Episode 5 – Setting SEO Guidelines For A Single Page

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Title: Setting SEO Guidelines For A Single Page

Intro:

Hi and thank you for listening to SEOFightClub.org. I’m Ted Kubaitis and I have 22 years of web development and SEO experience. I have patented web technologies and started online businesses. I am both an engineer and a marketer. My goal is to help you win your SEO fights.

This episode’s FREEBIE

With every episode I love to give something away of high value. This episode’s SEO freebie is BOTH the data I collected on over 300 factors for our target search term and the 2 page template of content tuning guidelines for the search terms. So if you are an SEO data junkie like I am then this download is GOLD.

You can download the freebie at: http://seofightclub.org/episode5

In this episode I’ll be taking measurements and constructing some content tuning guidelines to tune a single page for a single keyword. Obviously you want to write quality content that will pass Google’s quality rating guidelines. Given that we all agree on that point I just want to add a few extra requirements to help ensure we are achieving competitive parity in a “full text indexing” perspective. In episode 4 “The Truth About Keyword Stuffing” we did a dive into the fundamentals of “full text indexing” and the basic problem Google is solving at its core. We learned that when all else is equal there are places on the page where whoever says it more tends to win. It was not true that stuffing your pages in general did anything for you and we know there are manual penalties for doing that, so don’t be dumb. But there is a concept of competitive parity and there are zones with a web page that appear to matter more. This isn’t my opinion but it is coming from empirical measurements and the math of statistical correlation.

To start I like to look at all the match words. The match words are the words in that Google puts in bold case in the search results to highlight them has relevant hits for your search terms. These match words are the terms that appear to be getting credit for search relevance and when I talk about matches later on these are the matches I am talking about.

Matching words for “gourmet gift baskets” search:

basket
baskets
gift
gift basket
gift baskets
giftbasket
giftbaskets
gifts
gourmet
gourmet gift baskets
gourmetgiftbaskets

Next I like to characterize the kinds of pages that are ranking well:
Ecom category pages
lots of product tokens and no comment threads

We can see right away that we should be tuning a category page for this keyword.

Next I look at what search features in the search results are we competing with:

Related Searches
Top Ads
Right Ads
Google Shopping Results

These are other channel opportunities to win the business for the traffic on this keyword. In many cases you want to be in all of these zones.

Next I start to look at competitive parity with factor measurements. I create software that measures over 300 factors for each results for your keywords. The software also computes the mathematical correlation so we have strong clues as to which factors are arguably helping our rankings the most. By bringing this kind of math and empirical method to SEO we can save a lot of time and effort and focus on the areas where there is evidence of benefit or opportunity.

Strong Correlation:

social:
social accounts in general,twitter accounts
google plus pages
facebook accounts
social pages in general
likes in facebook api
likes,shares,comments, and clicks in facebook api
comments in facebook api for the URL
shares in facebook api for the URL
plus ones in google api for the URL

matches
leading matches in web page H1 to H6 tags

Weak Correlation:
Social
instagram pages in web page
matches in web page meta og:site_name
Website Info
phone numbers in web page HTML source
terms links in web page A tags
privacy links in web page A tags
SERP Context
exact matches in Google result URL
exact matches in Google result URL
site links in Google result
Matches
matches in web page class attributes
matches in web page H4 tags
matches in web page H4-H6 tags
matches in web page H1-H6 tags
leading matches in web page H1 to H3 tags
matches in web page HTML comments
matches in web page H1-H3 tags
Page Characteristics
kilobytes in web page body tag
do follow links in web page HTML source
words in web page stripped text
internal links in web page HTML source
links in web page
kilobytes in web page stripped html text
kilobytes in web page script tags
image tags with alt text in web page

To summarize:
Very important:
Social signals,
social linking to pages and accounts,
Keyword matches in headings
Also Important:
Contact Info,
Terms of Service,
Privacy Policy,
Amount of Main Content
Images
Supplemental Content

Degree of Tuning:

Next we need to measure the “Degree of Tuning”. With a higher competition keyword you often have a larger amount of tuning required. The degree of tuning is the amount of work you need to do so your empirical measures meet or exceed your competitors. This is called “comptitive parity”. This changes from one keyword to the next so the tuning for the search term in this example might be a lot more work than you need for the tuning in your niche. Or maybe it is nowhere near enough tuning when compared to your niche. The only way to know is to make the measurements for your specific keywords.

