Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Search Engine Optimization and Its Role in Search Engine Marketing

Internet marketing has rapidly grown over the years. Businesses big and small are trying to reap the benefits that an online presence offers. And an online presence for an existing business, regardless of what it may be, does often mean increased return on investment. And given increasing competition, with everyone having logged on, in a manner of speaking, just having a website is not enough.

Also known as e-commerce, internet marketing covers everything from information management to sales. Specialized areas such as public relations and customer service and many others have also joined into this complex world. Along with the common business models (business-to-business and business-to-consumer) a third peer-to-peer has manifested in the internet marketing arena where individuals exchange goods with each other.

The growth of internet marketing gave rise to search engine marketing. SEM aims at improving the visibility of a website on the results pages of major search engines. There are three main methods of carrying out SEM,

a) search engine optimization (SEO)
b) pay per click
c) paid inclusion.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) fine tunes the content and structure of a website to achieve the closest possible match to what visitors on search engines are looking for. Also known as Search Engine Advertising, Pay Per Click advertising, is the method wherein advertisers bid on “keywords” that they are sure their target user will type into the search bar. These “sponsored ads”, as they are called, appear above the search results and an advertiser pays when the user clicks on the ad. The third method of SEM, Paid Inclusion, is rather straightforward as suggested by the name. Website owners pay search engines, typically an annual fee, in order to be listed on their search pages.

Clearly PPC and Paid Inclusion seem like the fastest methods of search engine marketing. Yet, many website owners prefer to adopt the more time consuming Search Engine Optimization method for better marketing of their website on search engines.

The name SEO is misleading because the idea is in fact to optimize the web page to attract visitors on leading search engines. Search engines work on the basis of specific algorithms, and the idea behind SEO is to keep keywords on websites in sync with these algorithms.

Once again, as your SEO service provider will tell you, the focus is not on a precise understanding of the algorithms. Here it becomes important to know your target audience, preempt the keywords they will type, and to make sure your website is laden with these keywords. The idea was to emphasis on keyword density. Keyword density, as the name suggests, is quite simply how often a predefined set of keywords is repeated on a web site. Over the years, unethical practices such as keyword stuffing has made search engines like Google wary of giving important to keyword density. Given this scenario website owners are now advised to write content meant for visitors, rather than “stuff” their website with keywords just to attract high ranking. Yet another common unethical practice is the insertion of highly searched keywords that have nothing whatsoever to do with the content on the page. This again may temporarily attract high ranking, but is bound to end with the site being caught and banned.

Affecting the keyword density and/or content rewriting is just one part of the SEO process. In order to make websites more search engine friendly navigation patterns of a website are also modified. The sole purpose of having a navigation system is for the site to be more user-friendly. Unfortunately in an attempt at being unique, web site owners and designers get carried away and end up devising complex navigation systems. Yet another element that may be changed during the SEO process is the internal link structure of a website. Website owners in their bid to have higher rankings on search engine result pages obtain a long list of irrelevant links to their sites. Modern day search engines are equipped to identify such sites, and would mostly ban them.

It is always advisable to adopt SEO starting with the initial development and design stage of a website. In other words rather than using SEO as an afterthought, it needs to be thought of as a stage in the lifecycle of website creation. This would assure a good beginning in the ranking of the results pages of various search engines. And once this groundwork is done, improving the rankings would become a less challenging task.

Global companies are now looking at partnering with Indian firms that offer SEO services. There are many Indian companies in the field that offer high-quality, cost-effective SEO services. Working with these firms you can monitor the progress made on projects, and be assured of dedicated work towards meeting desired goals.

Munish Dev Rathee is a SEO cum content writer associated with a seo India company.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Link Management and Search Engine Optimization Services-2 Key Functions

Link Management and Search Engine Optimization are the most under-utilized functions that a Corporate Webmaster does not perform. The reason vary but for the most part they are ignored because of priority. Unfortunately, too many bosses or managers do not understand all of the dynamics when it comes to effective website management.

