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How Search Engine Optimization Works

Whenever someone asks me “What do you do?” it really is a loaded question because understanding what I do requires just a little understanding of SEO and how SEO works.

More often than not I find myself answering like this, “I work for a local Internet Marketing company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization”. Then I follow it up with “Essentially, it’s like an advertising company for websites.”

I am always prepared to get a puzzled face that may recognize the term ‘SEO’ but not have any clue as to what SEO is, what it means or how it works. I must also be prepared to explain in more detail exactly what is SEO. This is usually how the conversation might play out:

Me: The whole point of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is to improve your web pages and make sure that they meet and adhere to the search engine guidelines so that your website can be found at the top search engine results pages (SERPs).

Person: But how does SEO work? What does it mean to “optimize your site”?

Me: What search engine optimization does is …

“Improve your web pages and make them better, more useful
and more effective for everyone including the people who visit your site
and for the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.”

In other words, search engine optimization helps both the search engines and the visitors.

Person: Oh, you mean like you get the website at the top of the page?

Me: Yes but it’s a little more complicated than just “getting” it there. Websites don’t just magically appear at the top by following a secret formula or paying a fee to Google. There’s much more to it …

Most times, they’ve heard enough but sometimes the person is intrigued and wants to hear more. The rest of the conversation might be summarized below.

Understanding How SEO Helps the Search Engines

Search engine optimization works by making sure your web pages meet the search engine guidelines and become more relevant. SEO helps the search engines to:

  • Find your web pages easier
  • Review your web pages faster
  • Better understand what your website is all about
  • So they can Index your web pages properly (add your pages to their database)
  • Rate your web pages more favorably
  • And list your web pages near the top of the search engine results so people can find you easier

In summary, search engine optimization works to help your web pages:

  1. Be Found
  2. Be Understood
  3. Be Indexed
  4. Be Rated Properly
  5. And Be Visible to people who are searching

Understanding How SEO Helps Your Visitors

Optimizing your web pages to make them as good as possible will help your website perform better in the search engines, which in turn, puts you in front of the very people who are searching for what you have to offer.

Search engine optimization works to help visitors find your website faster and easier plus your website will:

  • Be more relevant for the terms people use to find your website
  • Be easier to navigate
  • Help visitors find what they came looking for faster
  • Help visitors make better decisions (sooner) about what you have to offer
  • Help convert visitors into customers

In summary, search engine optimization will help visitors to:

  1. Find your site faster
  2. Understand your offerings
  3. Make better decisions about what they want
  4. Convert sooner

Understanding How Search Engine Optimization Works

While you may not know how to do SEO, there are many ways to optimize your web pages to make them as good as possible for searchers and for the search engines.

During search engine optimization, improvement changes can be made to any of the following (plus much more) to help improve your web pages and your page performance.

So in answer to the question, “How does SEO work?” here are some of the many places SEO helps to make improvements to your website:

  • Web Page Content
    – Body Text Content
    – Keyword Usage
    – Page Titles
    – Sub-Headings
    – Link Text
    – Images
    – Meta Data (Meta Titles, Descriptions, Alt Text)
    – Content Management Systems (CMS)
    – E-commerce Systems (shopping carts)
  • Source Code
  • In-Bound Linking
  • Page Loading Times
  • Image Sizing
  • Site Structure/Architecture
  • Site Navigation
  • Social Media/Videos
  • Server Setup
  • Hosting
  • Performance Analytics

Learn More About How Search Engine Optimization Works

By the end of the conversation I usually like to look at the big picture again; In marketing, the primary goal is to get your message out to as many potential customers as possible so they will buy your product or services.

Online marketing can be very powerful because no other marketing medium has the potential to reach as many potential customers 24/7 as do the search engines. And search engines like Google simply want to give their searchers the best, most relevant pages that they think will match what is being searched for.

The purpose of doing search engine optimization then, is to try and do just that: Provide the best, most relevant pages for the keyword term that was searched on.

Still looking for more answers? Visit our detailed explanation of “What is Search Engine Optimization” or contact our Search Engine Optimization Consultants.

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3 Pay Per Click Marketing and SEO Strategies

While large corporate companies have the funds to allocate a substantial monthly budget to pay per click marketing many smaller businesses struggle to come up with the funds.

Does this mean that if you are a small business or a company on a limited budget that you can’t use pay per click marketing? No.

There are several affordable ways to use Pay Per Click Marketing in conjunction with your other online marketing efforts to create synergy. There are also other ways to implement a temporary Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign to achieve immediate goals.

In this article we discuss three affordable PPC Marketing Strategies to consider.

1. Temporarily Use PPC Marketing While Optimizing Your Website

One of the advantages of pay per click marketing is that it can be utilized to realize immediate results. This can be very helpful when you want immediate traffic and leads. SEO strategies can offer great long term rewards but while your SEO is being implemented and until you start realizing results from organic search, why not implement a temporary pay per click strategy and drive traffic to your site fast.

