Search Engine Optimization Overview




By Aman kumar

Search engine optimization, SEO, is about creating a website in such a way that it will appear higher in the search rankings. SEO is aimed at achieving the highest position in the organic listings on the search engine results pages. SEO is very useful for driving visitors through targeting the high volume, low intent generic phrases. To do this you need to define a list of keyphrases to work with. A website that’s optimized for search engines can reap huge benefits on to the website and ultimately the core business. A key benefit of SEO is that it is relatively cost-effective since there is no payment to the search engines for being placed there.

SEO is a long-term strategy. To identify the correct investment requires a long-term cost/benefit analysis.

The data below shows the importance of results in the natural or organic listings – which gain between 60-80% of the clicks for a given search.

• 81.7% of users will start a new search if they can’t find what they’re looking for in the first 3 pages (typically 30 results).
• Over half of Internet users search at least once a day, while around half use search toolbars from one of the main providers, e.g. Google, Yahoo! Or MSN.
• 42% to 86% of websites are found through search engines.
• There are 300 million searches carried out per day, every day.

There are three main factors that determine the search engine ranking of a website:

• Site optimization
• Site popularity
• Link popularity

Site optimization is about placing the right keywords in the right places on a website and making the website accessible to search engines.

Site popularity can be achieved through online and offline marketing and through link popularity – the more websites that link to a website the more popular it will become.

The number of searches by people trying to find information is still growing dramatically. Nielsen/Net Ratings reported that there were 5.7 billion searches in the US in January 2006, a 39% year-on-year increase from 4.1 billion in January 2005. Furthermore, the number of searches in the US is more than 183 million per day.

SEO Quick Strategy

The motive of search engine optimization and submission is to attract targeted traffic by attaining very high positions in the search results using the most appropriate keywords relevant to the content of a website

The following six (6) steps forms a guideline for increasing search engine rankings:

• Search Engine Optimization Strategy
• Identifying Competition/Related Websites
• Determining Target Keywords
• Design for the Search Engines
• Optimizing Page Content
• Link Popularity Building


Step One:
Planning/Creating Search Engine Optimization Strategy

Strategies should be created for each market and each interactive property. Every property should be looked at differently; broken down by its core sections and core user audiences. The goal is to understanding how users understand and find content on an industry specific website.

Step Two: Identifying Competition/Related Websites

Use the search engines to identify competitors. Search with the keywords that you expect users to use to locate your web site. The web sites that are ranked in the top positions are the competitors whom you have to beat to reach the top. This helps when trying to build links to your web site.

Step Three: Determining Target Keyword/Key Phrases

Effective keyword phrases are frequently searched for (high demand) but not being targeted by many other websites (low competition). There are three core tools out there that can help locate good keywords/phrases.

WorkTracker
Wordtracker is one of the most essential SEO tool for keyword Selection and Research which will suggest hundreds of related phrases based on the number of users searching for it and the number of websites targeting it

Overture
Overture’s search term suggestion tool is free and much quicker to use than Wordtracker. It works in much the same way as Wordtracker but doesn’t tell you how many websites are targeting each keyword phrase.

Google
Google AdWords Keyword Suggestions tell you which keyword phrases are being targeted by other websites.

Step Four:
Design for the Search Engines
Search engines scour the Internet looking for web pages to index, following links from one web page to the next. To ensure a search engine ranking, all pages on a website must be accessible to search engines.

Some search engines have problems with:

• Links accessible solely through frames, image maps, or JavaScript
• Very long pages
• Very short pages
• Flash pages
• Long JavaScript (JavaScript should be placed in an external document)
• Dynamic URLs

Step Five: Optimizing Content

The foremost criteria for a website to be able to attain and retain top search engine ranks for a long period of time is to have a great Content. In the world of search engine optimization, content is king! A real long-term solution, and one that adds significant value to a website, is to create first-rate content and give related websites a reason to link to a site directly.

Lack of Content can be Harmful

Quite simply, search engines love content – the more content there is on a page the easier it is for search engines to work out what the page is actually about. Search engines may struggle to work out the point of a web page with less than 250 words, ultimately penalizing that page in the search rankings.

Step Six: Link-ability/Popularity

Inbound links to a website play a significant part in determining its position in search engines. It’s not just the quantity, but also the quality and click-through-rate of links to a website which is of importance.

The objective here is to get descriptive links on as many relevant and highly trafficked sites as possible. This is first done by getting on the large web directories (Yahoo!) and then the local industry specific directories. The next step is to identify and locate related websites (typically not direct competitors) to exchange links with.

[The above article is a submission for Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest. Each Monday in October, entries will be published and the most popular article of the week will qualify for the $5,000 grand prize. If you’d like to submit an entry, please view the contest entry-requirements and guidelines.]