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Search Engine Optimization

 

Constantin Ferseta, Bucharest, Romania,

 

 

In the past years, the Internet usage grew with a double digit trend year by year. So did the web marketing, the number of sites and their ownersí willingness of being the first in the click-path of the consumers.

 

Search engine optimization is nowadays one of the most efficient tools a marketer can use on the web, to enhance his website chances for visibility and buying action. Internet consumer behavior become modeled in such way, so using a portal/search engine for finding something is mandatory.

 

A regular surfer has three main destination areas:

- email checking (via software programs/web mail). According to statistics, over 50% of Internet visits begin with this destination;

- day2day used sites/programs: chat on the evergreen MIRC, visiting the favorite job websites, matching websites, auto websites, etc.. All the visits are made automatically, without implying clear conscientious decision from the surfer. The habit makes the decision for him.

- third category is searching for something new - products to buy, information, favorite actors/singers, etc. A small percentage of these searches, the results move into the second category, if the surfer find it interesting and repeats the visits.

 

But in the majority of the cases, the search for those particularly topic is conducted again and again. Itís much easier to remember how it got there in the first place than retaining the website domain. Itís much easier to remember.

 

So on one hand, the search engine is a powerful tool to find the interest subject, on the other hand is used as a map to find again the once visited location.

 

So, as soon as the surfers are finding what is theyíve looked for, they leave the search engine results and focus on what they founded. Automatically the highest chances of being clicked on are the websites within the Top 10 (70% of total clicks). The rest of 30% are divided within the rest of the 2 results pages. The rest of the visits on the results below Top 30 are purely accidental. This means a huge competition that is created between the websites with similar subjects. And the winners are one most optimized for SE.

 

This aspect is far more important for websites that sells anything. The vast majority of the visitors will come from SE and secondary from portals. The direct visitors may vary very much, mainly due the variety of business types, with various consumption habits.

 

For example, online casinos business is not recognized for its high loyalty customers. The customers are constantly looking for better chances of winning, which translates in migration within the category, towards competition. On the other hand the web drug suppliers, if they prove reliable, their occasional customers turn to loyal customers, and next time they will go directly to preferred site. Without going through SE.

 

So gaining visitors with the help of search engine optimization is vital for the business. This implies that itís vital to optimize the own site to increase the chances of being indexed in Top 10.

 

However, one thing that is sure regarding SEO is a permanent change in the search algorithm.

 

It is a constant race between the website owners that want to increase their website relevance. This happens even their site is not as good as the industry leader (in terms of relevance). The webmaster, through specific methods, could fool the SE to display the site even better than the leader. This undermines the authority of SE because the relevance in searches is going down and itís visitors will use other SE. And this definitely is not good for SE business.

Thatís why an website optimization for SE could be seen as an attempt to fool SE to interpret it as a genuine category leader.

 

Still there are rules for SEO that are being applying and works. Others are being invented, put into practice and counterattacked by SE admins as soon as they realize it.

 

Generally speaking, SEO methods can be divided into two categories: active and passive.

 

Active optimization methods such as generating web doorways, cloaking or "aggressive" linking can be effective in the short term, but they can also be high-maintenance, expensive and carry a certain risk. SE admins are totally against them, because it undermines their efforts for relevance. Using them can determine site ban.

 

 Passive SEO methods on the other hand are low maintenance, easy to implement and modify and are of course low-risk.

 

The best variant is a website that once optimized, can be launched and maintained through constant content updates and making other small marketing actions. This is the safest way to benefit of a good ranking.

 

This can be less tricky than it sounds, as most algorithm tweaks are designed to improve results by countering search engine spam, so a cautious approach to search engine optimization should leave your pages largely unaffected by future SE changes.

 

Apart from the dangers of using active techniques, SE could also analyze the over-optimized pages, which necessitate caution, and constant monitoring of SEO forums. Finding out what others are doing in this business can help the website to reach and most important, to survive in Top 30.

 

Optimization can be a long term process; results can be seen from least 2 months up to 8 months. For faster results, paying per results could provide some short term benefits.

 

Here are some methods of optimization.

 

Keyword density is measuring the frequency of a keyword throughout the page; the more the better, but still the content should be readable and considered as a value resource by interested visitors. This parameter varies between different SE, and even within the same one as the algorithms change.

 

Keyword optimization. There is a rapport between the number of searches conducted for that word in the past, the number of possible results and the quality of competition for Top 30. Very good tools to work with are www.wordtracker.com and www.overture.com.

