Understanding Search Engine Optimization From a Beginners Point of View

So it happened that we received a query from a new client who has been following our company for sometime and has been thinking of using our search engine optimization and marketing services. He became very keen after we redid the website completely and focused all our attention towards on-line marketing. He finally decided to contact us and enquire about our services. We talked on the phone and had discussed in essence most of the things when the client started to ask some very simple and basic questions. It turned out that the questions actually covered almost all aspects of SEO and the small sales pitch call turned into an on-call Wiki lecture. So after the call I gave it some thought and decided to put in this article together for those of our visitors who know what search engine optimization is but have a need to understand it. In this article I plan to put in the very basic aspects of search engine optimization and search engine marketing for our clients who would like to have a better understanding of what is being done to their websites when they hand over their websites to us. I will not be explaining the process but will be explaining the elementary basics of what is what and what SEO curtails.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website or a web page to increase its visibility or ranking on a search engines result page (also known as SERP’s). The visibility or ranking is increased in the search engines natural results or organic results, hence the term Organic SEO. This is usually the first and foremost step that an experienced SEO SEM company will recommend a client as part of its on-line marketing strategy. This part includes On-page and Off-page aspects of search engine optimization and are explained below. Search Engine Optimization or SEO follows how search engines work with actual search terms also known as keywords that are put into the search boxes and how the results are portrayed. Depending on a clients requirements SEO can be offered as a separate service or as a part of a complete on-line marketing strategy.

What is On Page Optimization?

On Page Optimization as the phrase suggests is the adjustment of the website or the webpage to optimize it in the best possible way to make it easily accessible by search engines for particular keywords or search terms without any hindrance and to remove any parameter that may prevent a search engine from ignoring that website or webpage. This is achieved by optimization of content, HTML and other coding as per the business related keywords of the website or webpage to be optimized so that search bots find it relevant to the search terms entered by a visitor. So no matter what you do, search engine optimization and on-line marketing strategy as a whole will not give you the desired results if your website or webpage are not correctly optimized as per the search engine guidelines. In all on-page optimization has to do everything related to your website directly.

What is Off Page Optimization?

Off page optimization is the exact opposite of on page optimization. This process is related to all the tasks done outside of your website and optimization of external aspects that effect the factors of how your website is found on the internet. This involves of placing your website information on external sources so that they make your website accessible from various locations on the internet. By placing your website on reliable and relevant resources on the internet your website gains popularity and makes it for search engines to easily relate to your website for relevant search terms and hence place you higher on search engine rankings There are several ways of putting your website on the internet:

Link Building
Directory Submission
Article Writing
Article Submission
Press Releases
Blogging

The above are not all but some very important ways to place your website on the internet and need to be done with great care as they can make or break your websites popularity. Search engine algorithms are pretty smart these days to define if the resources displaying content is relevant to the search terms and if they are to give relevance in terms of search results.

What is SEM?

A very common misconception is that Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are the same things since a client has to pay for both of these services to an internet marketing company and if a company’s Sales Manager is not able to explain this in a clear manner it can be a deal breaker and the potential client may chose to go with another SEO SEM company. So to put it into simple words SEM is a process of promoting your website through paid aspects like advertising, AdWords, paid placements in results etc. To explain this in simple words we can compare SEO as advertising your website in the free section of the classifieds of a newspaper and SEM as advertising your website in the paid section of the same newspaper where your advertisement is highlighted and put on top of all other advertisements. An experienced Internet Marketing company balances SEO and SEM while planning your on-line marketing strategy to get the optimum results while keeping in mind your budgets, although if you have a very competitive business niche and if you are looking for faster results be ready to spend a major chunk of your SEO SEM budget on advertising/paid results.

As I had mentioned earlier that I will not be writing about the process but about the very basics if SEO SEM. Please feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section and of-course feel free to contact us at Felix Labs to get a free website analysis and a free quote for your website. Happy Reading!!!

SEO – What is Search Engine Optimization and How it Can Benefit Your Business

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization, which is also known as SEO, is the process of increasing the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via organic or search results. The higher your company’s website ranks on Search Engine Result Page (SERP), the more searchers will visit your site.

As a marketing strategy for increasing site’s relevance, SEO consultants consider how search algorithms work and what people search for. A SEO process may involve a site’s coding and structure, content and copywriting, site presentation, as well as fixing other problems that will prevent search engines from indexing your company website. If your company’s website is not indexed by search engines, there will be no chance at all for your site to get high visibility rankings on search engines. Therefore, it is extremely important for businesses to take note of SEO and make sure that their websites are properly indexed by search engines.

