Moderator: Scott Hendison – Search Commander, Inc.

Speakers: Dennis Goedegebuure – Geeknet

Jon Colman – REI


Jon and Dennis will discuss optimizing your site assets and server infrastructure at the enterprise level, and discuss how to build a fast-loading, “sticky” site to maintain your rankings in the new era of Google search.


Dennis Geodegebuure- “SEO Theory to Practice”

+Look at how your website is structured and make sure to “theme” it. Make sure the content is important for specific users within the theme of your website.

+Organize all of your content in a pyramid. Build a hub for your main page.

+If you have a target keyword, you’ll need to determine which page is going to be the page ranking for that keyword.

SEO Theories:

-Click distribution of keywords highly focused on the first page. (On average any page two post on your website will not get a lot of traffic unless you push content to the front page)

-Strong sites can rank baed on internal links

-Internal linking system (SaaS)


1. Which keywords and pages to target (revenue estimate)

2. Pick a champion page, where you should focus (chose one that you want to focus on getting the rank higher by increasing internal and external links)

3. Determine what you need with your backings to get a keyword on your focus page.

4. Execution: Target the links, flow the juice to the champion.


+TFNS: Functional Technology and Architecture: Service system that shows real time server to server pull. Will give back information you need based on page type and keywords used. Keyword to keyword mapping table for a landing page that is used to render the information back.

-Example: External and internal data pulls

+Understand where you are going to be based on the efforts you put in and the return you get out of it. The keyword is important. Something largely searched (ex: ipod) you have to know and expect that you will never rank 1 or 2.


Quote: “keywords are people too”

+Analytics: How valuable is position?

-Determine value at category, keyword basket, and keyword levels

-Keyword segmentation using: Hot keywords and Tail keywords, male vs female, younger vs older

-Ask: Can you rank on a keyword based on your competitors and based on your brand category?

-Search analytics for NS link optimization

Lessons Learned:

-Internal linking can be very powerful on large sites

-Scale and latency is an issue for large sites

-Relevancy of source vs target keyword is key

-Keywords are people too

-Internal politics count

-Test, fail, pass, test again


Jon Colman- “SEO and Site Performance” (All related to Battlestar Galactica)

“Sometimes You Gotta Roll a Hand Six”

-Google uses speed as an organic search ranking factor for the top 1% of competitive queries. (Admiral Cain would have a problem with this. Speed isn’t tactic for SEO its a strategy for customers)

-Customers expect you website to load in 2 seconds or less

-40% of customers with abandon any site that taekes longer than 3 seconds to load

-The average fortune 500 company website takes 7 seconds to load (and this is why they fail)

-For every one second of load time, conversion drops by 7%

-For every one second of load time, user satisfaction drops by 16%

-33% of users surveyed expect a mobile site to load just as fast or faster than a desktop computer

-A faster website reduces the costs of infrastrucure and releases by 50% or more.

-80% of page load time is dpendant by front end engineering issues (This can be up to 97% for mobile)


“When website are fast, you feel good. What it comes down to is that you feel in control; that feeling translates to happiness” – Matt Mullenweg


How do Optimize:

-Study and learn from the best (google and yahoo make great documents to read and study on site performance)

-Tools: Free tools can help you get started right away. (Google Webmaster Tools, firebug, kingdom, etc) Do not use every tool but find one that works for you.

“When the cylons attacked the colonies it was a quick win. They defeated all ten colonies in a matter of hours”

You can do this!

1. Use gzip HTTP compression- decrease page load time by compressing the request, minimizing the amount of data transfered

2. Use a far-future Expires Header- Helps with the re-loads of static page objects and components by caching them.

3. Use the asynchronous GA code- This has been availble for a long time. Put it in place of old Google code.

4. Don’t dupe JS, remove unused CSS- Creates unnecessary HTTP request and JS execution.

5. <link> your CSS, avoid @import- Allows for parallel downloading and avoids addition delays

6. Specify a character set- Helps the browser begin parsing HTML and executing scripts immediately.

7. Use a small, cached favicon.ico

8. Avoid empty images <img>- Forces another HHTP request, which slows down your page load.

9. Compress your images, and use dimensions- Will reduce page load time by minimizing data sent from the server to the browser.

10. Avoid redirects- Cuts down on wait time for users by avoiding an enture request-response cycle and the latency that goes with it.

More information (intermediate)

-CSS sprites reduce HTTP requests- improves site performance, combining common image into “sprites” reduces total page file size.

+Conditions for this: images loaded together, similar colors, similar size

-StackExchange moves to a CDN, crowd-sources performance tests. uses Bit Torrent to replicate its search index across servers.


SEO Final Takeaways:

-The site performance business case isn’t just about SEO, but also customer UX (user experience)

-Budget for speed as your would for any other feature or site enhancement

-Don’t do everything at once, start small with quick wins

-Set SLAs for all new content and features

-Measure, celebrate and repeat











One thought on “Advanced On-Site SEO

  1. Thanks so much for live-blogging! Dennis and I had a fun time at SearchFest. There were so many great questions during this session – sorry that we couldn’t get to them all!

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