Search Engine Marketing and SEO
Let's start off with this... Search engine optimization (SEO) is half the battle in SEM. Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) defines SEO as the practice of editing a website’s content and code in order to improve visibility within one or more search engines. Different techniques are used by a website administrator to help increase their rankings in natural listings by making it 'easy' for search engines to be able to identify what the site's about, and decide how 'valuable' the content is to someone who's searching for information on that topic. SEO activities can also be divided into two broadly designated categories: on-site (SEO) and off-site (SEM).
The SEO techniques below, when combined with Frontdesk SEO's efficient work flows that allow anyone to work as an SEO expert, should effectively boost your website’s rankings in search engines. Although you won’t wake up a day later to own the number one spot in Bing, Google and Yahoo, you should see a steady rise as long as you keep on top of these search engine marketing activities. One thing to ultimately remember, though, is that pleasing the search engines is about pleasing the people. If you overdo it, your site may read like a technical volume written by a monkey. Search engines praise sites that make it easy for people to read and use.
Direct on-site SEO includes any changes you can apply to the code or structure of a website to increase its search engine friendliness. Some of these modifications include:
- Editing HTML titles, H1 tags, and content to include keywords that describe your product or service to the search engine and its visitors.
- Writing keyword-rich metadata to accurately reflect the content that is visible to the search engine and its visitors.
- Optimizing alt attribute tags for images to include keywords that describe your product or service.
- Changing hyperlinks to include quality anchor text- Anchor text is the words or phrases used to link to a page, and is a strong signal for search engines to determine a page’s relevance
- Editing site architecture or internal linking structure to enhance usability for visitors that enter through search engines.
- Delete duplicate content and check for broken links/page errors- Duplicate content and crawling errors can affect your ability to rank well in search engines.
- Creating .xml and .html Sitemaps- Sitemaps are created so that humans and search engines can navigate your website. An HTML Sitemap provides a map for your human visitors. An XML Sitemap provides a map for search engine robots or spiders to enhance the search engine’s ability to crawl and index your site.
Off-site SEO (Search Engine Marketing) includes activities outside of what occurs on your site to help boost your search engine rankings. These techniques typically take time and effort, and off-site SEO is an ongoing process. Some of these search engine marketing activities include:
- Submitting your site/RSS Feed to relevant free and paid directories
- Soliciting links from related sites
- Social bookmarking
- Article and Press Release marketing
- Promoting through social networks
- Being an active forum member
- Commenting on other relevant sites
One of the most important search engine marketing activities you will perform is link building, or building link popularity. (Frontdesk SEO excells at building external links to your site.)
So,how does a search engine ‘rank’ a site and decide what order to list them in? Essentially, links are the “currency” of the web. Each link acts as a ‘vote’ for a site, as far as the search engine sees it. Now, it should be said right away that more links doesn’t necessarily equal better ranking. The reigning cliché here is “quality over quantity.”
You'll hear a lot when it comes to search engine marketing and link building, but always remember that it takes time. Some things to aim for when building link popularity for SEM:
- High PageRank
- Sites/pages that are extremely relevant to your website or the page being linked to
- Quality anchor text that is relevant and/or contains keywords
- Few other links
With this ‘voting’ system, there are plenty of ways to campaign for a vote, and you won’t always have control over the sites that link to you, the anchor text used or where your link is placed. The best links reside on high PageRank sites and are surrounded by relevant content, have few links on the page and use relevant anchor text. Each search engine counts these ‘votes’ differently, and therefore, your ranking might never be the same from one search engine to another.
An not all votes are the same. A link can have more value depending on the PageRank of a site, the number of links on that page, and whether or not the content is related. A link from IBM.com or Amazon.com will carry much more weight than some unknown site that doesn't have any 'authority'. 1 link among 5 will carry more weight than 1 link among 100. A link to a ‘save the turtles’ site from a blog post about the turtle life cycle will give more weight than the same link from a ‘going green’ blog post.
What you should learn about link popularity in respect to search engine marketing is that more, higher quality links will begin to raise your clout in the SERPs; thus giving you more exposure, higher traffic, more leads and more sales!