2. Use Pay Per Click for Early Tracking and Testing

SEO can provide much more traffic with a better ROI and thus many will agree that SEO marketing is a great long term strategy. But what can you do in the meantime as your long term SEO plays out?

One of the benefits of implementing a pay per click marketing campaign into your search engine internet marketing efforts is that it allows you to perform early tracking and testing. You can test the effectiveness of numerous variables including:

  • Keyword Phrases
  • Ad Copy
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Landing Pages

Because SEO generally takes 3-6+ months to really start performing it does not lend well to immediate testing. With SEO it can take time to build out great rankings within the search engine and once obtained they cannot be switched out as easily. If you wish to change or add keyword phrases in your SEO marketing efforts it takes a lot more time and effort.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of starting your search engine optimization campaign with a pay per click marketing strategy is tracking. You cannot overestimate the value of knowing what keyword phrases are providing traffic and are converting to sales.

3. Use Pay Per Click Marketing In Conjunction With Search Engine Optimization

Organic search engine optimization is usually more cost effective than pay per click marketing. However, if your search engine internet marketing budget permits, you may also consider making pay per click marketing services a permanent part of your ongoing online marketing strategies.

One of the benefits of integrating pay per click marketing with search engine optimization is for branding purposes.

The value of being seen twice on the same page should not be underestimated. There is a definite increase in clicks when a company’s website is seen listed in both Sponsored and Organic listing results.

Can You Benefit from Effective Pay Per Click Marketing Strategies?

A successful short-term pay per click marketing strategy is one that will help you accomplish your online goals sooner. Ask yourself:

  • What are my online goals?
  • What size of budget could I allocate towards a PPC Campaign?
  • How long do I want to rely on PPC to bring traffic to my website?

For more information about our PPC services please contact us at 1-888-262-6687 or request a PPC Consultation.

Recession Marketing Opportunities

During financial difficulties, the first thing businesses typically cut back is their marketing budget.

While seemingly a logical step, the reality is that continued marketing during a recession can mean the difference between long term success and failure.

In the past several weeks we have been bombarded with updates on the current economic outlook. Intensified stress in the credit markets, falling equity, increased unemployment, and a completely destabilized stock market.

With each news update the economic situation looks increasingly grim. Already the typical consumer has “tightened their belts” because of a lack of confidence in the economy; budgets are being lowered on both personal and business levels.

“Recession” is the term being used to describe the present economy and there have already been whispers of “Depression”.

While no one is “immune” during a recession, often it is the smaller businesses (local retailers and services professionals) that tend to suffer the most mainly because of their “lack” of marketing.

Faced with the current economic crisis, far too many smaller companies are adopting the “wait and see” approach yet, from a marketing perspective (based on historical data) this is a mistake.

When the economy is good and sales are plentiful, losing a few sales is something that can usually be tolerated affordably. It is during an economic downturn when one simply cannot afford to lose sales that as a business, you have the greatest opportunity for online marketing success.

Only a finite number of sales can be made at any given time. For every dollar in sales you make, it means your competitor is not only losing that sale to you but they can’t replace that lost revenue.

Therefore for every dollar in sales you gain, you move ahead of your competition by a factor of 2.

And, since many of your competitors are cutting their online marketing budgets during a recession, your opportunities for marketing successfully are compounded. Because of marketing (or the lack of marketing) the gap between a successful business and an unsuccessful one widens considerably during a recession. There is historical evidence to back this up.

Looking back at the Great Depression we are able to see some solid advantages to maintaining or increasing marketing strategies during a recession. Companies that maintained their marketing budget, increased in visibility significantly compared to their competitors who slid out of public sight.

This knowledge indicates that a recession actually presents the opportunity to move your company ahead of your competition in ways that would otherwise be unobtainable.

John Quelch on http://www.businessweek.com predicted the current economic situation.

Six months earlier, Quelch stated: “This is not the time to cut advertising. It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”

Dave Chase with iMedia Connection did some research using data provided by Rod Polasky with archaeolink.com. In his article he covers in more detail the impact on advertising and the accompanying rise and fall of businesses during the great depression.

I encourage everyone to read Dave’s article for some fascinating history on some very recognizable Brand names who owe their success in part at least, to marketing during the Great Depression.

The facts presented show people do not stop spending during a recession; they just spend more time looking for a better deal. If you are not visible to your online customers, then your competitor will make the sale. A sale you cannot afford to lose.

While the rules stay the same for marketing during a recession today, the actual strategies have changed significantly.

When people research for better deals, they tend to research online nowadays, since it’s much easier than reading junk mail flyers or browsing through phonebooks, catalogs, newspapers or magazines.
In a time when your competitors have already started cutting their online marketing budget don’t miss your greatest opportunity.

If you are planning on delaying search engine optimization, or planning on cutting back on your marketing budget, take note of such names as H.P., Disney, Kellogs & Microsoft; all underdogs who previously took advantage of their Recession Opportunity…and they remain on top to this day.

Market wisely…but market you must.

