Browsing "search engine"
In the taxi on the way to the airport yesterday, the driver made the sort of offhand, clichéd remark that nobody ever takes seriously: “What would we do without computers?” Always one to take things seriously, though, I jumped at the bait. What would I do without computers?
Everything about my life would be different. Obviously, I couldn’t do the work that I do — and that’s probably true for you too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column. I would also need a replacement for my social media addictions.
Everything about my life would be different — and that’s true for most people. If we didn’t have cell phones, our lives would be dramatically different. If we didn’t have television, our lives would be dramatically different.
But now imagine that we didn’t have Google. Imagine a Terminator came back from the future to kill Google before it became self-aware. Imagine that it found the global jeadquarters in Mountain View and managed to destroy Google’s “brain.” (Don’t you love that no matter how distributed and redundant our actual technology gets, every artificially intelligent movie bad guy always has a single “brain” that can be destroyed in a shower of sparks and dramatic effects?) Or maybe the Terminator just unplugs it. Whatever. Bottom line, we wake up tomorrow and there’s no Google.
For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s actually restrict ourselves for a moment to the idea of a world without Google search. Relax — we’ve still got YouTube.
Here’s what I believe would happen from a consumer perspective: there would be a brief and reasonably harsh shudder — and then we would go on as normal. The hundreds of Lilliputian search engines nipping at Google’s heels would rush in to fill the vacuum. Searches from your address bar? No problem. SERPs with images? No problem. Mobile search? No problem.
The commercial ecosystem, of course, would be dramatically undermined. All of the entities that have built their businesses on the idea of an ever-dominant Google would have to quickly and accurately reallocate spending to the most dominant of the new pretenders. Publishers would have to switch networks. Sites using Google custom search would have to offer another way to navigate.
But here is where it gets interesting for me: the strategy wouldn’t really change.
A company investing in text ads would still invest in text ads, because text ads will still be an effective, measurable way to advertise. A publisher tapped into the Google network would tap into a different network — but it would still tap into a network. Keyword identification and SEO would go on as normal, just with different players.
As integrated as Google has become in our lives, its functions are still replaceable. That “competition’s only one click away” idea is actually true, in theory. We stick with Google because we love it, not because we can’t get satisfaction anywhere else.
The best relationships are always those that exist out of continually renewed choice. Google has a lot of “habit capital” it would have to burn through before people started questioning that choice, but at the end of the day, it’s not really that hard to find another way to search.
If there were no Google? We’d simply have a different logo at the top of the page.
Almost all of us use search engines, but most Britons “either have no idea or an inaccurate view of how online search results are determined,” according to the Online Search Matters Survey produced for FastHosts, the Web hosting company. The main findings are:
Nearly 1 in 4 Britons (24%) believe that the order of the search listings they use cannot be influenced by the publishers of websites listed, whilst a similar proportion (22%) suspect that results are ordered entirely according to how much has been paid by the websites listed. 1 in 5 consumers (19%) have no idea at all how results are compiled, and 5% believe that search listings are arranged completely at random like a lottery.
To be clear: the major search engines do not charge for listings, but their results are influenced by Web site publishers, partly through the use of SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques.
Men (33%) understand how search engines work a little better than women (26%).
Britons also trust organic results more than the “sponsored listings” that often appear above or alongside them. Fasthosts says:
1 in 3 (33%) believe these listings to be ‘less worthy’ and ‘less useful’ than main search results. Two thirds of web users (66%) report that they always pay attention first to main results, and some 40% of women and 34% of men will consciously ignore sponsored links whenever they appear.
The survey is based on 1,636 UK adults interviewed by Tickbox.net in November 2008 via electronic feedback forms.
Of course, if you started compiling a list of things that lots of Brits don’t understand, you’d be busy for some time. It’s also not clear that understanding how search engines work has much practical value if you just want to find sites, rather than promote them. However, if I ran a search engine, I’d be looking for ways to make it clearer that organic results, unlike sponsored links, are not paid for.
Canadians have Googled the social-networking site Facebook more than any other website this year.
For the first time, Internet search-engine giant Google released its most-popular and fastest-rising Canuck search queries for 2008.
Google says Britney Spears topped the list for most the sought-after celeb in Canadian cyberspace and the Green party as the most-searched political party.
The California-based company ranks the massively popular Facebook first overall.
It also says the search word “Obama” rose in popularity more than any other term between the end of 2007 and November 2008.
