SEO 201

A Search Engine Optimized presentation

on Search Engine Optimization

For college journalists.

Search Engine Optimization is

a black box

But testing is important, we need information!

Find the keys.

inurl: / allinurl:
intitle: / allintitle:
inanchor: / allinanchor:

[ intitle:football] + [ inurl:football]

See what others are doing.

Because Knowledge is Power! By School House Rock.
3 ways to

attack the search page!

Google: Sort of a speed freak.

Use Google's page speed testing tool.

Every day, more than 99 human years are wasted because of uncompressed content. [...] Uncompressed content hurts all users.
-Arvind Jain and Jason Glasgow

Some things it may tell you to do:

Browser side caching.

No more than 1 year into the future

  • A whole page

CONTENT="Mon, 22 Jul 2002 11:12:01 GMT">
  • Caching elements in .htaccess

<FilesMatch "(?i)^.*\.(ico|flv|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|css)$">
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresDefault A2592000

A = access time. 2592000 is the number of seconds in 30 days.

Turn images into CSS sprites

Every time you load an image, it is another communication between your computer and the server.

#navlist li{margin:0;padding:0;list-style:none;position:absolute;top:0;}
#navlist li, #navlist a{height:44px;display:block;}

#home{background:url('img_navsprites.gif') 0 0;}

#prev{background:url('img_navsprites.gif') -47px 0;}

#next{background:url('img_navsprites.gif') -91px 0;}

Compressing your site in .htaccess

Usable on Apache servers

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

# Or, compress certain file types by extension:
<files *.html>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE


Minification is the process by which JavaScript and CSS can be shrunk to smaller file sizes by removing unnecessary characters.

Don't be


Serve the image sizes your users need, not the ones they deserve.

Serve thumbnails. Link to high-def.

Internal Linking and Navigation

  • Tells crawlers what pages exist.
  • Trickles down PageRank.
  • Order a hierarchy of importance.
  • Position matters!

Use your links' power with care

Make a choice: what pages matter?

  1. Placement top to bottom.
  2. Placement left to right.
  3. Evergreen vs Transient.

  4. Make it better for users and SEO!

An internal PageRank Example

  • Home Page: PR7
    • About the paper: PR6
      • Awards: PR3
    • Editors: PR6
    • News: PR6
    • Style: PR6

Context is important!

Google looks at the text surrounding HTML tags, videos and photos to determine what they are about.

Use captions!

A hierarchy of heading tags.

XML Sitemaps

Tools to generate XML sitemaps.

A Sitemap plugin for WordPress

But what are they building?

A sample sitemap

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns=""
      <video:player_loc allow_embed="yes" autoplay="ap=1"></video:player_loc>
      <video:title>Grilling steaks for summer</video:title>  
      <video:description>Get perfectly done steaks every time</video:description>

Relevant content types.

General Content









  • urlset - The container for information about all pages in the site.
  • url - Contains information about a single URL.
  • loc - The unique URL or landing page of the content.
  • lastmod - The last time modified.
  • changefreq - How often you anticipate changes to the page.
  • priority - Internal priority for the URL within the site.
  • 1.0 is highest. .1 is lowest.


WWW vs no WWW.

Multiple URLs for the same content.

Google penalizes duplicated content.

Fixing Canonicalization

Sitemaps are one solution!

In the HEAD:

<link rel="canonical" href="">

Check if you have a canonicalization problem with Webmaster Tools.


are very important.

Let's escape the HEAD tag and find keywords everywhere!

Darth Vader wants you for the Dark Side

Don't go to the dark side.

Keyword stuffing will blow up in your face.

Research your keywords

You already have your initial niche.

Your University

But there's more!

  • Sports teams
  • Regular events
  • Particular areas
  • ...?

Test and find your keywords

Some free tools:

The best keyword testing tool.

Google AdWords

Let's take a look.


Internal and external links bring value.

But be careful.

  • Buying links
  • Selling Links
  • Automated link building

Use the "title"

<a href="" target="_blank" title="Example">

Concentrate your link's power with one keyword theme.

Verticals and Keyword Pages

A lot of articles covering one topic?

Don't diffuse and confuse.

Link them together!

URL Structure

What's on top matters.

Keywords in the URL

Unique ID if it's news.

Google META tags.

  • original-source
  • syndication-source
  • standout
  • author

Google standout META tag

<link rel='standout'
/scoop_article_2.html' />

Use (infrequently) to link to your (and other's) best stories.

No more than once a day

Google author META tag

To use the author meta tag, you must have the site in the "Contributed to" section of your Google+ profile.

Option 1: Make sure your name and email is on the page.

Option 2: Use the G+ Button.

Author meta tag in use

author META with multiple contributors

Link to author pages in your site using rel=author.

Link from the author page to your Google Profile using rel=me

The link to your G+ profile is the one that must be reciprocated.

There's so much more to SEO

Read. Read. Read.

More sources to start you off:

Find the reveal.js source code on github.


Find this presentation at

Aram Zucker-Scharff

Assistant Director for Marketing and Communications
George Mason University Student Media.