The term “SEO” can also refer to “Search Engine Optimizer”. This is an industry term that refers to agencies and consultants that carry out search engine optimization process on behalf of their clients, and by employees who perform SEO services in-house. Every agency and consultant has their own SEO methodology; therefore they may use different methods to achieve high organic rankings for websites. In most cases, in order to have effective SEO, it may require changes to the HTML source code of a site, SEO tactics will be incorporated into website development and design. That is why almost all credible SEO agencies and consultants will first look at the design and back-end architecture of a website before starting any SEO process. This will ensure that SEO is carried out effectively.

Search Engine Optimization as a Marketing Strategy for Businesses

So how should businesses use SEO as a marketing strategy? The primary objective of implementing SEO to a company’s website is to drive targeted traffic to it. Eye tracking studies have shown that searchers scan a search result from top to bottom and left to right, looking for relevant results. Therefore, if your site is near the top of organic listings rankings (organic listings refer to the web results that are listed on the left hand side of the SERP), it will most likely increases the number of searchers who will visit your site.

A successful online marketing campaign may usually involve SEO, but it also consists of the use of paid advertising on search engines, building high quality websites to engage and persuade site visitors take action either through enquiries or online sales, setting up analytic programs to allow site owners to measure their successes and improving a site’s conversion rate.

Benefits of SEO for Businesses

Businesses can benefit from SEO in a lot of ways, be it to increase brand awareness, get sales leads or increase sales revenue. The following is a list of benefits that businesses can get from SEO:

o Get more targeted traffic. SEO can increase the number of visitors to your site who are actively searching for your product or service.

o Increase brand awareness. SEO can give your brand a high international profile. You can also use SEO to create brand awareness for any new service or product by optimizing related product/service key phrases to rank higher on search engines.

o Marketing your brand 24/7. With SEO, your website will get exposure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – without stopping.

o Higher sales. As SEO brings you targeted traffic, it can mean increased sales of your product or service.

o Long term positioning. Once a properly optimized & designed site is in place, rankings on organic listings should be consistent whereas the cost for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is ongoing.

o More value for dollars. Once your company’s website has achieved high organic rankings for various key phrases, you will not have to pay for each visit. Whereas for PPC Advertising, to enjoy high ranking visibility on search engines, you need to pay for each click or visit to your site.

However, to make sure that you have a successful SEO implementation, you need to make sure that your dedicated SEO agency abides to the guidelines of search engine when optimizing your site…

White Hat SEO VS Black Hat SEO

When it comes to SEO, there are 2 schools of thoughts – White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO. White hat SEO is techniques that search engines recommend as good practice and black hat SEO is those techniques that search engines do not approve of. For SEO consultants who practise white hat SEO, they tend to produce results that last a long time. Black hat SEO techniques may get a website to rank well initially, but the site will eventually be banned either temporary or permanently once search engines discover what they are doing.

So it is very important for you to know the best practices in the SEO industry and make sure that the SEO agency that is handling your account uses techniques that conform to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception.

White hat technique is generally summed up as creating content for users, not the search engines. The content that is created should be easily accessible to search engine spiders, rather than intending to trick the algorithms from its intended purpose. So, the general rule of thumb is to stay on the safe side by creating content that is relevant to your target audience. Search engines value relevancy – they will definitely want to rank a site higher their organic listings if the content on the site is what searchers are looking for.

Black hat technique usually involves techniques that attempt to improve rankings that are disapproved by search engines, or involve deception. One common black hat technique is to use hidden text, either as text coloured similar to the background of the website, or positioned off-screen. Another common technique known as cloaking is to load a different page depending on whether the page is accessed by a human or a search engine spider.

Search engines will penalize sites which use black hat techniques, either by reducing their organic rankings or even eliminating them from their database completely. This is a very costly mistake on the business point of view as you will lose out a lot of grounds as your competitors are enjoying free organic traffic from search engines due to their high rankings for major key phrases. One infamous example was in February 2006, whereby Google removed BMW Germany from its database for use of black hat methods. However, the company has quickly apologised and cleaned up the offending pages and were eventually restored to Google’s database.

Therefore, it is very important to make sure that your SEO agency is moving away from black hat methods. You will not want to be blacklisted by search engines which will translate into loss in sales and profits.

Keyword Research – The Key Factor to Successful SEO Implementation

Major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Live and AOL get a lot of searches every day. Before you implement SEO to your website, you must know what key phrases or keywords your target audience is using to search for the product or service that you offer.

Whether you like it or not, there is a good chance that many people have never heard of your company. These people might be your customers, if only they can find you on search engines and buying from you. It is well accepted that building awareness is the first step to land a new customer. For example, when someone sees a TV advertisement about that new car, you hope that he or she is in the market for a car at the moment. However, relatively few people are in that situation at any one time. Majority of people who saw the TV advertisement have no interest in buying a car at the moment. But someday they will. So advertisers know that the messages – the model of the car and company name in their commercials will stick in viewers’ minds, who might remember the message later when they are ready to buy a car. It is the same for SEO.