Yahoo! Canada released its most-searched items for 2008 earlier this month.
Yahoo! says Canadians queried the online multiplayer adventure game RuneScape more than anything else this year.
The company also says Miley Cyrus surged ahead of last year’s most-popular celebrity, Britney Spears.
If your site hasn’t added a Google Sitemap page, consider doing so. Google and other major search engines share a common feature that allows Webmasters to tell them about each page of their sites available for crawling and how often it changes and how important it is to the site. “You’re actually producing a page to have the search engine come to you,” he says.
Another free tool especially useful for small companies with a local clientele is Google Maps, a free local business-listing service, which displays an address, hours and description, sometimes at the top of a search-results page.
“It’s hard to pay for that kind of advertising
It should be friendly not only to the human eye, but also to search-engine spiders—programs that crawl the Web looking for up-to-date information.
A site’s structure can make a big difference in how easily a spider can crawl it. Web addresses that use keywords related to the content of the page generally help a search engine better correlate them with the site. For example: www.yourwebsite.com/keyword/filename.html. The closer the keyword is to your homepage in the Web address, the more relevant a search engine will consider the page to be for that keyword, and the more likely the search engine will be to give your site a better ranking.
Another consideration is where content is placed on the page. Spiders read pages starting at the top left corner of a page, so pages, keyword links to content that’s especially important for search engines to see should be moved there.
So, the time has come for you to consider, or more likely than not, to reconsider your SEO strategy. Perhaps you’re new to the game, and don’t even know what SEO is. Don’t worry, we’ll explain it. We’ll also explain some tactics that seem at first glance to be good ideas, but really aren’t. Best of all, we’ll show you how to spot these bad ideas so your site doesn’t pay the consequences.
For those of you who have been living on an isolated tropical island paradise, or have been in prison, for the last few years and do not know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This term is a kind of a rubric, that rather than referring to one or two things that you can do to improve your listing, covers a wide range of possible actions and behaviors that can help you to grow your site in popularity and make you untold amounts of money. Essentially these are the actions that a site takes to cater to the searching algorithms that search engines use to determine which sites get a high ranking, and which ones land on the bottom of page 17 in the listings.
These tools can be a great thing. They can help you get your site straight to the top and bring you scores of readers, and if they are done well you can get the site to the top of the search engine results pages for several sets of related keywords, and not just one set. The name of the game here is popularity, and despite the fact that we had all hoped to get away from that when the senior prom was over, being popular still matters when you are online. The bottom line is popularity means ad revenues and that means power.
Since the world of search engines depends on algorithms, some of which, despite sounding very vague, are actually quite advanced, you have to be very careful what you do when you play with SEO tricks. Sure, some of them can raise your site up to the top spot, but others can drag you down without so much as a second thought. Choosing not just the right principles, but the right way to execute them, becomes the chief task of those people who choose to practice SEO.
That is right, you understood me just fine. You can use the right principles and still find yourself with a bad idea on your hands. This, in addition to being quite maddening if you think about it for too long, also means that you have to be extremely careful when you screen your ideas. Something that sounds like a great idea to begin with and is even based on a sound principle, can be a big no-no if you want to keep your site’s rankings up. That careful consideration is, of course, a sound practice in most areas of your life, but you should be sure that you don’t get suckered in.
That is not to say that I expect you to become an expert in the field overnight; even a seasoned professional would have to take a look at the details of the execution before deciding if this is a good plan or a bad plan. To help you get some judgment under your belt, we will talk about some of the techniques that have already been identified as a bad idea, despite the good principles that are behind them. Then we will talk a little about how to identify a bad idea on your own, because the bad ideas will always pop up in new forms now and again. So you will have to be ever vigilant before you try out anything new.
Link Building Via Service
When done in a genuine way, building links between sites is a great way to raise your listings. When you hire a service to do it, you have a problem, because you lose control. Unless the service that you use is extremely professional, very discrete and amazingly well connected, it is an absolute certainty that you should pass it by without a second glance.
When you give up control, especially to a service, you run the very serious risk of finding yourself linked with a site that is considered to be in a “Bad Neighborhood,” which means that being linked to them will actually lower your rankings seriously. If you want to build links, you should do so in a controlled environment, and with sites that are relevant to your site’s content. Don’t go crazy and don’t get lazy.
