finding your way around
With her help in search engine optimization, home page and navigation redesign and benchmarking, we saw truly impressive results.
—E. Zeidler, director, Texas Instruments
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Getting your information out to the world (searchability) and making it accessible on your site (findability) is as much a part of UX and usability as interaction design. If users can’t discover and understand your content, it’s not very useful, is it?
SEO (search engine optimization)
- 2010: In April, became product owner, joint Hyderabad-Seattle Agile Scrum team (Team Vanguard), dedicated to SEO and registration. Work closely with marketing, search consultants, information architects, writers, and developers to optimize search from the inside out.
- 2009-2010: For personal site, brought essay Cannot vs. can not to top organic result, Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Bing. (Now I just have to keep it there!)
- 2008-2009: Evangelized search best practices as part of UX, including semantic design, off-site (non-member) content. UX consult on external search project; aligned feature strategy with external search requirements (what content appears externally, what does not).
- 2007-2008: Part of the core Search team for Texas Instruments, working to evangelize and implement search engine optimization and marketing (SEO/SEM).
- Worked and trained with Google, SEMPO, and various search experts.
- Brought up competitive PageRank standing and organic positioning for supported B2B, B2C content.
- Promote off-site content (including YouTube videos, blogs, and non-TI product forums) using the “atomize and distribute” model promoted by Google to greatly enhance brand awareness.
- Optimized keywords, content, metadata, semantics for organic search. Shared semantic search expertise with colleagues.
- 2001-2009: As freelance consultant, provided SEO expertise on an as-needed basis to clients, including:
- Competitive, trending analysis; competitive tracking via PageRank, organic placement
- User engagement analysis (leveraging on-site behavior to determine useful external keywords, promotional content)
- Site submission, link building
- Paid SEM, Google AdWords
- XML map development
- Keyword, metadata optimization
- Bot-friendly, readable navigation and headers
- Semantic optimization: specific→broad title structure, appropriate H1 usage (and meaningful H tag structure beneath that)
Closely allied to external search is what IA guru Peter Morville termed findability: the ability to discover, find, or navigate to desired content. This is frequently extended to include web-wide searchability, but I initially heard of it in terms of information architecture: having good navigational scent, a well-designed menu taxonomy, excellent on-site search, best bets, clear calls to action, and more. Highlights of my internal search expertise include:
- 2008-2010: As UX manager for the web’s oldest social network, helped define and optimize navigation. Currently focused on social findability projects such as member list design and user-to-user communications.
- 2006-2008: For Texas Instruments, performed
- Integration and optimization of menus and other navigational elements.
- Developed taxonomy and entered data for RFID parametric search.
- Optimized and managed dynamic page, content, and document placement via EMSG/LitDB database and metadata management; managed products and product documentation.
- Frequently analyzed WebIQ, path flow, keyword search, and similar metrics to optimize best bets (internal keywords) for my content at Texas Instruments.
- Applied IA principles to improve calls to action and clarity of content areas.
- Part of anonymous personalization team optimizing suggested and tagged content for site visitors.
- 2000-2001: Developed flexible, multi-dimensional taxonomy for Nortel Networks site personalization effort. This integrated internet, extranet, and intranet into one dynamic site, navigable according to permissions, product, region, content type, and more. As SME (subject matter expert) worked across departments to develop optimized navigation structure.
- 1999: For Nortel’s largest partner site, the Nortel Information Center, transformed site from a series of poorly organized open directories into a branded, menu-driven, navigable site. Created permissions-aware internal search engine.
- 1998: Improved search options for Nortel’s intranet database Sales.Com; created customized menus for product documentation
- 1991-1993: For AMIGOS Bibliographic Council, converted, created, and optimized search and metadata for online library databases; trained others in client library needs.