HighEdWeb 2008: Search Engine Optimization


Go for quality traffic by bidding on less popular search phrases. You won’t get as many clicks but those that do click are better quality matches.

Adwords can be cheaper at end of day or month when others have spent their budget.

Results Page Behavior

Good heat map of Google search results page showing focus on top level pay per click and top of organic results. “The Golden Triangle” at the top-left.

First click selection on Google results takes 6.5 seconds after having read 4 to 5 listings. So real important to have a good title. On average 85% click on organic results, 72% click the first link of interest, and 25% read all listings.

Top three organic links are read then steady linear drop for the remainder of result links.

Search Engine Ranking Factors

  • Number one thing to do to improve search results is to use keywords in the title tag. Title tag can be up to 70 characters and include organization name in title tag. We do this consistently and is effective. As I was recently bringing up in a meeting recently when defending our search capability for staff was the limited effectiveness of keywords and how we use the content to build good search results.
  • Link popularity
  • Anchor text of inbound link
  • Age of site
  • Link popularity for internal links
  • Can use keywords for content you don’t want in the page and misspellings of common words ( I’m curious about the validity of this practice).
  • Recommends depth of URL to be no more than two (/one/two/three/four).
  • image text
  • iframes for displaying content
  • media without text representations
Poynter Institute reports that readers are more willing to read into a page further than they are for print. The assumption is that the reader is more committed to the content they have spent time drilling down into.