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Please join us here at 3:30 p.m. ET for part two our series of CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions. We'll be talking about search engine optimization (SEO), which is a way of using keywords and other techniques to make your iReports more visible to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
CNN.com SEO Coordinator Topher Kohan will be with us to answer your questions and give feedback on your submissions to our SEO refrigerator challenge. In case you're wondering "why refrigerators," we wanted to focus on something that was easy to find so you could focus on the SEO tips instead of on finding something to photograph.
You can be a part of the discussion, even if you didn't participate in the SEO challenge. Just check out Topher's tips and have your questions ready.
We want to spend as much time as we can on questions for Topher so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything else at CNN iReport, you can email them to me at email@example.com.
If you're new to the roundtable, here's how it works: We'll open comments at 3:30 p.m. ET and you can post your questions and comments below.
We'll talk with you then.
We are running a bit behind schedule, so we will open comments in a few minutes.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
I'm sorry to keep everyone waiting. We had a something come up and are a bit behind.
Topher is plugging up his laptop now.
David Rice here. Hi Friends!
good morning everyone - greetings from the philippines
Hello, everyone. I can't stay long so I'll just throw it out there....
I was really hoping Topher's tips would help get more views, but I really didn't notice any difference at all. I even used the tips on my other submissions, including my Sept. 11, WTC Tribute in Lights submission and got very few views on something so popular and searched. Here's that submission: DOC-491088
I don't mean to be negative, but I also noticed that others that did not use Topher's tips actually got MORE views than those that did. For example: Marpel did not use a pertinent, catchy headline, did not use additional tags, did not use catchy, searchable and pertinent text, was not vetted and he still got way more views than anyone else that submitted under this assignment. How do you explain that? Here's his submission: DOC-490757
I really like this SEO assignment, can't wait to hear more.
Topher is almost set up, and will be ready to take your questions. I'm curious, what did y'all think of this project.
It's a little different than our usual things.
thanks david and cnn ireport for this bootcamp
Wow, it works... not so much on iReport practice but on my personal blog.
I agree with Joyful....how did that happen when so many of us used "provocative type" words and titles. I'm a bit confused too.
Hi everyone, this is my first round table and my first iReport...looking forward to feedback.
@joyfulgypsy -- Topher is lookign at your question now
G'day, Have coffee and just watched the sunrise. Nearly awake down here :)
I tried to include words that would entice people, but I also didn't notice a big flux because of my efforts.
@JoyfulGypsy when you talk about more views are you talking in iReport or from Google?
I like that we can edit after the initial posting, making the story better, adapting the keywords. But, at least for boot camp assignments, I think it would be great if we could also add, delete, rearrange, images in the story as well. Making the entire presentation better, using feedback from CNN, and from other iReporters, at least until the story is vetted, or the assignment is closed.
Looking for general feed back on DOC-490738.
Hi KcRep and Joyful Gypsy,
I am under the impression that the google stuff takes longer than a few days to really start working and showing results and that the reports on here with the most views are for other factors, such as when they posted and their use of the Title and their main photo.
Why would the words "no comment" get more hits that say, topless, sexy, pole dancer etc?
Thanks, David. Loved this assignment. Can't wait to hear cnn's tallies and feedback on what worked, what didn't, and why. Greetings fellow ireporters from ecotraveler
Some thing to keep in mind when it comes to SEO and geting ranked high in search engines is there is not secret voodoo that will guarantee a higher ranking.
Doing good descriptions and headlines that are search friendly will help though
@TopherCNN - I don't understand your question. Doesn't someone have to click on my CNN iReport to see my post?
Maybe people are tired of sexy topless pole dancers? :P
@LensLord -- I'd never thought of allowing rearranging images until story is edited. Interesting idea. We'll have to think about it.
KcRep, the "no comment" story I think got overwhelming views because the picture showed something different than most of us usually experience. Obviously this person has some anger issues, and we can all relate to that in our own way. Just my opinion....
Hey StacyY....welcome to iReports and congratulations on your 1st report!!
@KCRep - possibly safe search restrictions?
How does Google's re-vamped image search impact our strategy?
Thoughts on improving DOC-491925?
I've seen markpels... it has lots of views because the image is intriguing why is like that. maybe, people who are browsing ireport got interested in the photo that's why they browse it.
@KCRep if the content is about a non-comment then it would
Keep in mind that the keywords should always be about the subject and not just ones that will get more clicks.
@JoyfulGypsy the tips I gave for to help you have more people find you iReport in Google
I really enjoyed doing this report....and can't wait to do more!
@StacyY - Although I agree that the "no comment" photo was different than expected, how were people directed to it?
Topher - then would iReport need to be one of the search criteria?
Mine is DOC-491010...first one so I'd love some general feedback. Thanks.