When you ad a keyword to your site, whether it be in the META tags or, if you own a blog, in the visible tags, then those tags should always be relevant to your content, and never be just a random listing of words that you think will send search engines to your site. To be honest, you always want to keep these words short, sweet and non-repetitive; while many of the search engines have stopped using these words to place sites into the top section of the results, they have not stopped using them to rule sites out.
If your site’s META tag list seems like it came from the dictionary, then you will find your brilliant strategy to increase your rankings has lowered them instead. A similar trick is done with titles on a site. This technique, more commonly known as “Title Stacking,” is another way of adding more keywords for the search engines to index, and they have caught on. Avoid both of these like the black plague.
This one sounds like it may be a good idea. You can make a lot of sub pages that direct to the information that your user wants to know, they get the information, and you get a lot of pages that can help to increase your rankings on a multitude of sets of key words. But this technique just makes most search engines upset, because these gateway sites have very little content on them, and their primary goal is to re-direct. I would suggest that you avoid this at all costs.
If you own content from another, similar site, or you are just getting content for the site from an article bank, you can run into these serious problems. Sites that are deemed to be using nothing but copy and paste content will run into problems with the engines right away, so if you are going to re-use content it should only be a small percentage of your site, and never on the main page. Also, as a side note, if you steal someone else’s content, you can end up getting your site removed wholesale. You also run the risk of getting sued.
Now that you have an inkling of some of the bad ideas, founded on good principles, it is time to talk about how you are going to learn to spot these ideas as they come up in the world of online content promotions.
To do this, you need to open up the hood and poke around at the idea’s mechanics to see if everything is in order, by asking some questions.
Question 1. Does this topic sound like any known bad practices?
Remember how I introduced title stacking as a sub-set of META tag abuse? That is because they have a set of similarities which make them sibling ideas. If you run across a sibling idea to one of the ones that you already know is a bad plan, then you should pass it by. No hesitation and no further questions needed.
Question 2. How does this serve the readers or the searchers?
If the only benefit is to the site, then the odds are that it will get you lowered. Search engines and sites are supposed to exist for end users. If the tactic causes an impairment to their finding what they want, then it will be used as a reason to knock you down. Search engines know where their money comes from, and it is not from you.
Question 3. Does this seem like spam?
If it is the kind of tactic that you would be annoyed to encounter, either while searching or in an e-mail, then you should probably skip it. No one likes a spammer, and the search engines are no exception to that statement. So if you have the distinct odor of spam in your nostrils, you should pass up this idea and go on to the next one.
Question 4. Does it just feel wrong?
Even if you can’t quantify the why of it, if an idea feels wrong for your site or for your conscience, then you should not use it, wither or not it will be treated negatively by
the search engines. You have to trust you instincts and err on the side of caution.
Now that you know, you can be vigilant to keep your site from having its rankings lowered by an honest mistake that makes you seem like you are trying to do something that is evil — even though we both know that you would never, ever do a thing like that.
There are several SEO myths which abound about what works and what doesn’t and these myths can be daunting as a potential client. We thought a handy guide to a few of the SEO myths would be useful, as it could help make a more informed decision.
One time SEO for long term ranking
SEO is a strategy, and as any marketing strategy it has to be continuously readjusted for optimal performance. SEO begins with two basic components: the primary site optimization carried out upon signing the contract – which constitutes a large part of the work involved – and the continual website tweaks that are required due to monthly or unexpected shifts in the search engine market. The basic site optimization is the part of SEO which should be carried out only once. Unlike any other medium, the online market is the most dynamic and fast changing for a business to evolve in. That is why month to month changes in search engine algorithms require continuous attention.
Performing in house SEO is more efficient
Initially it may appear, that performing SEO in house is more cost effective. You still have to take in consideration staff training, gaining access to essential SEO industry tools and information and that requires time, effort and money. Allowing untrained staff to perform SEO can be risky as search engines hand out penalties for breaking their guidelines. However, working closely with a SEO that provides consultancy and training can prove to be a solid long-term solution. In time, your staff will be properly prepared to take over some of your optimization needs.
Search Engine Optimization is cost prohibitive
SEO is not a cost, it’s an investment and like any investment it brings a measurable return. Think in terms of ROI, not in terms of cost.
Life is full of do’s and don’ts, and SEO is no exception. Out of all of the tactics available to companies to improve your visibility in the online world, some tactics are ideal, some are highly frowned upon, and some are disputed or on the edge. The industry has applied a lable, or buzz term to these methods, referred as White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO techniques.