Lets look at the degree of tuning for this example:

Social
accounts
social accounts in web page links with a value of at least 3
twitter accounts in web page links with a value of at least 1
google plus page in web page links with a value of at least 1
facebook accounts in web page links with a value of at least 1
pages
social pages in web page links with a value of at least 2
instagram pages in web page links with a value of 1
signals
likes in facebook api for the URL with a value of at least 116
likes,shares,comments, and clicks in facebook api for the URL with a value of at least 361
comments in facebook api for the URL with a value of at least 42
shares in facebook api for the URL with a value of at least 202
plus ones in google api for the URL with a value of at least 286
meta data
open graph meta tags
Matches
Headings
leading matches in web page H1 to H6 tags with a value of at least 1
leading matches in web page H1 to H3 tags with a value from 1 to 2
matches in web page H4 tags with a value of 1
matches in web page H1-H3 tags with a value from 5 to 20
Website Info
phone numbers with a value from 2 to 4
terms link with a value of 1
privacy link with a value of 1
SERP Context
exact matches in Google result URL with a value greater than 0
site links in Google result with a value of 1
page characteristics
images
image tags with alt text in web page with a value from 18 to 45
links
internal links in web page HTML source with a value from 175 to 416
links in web page with a value from 190 to 433
do follow links in web page HTML source with a value from 190 to 410
page size
words in web page stripped text with a value from 930 to 1373
kilobytes in web page stripped html text with a value from 7 to 10
kilobytes in web page body tag with a value from 85 to 171

Again these aren’t my opinions. These values were measured from the sites that were ranking for our target keyword. The math of statistical correlation told me which factors appear to be the most important. As you can probably sense already, if you measured all of this for a different keyword all these values would likely be different because people are driven to compete at different levels based on the perceived value of the keyword to their business. I can also tell you that when you change types of keywords Google treats them differently with respect to which factors are more or less important. For some search types social signals and privacy policies are critical, but for other search types different factors seem to matter more. You have to measure and calculate to know.

Finally we get to Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines. Google now tells us what they specifically like and don’t like in terms of their manual review of websites. I would wage that some of their guidelines are enforced automatically by the Google algorithms but we know at a minimum they are enforced manually by human beings who visit your site. We should consider these as well in our recommendations because doing so will help future proof the performance of our page.

http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf

Here are some of the things Google calls out for high quality pages:
A satisfying amount of high quality MC.
The page and website are expert, authoritative, and trustworthy for the topic of the page.
The website has a good reputation for the topic of the page.
A satisfying amount of website information, for example, About Us information, Contact or Customer Service
SC which contributes to a satisfying user experience on the page and website.
Functional page design which allows users to easily focus on MC and use SC as desired.
A website which is well cared for and maintained.
high quality content takes a significant amount of: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.
The MC should be prominently displayed “front and center.”
The MC should be immediately visible when a user opens the page
Ads and SC should be arranged so as not to distract from the MC
It should be clear what parts of the page are Ads
About Us information.
Contact or Customer Service information.
Information about who is responsible for the content and maintenance of the website

Here are some of things Google calls out as low quality

The quality of the MC is low.
There is an unsatisfying amount of MC for the purpose of the page.
The author of the page or website does not have enough expertise for the topic
The website has a negative reputation.
The SC is distracting or unhelpful for the purpose of the page.
There is an unsatisfying amount of website information.
The page is lacking helpful SC.
The page design is lacking.
The website is lacking maintenance and updates.
Buying papers online or getting someone else to write for them.
Making things up or incorrect facts and information.
Writing quickly with no drafts or editing.
Filling the report with large pictures or other distracting content.
Copying the entire report from an encyclopedia, or paraphrasing content by changing words or sentence
structure here and there.
Using commonly known facts, for example, “Argentina is a country. People live in Argentina. Argentina has
borders. Some people like Argentina.”
Using a lot of words to communicate only basic ideas or facts, for example, “Pandas eat bamboo. Pandas eat
a lot of bamboo. It’s the best food for a Panda bear.”
Many Ads or highly distracting Ads
Repeated insertion of Ads between sections of the MC
Invasive Ads, such as popups that cannot be closed.
A large quantity of Ads with a relatively small amount of helpful MC.
Text ads, placed beside or within the site’s navigation links, which may confuse users
Poor page design

