Optimization Strategies For 2007

 

From an interview with David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning at 360i, a New York-based search-marketing agency. Mr. Berkowitz offers these 12 tips for search engine optimization.

1. Use Google Base: A free version of paid inclusion; optimize feeds for it. Try this: In Google, type in “Used cars.” A link above the natural search results will offer you a link to “Refine your search to used cars.” Click on the link. The results are a prepared feed with no web link. They were uploaded en masse, and automatically became part of the Google Base. Google is populating its main search engine with links to Google Base. Searchers get “hyper-relevant results” as if to say Google knows some results that are even more relevant than what our algorithm found. http://base.google.com. It’s in Beta.

2. Optimize anchor text: The copy within hyperlinks. Make sure the text in the link is relevant, and doesn’t just say, “click here.” Search engines pay more attention to links and their anchor text.

3. Blog PR: Get bloggers on board, and if they bite, they’ll link to you. Have a blog and have bloggers refer to your site. This is a public relations activity. Be front and center in blogger’s minds.

4. mRSS: Media RSS, the syndication vehicle for video. Make sure your video is RSS capable. You can submit feed to Yahoo.mRSS is likely to become standardized. Metadata attached to it makes it easier to syndicate. Tags indicate size of file and video.search.yahoo.com/rss

5. Microcontent: Tap into the new way search engines are indexing the web semantically. Defining a piece of content as a review, an overview, contact information or location allows engines to more easily classify content. There’s more information at , which has a wiki. Items called hcards act just like vcards, and allow your computer to add someone’s contact information. Yahoo locally uses microformats, so if an item is tagged as a restaurant review, it’s more likely to appear at the top of local search for dinner.

6. External link development: Get partners/affiliates/vendors linking to you, in the way you want to be linked. Another example is a media company with 10 stations. They should link to each other. More obviously, Federated Department Stores should link to all its stores, using very accessible pages with cross-linking.

7. Blog: Get major link juice by squeezing your own corporate or trend blogs for all they’re worth. Currently, just 6% of the Fortune 500s blog Self-explanatory.

8. Tagging: Allow all your content to be tagged so it’s included everywhere tags are found (del.icio.us, digg, reddit, flickr, Yahoo My Web, etc.) Encourage your consumers and users of your site to tag your content. Give it additional visibility by facilitating the tagging of the data. For example, on every story there should be a “digg”link. Major media should be embracing this, so should retailers. Adding to digg can be a huge asset. It drives traffic.

9. Social media optimization: Leverage all the links and marketing value you can get from social networks and business networks. Exploit the viral nature of your appearances on other sites. Make sure there are links back to your site. If you’re creating the other sites, enhance the long-term value of the sub sites.

10. Google Co-Op: Become an authority and offer a syndication channel through this service for limited but valuable natural search rankings. Anyone can declare him or herself an expert and create links to their category. Http://google.com/coop (also in Beta) offers a powerful way to get web sites on top of the search results. When users subscribe, if they search in the topic, you’ll come up on top of the natural search rankings, even higher than Google base.

11. Wikis: Host a link-rich wiki and encourage others to share their knowledge in the process Create a wiki for your topic for your site. Combine your encyclopedic knowledge of your industry with user-generated content.

12. Long-tail optimization: Optimize around certain valuable long tail keywords people are using to find you Look at how people are finding your site. Make sure you know what site they came from and what keywords they used to find you. Using that knowledge, make sure there’s content like an occasional blog post, writing now and then about what you were searched by. Build out on products users were searching for when they found you. As searches become more complex, optimize more complex combinations of those words.