Introduction to SEO

Our friend and professor at Michigan State University, Dr. Dave McCarty, reached out to us recently and asked if we would prepare an introduction to SEO presentation for the students of his Media & Communication Technology course. Being that we love nothing more than hearing ourselves talk about SEO, we happily accepted!

Here’s the video:

Here’s the slide deck:

You can also download the deck from Slide Share

Slide Transcription:

1. Search Engine Optimization | Let’s get nerdy | Matt Green | SEO Strategist, Ethical SEO Consulting


3. What is a Search Engine? Think of a search engine as a librarian that is responsible for organizing EVERY BOOK ON EARTHAs the librarians of the web, search engines have a process by which they organize every page on the web. That process is their indexation algorithm. Search engine robots use the stipulations of the algorithm to crawl through websites and index them in a useful way.

4. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?The process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines.

5. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing have such results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads.

6. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

7. But, what does SEO look like in practice?

8. The job of a SEO is to optimize a website so that it can be found in search results when users input queries for which that site provides answers.

9. The 2 areas where SEOs work: 1. On The Website (on-site optimization) 2. Off The Website (off-site optimization)

10. On-site Optimization When we optimize a website for search engines, we are trying to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to access and index the various pages of the website according to relevance.

11. On-site Optimization Elements Page Title Page title as a human sees it:

12. On-site Optimization Elements Page Title Page title as a search engine sees it: More on page titles:

13. On-site Optimization Elements Meta Description Meta Description as a human sees it:

14. On-site Optimization Elements Meta Description Meta Description as a search engine sees it: More on meta descriptions:

15. On-site Optimization Elements Heading Tags (H1, H2, etc) Heading Tags as a human sees them:

16. On-site Optimization Elements Heading Tags (H1, H2, etc)Heading Tags as a search engine sees them: More on heading tags:

17. On-site Optimization Elements Page Content Page content as a human sees them:

18. On-site Optimization Elements Page Content Page content as a search engine sees it:

19. So the page is about spaghetti…now what? These elements are only a small piece of the optimization puzzle. If there are 1 million pages on the web that are all about “How to make spaghetti”, the search engines need other signals to tell them how those 1 million pages should be ordered in the SERPs. This is where off-site optimization signals comes in!

20. Off-site Optimization Page Rank Each search engine has it’s own way of measuring the importance ofpages. Google uses system called PageRank. Each page on the web has a PageRank, from 0-10. In general, the greater the PageRank of the page we want to rank highly for a given search phrase, the better. “PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by the Google Internet search engine, which assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set.”

Fun Fact: The PageRank system was invented by Google co-founder Larry Page. While at Stanford, he wrote a paper on his PageRank idea, which has since shaped how we access the world’s information. You can read that paper here:

21. Off-site Optimization How is PageRank determined? PageRank is a reflection of the number and quality of the inbound links pointing at a particular web page. In general, the more inbound links and the higher the quality of those links, the higher the PageRank will be.

22. Off-site Optimization In other words… Off-site optimization = ACQUIRING INBOUND LINKS (aka “Link Building”)

23. Off-site Optimization What is a Link? A link (or hyperlink) is a reference to a page that a user can follow. Linkshelp search engines evaluate the content of different pages on the web.To a human, a link looks like this:

24. Off-site Optimization What is an inbound link? A link that points at an external domain:

25. Off-site Optimization What do inbound links communicate to search engines? 1.Authority Think of an inbound link to Site A from Site B as a Vote cast by Site B for Site A. This vote passes some of Site B’s authority to Site A. 2. Relevance The 2 primary ways that search engines use links to determine the relevance of a site are the link’s anchor text, and the context surrounding the link.

26. Off-site Optimization The Anatomy of a Link:

27. Off-site Optimization How do we build links? The best SEO’s are the best link builders. We can’t go to in-depth here, but here are the 2 basics ways to build links at the highest level: Naturally Publish content, and hope other websites link to it. Manually Find places on the web where you can put a link to your site, and put your link there.

28. When on-site and off-site optimization are done properly, you get: Higher organic rankings for relevant search phrases

29. For commercial enterprises this means more $$$$$

30. And…more happy dances