Internet Marketing 101

SEO key advice and guidance

The art of Search Engine Ranking is a long and interesting story. It is not a precise science and nobody has all the answers. Sites that make bold claims of ensuring a number one position in Google within a matter of days are frankly making execrated claims. A high search ranking takes a solid understanding of the search engines ranking way of working and their inner sauce of algorithms.

Success also comes from having a defined plan with measurable objectives within a reasonable time-scale  The projects objective and results will depend on the goal of any website. Is it aimed at e-commerce and on-line sales of products and services? If so you have more easily measurable results as you can very closely track sales revenue against visitors’ numbers. If your website is aimed at building a database of interested parties who subscribe to a newsletter then again you can very accurately track requests and if those are in turn revenue generating you can track revenue per subscriber and calculate revenue per website visitor.

How the engines do their rankings?

The main search engines, Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo use a complex series of algorithms to determine any web pages value when compared to searches conducted by their users. Each search engine holds massive amounts of data about the content and structure of the Internet and how key words and phrases are used over the complete Internet. When you search for say ‘fly fishing’, Google and the others pull and rank their data that they best think address your ‘fly fishing’ request. The results displayed usually form two key sections, Natural Search and ‘Paid or Sponsored Search’. The order of the Natural Search links is determined on the fly by the Search Engine based on the websites content’s value as determined by the SEO algorithm. On the other hand the order of the paid links is determined by a combination of the amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for a user’s click and the relevance and quality of the linking website. The art of Pay Per Click advertising is discussed in another article while this focuses on the SEO tactics to help rank a site further up the search engine lists.

How to develop higher rankings?

In order to increase your website ranking you need to get the basics correct: The page’s descriptive tags are very significant in determining how the search engines know sites intent and raw content; you can easily see the Title tags for your site by looking at the source of the page. – right click on the mouse to see source. In the old days of SEO you could feed a webpage with key words in the title tag and litter key words thought a webpage. Those days are long gone and the engines are far more sophisticated. The advent of spam and scam sites have forced the engines to me more complex and are now apparently using more than 200 variables in the ranking algorithm. Tags have to also reflect the content of the page and site in general. The sites age and stability also affect the perceived quality of any page.

Web page Content

The actual content of your page is key to your ranking performance. Content uniqueness is tracked and rate of refresh and change are monitored. Sites that merely collate content from other sites have lower value that the original source creator. Sites that add more content are deemed higher value than static sites with stale content.

Writing for the web

There is an art in writing good content for the web. It has to be both easy to read and understand for human readers of your site as well as easily searched by the automated web robots. The automated engines cannot see the page; all they can read is the raw text. They cannot see images, flashing signs. They can’t read text in banner ads, Flash or video clips. And robots cannot sign on to a site and cannot perform searches. So any content that requires a user to enter information is invisible to the robots. Links are key as they are the only means of navigation for the never sleeping robots. You need to plan your key words and usage before you complete your project. The use of links within pages is highly encouraged as this aide’s readability and increases the users’ navigational ease. All sites should have a site map on the home page and this map should also be submitted to the key search engines on a regular basis as the content changes.

Website design and layout

Of course the layout and general design of the site is key in establishing look and feel of the site as well as the readability of the content.