White Hat tactics are considered 100% totally safe and they are most often directly recommended by the search engine companies themselves. They are centered around the ideas of sound website building strategies, and not on the flexible nature of any given search engine.
White Hat typically includes:
* Solid, regularly updated content
* Relevant metatags
* Friendly, interactive page design
* Honest linking strategies
In terms of time investment, White Hat techniques take the longest to implement, but all are held in high regard in the search engine optimization world.
Black Hat tactics are forbidden or deeply frowned on by the search engines. These can, and most certainly will, get your site, or your clients site, banned from the index if you are found to be using any of them. The philosophy behind Black Hat SEO revolves around trying to manipulate the search engines to direct traffic instead of earning it.
Black Hat SEO is generally used by people who sell illegal or immoral content. This on it’s own should be reason enough to steer clear, because your reputation WILL be forever tarnished if you associate yourself with these unethical practices.
Black Hat tactics include (but are not limited to):
* Buying links in huge numbers, ignoring relevance, for fast inbound links
* Invisible, or hidden text on your pages; ie the text is identical to your background
* Misleading meta tags
Using any of the above methods will more than likely flag your website within the search index and get the site banned!
Grey Hat SEO tends to fall in between the cracks of the search engines rules. some experts might deem them as highly controversial, while the next may be unconcerned. There is no clear rule set about Grey hat SEO strategies, because there is no clear indication about whether they do harm to your websites presence. You must study the information, and decide for yourself, which side you think is telling the truth.
Grey Hat techniques can include:
* Owning a number of sites and cross linking them back to each other
* Purchasing links on every page of a smaller, relevant site
* Working for links on a high quality site, that may not be relevant to your site
There are a lot of Grey Hat techniques, and you’ll find that usually they are highly debated in the search engine optimization world.
In the end, the only “unknown” is the search engine algorithms (the code that helps the search engine decide what is legit and what is not), are not predictable, and they are constantly changing, so a technique that works one day may not work the next and vice versa.
In the end, the only real answer is, research all available information, and then make a decision based on how much risk you are willing to assume.
However, if you don’t have the time to put into the deluge of online resources available about SEO and the proper way to implement it, that’s where we comes in.
Search optimization may be a Google asset
In theory, any company should be able to compete with Google on search. Yet Google owns some two-thirds of the queries made in the US search engine market.
Scenarios where another search site gains enough share at Google’s expense don’t present themselves readily to us. People use Google for search, and keep on using it.
Jupiter Research considered the question of why Google has no real competition in search. Sorry Yahoo, Microsoft, and everyone else, the numbers are what they are.
But the apparent barriers to entry that David Schatsky discussed shouldn’t keep any site from competing handily with Google. Why they don’t remains a mystery, with one suggestion by Schatsky’s colleague Emily Riley hinting at search optimization being part of the issue:
The kind of benefits that accrue to incumbent market makers like eBay are somewhat weaker in search. After all, a lack of advertisers shouldn’t necessarily make a search engine less appealing to users, who are more sensitive to organic results and performance. Emily points out, though, that the relevance of Google’s organic results may benefit in part by all of the SEO benefits that focus on them–a level of focus they attract because of their market leadership.
Webmasters want to be in Google because the traffic is there. Searchers wish to use Google as they know the content will be there. All in all, a nice circle of supply and demand, tailored to suit Google best, keeps it at the top of the search engine world.
These days, search engines’ results are directing people to sites, products and services. That is why search engine optimization has gained a big importance. Search Engine Optimization is also important in the age of the powerful web when more and more people are buying everything online.
Power of the web has promoted online shopping culture and customers mostly develop confidence in their favorite product by seeing them in searches and decide to buy. If they do not see a results, the odds of the online purchase are reduced. But if they see result of a brand they know clearly and like, then they will check the price and terms, make their selection, and purchase.
Businesses try to strengthen their presence by Search Engine Optimization. For measurable results in searches, businesses need to know what they want to project, should be committed to build by doing whatever is necessary to get the message to any segment of a target market.
This can be best done by a experts and professionals. Fresh Traffic are one of the best to build a powerful web presence that remains in front of the eyes of the customers.
Explore resources and information, rich site content and learn how they can position you at a vantage point. Better still, let them handle your optimization strategies.