There is one fact that will be made clear at some point in time and that is when they do realize that the corporate website is not where it should be. Who is to blame at this point? Certainly not them. It is the webmaster fault.

So what can a webmaster do to head off this tirade when it hits the fan? Well let us start where the HTML classes ended.

First isolate your keyword phrases for your company. There can be more than one so do not worry if you have a list of them. Start doing Overture keyword searches for those phrases. it is a free site and the information that it puts out is a start. Find phrases that match your phrases the I would write a couple of articles surrounding that phrase and point your author BIO signature to the appropriate web page.

Once you have your keyword phrases isolated do some tweaking of some of your webpages to make them more SEO friendly. If you need permission before you make the changes then I would suggest making changes slowly. Sometimes, too many changes tend to boggle managements perspective and more thinking is required and then time passes and it probably will not get approved.

The next step I would pursue is to create a specialized Resource web page. This is where it can get testy with the executives. You need to get reciprocal links with like web sites and I would create a multi-page system so as not to congregate all of the links on one page. Do not do too many and certainly keep the links in your corporate market. Once you have permission, you should setup text links on other directories with your keyword phrases.

An absolute step that your executives should be on the guard about is obtaining one-way links. This can be done from a Sales perspective with clients. Our corporate culture has been to setup links on our pages pointing back to our clients. Believe it or not this benefits the customers website and not ours. If the executives can get your website on a customers website as a Partner of some type then that will have a HUGE impact on your site that YOU are responsible for.

The best time to do this now before that ugly head raises itself up and bites you. And you know where it will bite you.

Copyright (c) 2007 Buddy Shearer
Buddy Shearer is not a sought-after Internet marketer but rather a regular guy trying to make a living. He can be found building up Link Management and Search Engine Optimization Services and other useful information.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Search Engine Optimization and SEO Services – How to Choose The Best SEO Service

Where are you now? Do you know how your web site is ranking right now in the Search Engines? Are you a PR0, PR1, how about a PR9? Do you know? What are SERPs, SEs, and SEO? Can your Webmaster successfully transform your website to hit the big time in terms of hits?
Let us look at the facts. You are probably dissatisfied with not being able to find your website except by your specific name. Why is that? To be honest most Search Engines perform this first analysis first. It looks at your name and then tries to reconcile that name to a domain name. Bingo, your web site should pop up on the first page. But is that enough?
Let me ask five basic questions:
Who are you?
What are you willing to pay?
Where do you want to go?
When do you want to get there?
How do you get there?
Who are you?
This question relates to more than the name of the company but rather who you are in terms of products. Is your business Mail Order, Direct Mail, Pet Supplies, Singing Telegrams, or whatever. You want people to have something in mind like “widgets” and enter that terms in a Search Engine and have your website show up. On the first page returned by the Search Engine.
What are you willing to pay?
This can be a loaded question but it is not intended to be. Think of it as wanting to be important. How important do you want to be? Unfortunately, getting there has a price. If you have time there is a free process but it really does take a fair amount of time. If you want to start making money off of your web site then you will have to pay something.
Where do you want to go?
To the front page in terms of Search Engine results? Most people want that as a goal. Simply because first pagers usually get more traffic than those on page 100. Chances are you will not get traffic from page 100.
When do you want to get there?
Again, this could be a loaded question but it is not. If you want to get listed in the result pages quickly then “Time is of the Essence”. There are paths to take that will get your site listed quickly but you must know those paths.
How do you get there?
To be honest, not from software you buy at Best Buy or Staples. To do the job right you can do this yourself but it will take you time to learn the techniques and there are no short cuts. The Best Answer is to hire someone like myself. Yes, I am promoting myself here.
For someone like myself we are already trained at performing SEO functions and the best part is that we are a phone call or an email away. We can work with your Webmaster and do all of the necessary functions outside of your building so there would be no travel cost. And best of all we are pretty affordable. I know that I am. Just ask! You might be pleasantly surprised ;)
Copyright (c) 2007 Buddy Shearer
Buddy Shearer is not a sought-after Internet marketer but rather a regular guy trying to make a living. He can be found building up Search Engine Optimization and SEO Services and other useful information.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Online Home Based Business Opportunity And Search Engine Optimization

One of the main things a new home based business opportunity has to worry about is being seen. If the customer doesn’t know your home based business opportunity exists, how can he visit your store? In the ‘real’ world, radio, television, newspaper, and postal mailings all help businesses get attention. On the internet your customer traffic comes from a variety of sources, but one in particular will make an online business more viable and successful.