@StacyY you are correct to a point. it really depends on the piece of content and where it lives.
Stuff that is on aCNN.com url usually gets indexed very fast but not allways
@joyfulgypsy, i agree with stacy y
Good Afternoon Topher / ireports....
Just able to join in....Sorry
I do think it was a challenge using refridgerators as the topic. But I like a good challenge. I tried to find a balance between using terms that would get buried in the number of 'results' without losing too much of the context of the report.
Hi Kc, thanks! Joyful, what i suspect is that people were directed to the "No Comment" not from the SEO strategies, but from just seeing it after going to the main page. I know that for some reason, it was one of the first I looked at myself, and I didn't "google" into it.
@dmi2 I think that the new Google image search results pages do effect this but I am not 100% sure
@TopherCNN - I understand the tips were suppose to help people find iReport posts in Google.
Hello all. Checking in.. Interesting comments so far.
I have to agree wholeheartedly with JoyfulGypsy. I think using 'searchable' terms in our story or headlines doesn't affect how we show up on search engines such as google. I use google a LOT and the way they show results has never showed me a CNN story.
@DavidRice -- Topher can speak to the SEO issues, but I like that you did the wide, medium and tight shots from the photo lesson.
Topher - Thanks. Any thoughts on how to improve position would be much appreciated...
@Sheribien - I agree with StacyY too. Read the second part of my question above.
Question for you all:
What keywords did you think would be the best to use for this assignment to have it found easily in Google?
Topher...thanks, but I was doing an experiment with this assignment, I don't change titles on my reports (unless I had made a spelling mistake). I'm not sure what you mean by "if the content is about a non-comment".
iDavid, I loved that it was so challenging when I first read it. Why would anyone google up refrigerator out of the blue," I thought, and "how could one possibly make that photo provocative enuf to gather interest from said googlers?" Loved the ireporters who left comments about the uses of "naked" and such words causing increase in interest. What's CNN's take on that? One person, if memory serves, actually posted a "naked fridge," so that truly was legit. Creative! I compared with my other ireports. Sarah Palin also scored big for me, so believe there's a lesson there. Wonder how much my tags helped as I tried to use lots and alluring ones - while still being truthful with this. Thanks again.
I thought my keywords might have enticed people more since I included "World Vision" and "Hello Kitty", which were discussed in my write-up, but I honestly don't think it affected it in the slightest.
@StacyY - I agree. My point then is that the tips had nothing to do with the number of views.
And by the way, it's not just CNN. Most of the google searches do not yield headline news or news stories. They just don't. Unless you know the title of the story and are searching specifically for that...
@joyfulgypsy sorry i have slow connection :)
if there is a weird or odd photo on a page it will always get more clicks. The question is how many people found that one useful?
I noticed one thing that was not placed in the tips and that is cross linking. If a user comments on blogs or websites external to iReports, then adding iReport links in these messages will increase the importance of the page and draw more viewers.
@JoyfulGypsy I think the tips are helpful with Google and iReports but they go much further. I experimented with my blog and jumped a couple of pages on Google.
I tried to use keywords that I might search for if I was looking for something about refridgerators but not actually looking to buy one.
@Davidrice195 a good search friendly headline and the description was good.
I have a popular site on Flickr where many of my photos often get very high or even top google results. But this process took weeks or months to get to this kind of google ranking.
Since the markpel report was the most intriguing and most viewed, I'm curious why it didn't get vetted?
What ho, everyone
@EWillies1961 you are 100% correct!
If you can get blogers to link back to your iReport then you will have a much easer time showing up higher in Google
I think that the initial viewing on this iReport is also affected by who our friends are, who we know, and who we told to go look at our stories on the Bootcamp. … The Topher suggestions are, I think, 100% valid for search engines. … But for reporters instant gratification, I think it is more on the headline, and the cover image.
@KCRep - I'm curious as to why some that did NOT use the tips did get vetted.
i think, aside from good headlines, you must also advertise your ireports in facebook and twitter to get more views etc...
@JoyfulGypsy once people are on the iReport pages then why people click on 1 over the other will vary from the kind of photo to the info in the headlines.
Well, as a test, I just googled 'refrigerator' and separately 'refrigerator magnet' and nothing from CNN showed up in the first few pages. Just ads for fridges and fridge magnets.
@LensLord that's what I am thinking as well. I told some friends and I suspect it takes time for the keywords to establish themselves.
@LensLord, That was well said and you did a better job explaining it than me.
@Sherbien yep that is called cross lining and Google love inbound links to your reports
@Joyful Gypsy -- I vetted as many as possible. I didn't know if they had used the tips until I heard back from them.
I noticed some people wrote 'frig' as well, which might affect things.
@mcintron Refrigerator is a really common word, and it's unlikely that these iReports will rise to the top of the Google results. That being said, the SEO tips were really valuable and will come in handy when you're reporting on a breaking news event that people want to learn more about!
