|Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Information|
Why Search Engine Marketing Has A Passion for Web Site Usability
Watching a recent football game, I imagined two very different teams: one called ‚??The Horders‚?? and the other, ‚??The Hunters‚??. In the game, it takes planning and skill to carry a football a few yards. There‚??s interference and distractions. Scantily clad dancing girls are screaming cheers nearby.
How different, I wonder, is this from finding something in search engines? You have ads on the sidelines and pages to push through while trying to get to your goal. If you happen to find something that looks like what you want, you click on it and race down the field in a blaze of glory, until you realize you‚??re lost. Worse, you were just sacked by a web page piled high with gobs of stuff and tiny text soldiers are jumping on your head.
It‚??s Not the Search Engines‚?? Fault
Believe it or not, search engines and user centered web design have a common goal. They want to provide the best experience for their web site visitor. Even better, they want that experience to be productive, satisfying and memorable.
For their part, search engine technology changes often as they find ways to better understand the subject of each web page. Not only that, they have a keen interest in how you think and how you search for things.
A user centered web site designer is thinking the same sweet thoughts on your behalf. They lie awake at night worrying about putting form fields in the proper order and placing links or call to action buttons in places where they‚??ll help someone with a task. They, like search engine developers, know you want specific, accurate information at the push of a button. You want it preferably without running around the site in circles. You want it now.
Enter Coach SEO
On the other hand, most web site owners want other things. They want sales, traffic, popularity, requests for quotes, newsletter signups, and number one rank in search engines. In the 1990‚??s there was this weird belief, based on a baseball movie, that if you build it, they will come. The rude awakening that other people built a web site, selling the same product, gave birth to search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO.
The job of an SEO professional is to make your web site easy for search engines to find it, add it to their database for retrieval, and make it appear near the top of search results pages by helping robots understand the topic of each page.
Initially this was simple, because there was less competition. Fewer people were using the Internet to buy cars and books. We weren‚??t so greedy either. In those days, a web site with 18 point glassy blue text in all caps against a wood-grain background with animated spinning logo was happily tolerated to learn how to get rich quick.
Therefore, the craft of making web pages rank well in search engines was the number one the goal, not making a web site that people would enjoy using.
Then Came the Human Factor
On the heels of SEO came search engine marketing (SEM). Search engines and directories permit paying for rank and keyword bidding. SEM tackles this marketing arm by guiding companies through the maze of options.
Competing industries determined to be number one in searches also created a technique that forced submitting web pages designed only for search engine robots and another version for people. Some SEO methods manipulate content intended for robots to make sense of - not people.
Of course, this wild web page bonanza was going to backfire, and it did. While some SEM companies promised rank guarantees, smart web site owners were noticing something peculiar was happening. People were leaving their web site as soon as they arrived. When you pay for every keyword click thru, and it‚??s not generating revenue in return, the accounting department notices.
Slowly, quietly and smartly, some SEO‚??s began to look for people in the usability industry to help them. Clients were unhappy with results that were not the SEO‚??s fault. They demanded financial figures to prove SEO would bring a return on their investment. What they didn‚??t understand was that though the SEO battled the war for that coveted spot, they had no control over the visitors‚?? journey afterwards. That‚??s up to the design team.
7thpixel.com (www.7thpixel.com) saw the light. ‚??Practicing SEM without addressing usability issues is like buying ad space during the Super Bowl and then turning the lights off. It's hard to do business when your customers can't find what you're selling,‚?? says company President, Gregg Banse.
Mirror Mirror‚?¶Who Has the Best Web Site of Them All?
Once upon a time, few people cared about search engine optimization and the web site visitor experience.
Then suddenly web sites stopped being online brochures. They started to do stuff, like let you choose the make, model, color and floor mats for your next car. Or, sell your living room couch or bid for Elvis records. Suddenly, Internet software applications are everywhere and they not only must function, but also be ready for use by a huge variety of people, including special needs customers.
Today‚??s top web design companies offer search engine optimization and marketing, as well as usability testing and skilled user centered design staff. They‚??re hired to construct a web site that achieves business requirements, while also surviving an uphill battle in search engines. Their usability specialist is a bonus for a client‚??s long term success because their input increases conversions. Pioneering user experience design skills include persuasive design, copywriting, information architecture, and creating an emotional connection with web site visitors. It‚??s not just about colors anymore.
7th Pixel provides SEO/SEM services, and they‚??ll bring in a usability specialist, ‚??For our client's sake, ‚?? adds Gregg. ‚??Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we're too close to the project. A fresh pair of eyes without predisposition can help us evaluate and correct something we either overlooked or dismissed as inconsequential. That helps us provide a better product to our clients and that's good for business.‚??
Another hot demand for user centered design that focuses on a specific task is ‚??landing pages.‚?? Not all Internet advertisements point to a home page. Today‚??s trend is to send the visitor to a page inside the web site that helps them achieve their task quickly and effectively.