Here are the things Google considered the Lowest Quality

Harmful or malicious pages or websites.
True lack of purpose pages or websites.
Deceptive pages or websites.
Pages or websites which are created to make money with little to no attempt to help users.
Pages with extremely low or lowest quality MC.
Pages on YMYL websites with completely inadequate or no website information.
Pages on abandoned, hacked, or defaced websites.
Pages or websites created with no expertise or pages which are highly untrustworthy, unreliable,
unauthoritative, inaccurate, or misleading.
Websites which have extremely negative or malicious reputations
fake content
fake identity
gibberish
copied/stolen content
no website information
spammed comments
Lacking in purpose

Most people are unaware that Google punishes the content in the middle… The Medium Quality Punishments

Nothing wrong, but nothing special
Mixed, but with some redeeming qualities

So using Google’s likes and dislikes and using the data we gathered by direct measurements and our first hand observations we can create some guidelines for how to tune the content for this search term.

So lets go over the guidelines!

Content Tuning Guidelines For: Gourmet Gift Baskets

This search term benefits an ecommerce category page the most. The search term implies a desire to view a selection. Social signals appear to matter strongly for this search term. Perhaps Google views “Gourmet” as a synonym for “Best” in this context. The category should display products by highest rating and each product token should should use product and average rating schema markup.

The page should be tuned of one single target search term. Related terms should have their own specific pages.

This page should also be targeted in AdWords and Google Product Feeds for the same search term.

The page should have embedded social meta data (open graph meta tags) for facilitate social shares with quality images, description, and product information.

Links to accounts and pages for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram are required.

UI components for liking,sharing, and commenting about this page in social channels should be employed.

There should be 5-20 matches in various heading tags on the page. This is likely best accomplished by making the category name an H1 tag and product token names either an H2 to denote significance or an H4 because they continue correlate in multiple studies.

The page must display a phone number and provide clear links in the footer to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

A dedicated contact page is recommended, but phone number should be on every page.

The URL should contain an exact match. A restful style URL with a keyword slug is recommended.

The page Title and H1 should have a leading match.

The Category page should display 20-40 product tokens with quality images.

The page should offer supplemental content in the form of the following:
Sorts and Filters
Category Navigation
Site Search
Website Information
Specials and Promotions
Similar & Recommended Products

Social Signals should eventually look like or better than the following
Shares: about 200
Likes: about 100
Comments: about 40

Product Token images are required to have alt text containing the product name.

Product names should be tuned to at least contain partial matches of the target search term.

The category page should have 900-1400 words of main content. This is best achieved with product names and promotional messaging in the product tokens. Some competitors also describe quality, service, and brand messaging. There is a risk of the non-product specific text becoming duplicate as it tends to be repeated from page to page and from category to category. It is recommended that you find a way to mitigate that kind of duplication.

Every page should have the following:
Unique Title
Unique Meta Description
Unique H1 Heading
Unique URL
Canonical URL Tag
rel next pref for pagination

The page should avoid 3rd party advertisements.

The page should clearly indicate that it is a category page and provide relevant bread crumbs if appropriate for category navigation.

The intuitive goal of the page should be to find and click on a desired product token AND/OR sharing the page socially.

Following these recommendations adheres to the requirements for a “high quality” rating according to Googles published guidelines and avoids the hazards found on low quality pages.

ENDING:

If you have a business with only a handful of target search terms then you should be specifying your content tuning on a word by word basis. If you have a business that targets hundreds or thousands of target search terms then this isn’t going to work for you. For that you will have come back for our next episode where I will walk you through creating SEO content tuning guidelines for lots of pages and keywords. It’s a whole different game.

Please download the FREEBIE which is BOTH the data I collected on over 300 factors for our target search term and the 2 page template of content tuning guidelines for the search terms.

Thanks again, see you next time and always remember the first rule of SEO Fight Club: Subscribe to SEO Fight Club

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ted

ted

Ted Kubaitis has over 22 years of web development and online marketing experience. Ted has patented web technologies and started online businesses.