@TopherCNN - What I want to know is how to direct people to iReport.com without them already being here. I'm not complaining, but it's usually the same people (mostly all iReporters) that look at iReport submissions, unless they are featured on CNN.com mainpage or if iReport sends out a tweet, etc.
For me it's really not about how many views I get, I'm just pleased when someone other than me takes a look. Thanks also to the 3 lovely folk who left a comment.
@lenslord - you always have the best explaination!!!!
Joyful, I guess we guessed wrong about how this assignment works...I would love to know what I did wrong because I thought I was doing everything I could to get this SEO right.
Hi All... Greetings from New Orleans
When people see my photographs, I am constantly being asked, "Do you have a website"? My website is being built to hold my photos and will be finished in the next couple of days. The name of the website is my name. www.eileenromero.com However after participating in the SEO Refrigerator challenge, I am wondering if I should change the name of the website. Unless someone KNOWS my name, how else would they find a website full of photos.
@StacyY how fast something gets into the index and ranked high is the holy grail of SEO LOL
@davidw - Why vet "as many as possible"? I would think vetting would be based doing the project correctly.
I did notice that the iReport that showed up first when you search for Refrigerator and iReport in google also has the most page views. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-490858
Another factor that may have led to markpel's iReport getting more hits is that it was one of the first ones that was posted, so that could why.
@KCRep what iReport was yours?
@Katie, yes, I agree with your point as breaking news is another thing altogether. I can understand how that would work for breaking news. But many of the iReporters are submitting other kinds of stories on a daily basis and I just don't see this working for them so much.
I do have one question. I know the tags we put on reports help with the internal site search engine, do they play a factor at all when using an external site search engine?
@JoyfulGypsy the tips I gave you are the best way for it to show up higher in the search results of a site like Google. You should also be promoting your reports on Facebook and twitter type places.
I just googled one of my ireport headings...
this is what i put in....
and an entire page of references showed up...
so it does work....
and this was the largest view on an article that i have had to date...fyi
this is what i typed in
breast cancer awareness day at the oklahoma capitol patricia smith
1. Get a twitter account and tweet your report/
2. You can add to you facebook wall and a facebook note that tags popular users.
3. You can add to digg.com
4. Post a link at Buzzfeed.com
Something interesting about BenneJ's iReport that david just posted is that he used the word "refrigerator" and "fridge," both terms that people might use to search. It's also obviously important to check the spelling of your headlines and descriptions -- otherwise, people won't be able to find your iReports!
@ozsheila the "tags" in the iRpeorts don't have a a big impact with external (ie Google) search engines
@Topher that's sort of what I suspected. This is a very interesting topic. There's so much to learn about how SEO works, which seems like a very important thing to really understand.
@Topher....my report is DOC-490733 I tweaked it ALOT.
@Patricia0117 Right on!
@TopherCNN - I appreciate your tips and I do use facebook and twitter to promote my iReports (as much as I dislike social media sites) ;o)
Oh yes. … Is there any real reason we were limited to just 10 keywords? Or is that just a choice by CNN?
I think google is it's own animal. Most of my videos on Youtube come up in my searches by 'title' but nothing has ever shown up from my CNN iReports.
@EWIllies1961 - I do all that, except Buzzfeed.com.
No matter how well you SEO your iReport the #1 thing you can do to help people find it is to promote it!
The writers here do it, I do it and you should too
Thanks for the answer, Topher. Now I don't feel so silly for not actually putting any other than the boot camp one. The use of tags always seems to be an afterthought for me.
@luvnola -- Your name is your brand, so that's the best way to get your name out there. If people want to see your photos, they're going to search for your name.
(Full disclosure) I asked Topher, while he is typing
I've always preferred yahoo. Just personal opinion for ease of reasearching for my stories, but searching's changed over last decade. When I googled to see how my ireport was faring, I did an advanced search: "cnn AND 'Loni Anderson' and got a page full with mine buried and far down. When I yahood the same on their "advanced search" my Loni bootcamp submission came up #2 on the page. And that's why I prefer yahoo. But, aside, I guess it depends on who's using which search engine, how much they know about getting to the heart of their issue, and how many subscribers are paying google and the rest to appear at the beginning and tops of their pages? I'm not paying anyone, so maybe yahoo is more to the point, and google more for their customers? What say ye, cnn? Thank you again, and all for this input. Ecotraveler
my twitters and facebook references / postings also showed up when i typed in this heading
breast cancer awareness day at the oklahoma capitol patricia smith
I think that I get a lot of following of my reports because of the multi-postings on other venues about my CNN iReports...
@KCRep the headline is just a set of words. Tell me what the report is about.
