Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not a full guide to SEO terms - but a pretty good stab at it - I hope

30 (Newish) SEO Terms You Have to Know in 2011

Recently I  bookmarked a good entry level SEO glossary of current SEO terms. A few weeks ago I complained ​about some people still using obsolete and innacurate terms such as "keyword density".
Additionally, I missed many new or important terms on this list which I read about and often use, but many people, on the Web at least, don’t. Thus I won’t assume that everybody knows them already. Instead I want to define here 30 (newish) SEO terms you have to know in 2011.
Some of them have been around for years but have been largely ignored by the SEO industry. Others are well known by SEO practicioners but completely off the radar for the general public, it seems. Last but not least there are terms from adjacent industries we now have to deal with in SEO. It’s 2011 – we have flying cars by now! – so it’s time to adopt new terminology as well.​

Most of you probably know what a 404 code is. SEO pros use 301 redirects as well. What's a 503 though? It’s a code telling the Google bot that a site is temporarily unavailable and not broken for good.​ You need it when performing site maintenance resulting in downtime.​ 

A/B Testing (not in any way new but still organisations balk at the time/cost impact of varient testing - then complain their conversion rates aren't where they expected to be)
The process of comparing two (or more) versions of a page to find out the best performing one, i.e. the one that is yielding the highest conversion rate.​ See:

Advanced segment​s
Advanced segments allow you to show only particular parts of your site’s traffic in a Google Analytics report. You can customise and save them to return to the same report again. If you are serious about SEO, you use them all the time.​ A common advanced segment is social media traffic, for instance.​ 

Citation is the equivalent of a link for local SEO, but of course it’s not really the same as a link. It’s more a mention and a link on a site that is relevant for the Google Places algorithm. In a way, citations are even harder to get than links, as only a select few sites get counted for citations.​ 

Content farm
A content farm is a site, often a huge one, that produces large amounts of keyword laden, low quality content to flood​ the search engines. Blekko and Google consider them to be almost as bad as webspam.​ 

Content marketing
Content marketing is a new term describing all the means to promote your site online, be it text, images, video or other “rich media”. Content marketing replaces, to some extent, simple copywriting.​ 

Conversion Rate Optimisation, or CRO for short, is sometimes referred to as conversion optimisation, and is the art and science of streamlining traffic once it reaches your site. In other words, it’s a set of techniques to make the user do what you want them to do on your site, e.g. clicking ads, subscribing, buying.​ 

Deep link ratio
Any site with a natural link profile has at least some links leading to its content that is not the homepage itself. Back in the days, overzealous SEO practicioners would build hundreds or thousands of links to a website’s homepage, leading to a very low deep link ratio and thus being obviously “over optimized”.​ 

Editorial link​s
Editorial links are not links in the editorial but links set by site owners, bloggers or content creators within a text itself. Also, editorial links are mostly natural in that they are given ​voluntarily (in contrast to paid links). While many people talk about paid links even years after they have been discounted by Google, most SEO pundits still rarely use the term ‘editorial links’.​ 

Internal link hub
An internal link hub is a very important page on your site which has collected many inbound links from other sites, and thus can have a big impact on the overall distribution of your site’s authority.​ 

Intelligent content
The definition of intelligent content is not one you can summarise in one sentence I’m afraid. Intelligent content has many characteristics, like being available in many formats, on many platforms​ and readable on different devices.​ 

A jaamit is a very strong link, a human bond ​that results in a link on a website. A ​jaamit is a link that outlasts the link building efforts or even the link builder. A jaamit link reflects trust, friendship, mutual respect and ​overall appreciation.​

As far as I understand, LDA or “Latent Dirichlet Allocation” refers to the way a search engine might analyse word combinations or context on a page. Example:  a page about the sky would also contain the words “blue”, “limit”, “high”, “reaching”, “scraper”. So Google might expect these terms to appear, while on a low quality page they wouldn’t.​ I’d be glad to find a better definition somewhere though.​ 

Link decay

Link equity
Link equity​ is like the link budget you have on a site and the way you spend it. Do you waste it on linking to the wrong places or in the wrong way? 

Micro conversion​s
While conversions ofter refer to major goals a website can have, micro-conversions can reflect any goals you choose to measure user engagement with your site – something like a lead, a sale or at least a subscription. A time on site of more than 5 minutes could be a micro-conversion, or a ​third returning visit.​ 

Microformats is a term describing a set of standards to annotate web sites in order to make them machine readable. For instance, you can tell search engines what an address is using a microformat.​ 

Natural links
Natural links are links by people whom you haven’t asked for a link. If somebody decides to link to you out of the blue without being asked to do so, the link is natural.​ 

QDF stands for the Query Deserves Freshness algorithm by Google, which determines the ranking for newly important queries​. Breaking news is a good example. In many cases, a blog or news site can outrank old authority sites for a keyphrase because the QDF algo determines that they are the most current source on that subject at that moment.​ 
See:http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2010/05/agile-seo-using-qdf.htm http://www.orangesoda.com/blog/does-your-query-deserve-freshness/

QR Code
A QR code is used to enable mobile phones to read symbols from print material. They are real life links or additional data.​ 

Relevant links
Relevant links are – in theory​ – links which have a topical connection to your site, e.g. a link from a travel site to a hotel. While the concept of relevant links is controversial in the SEO industry, it’s important to know that some links are more relevant than others.​ 

