Have you ever wondered how a search engine works? Have you experienced instances where the link that supposedly contains your keywords is not exactly what you have in mind? You would probably think that there must be something wrong with the search that it generated irrelevant results.
How does a search engine work? Two things figure greatly in making search engines work: the electronic spider and the sitemap.
A sitemap is basically a page serves as a directory by listing all the links to all documents and files on a website. It is not just a random listing of links, it is organized in such a way that it gives the user an idea of how all the information that can be found in the site fits into an outline. It is like viewing the table of contents of a book.
What is a spider? In SEO language, spider is not an animal, the search spider is actually a bot which collects data and copies content to be stored in the search engine’s database when keywords are fed into the search dialogue box. The spider reads the content of the site and sends another bot to follow the links and copy the content contained in them.
What purpose does a sitemap serve?
A sitemap like any other map gives directions to a navigator. It primarily targets search engine spiders so that they are properly directed to your site and to the links where keywords entered in the search box. It is actually a useful tool in search engine optimization. A well organized site map would guide the spider to find the information it needs when keywords are entered during a search.
What are the benefits of having a sitemap for my website?
1.No page would be left out:
Back to the purpose of sitemaps, having one would mean faster and easier tracking and crawling of spiders all over your site. As a result, search engines would get to the view all the pages of your site and not just the pages containing keywords.
2.Easier navigation for visitors:
Once a user has accessed your sitemap, they need not go back to the search engine page to look for what they need. If what they are looking for is in your site, then they would have an easier and faster way of finding it.
3.Encourage traffic to your site:
If your company site has a sitemap then potential buyers would have an easier time in accessing your products and services. Also, they would not miss out on any product that might be of future interest to them.
There are at least three major kinds of sitemaps: indexed, categorical, and restricted categorical. An indexed site map appears as an alphabetical listing or directory. A categorical map displays all links classified into categories; while a restricted categorical sitemap displays all links listed in a chosen category at a time. The full and restricted sitemaps are very similar except that the former displays all links in all categories all at once in a page, while the latter focuses only the links under the selected category for easier and less eye-straining viewing.
Some tips in setting up your sitemap
1.Link the sitemap only to your homepage. This ensures that the spider will start searching from your homepage down through all the pages listed in your sitemap. In this way, no page will be missed.
2.Try not to go beyond 30 pages for a sitemap. Large websites having 50 plus pages should not go beyond 30 since this adds more pages to the site, and may make search engines think that the sitemap is a link farm.
3.Check the integrity of the links listed in your sitemap. It can be discouraging when you click on a link only to find out that nothing is displayed. Test your sitemap!
4.Give keyword-rich titles to sitemap links. Keyword-rich titles give your site more advantage in being searched properly under the right category.
5.Provide a short description for the links in the sitemap gives readers a better idea of what to find in the link.
6.Be consistent in designing your sitemap with the other pages of the site.
Webmasters who are interested in building high traffic to their site and maintaining a successful site, should pay particular attention to Search Engine Optimization techniques which can help them improve the search engine rankings. All search engines employ some type of algorithm that brings up the resulting links when a user searches for something. No, all search engines don’t use the same algorithm. But that’s not what this discussion is all about. I’m sure all of you are interested in getting your website/blog listed in the topmost search results. listed below are 5 simple tweaks that can greatly influence your ranking in the search results.
1. Keyword Optimization
The use of relevant keywords in your site is one of the most common and also one of the simplest ways to optimize search engine ranking. It will increase your ranking if you use commonly searched words like for example: If you have a gardening site, you might want to use the word “Home gardening” or maybe even “House-keeping” more in your posts. As a result, when people actually type those phrases in the search box, your website is shown earlier because of the use of it in your web page is higher than the rest.
TIP : Don’t ever overdo it.
2. Get Link Love
Many search engines (almost all) rank your site on basis of the number of back links that lead to your site. Now basically you could do link-exchange, but search engines will rank you even higher if you get one-way links. It’s simple: The more back links one has, higher up in the search results you climb.
TIP: Try and get as many as One-way links as you can.
3. Use Image Tags to your Advantage
Site owners should also be aware that any pictures used on their site can be used to improve search engine rankings with some search engines. This aspect of search engine optimization is often overlooked because many believe the pictures are not viewed by search engines. While this is true the search engines do crawl the code of the blog in addition to the content on the blog. This means the search engine will view the information provided in the image tags. Take advantage of this by using the image tags to provide relevant keywords which can bolster search engine rankings. However, care should be taken to ensure the keywords used in these tags also accurately describe the image because visitors will often see the text included in these tags when they scroll over pictures on your site.
TIP: Make sure that the tag is relevant to the picture.
4. Site maps are Necessary
All websites need site maps. Why? Well, every site map has links to all the pages in a website and it helps search engine spiders gain even more easier access to your content. And it’s obvious that if more content is tracked by the spiders, the more results appear.
TIP: Well, K.I.S.S, keep it simple silly.