What other things can you do to reach people who may be new in the area and not have had the opportunity to view or listen to your ads? Signs. By placing signs at your storefront and in other strategic places, you call out to everyone who passes. This is done on your website with an online business. Email has also become a very popular venue.

This is how search engine optimization works for the online home based business opportunity website. You need to have the biggest, most noticeable signs to get discovered. Yes, size does matter. Just like cars flying down the highway, travelers on the Internet need something to catch their attention. The words you use and how you use them to describe what your site offers is the way to bring in consumers.

This is where search engine optimization done properly will help you out. If you can figure out the best set of keywords to portray the home based business opportunity you are portraying, and if you can use those words in the content of your website, then you increase your chances of directing that speeding traffic to your website instead of directing them down the road to your competitor. If the customers don’t come to you, they will go to your competition. Not a good thing.

Visit each of your competitor’s websites and find out what they are doing with their online business. A little research and you might find something that is working that you had not thought of yet. Look at those who are at the top of the search engines. What is it about their web page design, content, and partners that you like. Can you borrow any of their ideas and improve the look and feel of your web pages? Are their link partners the partners you have been looking for?

Getting your online home based business opportunity to show up well on a search engine’s results won’t cost you a penny if you pursue search engine tactics properly. Onsite SEO is a matter of learning a little HTML. Article submission to free article directories is, well FREE! Blogging is also free if using Google’s Blogger. But it can cause you to lose everything if your site doesn’t appear. Most of us look for that one tool, or get one in our email, that looks like the holy grail of internet marketing tools. We open our wallets and purses freely only to find out that it is just more work.

The amount of profits you get from your business will be directly related to how well you can use a consistant marketing strategy using no cost or low cost tools. If the customers can’t find you, the profits will never arrive and there are times when the tools, if from a reputable source, are necessary.

Internet surfers are a fickle breed. They know what they want and seek out only that item or service. They will search, find, and buy. It doesn’t matter to them where they get what they seek, but it could make all the difference to you. So when you consider why effective search engine optimization is important to the online home based business opportunity you are offering to the public, just think of the internet as a large highway with travelers speeding by.

Leonard Bartholomew, B.S. Computer Science. Find all of the elements of an extraordinarily simple online home based business opportunity that you can prosper with.

Leonard Bartholomew

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Increasing Your Search Engine Ranking

The methods employed to increase your search engine rankings may seem like rocket science to you, so you have probably avoided dealing with this issue. I am here to tell you - the time has come to face your website! A high search engine ranking for your website is so essential that if you have the slightest desire to actually succeed in your business, there is no way you can continue to avoid this issue.

At least 85% of people looking for goods and services onthe Internet find websites through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. The idea of optimizing your pages for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted customers to your site who will be more than likely to make a purchase. The higher your page comes up in search engine results, the greater the traffic that is directed to your website. That's what search engine optimization is about.

You can immerse yourself in all the technical informationavailable online to figure out how to optimize your webpages to achieve higher rankings. Or you can look at a few simple items on your pages, make some small adjustments, and most likely see improved rankings quite rapidly. The first item you should examine is the title bar on your homepage.

The title bar is the colored bar at the top of the page. Look at the words that appear there when you access your home page. To increase search engine rankings, the words on your homepage's title bar should include the most important keywords or phrases, one of which would include your company name.

Then click on all your links and examine the title bars on the pages you access. Each title bar on every single page of your site should contain the most important keywords and phrases taken from the page itself. However, avoid very long strings of keywords, keeping them to six words or less. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the titlebars, and make sure that identical words are not next to each other.

