Hewlett: Search Engine Optimisation for Educational Sites
March 13, 2008
Robbin Steif of Lunametrics looked at the ways that we can help people find and get to our sites. She started with the analytics data from using Google Analytics as an example to look at:
- Visitors v goals: how many visitors make to a particular page (e.g. the full content page for a course).
- New visitors v returning visitors: in general visitors who come back are more valuable
- Sources for references: relevant links give more serious users
She pointed out that we should work together as OERs: co-opetition – link to “rivals” and comment on their activity. Robbin showed eye-tracking data that demonstrate how the top actual (non-sponsored) links are where the attention is, so it is better to have good page rank through links than to provide paid for adwords. However just swapping links was not a good strategy.
Keyword selection can be aided by using Google Trends to compare and see which keyword are the more popular. She also showed quintura.com mapping the connections between words, so I tried this for OpenLearn:
How to use keywords:
- Title text – keep short (truncated at 150 characters) with most important words at the beginning.
- Links – in to your site are most important. Within the site: link on keywords not on e.g. company names.
SEO mistakes: No SEO, No Keyword research, Ignoring title tags, same title tag on all pages, too little text/content – too much Flash/pictures, no links, reciprocal links, poor internal linking, ignoring URLs, no site upkeep.
Get the site linked to in Wikipedia – will not get higher SE but bring in good users from it. [We know from experience thought that this can be tricky, and some suggestions of creating new identities seemed a bit beyond what we would want to do.]
Niche audiences: give content information to professional associations etc.
Mailing lists: care needed, Robbin suggested www.constantcontact.com for smaller lists.
Taylor Pratt then talked about Viral marketing.
Make it easy to:
- Send to friend
- Integrate the ad
- Encourage response
- One click to social bookmarking
- Social media – dig, stumbleupon, facebook, myspace, reddit, flickr, del.icio.us, twitter. But often don’t give good conversion.
Inside these there are behaviours that will help get attention e.g, engaging titles – it was suggested that we study the front page of popular magazines! The key though to high attention in social sites was getting involved – and that takes a lot of time.