Search Engine Visibility
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines are basically giant indexes of data
much like the yellow pages. Unlike the yellow pages, however, they
actively seek out information and return the most relevant titles,
snippets and URLs to our search queries. The way they seek out this
information is key to understanding SEO.
Most search engines use 'bots', pieces of software
that, essentially, surf the web at lighting speeds. They follow each
link to a different page, read the content they find, determine if it's
original and relevant, and send the data they find back to the home
servers. Those servers then classify the data into a complex and
proprietary algorithm so that search queries will be answered with the
most relevant, unique information, and quickly.
What Do Search Engines Look For?
Perhaps paramount, search engines look for
valuable, unique content. That is, content with specific appeal and
unlike any other information on the web. Repurposing other's content is
just not going to cut it. You've got to write—a lot.
As thousands of new websites are indexed every
day, many are neglected over time. Their content becomes stale and
irrelevant. Therefore search engines like to see at least some of the
content updated on a regular basis.
The latest thing search engines look for in
determining the value of a website in their index is inbound links. As
you can imagine, it would be very easy to deceive search engines if all
they looked for was lots of outbound links. What's almost impossible to
fake is a large number of other websites linking relevant text to your
Organic Search Engine Visibility Tips
There's a lot of 'tricks' out there for improving
search engine visibility, but all you really need to build successful,
long-term SEO value is up-to-date, valuable content and high quality
mark-up (or code). Here's a few tips to get you off on the right foot.
Descriptive ALT Tags and Image Names
Search engine bots (AKA spiders) can't read images
(yet). They can, however, read the ALT tag image description and the
filename of the image. Therefore, don't let your web developer get lazy
and name every image on your site something like "ImageSlice133" when
you could call it, "Brand-X-logo." Take the following example for
Anchor Text Links
"Anchor Text Links" is a fancy name for the
visible text that's being linked. Knowing that search engines read the
words and follow where they lead, you can see the importance of linking
keywords to related, valuable content. Here's two examples of what not
to do (line 1) and the right way to do it (line 2).
1: To contact Company XYZ, click here.
2: Contact Company XYZ today.
Here's what the code looks like:
1: To contact Company XYZ, click
2: Contact Company XYZ today.
In the example, line 1 has the anchor text as
"click here." Not a very valuable or descriptive phase. Instead look
how the line 2 example has the anchor text as "Contact Company XYZ" and
is linking to a page called "Contact." I think you're getting it now.
High Content-to-Markup Ratio
More and more search engines look favorably on a
high ratio of text-to-code. Using fewer tables, more INCLUDES and
markup and in-line style will result in a faster-loading, well-indexed
website with all the functionality of before.
This is one of the tips you'll need a professional
for. If you're not sure the quality of your site's mark-up, check it
with this free validation service: validator.w3.org.
Corporate blogs and newsletters are perfect
vehicles for constantly updated, valuable content. There are dozens of
open source or free, packaged resources out there that will allow you
to build one (or both) on your own.
Once built, these marketing communications must be
kept alive. Consider developing an editorial calendar and writing as
much of the year's content ahead of the first issue. Also, be sure to
integrate sharing and content syndication via social networks,
micro-blogs and RSS.
Finally, leave your sales pitches at the door.
This is a Suspect-level marketing activity, not a sales meeting.
Unique META & TITLE Tags
Having even a few duplicate TITLE and META
description tags will hurt your rank. Think of it this way, if a search
engine is unclear which page is more relevant to a search query, they'd
rather return neither of yours than the wrong one. All you have to do
is write unique TITLE and META descriptions for each of your unique
It's one thing to write unique and valuable
content. That's the hard part. Thankfully, the easier part is
optimizing the content. To optimize the content ask yourself, "What
query would I type into a search engine to find this content?" Whatever
the 3 or 4 key words you would type into a search engine are, make sure
you use those words in your content, ideally fairly often.