For example, a college site is searchable by its name, or they may purchase a Google Ad intended to come up on a search for ‚??college catalogs‚??. When the ad appears, instead of taking the visitor to the homepage, where they have to hunt for the course catalog and learn the web site, the ‚??landing page‚?? will take them directly to where they can download or order it. Even more, a user centered landing page will direct the visitor to other points of interest they may not have thought of, such as admission schedule dates, campus life highlights or adult night class options.
Christine Churchill, President of KeyRelevance, (www.keyrelevance.com) helps companies purchase keywords and ads, as well as create productive landing pages. She feels, "From my perspective usability and optimization are so intertwined I can't look at a site and not wear both hats. Improvements we make to help a user navigate the site also improve it for search engines. A search engine spider crawling the site is the ultimate usability test."
The Proof Is in the Profit
User testing and poor conversions drive some web site redesign projects, where the site is pulled back into the shop. Customer needs and business objectives are re-addressed. Matt Bailey, Web Marketing Director for The Karcher Group (www.thekarchergroup.com), describes a recent series of redesign projects.
"All were redesigned using usability principles and testing, all have experienced some crazy success in sales simply in going live with the new site - even before any rankings were touched."
Getting inside the mind of the searcher is something they do at Enquiro (www.enquiro.com/research.asp). This marketing firm performs ‚??search behavioral research‚??. For them, it‚??s more than a matter of search engine positioning. They strive to understand their client‚??s business and their target market.
Studies such as these, and other usability research, raised the bar. Now that you have a web site visitor‚??s attention, how do you keep them on the web site until they accomplish what they came there for?
Scottie Claiborne, owner of Right Click Web Services, (www.rightclickwebs.com/) in her article, ‚??SEO Without Usability -- An Exercise in Futility" (http://www.rightclickwebs.com/seo/seo-usability.php) wrote, ‚??Search engine optimization is still in its infancy, and is a constantly changing discipline. As the search engines get better and better at rewarding the best/most complete sites, usability will become even more important.‚??
What it boils down to is making a web site useful. Online marketers, who understand that the key to their client‚??s success is a customer centered web site, won‚??t even start the game until everyone on the team is playing towards that goal.
Usability Consultant, Kimberly Krause Berg, is the owner of http://www.UsabilityEffect.com, http://www.Cre8pc.com & http://www.Cre8asiteForums.com. Her background in organic search engine optimization, combined with web site usability consulting, offers unique insight into web site development.
Copyright 2005 Cre8pc.com
3.5 Tips To Help You Avoid Becoming The Next Search Engine Outlaw
Want to avoid being blacklisted by the search engines and banished to the sin bin never to receive a single search engine visitor ever again? Thought so. Here's some tips to help you..
Search Engine Optimization :: The Basics and Why Websites Need It
We all know that the most targeted traffic we can get for our websites is from search engines. If you have a little patience and time to set websites the right way you can have a great source of excellent traffic and, best of all, you get it for free.
Yahoo Dopey, MSN Goofy, Google is Mickey Mouse Lost in a Sandbox
Seventy-two days ago Googlebot first showed up and crawled over 250 pages of a brand new domain in an experiment that has had an odd cartoonish character to it, where unexplained things happen with sometimes dark foreboding, a kind of Fantasia online.
What All Top Google Websites Have in Common
While it is okay to admire and envy all those sites enjoy top ranking with leading search engines like Google, it is much more important to study these sites closely. You will definitely end up learning a lot that will prove to be very useful in helping you take your own site to the top of Google rankings. Topping the search engines will mean huge volumes of traffic on a daily basis without you having to do anything. Healthy traffic, as you know almost automatically translates itself to healthy revenue for the site. And when you consider that over 75 per cent of the traffic that finds its' way to websites comes from search engines, you quickly realize how important and crucial top rankings in search engines are to any online business.