Now is the opportunity to step up and be seen. Now is your opportunity to take sales away from your competitor and solidify your business as a leader in your industry for the future.

Website Promotion Via Search Engine Optimization

Is it really essential to receive top listings on the major search engines and directories?

Pose that question to business owners and most respond, “yes, it’s very important.”

Follow that up with, What are you doing about it? And the most common response is, “nothing.”

You see, they think that just because they have a website they are already visible to the search engines and directories. Sorry to say, but there’s a lot more to making your website visible to search engines and directories than just having a website. And even if they do know that it exists, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to get top listings.

Why should you care?

Because a major benefit of getting top rankings is that they help CUSTOMERS FIND YOU.

Increased exposure = increased visitors = increased revenues!

Search engines are used by people to help them LOCATE INFORMATION on products and services that they want or need.

Businesses that understand this, design their websites strategically to increase their visibility to the search engines. Some businesses try and do it themselves, only to discover that the process is more difficult and specialized than they realized.

To get good results consistently, you have to understand how search engines work and how they present their results to the end-users. Once you possess this knowledge you need to develop a strategy to capitalize on it. That’s where Website Promotion comes in.

Website Promotion is all about finding ways to optimize your website so that it receives high rankings.

A good Search Engine Optimization strategy should take into consideration the following key components:

  • Head, title, and meta tags (include descriptions, keywords, and copyright info)
  • Incorporating body text that supports targeted keywords
  • Converting dynamic web pages to allow reading by search engine robots/spiders
  • Reducing source code without compromising website functionality
  • Improving/ fixing html code, and broken links and tags
  • Rewriting or copywriting to ensure the content supports the keyword phrases
  • Ensuring sufficient keyword concentration/placement on a page to achieve high rankings with the major Internet search engine

The above factors are extremely important because those are the kinds of criteria search engines consider (What Search Engines See) when retrieving and indexing their results.

Levels Of Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization generally falls into three-categories:

They all work, but the degree of success with each is very different.

Submittal Services: This type of service ONLY submits your website to the search engines. They do not recommend, alter, or change website pages in any fashion. Their sole purpose is to get the URL submitted to the search engines and directories on a regular basis. They will often use an automated process to submit your site, and usually, will only submit one URL or page. The value of just submitting your website is questionable, since in most cases the major search engines already know your website exists. The cost for this services is anywhere from $19-$49 per-month.

Meta Tag Promotion: This type of service develops meta tags and then makes submissions to the search engines. Sometimes, they will allow clients to choose the keywords, and once the meta tags are updated, the website is submitted once-a-month via automated software. Some search engines use meta tags as the description they display for listings. Meta tags are only one of a number of factors considered by search engines and so it is difficult to get good listings based solely on them. Search engines like Google, DO NOT use meta descriptions or meta tags when indexing websites. The cost for this service is anywhere from $49-$150 per-month.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This type of service entails making your website search engine friendly. It can be thought of as the creme-de-la-creme of Website Promotion. SEO ensures your website has a greater chance of receiving HIGH RANKINGS in the returned results. The process involves designing and executing a strategy based on the previously mentioned ‘key components’ of Website Promotion.

The companies providing this service should work closely with you and your webmaster to maintain the continuity and flow of your website, while still satisfying the criteria required for high rankings. They should also develop a list of ‘keywords’ (Keyword Value) that are relevant to your business. Once the optimization has been completed, they should submit your site to all the major search engines and top directories. It is better to manually submit all of your optimized pages and follow each search engine’s guidelines and rules to ensure the site does not fall into disfavor with it. Once a webpage is indexed there is no advantage in resubmitting it. It is a common misconception that you need to keep resubmitting your website. A number of search engines have indicated that they will penalize websites that over submit. The other areas they should provide assistance with are where you want customers to enter your website (Website Entrance) and the best way to present information to both search engines and your customers (Product Introduction Pages). While the cost of SEO may seem high compared to the others, the results you get are very impressive. They will help you to realize the full potential of your website. The cost for this services is anywhere from $250-$600 per-month based on 10-20 keyword phrases.

Which Is The Best Option?

That depends on what you trying to do with your website and Internet Marketing campaigns and what you expect to get from them. If your website is just a source of information and you don’t really expect or want to have lots of visitors to it -then the Submittal and Meta Tag Promotion services might be just what you are looking for. If on the other hand, you want to utilize your website as part of an Internet Marketing/ Website Promotion strategy, or to increase your company’s exposure, or to actually get business off the Internet -then a Search Engine Optimization service is probably your best option.

It is important to understand that proper Website Promotion involves considering many factors that are usually only provided by the full-service Search Engine Optimization companies. Search engines are very sophisticated mechanisms that utilize mathematical algorithms to list their search results. To get consistent results you have to understand how they work and how to make your website visible to them. And therein lies the inherent value of working with a full-service company. That’s what they do, that’s their specialty.

If you found this article useful and would like to discuss how your website can benefit from Website Promotion using Search Engine Optimization, please email us at // sales@1stonthelist.ca or call toll free 1-888-262-6687.