UAD9: Search Engine Optimization 2008: Beyond META Tags

Brian Smith, Web Developer, University at Albany


The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at http://highedweb.org/2008/presentations/uad9.mp3


[Intro Music]

Announcer: You’re listening to one in a series of presentations from the 2008 HighEdWeb Conference in Springfield, Missouri.

Brian Smith:  Hi. My name is Brian Smith.  I’m a web developer a.k.a. web flunky at the University at Albany. I’ve been a web developer at U Albany for two years and before that I was web master at Sienna College for about five years and before that I worked in a TV station, things like that, all sorts of webified stuff.

Today, our objectives are we are going to move beyond meta tags. We’ll talk about SEOs, search engine optimization. We’re going to talk about the special needs of SEO for higher education because we’re a little bit different than a lot of people who are doing SEO and writing books about it.

We’re going to need to find a lot of terms. I’m going to throw them around a lot today. I don’t just go around in my office throwing around these terms everyday, but I’m going to try to use them in context so you get an idea of what they mean. We’re going to establish the factors. What are the factors that are going to move us up into higher up in the search engines and their results? We’re going to talk about keyword research techniques. We’re going to discuss the 800-pound gorilla which is Google.

We’re going to be keeping it real. We’re going to be practical for everybody here. We’re going to give some resources at the end so we know how to keep following it up. Basically, I’m going to give an overview today and put a lot of keywords out there so you can use these keywords and go out and do research on your own.

OK, the rise of search. Search is the number two most popular online activity after email and the percentage of net users who use search on a typical day grew 70% from 2002 to 2008. That means things are really, really different now and search is right in the core of it. You could see searches right there second to the right; very, very popular. OK, so we’re going to define SEO. Search engine optimization – using targeted keywords and phrases so websites pages will rank higher on SERPs. That’s a term that you’ll hear a lot for SEO bugs and things like this.

Search engine results pages. You also may hear the term search engine marketing. The definition there is all endeavors that utilize search engines to promote a website, increase its traffic and/or stickiness, and ultimately augment return on investment. This is obviously a definition coming from search engine marketers themselves. Mostly, a lot of what they’re doing is SEO, but it also includes placement, pay per click and paid inclusion programs.

But SEO people have an issue and that’s all this kind of crazy stuff that is associated with SEO now and a lot of them are called snake oil salesmen salesmen and things like this because they use very aggressive marketing techniques. A lot of them are really great, but you just have to really be careful with SEO. This is an example of an email message that Google.com received, “Dear Google.com, I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories.” So they’ve got kind of an issue.

One of the problem with a lot of search engine optimization companies is they want to come in and do their stuff and then leave, whereas SEO is really a best practice that all organizations have to get a hold of. So it has to include everybody in your web organization including web developers, writers, editors and various departments, application developers, administration, and vendors. I’ll go one further step and when you’re doing training with people around campus, the people in the different organizations and departments, they have to understand the value of SEO and what search is to people today.

So it really has to go out through your organization. It’s the best practice, just like good coding or anything else. OK, conversions, and HigherEd is a little bit different from a lot of the organizations that are really specializing in SEO who are trying to push out products. We have kind of a larger mission than that. Of course, we want to get our sale, we want to convert a prospective student into a confirmed student, but we have a lot more things that we need to do.

We need to get students involved in activities. We need to build school pride. We have to provide audience for our experts. We have to allow faculty and research to publicize their findings which could lead to more funding and we have to put our job postings. So there’s a lot of different things that we have to do on higher education sites.

Here’s an example of something a little bit different that we’re using a search engine for that a lot of product companies wouldn’t. In 1998, we were ranked the No. 1 party school in the United States. We kind of made the list about nine times. Our marketing people are not entirely happy about that. So this is Fountain Day, it’s awesome, it happens every spring. They turn on the fountains when every time the ice is gone. People have a great big party.