Rich snippets
Rich snippets are ​based on the RDF format or microformats mentioned above. They are machine readable codes and provide additional information​ that is displayed in Google search results.​ 

Sales funnel
While the idea of a sales funnel is not new, it has entered the SEO arena quite recently. The sales funnel can be tracked and influenced on websites.​ I can’t explain it in one sentence though; you have to see it to understand the idea/metaphor.​ 

Semantic means “dealing with meaning”. Semantic search and SEO has been around for a while but it’s still nascent. Bing uses some semantic technologies from the semantic search engine Powerset​ which it acquired.​ Google, in contrast, doesn’t understand the meaning of a web document yet. It just analyses the keywords contained in it.​ A semantic search engine can, for example, distinguish between spears and Britney Spears, while one that doesn’t will offer you both results.​ 

Shopping cart abandonment rate
You probably know the bounce rate – that is, the percentage of users leaving your site after landing on it without performing any other action on it beyond clicking an external link. On e-commerce site the SCAR leaves scars on your revenue as it’s the percentage of customers who have left in the middle of the shopping or checkout process.​ 

A slashtag is a customized vertical or niche search engine on Blekko.​ 

Social CRM
Social CRM refers to customer relationship management before they are customers or forging relationships beyond CRM. It uses social media for that purpose.​ 

User testing
User testing is a form of usability and website testing​ where you actually invite real users to test your site and watch/record what they are doing and where they fail. You improve the site based on these user testing findings.​ 

Usability is not UX/User Experience (Design); it goes beyond it. It encompasses making the user want to use something for instance. A good example is the iPhone. While many phones might be usable, the iPhone is also desirable in the UX sense.​ 

Wonder wheel
The Google wonder wheel is an excellent Google search tool which allows you to overview keyword clusters which are related to a particular query. It has been around for almost two years now, but many people still don’t use or even know it.​ 

There will be folk reading this who disagree with my grouping of some of the above terms 'newish' I've aslo tried to avoid casting too greater an opinion on why people are or aren't using these technologies.

There will of course be more terms that I haven’t mentioned and explained but which you think are indispensable in 2011? Add your suggestions in the comment section!

Using the correct and current terms is a prerequisite of modern SEO. How can you grasp it when you still talk about PageRank, meta tags and search engine submission? So be sure to learn what those above mean; however I fully admit I still haven’t fully understood some of them, like LDA or rich snippets.

10 steps for building an "uber" social team

Here are ten steps for building an internal social media team who'll be responsible for the listening (monitoring and response) process, as well as reporting and measurement of social media activities.

I’ve written this about direct employees, but of course small organisations can quite easily include volunteers in this.

1. Start with a large group of people from different departments who have expressed interest. You can narrow down later, but eventually this will be part of everyone’s job so it’s a good idea to get a sense of who’s doing it already and who’s generally into the idea.

2. Make sure someone from every member-facing department is included – membership, marketing, PR, advocacy, communications, publications, education, meetings, etc. Different people will be paying attention to different things, and that is exactly what you want. Make it truly interdepartmental.

3. Include people at all levels of the management hierarchy. It’s important to have people “on the ground” who are used to connecting with members – yes, like your receptionist who knows everyone – as well as people who are higher up and have knowledge of the strategic direction of the organisation. (Which of course I think everyone should have, but that’s for a different post).

4. Include people who have a capacity and pre-existing comfort level with certain social sites. You will get going much faster and better than if you have to train everyone from scratch. Make sure those people with existing social capital are ok with operating in those social spaces on behalf of the organisation. Make sure they check their privacy settings so they can easily keep personal stuff personal.

5. Build an inventory of existing social media activity. This should include any “official” experiments as well as member-generated stuff going on. List the name of the administrator or person managing the activity (group, site, account…).

6. Decide on how the team will collaborate. Each person will be responsible for listening and monitoring, and reporting back particularly interesting conversations or activity going on. Some teams work best by having a regular weekly meeting; others use an online tool to post information for the whole group to be able to see – either internally like Sharepoint or externally like a Groupsite. Everyone should know how to share something of interest, in some central location, even if it’s not specifically related to their own department.

7. Have policies in place so that everyone knows how they are empowered to engage and respond. Everyone on the team (at the very least, if not everyone in the organisation) should be able to freely (and professionally) engage in a basic level of conversation with members and stakeholders. With your collaboration system in place, create a simple process for asking the team how something should be handled if it requires more analysis. Incorporate this into your existing crisis communications plan; your PR/communications people presumably already have a funnel process should some contentious issue arise.

8. Establish a good content strategy. The key to managing staff resources for feeding social spaces and outposts is being able to repurpose content from different places in easy, shareable ways. The team should always know when there’s new material worth sharing in the social spaces they are monitoring.

9. Use the team to share and communicate internal workflow too. This is similar to no.8, but more about work than about content. If everyone knows what each department has coming up, they will be great at finding those sweet spots where they can use social media tools to build buzz for those activities, if appropriate. You’ll be able to provide a sense of the strategic direction of the organization too, if everyone knows what internal (or external) projects are a priority. 

10. Use qualitative and quantitative reporting to measure success. Develop a system the team can use to measure progress on a regular basis. This should include all kinds of anectodal feedback, (such as a printout of a tweet from someone saying they are psyched to come to your conference after hearing about it on Twitter). At first, report more than you need to – as you progress, you’ll refine what’s important to report based on alignment with specific objectives.