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