The next item to put under your microscope is your website content. Search engines generally list sites that contain quality content rather than scintillating graphics. The text on your site must contain the most important keywords- the words that potential customers will be typing into search engines to find your site.

Aim to have around 250 words on each page, but if this is not desirable due to your design, aim for at least 100 carefully chosen words. If you want to achieve a high ranking on search engines, this text is essential. However, the search engines must be able to read the text, meaning that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format.

To find out if your text is in HTML format, take your cursor and try to highlight a word or two. If you are able to do this, the text is HTML. If the text will not highlight, it is probably in graphic form. In this case, ask your webmaster to change the text into HTML format in order to increase your search engine rankings.

Next we come to what is called meta tags. I know this sounds like something out of science fiction, but it is really just simple code. Many people believe that meta tags are the key to high search engine rankings, but in reality, they only have a limited effect. Still, it's worth adding them in the event that a search engine will use meta tags in their ranking formula.

To find out if your page is set up with meta tags, you must access the code. To do this, click the "view" button on the browser menu bar, and select "source." This will pull up a window revealing the underlying code that created the page. If there are meta tags, they usually appear near the top of the window. For example, a meta tag would read: metaname="keywords" content=. If you do not find code that reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in. This may not do much for your search engine rankings, but any little boost helps.

Lastly, we come to the issue of link popularity. This is a factor that is extremely important in terms of search engine rankings. Almost all search engines use link popularity to rank your website. Link popularity is based on the quality of the sites you have linked to from your links page.

If you type in "free link popularity check" in a popular search engine, the search engine will then show you what sites are linked to your site. In the case that there aren't many sites linked up to yours, or that the sites that are linked up have low search engine rankings, consider launching a link popularity campaign. Essentially, this entails contacting quality sites and requesting that they exchange links with your site. Of course, this requires checking out the rankings of the websites you want to link up with. Linking to popular, quality sites not only boosts your search engine ranking, but it also directs more quality traffic to your website.

Search engine rankings are extremely important for a successful Internet marketing campaign. Before you go outand hire a search engine optimization company, try taking some of the simple steps listed above, and see if you can't boost your rankings yourself. Don't ever ignore this all-important factor in Internet marketing. Remember, the higher your search engine ranking, the more quality customers will be directed your way.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Search Engine Optimization

4 Steps to Improve Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy

Search engine marketing can be a complex and scary topic. Endless opportunities to advertise and market, constantly changing trends and technologies, and overly complex solutions all come with the territory. So, what you don't need when you're evaluating or creating your search engine marketing strategy is lengthy explanations about how different techniques work. Instead, seek out advisors who can guide you with simple explanations and techniques based on real results. That's exactly what the following article is about. It's a simple list of four things business owners can use in creating or evaluating their search engine marketing strategy.

1. Establish Your Internet Marketing Strategy Goal

Many consultants will tell you to set goals about what you want to achieve with your website. Forget it. Those are distractions from thereal question you need to ask yourself, which is

"What is THE purpose of my website?"

Once you answer that question, all other aspects of search engine marketing strategy can be leveraged to help you achieve that purpose.Typically, people use their website for many different purposes.Regardless, you still need to answer this question. The focus you will get from it will help you create a more effective strategy.

Here are the top three most common answers to the question "What isTHE purpose of my website?"

1. To sell things
2. To generate leads for my sales team
3. To educate my target audience

It can be this simple! Just decide which of the three answers above suits you best (or create your own) and then move on to step 2.

2. Establish a Search Engine Marketing Plan

There's a reason why search engine marketing is so hot. It works. It consistent generates leads, sales, etc. at a lower cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale than traditional mediums like TV or direct mail advertising. It makes sense when you think about it: when people want to find something online, they go to Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc. and search for it.