But there’s problem with that a little bit. This was our Google SERP in June. If you did a search on Fountain Day, number one you had the Wikipedia article on Fountain Day which we try to update, but we’re not so happy that being the front one. We have the YouTube one in there and then we have Urban Dictionary definition of Fountain Day which is a little bit different from ours.

[Laughter]

It’s the party to end all parties at SUNY Albany where a large fountain in the middle of campus gets turned on around about three weeks before the end of school and everybody gets drunk.

[Laughter]

“You going to fountain day?” “Yeah, I’m already drunk!” So that’s uncool.  And then we’re on this page here where we’re associated with Vanilla Ice. That’s bad, that’s really bad.

[Laughter]

It’s a fairly serious thing. So we use a lot of keywords. We got together as a group, our marketing department, and we kind of worked on our pages and we’re able to move our listing right up there over the top of the SERP. We got fountain day with the outstanding faculty and innovative curriculum, award-winning advisers. So we got all our keywords in there, nice stuff.

So people, if they look into it now, they know we’re a lot more boring than with the party school reputation. So we’re off the party list now, too, which is good. And we’ve got some videos that we put in there for YouTube. So we’ve changed our look on the SERP. So this is kind of a different use of search engine. We’re kind of competing to get our message out against other messages in the SERPs. And that’s something we keep doing in a lot of different departments in anything like this.

So if you start to look at search engine result pages you got two parts of the page – you got the organic listings and then you got pay per click. And I’ll start by talking about pay per click and maybe the difference between them and what we should focus on. Pay per click is basically where advertisers bid on certain keywords and then people, they’re paid each time the sponsored link is clicked. So here are some terms you may hear in relation to that.

We have cost per click, which is pretty basic, and then you have the click-through rate, the number of users who actually clicked on it and divided by the number if time the ad was delivered impressions, usually seen as a percentage so a couple of more definitions. OK. We have a lot of competition for this pay per clicks. We have other universities. We have online universities like Phoenix and Capella, Walden, they spend a lot of money on pay per click.

A lot of advertising agencies and online directory companies, they use pay per click, like petersons.com, offtocollege.com, collegeboard.com. They’re really competing for these pay per clicks. You could see them on right where you have the sponsored clicks and you have all these different dotcoms, you’ll notice on the right.

And you have the blue area here, that’s also sponsored, and you have a couple of dotcoms over here. And you notice, for college search put into search engines, we barely see an edu up there. Here’s a couple of examples of pay per clicks and even for some of the departments, we have collegeboard.com up there. And then for weekend MBA you start getting a couple of different groups, but these are pay-per-click areas.

OK, here’s Google Adwords and this is where you actually go and bid on different terms. So here we put in biology major, library science, university, New York State. You can see what people are paying for the different pay per click, the cost they are bidding on. So library science was $2.83 per click, biology major is $1.22. Something like online library science degree, that’s $11.46. You could see how online colleges really will bid up the cost of that online degree term or anything associated with it.

OK, pay per click is growing in cost and priced for popular keywords like associates degree, masters degree, and business program. Yahoo have doubled in about the past two years. And you could see some of the more expensive ones here. We have business online program. It’s a little over $10 per click, associates degree online is $16 per click, and the biggest one I see here is associates online degree as $18 per click.So there’s lot of competitions for these words.

When you’re using Google Adwords in order to find out what keywords you could use in order to purchase them, you could also use filters. So a good idea is if you don’t have an online program, you just check it into your filter on top. Some people are saying about PPC as it’s both more expensive and less effective because more people are doing it. But there’s some little techniques that you could use for pay per click and that could possibly help you out.

You could start a campaign at the end of the day or the end of a month when budgets have already been spent. So that’s a good way to take advantage of lower bids at certain times of the day or year. One good technique that you could use is bid on less popular words or phrases. You’ll get less clicks so it’ll cost you less. But those who actually will click will more likely lead to a conversion. So you’re going to get what’s really important, which is quality traffic.

I think for our organization, we’re starting to look at really competitive programs that we have and we’re going to start advise them to start looking at pay per click because of the intense competition. It will probably help them out most, but we’re going to probably stay from really generic search terms.