You'll hear SEO experts talk about "Keyword
Density" when it comes to optimizing content. Don't get too hung up on
this. The idea of keyword density is to pack as many key words into the
content as possible without being seen as doing just that by search
engines. Here's all you have to do: scan the content closely and see if
you're referring to the same thing using more than a couple proper
nouns. If so, just refer to the same noun using the same word. That's a
bit of a mouthful. Here's an example.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
platforms have taken off in recent years, but what's its current state
and what barriers to adoption still exist? According to Silverpop,
Salesforce.com is the most popular automation solution by a landslide,
accounting for almost 40% adoption by the several hundred surveyed.
Optimized for Keywords (SFA, CRM)
Sales Force Automation (SFA) and its big
brother Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms have taken off
in recent years, but what is the current state of the CRM market and
what barriers to adoption still exist? According to Silverpop
(an engagement marketing solution which blends CRM, SFA and marketing
automation together), Salesforce.com is the most
popular solution by a landslide, accounting for almost 40% adoption by
the several hundred surveyed.
Look closely and you'll see that the content
doesn't read like we're plugging CRM and SFA into every other word.
Also, the optimized paragraph includes relevant links and explains the
abbreviated key words.
Online Press Releases
Aside from possible media exposure, online press
releases are an extraordinarily easy way to increase your website's
reach and rank within search engines.
The reach of your website is dramatically
increased as your promotional press release makes its way all over the
web through news distribution sites. This larger reach opens up
numerous channels for traffic to get to your site.
Online press releases also increase your site's
page rank. As mentioned before, Search Engines look at the number of
sites linking to your site. The thinking is that
the more sites that link to yours, the more likely your site stands as
credible and expert.
Submit your online press release with links to
your site and within minutes the release could be featured all over the
web from news-related sites to industry blogs. Overnight, your site
will be seen by search engines as being linked to by not one or two
sites, but hundreds. This increase in the number of sites linking to
your own will both increase the number of channels for traffic to make
it to your site, but also increase your site's rank, achieving a higher
position in related search engine queries.
SEO Lies and Misconceptions
There's a lot of junk SEO tips out there. These
gamers' SEO worst-practices are liable to get your site blacklisted or
at best, waste a ton of your money.
Misconception: "Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Guarantees Permanent Top Placement"
Well, this is partly true. Search Engine
Advertising, such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC), guarantees top placement of
relevant ads, but not permanently and certainly not for free.
Fact is, no one can guarantee permanent, top
placement. Placement is the sole domain of search engines and their
success is based on displaying only the most relevant results (be them
ads or organic results). What's more, search engines don't want the
same listings to show up over and over again. To that end, they
constantly modify their super-secret search algorithms (sometimes
A search engine professional's job is to stay
up-to-date on these changes, but "guaranteed, long-term placement" is a
big red flag and a common misconception.
Myth: "Search Engine Optimization's Goal is Top
This myth is as wide-spread as it is inaccurate.
Search Engine Optimization's goal is to make a site more "findable." At
JDM, we call it "Search Engine Visibility". On average, website's only
receive 6% to 7% of their traffic from commercial search engines. A
site that has undergone Search Engine Optimization should shoot for
that number to increase to 10% to 30%--at best. It's important to note
that SEO is based on visibility and relevancy. That is, how well a
search engine spider can read the site and index it as well as
targeting search queries (keywords) that are of maximum relevancy to
the site. In other words, if the site doesn't receive the top placement
you want, don't just blame SEO—blame the content.
Lie: "META Tags are the 'Secret Sauce' of SEO"
This is our favorite SEO myth. META tags are used
by search engine in their results, but their weight on the rank of the
site is beyond minimal. Here's a rule of thumb: if your SEO team thinks
their META tags can force search engine spiders to return to your
website within a specified period of time, at best, they have no idea
what they're doing.
Conclusion - Oh My!
Look, don't get overwhelmed. Just know that all
you have to do is develop content for your website that is relevant,
timely and informative to your target audience.
Trying to out-smart search engines is like trying
to out-smart the IRS. It just won't end well.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/online-promotion-articles/
About the Author
JDM is a Dallas-based, full-service marketing firm
providing B2B clients evolved marketing services.
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