Searchers might not know that your company offers a particular product or service unless they see your site listed on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Unless they see your listings, they will not think of you. Most of the time, searchers looking for a product or service for the first time might not be aware of any specific company or brand name as they are just gathering information. However, according to a research done by search marketing consultancy iProspect, more than 55 percent of searchers expect to see big brands listed at the top of search results. The same study also shows that over 66 percent of searchers believe that sites that are listed at the top of search results are the top companies in their field. So can you imagine how this affects your company’s brand awareness? If your company’s website is not listed at the top of search results, they will not see your company as a “big brand” in their mind. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to optimize keywords or key phrases that your target prospects will use to find the product or service that you are offering.

So what types of keywords or key phrases should you choose? Businesses should target keywords that are relevant to the content of their websites. Basically, keywords can be categorized into 3 types, which are: “Too Hot Keywords”, “Just Right Keywords”, and “Too Cold Keywords”. Too Hot keywords are single word search terms like “Aircon” and “Translation” which do not seem to be targeted enough to get conversions. These keywords usually bring in high search volume (which is naturally tempting to optimize) but the conversion may not be as ideal as targeting keywords which falls into the “Just Right” category. (For examples: Aircon Servicing, Translation Agency Singapore”) By optimizing those “Just Right” keywords, businesses can get more targeted traffic to their websites and increase the chance of conversions.

Choosing the right keywords is the real beginning of any SEO effort. After you have determined the right set of keywords to target, you can start the work of search engine optimization.

Why do you need to outsource SEO?

SEO is a very time-consuming process as continual fine-tuning and monitoring need to be done. Therefore, it is advisable for you to hire a search engine optimization agency to plan out the optimization plan for your company.

A professional SEO agency will look at your site and make recommendations to increase your search engine ranking and website traffic. Once they start to optimize your website, they will provide recommendations and monitoring reports for you to know the progress of it.

Last but not least, in order to achieve successful optimization results, it is very important for your SEO agency to work closely with your website designer if you have your own IT department. This is because your company website needs to be both visually appealing and search engine friendly in order to achieve high organic rankings, as well as conversions.

Search Engine Optimization Services – SEO – A Brief Overview For Businesses

UK Search Engine Optimization Services! How much do we know? Every day, around three times the population of the whole of the United Kingdom put together visit search engines in search of products and services. This has made the process of establishing a never-say-die presence in major search engines crucial to the success of any business in the long term. This article seeks to decipher in brief terms, search engine optimization and also shed light on the two major classifications of search engine optimization services.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): What does it really mean?

Search Engine Optimization is a highly specialized process that entails the analysis, enhancement and eventual optimization of one’s website architecture, underlying code, link popularity and visible content with a view to making it appear prominently or become better ranked in the search results of major search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo! and MSN). These major search engines are algorithm-driven and relevancy based, thus creating the need for the employment of SEO experts or professionals to provide these search engine optimization services.

Search Engine Optimization Services – The Good, Bad and Ugly.

Yes, search engine optimization services could be classified into three types, although most SEO experts in the UK prefer to use two. The three major classifications of these services are: – (i) the white hat services, (ii) the grey hat services and (iii) the black hat services. The distinguishing factor between each of the major classification is the process by which the intended goal or outcome is achieved.

White Hat Services: The Good Approach. This approach employs the use of ethical and honest means in getting the desired outcome. White hat search engine optimization services do not really center on following guidelines, since search engine guidelines are not put down into paper as a set of rules or commandments, but is about ensuring that the content the user sees is the same that has been indexed and subsequently top ranked by a search engine. It involves the use of keyword rich content which is relevant and at a desired density, inbound links, blog links, article directory content and other honest practices that are capable of creating real traffic generation to one’s website thus translating into visitors, subscribers, and sales which could last for a long term.

Grey Hat Services: The Bad Approach. This approach could be said to be the conglomeration of both the black hat and white hat optimization services. Although, seen by some UK SEO experts to be a fair approach, it is a bad approach as long as it mixes the good and bad together. In fact, it is like a stain of palm oil on one finger that eventually stains the other fingers in the long run.

Black Hat Services: The Ugly Approach. This approach seeks to use deceptive and dishonest means in actualizing its outcome. It is an attempt to improve search engines’ ranking through disapproved means such as cloaking, use of too-much keyword density which eventually makes the content not understandable and using text that is hidden. Although this search engine optimization service generates its intended outcome, it does not usually last very long because most search engines will eventually discover it and penalize defaulting websites.

Whether or not, the good, bad or ugly search engine optimization service is used, an SEO expert is needed because the search engine optimization field especially in the UK, is ever-growing and innovative and thus requires a dedicated search engine optimization professional to handle it effectively.