OK, next we’re going to move on to organic listings which are probably what everybody should focus 90% of their efforts on. You could see the organic listings are outlined in red here on the SERPs for Google and Yahoo. OK, so this is how people are looking at SERP pages. You could see this is a Google page and everywhere there is a red impression, that’s they are getting a large number of clicks. The organic area gets a real ton of clicks and the pay per clicks only get a few and you’ll notice at the top there’s a really drop-off rate.

So you really want to compete for those top spots in search engine results pages because this is where the eyes go and each little X there is a click. OK. So this is some metrics on why you should focus on organic listings – because the conversion rates are higher, one; and also organic links are clicked five times more than pay per clicks. So it really pays to focus on organic listings, which is great because it’s nice and cheap which should match budgets for the next couple of years.

Here, we got another way of looking at the search engine results pages here. The average participant took 6.5 seconds to make their first click here and they read about 4 to 5 listings. So it’s really, really quick. That’s why you want to really maximize your title page which is in bold at the top of all these listings because we really have to compete. We want to make that title really compelling so people will click because you’re really up against a lot of competition here. OK?

So a little wrap up here. 85% click on organic links, 72% click on the first link of interest, and 25% read all listings first and then click. So it kind of correlates with a lot of other research on the web or people don’t read a whole lot. Here’s the drop off rate for position on SERPs. You have the first listing, the top listing gets really high in the first three or four, and then there’s a pretty good drop-off rate after number 3, which kind of correlates with that 6.5 seconds people are going to take on your page.

OK, the 800-pound gorilla of search, as probably everybody knows, is Google. They reached about 71% market share this August. Yahoo is also important and it’s good to keep an eye on them as well. OK, what determines where you show up in search engine result pages? One of the most important things is the Google’s PageRank. It’s one of the methods that Google use to determine the page’s relevance or importance. Each page and not a site has a PageRank score.

This was developed by Google, Sergei Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google. It’s an algorithm which helps rank pages based on the probability that a random person surfing the Internet will find a given page. And it relies a lot on linking. So it relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.  Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A, and that’s a vote for page B. Votes cast by important pages weigh more heavily and help to make other pages important.

We have a really great advantage in this realm in that Sergei Brin and Larry Page, they were at Stanford when they developed PageRank. We have a lot of page authority as edu sites. We have tons of links coming to us already. We’ve been around for a number of years. So we have great advantages over a lot of other different types of websites. If you want to check out the website, the PageRank for a certain page, you load Google toolbar and it will show you and it will have a little PageRank there on the right that’s noted.

OK. This is basically how edu sites rank on the web. The most highest ones ranked about 9, which is MIT Stanford, and University at Albany ranks 7, University of Buffalo ranks 8, Maria Colleges which is a really, really small college in upstate New York ranks 5. So we’re going through about 5, through 8 or 9 page ranks. Because links are so important in determining page ranks, there’s a couple of things to know about how we use links. So this is good for developers here.

A couple of bad examples towards the top not using www before mysite.com is something you would want to try to avoid. The second example over here is where there is an index.html at the end of it where you would want to just not use index.html at the end of it; you’re just to use the root. And again, the number 3, doesn’t use the www and it uses the index.html, so it’s very, very bad.

Let’s see here. We have a couple of good examples over here. Use redirects to all internal links to point to your domain using the main site with using the slash at the end of it. That’s something I never knew, but if you’re going to use links to your site you want to use a slash at the end of the directory. It’s just something I really didn’t know until fairly recently. OK, so this is a fairly good thing to remember. Using the www and not using the www at the beginning, they can be treated as two different sites.

If we’re going to be using link text, you got to be careful with what you put in the link text because that’s super important. You want to put the noun in there and not the verb. For a long time I kind of used some verbs, but it’s best to use nouns because that’s what the search engines are going to be looking at. Of course, avoid “click here”.