Search Engine Optimization SEO Made Easy
SEO is a never ending battle! So is SEO over-rated? I don't think it is. Some say that Google's automated PageRank? system and Alexa's Traffic Rank system are losing ground. This may be may be true to some point but the fact still remains that we want at the top of the search results. And to achieve this we need to educate ourselves and do the work or hire someone else to the work for us. Search Engine Optimization "SEO" is a term we see all over the net. For those of you that are unsure exactly what is meant by SEO, it's simply adjusting many characteristics of your website to conform with what the major search engines deem important. That's where the simple stops. It's complicated only because no one other than the developers themselves know all the rules and even then the rules are constantly changing. What I'll try to do here is cover the basics that have fairly consistent lately. Keep in mind however there will always be inconsistencies when it comes SEO. For example, I recently read an e-book that said to imbed a few of your primary keywords in the "alt" tag of your logo graphic. The same day, I was reading an online article of equal quality and this author cautioned against such a tactic due to possible penalties by the search engines. So which did I do? See for yourself by hovering your mouse over the logo. I don't mind a little risk as long as the risk is low and there may be nice benefits, but don't get carried away. We certainly don't want to get banned by any search engines. I get the heebie-jeebies just saying it. That would simply end many of us. Because Google's PageRank? and Alexa's Traffic Rank systems are really two different animals, I will focus primarily on Google's PageRank? system for now. So lets get started in no particular order. Link Popularity: I guess we can start with the hardest part of search engine optimization. Link popularity. The ultimate goal here is to gain the respect of the search engines. And how we do that is by who we know or at least associate with in the spiders eyes. We want as many quality incoming links as possible with as few low-ranked outbound links as possible. We need to consider several factors when we approach any site to request a link exchange. 1. First of all, we want to focus only on sites that compliment ours. By that I mean directly on indirectly are in the same category or field or relating field as our site without necessarily competing with our site. I say not-necessarily because personally I have no problem linking to competitors site as long as we both mutually agree benefits. Some fear they'll lose some of their site visitors but I feel the best way to keep visitors on your site and get them to return is by providing a high quality site with great original content. 2. Second we want to pay attention to their Google page rank. To do this if you haven't already done so, download Google free toolbar http://toolbar.google.com/ Once installed, you can see the PageRank? of any site you go to. You want as many sites as possible with high PR's. Set a goal of getting a few PR6 or PR7 sites. This will do wonders to your rank. In fact one PR7 might do more for you than hundreds on no or very low PR sites. 3. Third, the engines like to see incoming links from what they consider on authoritative site. So aggressively go after well established, high ranking sites that share the some focus as your site. 4. Fourth on our list are the sites to stay away from. Sites that generate artificially created links. Link farms and even huge link exchange sites can even get your site banned. I don't mean to make anyone nervous here. The fact is, if you are generally doing the right thing for the right reasons, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you find yourself trying to hide something or hoping an search engine doesn't catch something, then you may want to re-evaluate your strategies. Requesting a link. The first thing you should do when requesting a link exchange is little research. Glance over the site in question and consider where your site link might hold the most relevance one their site. This will benefit both parties. And then don't be afraid to offer the suggestions when you contact the site administrator. I have had sites accept my link on a suggested page even though they have a section designed just for outside links. I have even accepted links that I would have normally rejected because the fit would have seemed wrong if they hadn't shown a better fit. Always add their link to your site before you make the request and include the page url of the link when making contact. Keep track of the contacts you've made and if you haven't received a reply. Do a simple search on there site to see if they added your link and forgot to reply. At most, send one more request and be sure to include the words link exchange in the subject line so they don't delete your mail as spam. Then if you still don't get a reply within a week simply remove theirs from your site and move on. Don't send any more mail. Consider the lack of response as a rejection and accept it. Don't take things personal and send a negative e-mail. I have actually received a couple of these and there's really no point. If you do get a reply and a link send a short thank you note. Always include the exact text of the link you want on their site. Again, before you do this it helps if you look at other links on their site. If they have a 3 or 4 word description with each link, you don't want to send a whole paragraph in your links description. What you do want to do is include your best key words. In fact, a short description with the right key words can benefit you far better than a watered down version. Keep it short and sweet. Make things as easy as possible for the webmaster. Include the html code of your link so he/she can just copy and paste if they decide to.
Secrets on Website Promotion: How You Can Get a #1 Ranking for Your Website Name Within 30 Days
Launching a new website with enough acceleration to rise above this ever increasing daily din needs some force. It is common to see a website with a different name and various product or service offerings with equally unrelated names. Promoting these diverse brands will naturally need more energy than promoting just one brand.
How to Get the Ranking You Always Wanted!
Is your web site well ranked (In the top ten search results) in the results? If not, you need to read this and get the ranking you always dreamed of getting with your web site! I will show you how to get your web site a top ten ranking in the search engines with these few easy-to-do steps.
Search Engine Robots - How They Work, What They Do (Part II)
If your site isn't found in the search engines, it is probably because the robots couldn't deal with it. It could be something as simple as not being able to find the site, or it may be more complicated issues involving the robot's not being able to crawl the site or figure out what your pages are all about.
Search Engine Optimization Explained
Search Engine Listing And Optimization
All You Need to Know About Your Website Traffic is Contained in 5 Key Stats
You built that content rich web page optimized for your Keyword phrases but is it really working? By looking at these 5 Stats readily available from your CPanel you will quickly learn what you are doing well and what you need to improve on.
Search Engines The Masters Of The Internet Universe ? Part 3
This is part three of the article series and deals with the paid inclusion and organic search results from search engines.
