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    0 Replies Latest reply on Jun 9, 2009 1:23 PM by ChrisKinetic

    Laypersons' Look @ Search Engine Optimization

    ChrisKinetic Newbie

      The Absolute Basics


      What is it all about? It's about leveraging the Internet, a worldwide network of interconnected computers, and the World Wide Web, an Internet application for helping people to access our web page information. Still, with trillions of web pages to navigate, it is very difficult for people to find the good information we business people have to offer. Search Engines solve this problem by crawling, indexing, ranking and essentially preparing as many pages on the web as possible so that when people search they can find our good information.


      Search engines are consumer answer systems and they provide us business people with targeted organic and pay-per-click advertising opportunities; however, unlike with traditional advertising, consumers can get the information they desire exactly when they want it. Rather than interrupting the consumer, search engine optimization or search engine marketing helps the consumer find us!


      Define Search Engine Optimization, the free online encyclopedia, defines Search Engine Optimization SEO as the, "subset of search engine marketing that seeks to improve the number and quality of visitors to a web site from "natural" search results. In effect, SEO is marketing by appealing first to machine algorithms to increase search engine relevance and secondly to human visitors. The term SEO can also refer to "search engine optimizers", an industry of consultants who carry out optimization projects on behalf of clients."


      We believe achieving SEO centers 1.) on web page optimization proper content creation, 2.) off web page optimization the activity that stems from that content and 3.) in web page optimization http://site/ page crawler friendliness. On a larger scale we all need to think beyond search engines, to a broader web optimization. Achieving either one however, depends on publishing timely & relevant content coverage for a marketplace and sesarch engines certainly favor those sites producing it. Good blogs make this much easier and more cost effective!


      While your site[s] must be search crawler friendly, it's not necessarily the site the search engines want. Search engines place emphasis on ranking each page they identify, rather than just the site itself. Search engines want all the content contained in all your web pages. Site signals, like activity, can certainly help to get you more & competitive key word and phrase indexing. This is an important thing to understand when it comes to SEO because search engines actually need the most current information on all subjects in order to succeed in their own business. Hint: be a focused & current coverage provider!


      Signals Used To Rank Content


      A confused client once told me, "Your competitor told me my blog is poor because I'm not ranking for a particular phrase." A quick glance at my clients' descriptive tags, categories and content showed their blog site did not contain the phrase, so short some form of artificial or god-like intelligence how could they be in the index, none the less rank for that phrase? Shame on the competitor for being misleading, but clearly the client had not asked us to build the phrase into their blog site tags, nor had they written or blogged it. Clearly, the issue was they had NOT targeted the phrase.


      At it's core, SEO is still target key word and phrase driven. Regardless of the old or new signals, your search engine and web optimization should be centered on the key words and phrases we wish to be discovered for. As the top priority, we must understand and we must target the language of our consumer when advertising online; however, it's much more complicated than just that... or everyone would easily search optimize to the top.


      Search crawler, spider and bot are interchangeable terms for what search engines use to find and index web pages. The search algorithm is a mathematical formula based on the comparison of a couple hundred different signals coming from competitive pages. Signals like key word or phrase usage on a page, the number of links that page has, the quality of the links and many many others to then rank pages for the content they contain. When it comes to information retrieval IR or search, text and link analysis as signals are being diminished some, yet they remain a large part of an ever evolving science for ranking content.


      Links on the web are growing by the billions per day and a great deal of them are calculated or gamed. If we know there's gaming out there, you can bet the algorithm engineers knew it and began taking steps to deal with it months ago. They have a great deal of resources, unrivaled user data for analysis and they have an interest in fighting gaming to assure a user the best experience possible.


      Either way, trying to discover and rank existing pages in the index accurately, while dealing with the massive arrival of new web content is NOT easy for search engines. The cost of crawl & index bandwidth alone for this process is a giant business challenge. In a world where search engines must be able to provide the most relevant breaking news or risk losing their search user has free ever driven customer loyalty?, they must also continue to improve the way they identify, index and rank content.


      What Are The New Signals Used To Rank Content?


      What's new you ask? How about a reversal of emphasis by the search engines from what site owners do to what web users do. Ha? Consider less not all of an emphasis on site text and links and more on what the user chooses from a search, bookmarks, tags, subscribes to, downloads and rates.


      These consumer signals, previously not counted simply because without sites they had no signal, now influence what web pages are relevant by their usage of various search and social networking applications http://i.e. search clicks, bookmarks, tags, subscriptions, downloads and ratings.


      How do search engines track this you ask? In many ways, but how about the ubiquitous Google Search Toolbar for one. Not only can it monitor a consumers click, bookmark, tag, subscription, download, search query chain and rating activity, but it can gauge negative or positive voting by how often she leaves a page immediately via the back button. It can even follow the page view path she takes from what she searched. Yes it's a little scary, but when we saw FREE we all jumped in and loaded that Toolbar without looking back. As 'supposed anonymous consumers' the tax we pay for FREE is fodder for another post, but for the purposes of this one you can assume anything free comes with minimum some sort of personal data mining. Namely, your activity is data that search engines use to see what is and what is not popular. Better yet, what is and what is not trusted!


      Search traffic isn't fading either. With Internet use and searches rising, search is here for the long haul.


      Where Does This Leave SEO?


      Your search marketing resources have to contend with this statement by Google, "Let me start with our main goal in web search: to get you the consumer to the web pages you want as quickly as possible. Search is not an end in itself; it is merely a conduit."


      Maybe those resources get you into the top ten for lots of key words and phrases, but is there true visibility, interest and traffic growth? Studies show that searchers rarely go to the second page of search results. Rather, most scan above the fold and, if they don't see an appealing result, they will actually adjust their search entirely. Has being above the fold become more important than the top 10? Beyond the pay per-click-ads, search engine results have added local content, maps and with Universal Search an emphasis on alternative content like video and image. And with the personalization of search results yours are different than mine becoming ever more a reality, is an accurate report even possible?


      The question becomes are your website, blog and/ or search optimization resources aware of the new signals? Within their defined scope or responsibility, are they able to develop reliable and cost effective optimization strategies? There are plenty who sell expensive SEO services, many that try to game search engines entering you into a race you can't win sustainably. So, if you're not so knowledgeable, be sure to make cost effective progress and sustainability the realistic goal with any investment!


      Can Business People Succeed Reasonably?


      We're not SEOs, but we are an experienced online marketing services company and with ongoing instructional guidance our clients do very nicely. We believe SEO is achieved sustainably and cost effectively with consistent focused content coverage that targets a marketplace. We advocate pushing that content wider and also motivating activity around it.


      We see our clients do it every day.