If you want to create a Google-friendly site, Google is really starting to get into giving people feedback on how to do that. Use Google Webmaster Help Center or Google on SEO. You could look at the URLs there, but you probably should just use Google. You may hear the term off-the-page SEO, which is also a link building campaign. That’s when you work with reciprocal linking, use RSS news feeds. You could write good topical content. We could also use another site. You could use Digg, YouTube and Facebook in different forms.

All that will link back to your site because those links are so important. So if you get a lot of different social networking sites and you link back, that’s going to help your site’s page rank and position in SERPs. OK, this is the search engine ranking factors version 2, and it’s by SEOMoz.org, and SEOMoz.org is probably the one site you want to go to really learn about search engine optimization. They do it in a really easy straightforward manner and they’ve just got a lot of great stuff out there.

They get about 40 to 50 SEO people every couple of years together and they determine the factors that Google uses. And now, Google, they don’t tell you exactly how to rank highly in their SERPs, which is fine because those ranking factors may change overtime and as we know our industry changes a lot. That’s why SEO Moz tracks that every couple of years. That’s up from their front page. Here’s the example of the number one Top 1, which is the keyword used in the title tag.

Five is probably the highest rank you could get for SEO Moz and they get 4.9, so it’s absolutely the number one thing that you can do to improve your page ranks or title tags, beyond a doubt. It’s great because SEO Moz, they have a little discussion about them, so if you have a question on a certain factor you can go on SEO Moz and you’ll hear back and forth about it. It’s kind of interesting.

We got our number one factor up here. Keyword used and title tag. We’ll see just how important that is, the link of which will be 70 characters or less and then you should use keywords and key phrases right in the title tag. There’s a little bit of a debate over whether you should put your organization name in the title tag; we’d say, “Definitely do it.” Because a lot of people are going to be searching for information, say, “Biology at University at Albany” and to have it in the title tag is going to be very, very important.

A lot of people also seem to think that people are just going to be searching “biology” but in the case of higher university, I don’t think that’s quite as true, but in product searches that’s really, really true. The page title, another reason why you’d want to put your university name or college name in it is because it’s used for more than just SEO. It’s for bookmark texts. So if a kid is searching 20 different biology sites, it’s going to have University at Albany Biology site in their favorites because the title tag is going to be in your bookmarks.

It also answers the question that Jacob Nielsen brings up all the time, “Where am I?” So here I am at the Department of Biology at the University at Albany in the tag and that makes me feel safe and secure. OK, here’s a really, really crappy page that is on our site that really, really ranks high in search engines for a number of reasons. It’s a really crappy page and it’s really old, but this will tell us what ranks really high. Hurricane facts at our Meteorology School or whatever department.

If you look up “hurricane facts” from Google, this is the number one page you’ll find. And there’s a number of reason for that even though it’s like an old page. It’s like five years old, seven years old. And this is why that crappy page ranks so highly – because it uses the keyword in the title tag. It has global popularity, link popularity or weight or authority because SUNY Albany has got that authority that I mentioned before. The age of the site, well it’s old. The keyword used in the body text, it’s all over. There’s an in-page navigation which has links to all the different parts of the page, and that’s fantastic because those are all keywords that are going to be heavily used by Google to determine what your page is all about.

Each of the document keyword used and each one text surrounding links, it all works even though it’s a crappy page. You could see some of the good stuff they do. They got hurricane facts right in the title. They got all this really garbage-y kind of text code here, but it works. So here’s our other listing here, the important things for search engine ranking factors. You’ll want to review this and know this because this is what’s going to get you result.

Keyword used in the meta description tag. This is important. This is going to show up in your little description tag in Google. You could go about 70 words because that’s about the number of words that Google uses and make it page-specific and that includes main key phrases, so about 70 words for your description.

HTML validation. It means very little. Here’s the crappy page validated. It doesn’t validate at all. It's 18 errors. So validation doesn’t mean all that much. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Keyword used in meta tags, that’s something people used to talk about a lot but it’s not really important anymore. Whatever happened to keyword meta tags? I mean, if you were around 10 years ago, that was like really it. But they’ve been abused and discredited.