5 Extremely Valuable Search Engine Optimization Tips
Search engine optimization is THE most cost effective way for a company to market their products and services. Below are 5 extremely valuable search engine optimization tips:
Monitor Your Visibility in Google, MSN, and Yahoo with these DIY SEO Tools
This is the second part of an article series in which you'll find many tools that you can use to monitor your site's search engine position and see how your do-it-yourself search engine optimization efforts are coming along. The following tools are for monitoring your search results in the three major search engines. It isn't an all-inclusive list, but rather a highlight of some of the tools you can use. (I'll point you to one of the master lists when we get into more general tools in part three.) Using Your Google Site Information Page I've covered this in an earlier article, but just in case you missed it, we'll go over it again briefly here. (If you need more help following along, you can listen to one of my recent podcasts for a convenient audio walkthrough.) Open up your browser and go to Google's home page. Type in info:yoursitenameandsuffix. So if your site was ExactSeek.com you'd type info:exactseek.com. You can also use site:yoursitenameandsuffix to find out which pages have been indexed by Google's search engine spider. This search will tell you pages that Google considers similar to yours. It will also show sites that it considered linked to you, and show sites that carry your full url, hyperlinked or not. It's not 100% accurate as far as telling you all the sites that are linked back to yours, but what you can learn from this is which backlinks matter. From here you can also see the last day Google spidered your home page. To see this in action, click on the first group of information links, "Show Google's cache of yoursitename.com" If you look next to the word "cached" one the first line, the date is expressed also. Sometimes it seems that the cached time for yoursitename.com and www.yoursitename.com are different, so be sure and check both. Finding Information About Your Site In Yahoo http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/ysearch/tips/tips-08.html This document will tell you how to find out what sites are linking to you, give you the results for how many pages of your site are in Yahoo, and more. Once you get to the results page, you'll be able to view your cached pages, etc. Discovering Your Site's Status on MSN http://search.msn.com/docs/siteowner.aspx As the page in the help section states, you can use site:www.yoursitehere.com to find out if a document at your site has been indexed. The results page will also give you the date of last caching. Google Rankings http://www.googlerankings.com You'll need a free Google API key for this one, and the site has the direct link telling you where to get one. You'll have to enter this key in order to query the site for information on Google. With Google Rankings, you'll be able to see where you rank within the top 40-1000 results in Google for a given keyword. I recently noticed that it also displays results for MSN and Yahoo, with links to each search engine. They also have some other tools that will track your keywords over time, as well as one they call the "Ultimate SEO Tool" that will measure your site's keyword density. Google Backlinks Checker http://lilengine.com/tools/backlinks-tool.php LilEngine.com's Backlink Checker will measure the number of links you have pointing back to your site against competing sites. Handy if you just want a quick comparison of how many links you have versus others, though how much getting more links back will help varies, depending on other factors. Yahoo Search Rankings http://www.yahoosearchrankings.com/ From the same folks who brought you Google Rankings, using Yahoo Search Rankings, you'll be able to see where you rank within the top 1000 results in Yahoo for a given keyword. If you just want to see your Yahoo rankings, it's quite helpful. You can find more Yahoo tools that use the Yahoo Web API at their developer's site : http://developer.yahoo.net/wiki/index.cgi?ApplicationList.. In the next part of the article, we'll take a closer look at other tools that give you more specific information about the links pointing back to your site, keyword research, and more.
Going To Market: Keywords and Backlinks, Part 1
As I waded into the 'Make Money Online' waters on the Internet, I felt I needed to do some research on what keywords might help me generate traffic for my websites. I am very, very new to this whole Internet marketing arena but at the simplest level it seems that the keys to generating income are:
When SEO Takes the Value out of a Website
Every webmaster would like to see his/her website to be the number 1 search result returned in search engines. A number 1 spot in Google pretty much guarantees loads of traffic to a website which can then materialize in high revenue for the website owner.
PPC Advertising ? The First Step In A SEO Marketing Campaign
Often, sites view seo and PPC marketing as exclusive marketing techniques. Each marketing method has its advocates. In reality, both have a place in the Internet marketing process. If you intend to pursue a major seo effort, a PPC campaign is a critical early step.
Search Engine Wars - Quality Searches Vs Quantity!
It is no secret that Google and Yahoo are on a continuous battle to win our hearts and get everyone to convert, but is converting someone really a matter of the quantity or the quality?
Is This A ?DMOZ Killer? In The Making?
Is building a Human-Edited Fully "Democratic" Search Directory Possible?
Stay In The Know With Google SMS
The Short Messaging Service (SMS) from Google sends short, quick, text answers in response to your queries from an SMS-enabled mobile device, such as a cell phone. For example, you can look up phone numbers and addresses of local restaurants, do local phone book searches, compare prices from online merchants in Froogle to those you find in local stores, even look up definitions of words from the dictionary.
How to Succeed with the Search Engines
The Cold Hard Facts?..
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