The description is telling me about the assignment what I want and the search engines want is for you to tell me about the subject (your refrigerator)
Here is an example of the problem I have with google search. I just searched an old story of mine on the Cuba in Flower Orchid Show. It was vetted and on CNN in May or June. And although many stories are showing up with that search... my CNN story is not. Youtube stories are showing up tho' and botanical garden stories, but not CNN.
@LensLord CNN choice and to try and to stay away from keyword stuffing
Topher....Yes, thank you...but, did all those words I put in the report do any good for SEO?
@Patricia0117 - So, someone would have to know your full name and the title of your iReport in order to find it? How many people are really searching for that?
@ⓘdavidw I think that allowing feedback on stories, and images, to rebuild the story into a much better product, could aid the development of some iReporters stories into real stories for CNN. I also know it would allow me to develop my chops, as I would be able put more concentrated effort into the finished product.
@mcintron if you add iReport to that search you are all over that
@KCRep just adding keywords alone wil not help the SEO.
you need to use the keywords to add Context to the Content.
@JoyfulGypsy -- I think what Patricia is saying is that having more sites linking to your iReport makes search engines know that the story is more important.
Hi Topher...what is "keyword stuffing?"
Hi Joyful. I know what you mean about mostly ireporters commenting. I see that too. I noticed tho, that I got a lot of first timers, non ireporters, and people that didn't ever post or have anything to do with cnn on some of mine. My personal experience, was that it depends on the subject of the report as to whether "outsiders" will comment or not.
Topher - OK, what if your "content" is simply an image? What is the relationship between keywords / image name / metadata /etc? How do you add context?
the big keys to help you all have more people see your iReport:
Use search friendly keywords in the headline and the description but make sure they add context to the content you are posting.
Promote the iReport on your blogs and social media sites.
Reach out to bloggers and ask them to link to your iReport
Great Q&A from people. Thanks for putting this bootcamp on ireports. Bye
@ecotraveler - Of course.
@DMAinCA stuffing is using a keyword over and over. if it does not sound natural when you read it out loud then it might be stuffing.
@ecotraveler -- One thing I would encourage you all to do when you post an iReport is to share it around. Post it on your facebook page, put it on your blog, spread it on twitter and anywhere else you can think of.
This does two things:
1) It gets the stories you work hard on in front of the people you care about, and
2) It increases the chances that they'll spread it to their networks.
Does repetition of terms within the content actually do anything besides adding to the word count?
Tusind tak. Og farvel.
@davidw - I think that is one reason why my pictures get high search rankings. Besides, the subject and quality of the pictures and personality I put into all the pages, etc......another equally important element is that I have many sites - all linking to each other in both directions.
@dmi2 tell us that the image is about in the description and the headline. that will tell the readers and the search engines what the image is about.
@ozsheila that could have Google rank you lower
Topher - thanks
Thanks Topher, but the problem is that one has to use 'ireport' in the search. And how many people do that? I just did and this is really funny. Stacy's fridge iReport showed up #6 in the search. There's no reason for that I can see other than she uses the word 'flower' in her story.
Ok all our time is coming to a end. if you have any questions or comments by all means contact me though iReport and I will do what I can to help.
Hi all sorry I'm late. I'm working from my iPhone so I'm slow to see post.
We have to go to another meeting that we couldn't change, so we will talk to you next week. Sorry this was a little short, but Topher said you can contact him by private message.
He's also going to go back through the comments a bit later and try to answer any questions he missed.
Thanks for everyone's patience. This is kind of a tough subject, so that's why we wanted to give it a try.
Thanks for the chat. Last day of term here before Spring Break, so I had better go get ready for work. Have a good evening, over there.
Before I go, I want to give a sneak peak of tomorrow's topic, which is sound.
Nicole's putting the finishing touches on the lesson and it will go out tomorrow.
This also will be our first audio only assignment, so I'm looking forward to seeing the results.
Request - like you're not busy enuf thinking up challenges about refrig's for us.... Can you configure this page, so that the newest post posts to the top vs bottom of this page?
And, is there any way we can edit a photo. Some of us have upload probs and the only recourse is to post a second ireport with the (new) photo. Looks unprofessional. Thanks for all you cnn-ers do, and for ireporters candid opinions.
one reason may be I had a link on my facebook. Another reason is that I already have an established internet presence from the other sites I mentioned earlier.
Ahh... Take care then.
until next week. happy weekends and i'm looking forwards for the next assignment.
@StacyY - I don't understand your comment.
"one reason may be I had a link on my facebook. Another reason is that I already have an established internet presence from the other sites I mentioned earlier."
You got 25 views.
My report is DOC-491329
Sorry!I have slow connection
SEO is far from an exact science. I see sights that are really poorly built and no sense of SEO and they make it to the top. I see sights that worked hard to get best SEO and never get to the front page. Makes no sense.
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