I have finished the second round of my SEO research, gathering a set of recommendations and best practices that can apply to any organization. As with the previous report, I will post sections of it here spread across the next several weeks. I hope to turn this into a presentation format and eventually be able to do consultations with offices across campus, and perhaps present it at a uweb meeting.
For all the hype about search engine optimization, at its heart it is about marketing. While the techniques used might be technical in nature, the end goal is to better position our pages on the search engine return page (SERP) so that more people will see it and click through to our site. A 2011 study indicated that the #1 position in Google’s search results received 18.2% of all click-through traffic, the second received 10.1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth 4.7%, and all others below 2% each. Clearly, then, it is in our best interest to be ranked as highly as possible.
In order to make recommendations regarding changes we should make in our sites’ search optimization, we must first lay down the guidelines that should be followed. In many ways SEO is very formulaic. Know the rules, implement them on your page, and monitor the search industry for any changes made to the algorithms that determine rankings.
Google is very open about how you should build pages to achieve the best results, but they do not go into explicit detail on weights given to each element of a page when calculating page rankings. SEO firms, through a combination of listening closely to what Google/Bing developers say publicly, patent research, and code testing have helped fill in some of these areas to allow for more specific recommendations.
As you read through the following posts, please keep in mind that these recommendations are meant only as a brief overview. They touch on the important parts of each topic, but I am well aware that much more could have been included. If you feel strongly about something that wasn’t mentioned, please feel free to leave comments and start a conversation.
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