Search engine marketing is all about SHOWING UP when people search for what you sell, offer, or have on your website. There is a growing body of knowledge (books, articles, etc.) on how to do this. And like anything else, it has become over analyzed and too complex. To further complicate things, some search engine marketing techniques are ethical and legitimate, while some are not. The best approach is to create a search engine marketing plan that focuses on two aspects:

1. Search engine optimization - showing up in the "free" area of the search engine's results

2. Pay-per click advertising - showing up in the "paid" area of the search engine's results

For search engine optimization, first realize there is no "silverbullet." There just isn't a way to easily get ranked consistently high in the search engines. It is a combination of factors that always come down to one underlying truth: build your website according to web standards, with a focus on accessibility for all.

Just like search engine optimization, there is no "silver bullet"for pay-per click advertising, either. Instead, the formula for PPC success is in well-placed bids (what you will pay to have your ad show up) combined with meaningful landing pages (where people go when they click on your ad).

3. Conduct Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The goal of search engine optimization is to make changes to your website to get higher rankings in search engines. Yet, search engine optimization is a confusing sector. On one hand, there are "snake oilsalesmen" ready to get you a number 1 ranking with their latest trick. On the other hand, the things that actually do work are very simple, and frankly, just not very "sexy."
The best strategy to take is a common-sense approach to SEO: develop standards for your website that ALL pages must adhere to. If you do this, and enforce it, you can then branch out to some of the other"niche" aspects of SEO.

Here's a sample list of SEO standards to enforce on your website:

1. Write descriptive HTML page titles that really describe the page it is on (in 255 characters or less)

2. Write a summary sentence that really describes the page it is on(in 255 characters or less)

3. Write page content that is focused on

4. Write descriptive ALT text for all images that describes the concept the image illustrates and never use images for text

5. Build all pages to comply with current web standards observed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Only once your web pages comply with the above standards should you start more advanced SEO techniques, including keyword targeting, 301 redirects, link building (getting more links to your site), RSS newsfeeds, blogs, and SEO-specific metrics and tracking.

4. Leverage Pay-Per Click Advertising

Pay-per click advertising helps you get more traffic from search engines through advertising in search engine results. You pick terms that people search on. You bid a price per click on your ad that you are willing to pay. You ad shows up when someone searches on that term, and, if you're lucky, they click on your ad and come to your website.

So, pay-per click advertising really boils down to 3 components:

1. Picking keywords to advertise on (i.e. target keywords)
2. Determining what to bid for those target keywords
3. Writing copy for the ads that show up when people search

Picking keywords is all about knowing what terms your customers, clients, etc. would use when searching for your product or service.There are several tools to help you generate ideas. The best tools also check to see how many searches-per-month your target keywords receive. You typically want to find keywords that generate a lot of searches every month, but are focused enough for your business. For example, a company that sells Keen high-performance outdoor sandals probably would be best served bidding on "keen sandals" versus"sandals" which could include searches for the all-inclusive resort, Sandals.

Determining what to bid for your keywords can be a highly-scientific process, sometimes managed by complex software and several keymetrics. To keep it simple, let a tool like Google Adwords TrafficEstimator recommend to you what to bid at first. Start there, and start small. Your best bet is to lock-in a low daily budget limit until you are comfortable with the impressions your ads are getting, the flow of traffic from the ads to your website, and what those people do once they get to your website.

Writing ad copy comes down to writing a headline that people will click on, and creating compelling copy below that headline/link that will get people to click.

Headlines are best created by following what magazine covers do: focus on getting attention through eye-catching, short phrases. Using words like best (i.e. "Best Tips for a Summer Barbeque"), ultimate(i.e. "Ultimate National Park Vacations") and number-based lists(i.e. "Top 5 Hybrid Cars for 2006") have all been proven to work.

Writing effective ad copy below the title/link is really about reinforcing the term(s) search for. This means using the keywords inthe ad copy, and starting the copy with an action verb.
By following the approach above, you can create or evaluate your search engine marketing strategy, focus on what matters most when executing your plans, and more effectively achieve your goals.

For more information and weekly tips on developing a search enginemarketing strategy, visit Agility Web Marketing
By: Regis Hadiaris