 

The Title tag is important for mainly two reasons, it is one of the major pieces of information in the <HEAD >section used by the search engine to help determine relevancy; and it may appear beside the URL in the search results.

 

Meta tags contain information that usually is viewed by the search engines and appear below the Title tag and within the HEAD tags at the top of the page source code. Some tags such as description and keywords may be used to help SE determine relevance; other tags can be used to give some control, such as the "robots" tag.

 

The content, and most important the relevant content, is the most important element for a high ranked website. The text is loved by SE spiders, and it helps the site to grow in ranking. Not considering that if the text is targeted and useful for interested surfers, they will grow interest for the website and increase chances of coming back.

 

When choosing content for webpage, homepage especially always the developers must be aware of his target audience. All too many corporate websites put on their initial pages boring and not useful information, regarding their beliefs and official statements, instead of good robot ďfoodĒ to chew. Thatís one reason why most of corporate websites are not optimized for their definitory keyword.

 

Placement of your page content may become a factor if you have a lot of code above it in the page source. Some spiders are not indexing the whole page, so itís important to have most of the relevant text as close to the header as possible. A method of reaching this goal is using external files like CSS.

 

One of the most SE friendlier pages is the HTML plain one. Very few texts, not complicated, are easy to be parsed by spiders. Others structures are not so easy to be indexed: framed pages, dynamic pages (ASP, PHP and JSP), flash pages.

 

Optimizing images. First tool is an efficient compression, which will clearly diminished the loading speed. An extra optimization is using ALT attributes, which also be considered as keyword by spiders. Not mentioning that spiders cannot read pictures (or flash plug-in), so ALT tag helps them make a relevant idea about it

 

Links are also a highly important element in getting a bigger rank for many SE: Inktomi, Altavista, but particularly Google.

 

Google uses the number and provenance of incoming links to a page to assign it with a "Page Rank", which plays an important part in its page ranking methodology.

The original concept, put simply, was that quality pages would attract links, and so a correlation could be made between the number of incoming links and the quality of a page.

 

 This has led to many going overboard in acquiring links. The raging activity had a large impact on ranking on many weak sites (but highly optimized). Google admins took drastic measures, which unfortunately also caught out many innocent sites.

Now, links still counts for ranking, but is better to have really relevant links, from websites with similar interests.

 

There are 3 categories of useful links to have: incoming, internal and outgoing. The value of a link is determined by a number of factors, its relevance to the page it's linking to, the perceived value of where the link is coming from, and if any keywords appear in the link text.

 

Also for making it easier for the spider to index all the links, it is indicated to have a link from the homepage a link towards a sitemap, where are stated all the links. This way, by parsing only a page, the spider will find out the addressees of all pages.

 

Now, clear HTML links are easier to be indexed than by dynamic links. Not mentioning of having the surprise not to have the page up again.

 

Submitting your site to the search engines and directories is the next logical step. It is far better to submit it by hand, due SE admins resistance towards automatic means of submission

 

Here are the most important places to submit the website: DMOZ, Google, Fast, Lycos, HotBot, Netscape, Yahoo!, LookSmart, Altavista, MSN, WiseNut, I-Won, AOL, Netscape, AskJeeves, Euroseek, AllTheWeb, Inktomi, Teoma.

 

 

Search Engine Optimization is an important tool in providing the site extra chances to be in the beam light. It is not exact science, it only give the premises to benefit for the ranking increase. Further actions must be taken, from marketing point of view to lure visitors and provide them a satisfactory experience. This way, the website will build itís base of loyal visitors, who will come to visit it again and again. Marketing activities, promotions, profiling, customer relationship management modules Ė all of them help the website to come out of the clutter. Itís a continuous circle, that itís interruption determines site fall.

 

SEO is an ongoing activity. And a very profitable one, if doing correct.

 

 

Related links:
 
  1. Tendencies in Information Technologies with Direct Applicability in Marketing

  2. Retelele si impactul lor asupra IMM-urilor

  3. Pericolele marketingului personalizat

  4. E-Marketing vs Direct Marketing

  5. SE POT REDUCE FACTURILE TELEFONICE?

  6. Concepte in comunicare

  7. BANCILE PE INTERNET

  8. Avantajele apelarii la o a doua opinie Ė firmele de consultanta

  9. 25 de motive pentru care un site te ajuta in afaceri

  10. Search Engine Optimization
     

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