SEO: Search Engine Optimization
The art of getting your website found ahead
of your competition
Search Engine Optimization (SEO - or sometimes referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing) is the active practice of optimizing a website by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines.
Major Search Engines
Once your website is online you may wish to promote it through different search engines and directory listings to ensure that it reaches to as wide an audience as possible.
Unfortunately, many websites appear poorly in search engine rankings or may not be listed at all because they fail to understand the procedures of search engine listing.
A website can give an organization vast exposure to their customers. But how do those customers get to a website? Like millions of other online shoppers, chances are those customers find a site through search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, or MSN. In fact, according to MSN's latest statistics, 85% of online shoppers use search engines to find websites. Therefore, web promotion is paramount if you wish to increase your website visibility to potential customers.
But for registration to be really effective, it needs to be handled by web professionals with specialized knowledge of web promotion. Cost can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
Achieving a high ranking in search engines involves a great deal of specialized knowledge in a field where things are constantly in flux. If you don't have the time to spend for the task, consider choosing our search engine optimization options to get high positioning for your sites.
Web promotion is a continuous process. Beware of developers that guarantee you that you will be a #1 ranking on Google, Yahoo, AOL, or any other major search engines.
There are really 2 types of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Organic and Pay-Per-Click.
"Organic" or "Natural" search engine optimization (SEO) is accomplished by optimizing your web pages for targeted keywords and by increasing your "link popularity" by acquiring or paying for links that point to your website. This gives you high rankings at the Search Engines for your chosen search terms.
Organic search engine optimization can often give you a much higher return on investment than pay per click. This is true for two main reasons:
- More searchers click the natural search engine results versus the pay per click ads, so you'll get much more traffic for less.
- One of the biggest factors to improving your rankings with natural search engine optimization is by boosting your "Link Popularity" by acquiring or paying for links that point to your website. These links give you lasting results by giving you top rankings and traffic from the search engines. Plus, the links themselves will provide a significant boost in long-term traffic.
With that said, the biggest weakness of natural search engine optimization is the time required to generate links and "tweak" your web pages and keywords to get those prized high rankings you so desire. It can literally take three months or more to finally enjoy the benefits of your search engine optimization campaign.
With our experience with Organic SEO our time to see results is typically anywhere between two and six weeks.
PPC or pay-per-click
Pay-per-click SEO is a service in which an advertiser selects specific keywords or phrases and then creates a listing that will show up when someone searches for that phrase. The advertiser selects an amount they are willing to pay for each click on their listing which results in a visit to their site - thus the term "pay-per-click." Typically you can bid anywhere from $0.10 up to $50.00 for each click. The diagram below shows the PPC as the top of the page in the screened area as well as on the right hand side.
If other advertisers have selected the same keyword or phrase as yours, you then are competing against them for the highest position. Whoever is willing to spend the most shows up first and the others following in order.
What PPCs has allowed one to do then is to instantly "pay" their way to the top whereas traditional SEO takes a lot of time and effort.
While it is nice to "show up first" there are still a lot of end users that do not click on the "paid" listings but rather would search through the organic search results.
Pay-per-click by itself will not optimize your site so that it reflects who you are and what you offer. If your site is poorly optimized before you begin to advertise it with PPC, it will still be poorly optimized afterwards. Another downfall is that when you stop paying for PPC, it disappears and so does the traffic it brings.
On the other hand, a well-executed SEO plan with both Organic and PPC elements will improve your position in the regular editorial search results and bring instant traffic to your site. You will end up with a fine-tuned website that reflects who you are and what you offer.
Put on your John Smith hat and think about what keywords a consumer would search for if he was looking for the following services…
- Company 1: Massage Therapist - What keywords would you type into Google to find a therapist in your town?
- Company 2: Computer Repair Company - What keywords would you type into Google to find a computer repair company in your town?
- Company 3: Your Company - What keywords would the average person type into Google to find what services or products you sell?
Create a Title: Make sure that the text in the title tag conveys the meaning of the page. Depending on your primary search engine of choice:
- Google indexes 65-68 characters of title tag text
- Yahoo and other search engines tend to index more characters
- Play it safe, keep your first 70 characters the most important, then add another 25 or so for the other search engines.
Let them use what they want… You can use your primary keywords in the Title; just make sure they are applicable
Create your Meta Tag Descriptions: Should be under 250 characters, keywords should be used, however most importantly the content should be readable by the end user.
- Side note: Google only indexes around 160-175 characters in the Meta Tag Descriptions. Remember to research Industry specific keywords to use in the descriptions.
Each of your page descriptions should be unique, do not simply copy and paste them on every page. Each one of your pages is an advertisement, be sure yours can sell the reader.
Try providing your end user a reason to come to your site. Calls to action can be very helpful.