't understand SEO--we want to be sure that folks who want to reach the RE-AMP Commons are able to do so, especially as we're creating content for public consumption.

The search engine's number one priority is relevance.

SEO is not a system to be gamed; rather, it's an ecosystem designed to pick out the most relevant results.

If you are truly the most relevent for a keyword and not in the top results, fix what's wrong.
Find good content, ID content and separate from extraneous information, grade content for clarity, extract the essence of content, assign the content a source reputation score; etc.

Google Webmaster Central: most of what you need to know about SEO is available at this page.

Google Toolbar shows page rank plus more useful SEO info (including back links and cached version of page) within the toolbar. Orgs that link to your competition might be willing to link to you.

Page rank is acutally named after Larry Page from Google, who wrote an algorithm (sp?) which actually tells you where you'd like to get links from, and on a relative basis, how you're doing.

Content must be readable by search engine. HTML, names of elements embedded in HTML and alt tags are all preferable. This refers to ANY webpage, including .asp, .js, etc. pages.

Content search engines can't read include images (except name and AltTag), graphics, animations, fancy Flash movies, Javascript DHTML content, dynamic content and media (ajax, iframes).

Inverted pyramid style for copy: start with the meatiest part of the story, even the story's conclusion, and then support that conclusion or th eessense of the story with more facts or emotional copy. Search engines prioritize copy it encounters in the beginning of the page.

CMS that allows titles are better for SEO.

The almighty anchor tag: any hyperlinked text. Serves two purposes for SEO: 1. within sites and across sites, it transmits page rank, and... well... the second seemed to have been derailed by audience questions.

SEO Status Research:
Yahoo, msn live:

This search can be done with a keyword, eg. kevin will return each page on the site with the word "kevin"

Remember that search is rarely spontaneous! Consumers search because...
they saw media/advertising, read/heard something in teh news or magazines, potentially PR-driven; word of mouth conversations (online or face to face); online surfing stimulates a search (content, blogs, etc.); interacted with an offline mar-com (what the heck is a mar-com?? Marking communications effort?)

Conclusions: stay educated on best practices, consider a request for services at or Some vendors do pro-bono or reduced-fee work.

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