Month: February 2012

Understanding Search Engines

[SEO Manual Chapter 2a]     To master search engine optimization (SEO), it’s important to understand the history and nature of search engines – especially Google (which provides the bulk of web-wide search engine queries in the Western world). The bulk of this SEO guide will focus on working with the Google search engine for three simple reasons:   • Market share According to RealTimeStats, nearly 80% of 2011 global web searches were conducted on Google’s search engine. China’s Baidu comes in second with just under 10% of all global searches (though almost all in China). Yahoo and Bing combine for less than 9% of the global search market. The remaining 1% is shared by dozens of smaller search engines, with Ask.com, AOL, Excite and Lycos leading the pack. • SEO difficulty Google has one of the most active anti-spam team and most difficult algorithm. Ranking well on Google will usually provide an immediate boost on other search engines. • Reach By most estimates, Google has indexed somewhere between 70% to 90% of the publicly available pages on the web.   But the entire Internet is actually not on the web. In 2010, it’s estimated that the Internet contained more than 5 million Terabytes of data. Google had only indexed 200 TB of all that Internet data – or just 0.004%. Why so little? The truth is that much...

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The Benefits of SEO

[SEO Manual Part 1c]     So how does search engine optimization (SEO) stack up against the other marketing channels… especially paid (PPC/CPM) advertising? For successful web marketers and ecommerce businesses, that’s a moot question. It’s not an either/or situation. They understand that effective traffic generation requires both. Nevertheless, SEO delivers benefits and advantages of its own: Lower setup cost – it doesn’t cost a lot to launch a basic SEO campaign. Most companies can use resources they already have, though they may need to supplement that with a knowledgeable SEO resource. Higher ROIs – over the long run, an effective SEO strategy can generate traffic, leads and sales with a higher return on investment (ROI) than running PPC ads through Google Adwords or Microsft Ad Center. Long-term effects – your SEO efforts will produce results over the long-run, whereas PPC stops delivering results the minute you stop spending money on it. Another way to look at it is that PPC is like farming and harvesting corn, while SEO is like planting and maintaining an orchard. Both require maintenance, but the orchard will typically yield results for a long time even if you stop maintaining it. Brand building – search engine users tend to place more trust on websites that are ranked on the first page of Google, especially at the top of the page.   The SEO Process...

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Understanding SEO in Context

[SEO Manual Part 1b]     Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important element of online (or digital) marketing. But it is just one part of an effective online marketing strategy, and SEO must be understood in that context.   The above graph shows the most popular online marketing channel used by businesses today. As you can see, SEO is not even a primary level channel. Rather, SEO is part of the larger search engine marketing (SEM) campaign, which also includes PPC and CPM advertising. In turn, SEM is only one channel available in a comprehensive online marketing program. Each of these elements is powerful in its own right, but they are most effective and profitable when they work together. In fact, there is much overlap between these different elements, and the most successful online marketing operations will harness all of these channels. It may help to look at these online marketing channels from a business process point of view:   1. Generate traffic Many ecommerce companies rely primarily on PPC and SEO to drive traffic to their websites. Some may complement their SEM traffic-generation efforts with affiliate marketing and social media marketing. 2. Generate leads Online marketers then need to turn those visitors into leads, prospects and sales. For that, they rely primarily on website optimization – making sure their websites are honed and tested for maximum conversions....

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SEO Manual: Introduction

[SEO Manual: Chapter 1]     Over the past few years, I’ve been working on a search engine optimization (SEO) manual for the various SEO teams with whom I’ve worked. I’ve also shared parts of it with our Chicago Online Marketing Meetup group, especially during our SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) workshops. Now I’d like to share it with you. Over the next six months, I will be serializing this SEO guide and publishing it to this blog. I hope that you will find it useful and beneficial. There’s no cost for these SEO tips, tactics and strategies. But I do ask that you please feel free to submit questions and suggestions. We’ll try to address your questions (along with answers and solutions) and your suggestions in future postings — and maybe even incorporate it into our ever-changing SEO manual. That actually brings up one of the unique challenges of writing an SEO guidebook. SEO is constantly changing. Although many principles remain the same, a few have changed. More to the point, Google (and other search engines) are constantly and continuously tweaking their search algorithms to better serve their users. That means that any SEO manual worth it’s salt must be dynamic and likewise undergo  continual updates.     Next SEO Manual post:  Understanding SEO in the Online Marketing Context   The Web1Media SEO Manual is an advanced...

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