The First Principles Of Web Search: A Primer On Search Engine Optimization

Presented at the 2011 Online Northwest conference. Feb 11, 2011

The First Principles Of Web Search: A Primer On Search Engine Optimization 

Our users’ changing information habits mean that Search Engine Optimization has become a practical skill for librarians in a wide range of job roles. Unfortunately, SEO has been relegated as a niche skill for librarians who do web design or marketing work. I want to correct this misnomer and make a case for re-defining SEO as understanding the fundamental principles of web search. Increasing numbers of library users rely on web search to filter the information they receive. Librarians who understand Internet search with the same level of detail as they understand catalog searching or database searching will be much better prepared to assist this kind of library user. In this session, we will visualize basic search engine functionality and discuss the difference between keyword matching and Pagerank algorithms. We’ll examine how web-scale discovery and next-generation catalogs use these concepts to make our collections available to our patrons. Finally, we’ll engage in a guided discussion of how these concepts are integrated into the daily practices of public, special, and academic librarians specializing in reference, technical, and access services.

Nicholas Schiller, Washington State University

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