All those different SEO people and other organization, they would pack keywords into it and all sorts of porn sites and things like that, they packed faked keywords into different sites so that worked out badly. But there are things that you can use your keywords meta tag for, and that’s for anything that you don’t want to appear in your page text – like misspellings or keyword forks like the name of our university is University at Albany which is kind of a tricky name which almost nobody uses. Almost everybody calls us SUNY Albany.

We don’t want it to appear on the page, so we’ll stick it in the keyword tags. Remember not to repeat too much because that can get you blacklisted. Here are some things to remember when you’re creating pages – no more than 150 kilobytes, because that could get you dropped off the search engines. No more than 100 unique links per page, which is going to be tough for your A-Z page. Free your title tag, no more than 70 characters. The meta description, no more than 155 characters.

Here’s something I didn’t know before doing a bit of the research – the number of parameters in your URL, no more than two. That could be an issue. So if you’re creating dynamic pages or something like that, it’s something you should consider. You should be careful with and check your SERPs for those different pages that have more than two parameters in the URL, also the depth of the URL. So if you have like a really buried page and a folder within a folder within a folder within a folder, that page may not show up on the SERP. So be careful of that. You want to keep your site more flat than really deep.

There are other things to avoid for search engines that will possibly get you dropped out of the SERP pages – any kind of image text without alt tags, IFRAMEs for displaying content could be a trouble, Flash, Silverlight or video content without text equivalents, that could be rough; but probably nobody’s using Silverlight, anyway. AJAX, you can avoid, navigation that relies on Javascript. That’s any kind of link within it that says onclick, navigate. That could be a problem. That could be an issue and some people use it for different kind of tracking and things like that. You just got to be careful and make sure that you’re appearing in SERPs the way you want to.

OK, keywords are the foundation of SEO. Your institution, departments, and offices should all determine these critical keywords and they should all be participating in a process of determining what your keywords are. Then you have to research the potential value and effectiveness of those keywords using keyword search tools. OK. So the first thing you want to do is get a group together. You’re going to brainstorm your keywords and then you’re going to bust out the tools and then you’re going to finalize the list and then implement and then you’re going to rinse and repeat.

OK, brainstorming. You’ve got to figure out, of course, what would perspective students use or all those other groups that we’re talking about that are so important that are beyond just our sale of perspective students. We got to make sure what are those people looking for. We want to avoid generic terms and we’ll talk a little bit more about that. You’re going to check out competition for keywords and add location.

If you want to improve the effectiveness of your keywords, use location. It’s really important for perspective students because a lot of people are searching for universities in New York State or universities in the northeast. So location is always an easy way to increase some of your keyword effectiveness. Try to get your misspellings in there and you’ll have breakout sessions by category, department, school and organization. Get everybody involved.

The number of keywords that people are using. This is Search Engine Watch 2007 and it says here that 32% of people use two words when they’re using search. I’ve heard recently that it’s changed to three and what that means to me is that not only search engines are evolving but we’re evolving. too. People, their use of search engines are evolving. People are getting to understand how to use search engines to find exactly what they want. So they are using more keywords in there to become more precise and that has an effect on how we use keywords.

I’ve been using keywords a lot, but the real key is key phrases – short phrases that are going to match about three words, but two words is also popular. So three words and two words, that’s 50% of all searches. That’s going to be a little hint about what kind of phrases we should come up with. So we’re going to want to use these key phrase combinations. We’re going to create little short sentences if possible and then we’re going to use those short sentences in our body tags and our title tags and our body text and we’re going to use those as key phrases.

We’re going to specifically describe page content, use the strongest keywords and phrases, and we’re going to avoid highly competitive phrases, which I’ve been saying over and over again, but is important. And we want to use what everybody else is using. Are students looking for “perspective students”? Are they using that term? Absolutely not. They’re using stuff like “university admissions”. That has an effect about what we’re going to put in our navigation. So we use to use perspective students in our navigations.

So when our new redesign, that’s gone. We use admissions now. We’re kind of changing the way we use keywords and when are we going to use keywords in navigation because those links are so important, like I mentioned before, in determining Google PageRank.

But now that we have all those different terms, we have to evaluate each of those terms to figure out how important they’re going to be. Are people using those terms? And that’s what we’re going to use keyword phrase tools for. OK, so we’re going to find out what our visitors are using to get to sites. The first thing that you could use is our analytics programs like search. We use our top search queries.

OK, here’s the term that you hear in SEO a lot now, and that’s head terms versus tail terms. What’s the difference? A ton of people use these head terms to get to our site and then there’s this long trail of a bunch of search terms that people use that aren’t used quite as much, but it’s such a long tail that these less general terms are very, very important.

So 65% of people who got to our site, according to Google here, were using these brand key phrases like SUNY Albany, University of Albany, U Albany, regular old Albany, my Albany. So it’s 65% of our queries. We’re definitely going to want to use some of those, but we’re going to want to use not only those head queries but also tail queries. So the head terms are dominated by brand key phrases. They’re going to drive most of your traffic, but they’re going to be most expensive for PPC.

They are also going to be less valuable to some extent for organic searches. They’re very competitive and some are less relevant in the fact that they’re going to be less specific and they’re shorter. So all sorts of things like U Albany are general terms like this. Long-tail terms are dominated by category key phrases. It drives the least amount of traffic per search, but it’s also least expensive for pay per click programs. It’s less competitive and easier to win.

So you could use a short specific phrase and that’s going to be cheaper and it’s going to be more effective on organic searches as well. It drives less traffic but it’s more qualified traffic. That’s what we really want, really quality traffic. We’re going to look a little bit about keyword research tools and what we’re looking for is that less competition. Here’s a list of some tools that are very popular. We got Google Adwords which is probably the best free key phrase tool, but neutrals are coming out all the time so keep an eye on those.

Wordtracker is the industry standard. It’s a pretty expensive program, but it’s a lot more specific than Google Adwords and it gives you a lot more percentages and things that you could really use. The Overture database search was once really popular, but it’s no longer consistently available online. Microsoft adCenter is also another one that you could use but it’s not for Mac and a lot of people here are into Mac.

Here’s a list of other keyword search tools and there’s quite a few of them. This talks a little bit about Wordtracker uses. It basically uses information from Google, Yahoo, and MSN. So it has a huge database to work from. Here’s the term that we determine are key phrase effectiveness which is keyword effectiveness index. The higher the KEI, the better the keyword, and it’s the ratio of two variables – popularity, the number of times a certain term is searched; and competition, the number of pages returned for a search term.

Here’s an example of how we use KEI to figure out what niche we’re going to work on. So you’re selling baseball cards and you have Pete Rose baseball cards and you have Derek Jeter baseball cards. So you’re trying to figure out, “which ones do I want to sell online?” Pete Rose is searched 100 times a day and it’s found on 1,000 pages, so the ratio is 1:10. The Derek Jeter baseball card searched 1,000 times daily and found on 100,000 pages, ratio is 1:10. So we’re going to want to focus on the Pete Rose baseball card because the ratio is 1:10. That’s kind of like a really basic example, but we’re going to use it in the higher ed setting.

So here’s keyword tracker and I mentioned that Wordtracker is kind of an expensive tool but it gives you that KEI and you’ll notice that some really specific searches have really high KEI like questions for grad schools, Albany State University Graduate Programs – really great KEI. So these are the words that we’re going to use, the phrases that we’re going to use. There’s a drop off here so we’re not going to use these as much.

And here’s a term that people probably use a lot, “business grad schools”. OK? So its KEI is really low even though a lot of people are going to use it. If you want to use really effective keywords, we’re going to use our tools to find out which ones are the most effective.  OK. And of course, these terms could also be helpful with brainstorming. You know Adwords is very good for that. Adwords versus ad tracker. Adwords is free. So a lot of people are going to using Adwords. I think I have to wrap it up so I’m going to move forward a little bit quickly.

This is kind of a process you would use in order to research your key phrases. So you got your big list from brainstorming and you go to Adwords. It’s a free account for Adwords on Google so you could just basically use it for free. First we put in the descriptive word of phrase and I put in “business school”. So I scroll through this big list of results that I get when I search and they’re going to be all down here. And then I’m going to keep on adding them and getting more related keywords by clicking that and I kind of build up a list slowly of all the different terms. I’m going to see the list down here, I’m just going to click “add” for each ones that are really popular and I’m going to build up my list.

I’m going to repeat this process and I’m going to also include other pages on my site linked from this URL. So you could add a URL to your business school and see what keywords you have in there and then they’re going to give you a list. Some of the more effective ones are going to be like a full green bar and the less effective ones are going to have less green in it. OK, so I got my big list from Google Adwords and break amount into categories and these are the ones that I’m actually going to use on our different pages to maximize the page.

So when we actually get to the writing part, we’re going to write for the inverted pyramid, meaning that we’re going to put our really, really important search terms up at the top and we’re going to make the page visible on text and make it nice and search-friendly. We’re going to embed links in the body copy. We’re going to add strong tags around our keywords on a page, and we’re going to add captions with strong keywords and phrases.

OK, here’s the page that we had to do because it was just big blocks of text and Google is not going to like that and it has a hard time understanding what the page is about. So this is where you want to get your writers in. Our writers have been really great. We got them into the process early in spring and now we kind of wanted to make our writers, the people who are in charge of SEO writing, and they really got on board for it and they really improved sites quite a bit.

So we’re going to use a lot of keywords and create a lot of A-Z indexes for all the different groups so you may have a school and you’re going to want to have an A-Z index for your school because that’s going to have all your keyword links in there and all those different terms. It’s going to point to all your important pages. So A-Z indexes are really important. That’s a lot of links in there.

Now here’s an issue that you come up against, you just want to write more, because that’s going to add keywords in there. But the problem with that is people like Steve Kroder telling us to write less. So we’re going to have to find a happy medium. Sometimes you can have less on the page but add extra pages and you could add extra pages by using press releases or YouTube videos on the topic, but never sacrifice tone or feel or usability because that’s really the most important thing.

I’m going to skip this. Just a little eyetracking studies by Poynter Institute which shows that people are still willing to read long text on the Internet. In fact, there are more willing to read long text on the Internet than they are on newspapers. That’s because once they’ve searched through 20,000 articles by using Google, they get to that one article that they really want to read. So people will read more on the web. So that 250 words, that shouldn’t be too bad. Most surprisingly they read further into stories online than print.

Measuring success. One way you could do with screenshots and excel files to show where you actually listed on your SERPs for all those important pages and then you’re going to follow the traffic through web analytics. OK. Any questions?

Audience: Just one question about all of this. We talked about you never filed an access for our website in the university. Is that watering down our results because it's not coordinating to that same exactly?

Brian Smith: Yeah. I would say that it is. I think it should be the topic of the actual page you get to. I think the H1 should be the first paragraph on the page ideally. It’s right at the top of the content of your page. So I wouldn’t unless it could be part of the H1, but I wouldn’t use it as the H1 for every page; although it should go in your title. And it’s more important in your title, anyway, if you will need that leverage.

Audience: We’re using RedDot content management system and we went heads on with that.

Brian Smith: We don’t use taxonomy manager, so I’m not sure. But what we do and when we’re using RedDot, was we build in our meta tags right into it, our keywords and our descriptions and we build it in to the template. So the editors know they’re there and they should be using them.

Audience: In the pack, which leads for it?

Brian Smith: I don’t know. I’m not really sure. Thank you very much.

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Announcer: For more presentations from the 2008 HighEdWeb Conference visit HighEdWeb.org/2008 or sign up for our podcast and feed at HighEdWeb.org/podcast.xml

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