5. Search Engine Friendly URL’s
Using Search Engine friendly URL’s like http://www.freshtraffic.ca/search-engine-optimisation/ will be more effective than the long ones. Why? Well long URLs are most likely to be considered as spam by search engines and users. Keep it brief. Don’t be under the impression that longer URLs will impress your visitors. Users generally despise those kind of addresses. It’s not tough to make the change, and frankly the faster you shift to Search Engine friendly URL’s the better.
There are two major techniques in use today that are used for Online Marketing. These are Natural Organic SEO and the other one is Pay per click advertising.
Pay per click advertising is a technique that works by taking a specified sum of money for listing your advertisement on any of the major or minor search engines. These sponsored links usually appear at the top, bottom or, as in the case of Google, the right hand side of the search engine results page.
Natural Organic SEO: Natural Search engine optimization is defined as the process of redirecting traffic volumes to a specific website through a search engine like Google by using natural or organic or algorithmic techniques.
Search Engine Optimization not only makes use of keywords, although that is the most popular method of conducting Search engine optimization processes, it can also carry out different kinds of searches including image search, local search, and industry-specific searches.
As a marketing strategy utilized primarily for increasing a site’s ranking, Search Engine Optimization will take into account how search algorithms work and what exactly do people search for. Search Engine Optimization efforts would involve a number of things such as a site’s coding, presentation, and structure, in addition to fixing problems that could prevent search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a given site. Trying to Compare Natural SEO and Pay per click advertising is like trying to compare your right hand and your left hand and asking which one is better? Each has its own importance and is usually advisable to use a combination of the two techniques.
The major advantage that Pay per click advertising offers is that it gives faster results as compared to the Natural search engine optimization techniques; only at a cost.
Internet leader Google has been named the number one business brand in Britain by the Superbrands Council.
The organisation uses an independent selection process, seeking the opinion of a council and a representative sample of consumers, and found the Internet Advertising giant to be the foremost brand in the UK.
Google is hugely popular and its way of working – which includes “twenty per cent time” whereby company engineers are encouraged to spend 20 per cent of their work time on projects that interest them – has obviously struck a chord with the public.
In December last year, Google was by far the leading provider of videos online, with Google sites (including YouTube), underlining the popularity of the site.
Arch-rival Microsoft, which provided a mere 1.8 per cent of online videos, was placed second in the Superbrands list.
Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the Superbrands Council, pointed out that companies need to ensure their brands are credible in a more uncertain economic time.
“Reputation is a company’s greatest asset and brand building is likely to become even more crucial over the next few years than in the last decade of stability,” he said.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessary part of any website strategy. The potential traffic is simply too big to ignore.
The question isn’t “Should I do SEO?” it’s “When should I do SEO?”
As a site owner, you have to make hard decisions about how to spend your always-not-enough budget and when. In this post, I’m going to talk about some of things your should consider when trying to determine…
When Should I Invest in SEO?
SEO is not direct marketing. Just because you put a dollar in today does not mean you’re going to get a $1.50 out tomorrow.
Fundamentally, natural search optimization is a long-term investment. With the right strategy and the right implementation, I do believe you will get the return on that investment and, possibly, a sustained competitive advantage.
Of course, this presents a problem: you have to spend the money now, but you might not see it for a while.
Fundamentals to Make the Most of SEO
Search engines don’t buy from you, people do. There a few things you need to have in place in any site to make the most of SEO:
Functioning Site – There’s no point in bringing people to your site if it doesn’t work. People don’t like it and neither do the search engines. Getting your site to work properly is as important as getting people there.
Great Product – You can optimize your site till you’re blue in the face, but if you’re product stinks, you’re fighting an uphill battle. They say the quickest way to kill a bad product is to advertise it…
Measurement (Web Analytics) – Spending money without any way to track it is pointless. What’s more, you need analytics in place to help you refine the SEO you do execute.
The Resources You Need to Execute SEO
There are 2 paths to SEO: do-it-yourself or hiring an SEO consultant.
The choice between the two could fill several blog posts. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume you are looking for professional help.
A good organic search optimization agency will:
Do your keyword research
Make recommendations about your platform and information architecture
Address on-page code elements
Conduct a competitive and market analysis
Make specific content recommendations
Build and, possibly, execute a link strategy
You then have to execute that advice you paid so much for.
Oftentimes this is a hurdle for people who buy SEO services. With so many priorities clamoring for your attention, it’s easy to put off.
Make sure your marshal the right people together before the start of the project to convince them of the value of SEO.
Your key people will be:
The Developer – Someone will have to change your code and address server/platform issues. With apologies to the technology folks in the audience, these folks are usually the least inclined to understand the importance of SEO, but they’re absolutely essential to doing it right.
The Creative – Search engines are text readers. You will probably need to get more content onto your sites. This is going to piss of some artist. Best to suck up to them now and get them on your team.
The Copywriter – Somebody has to write all of that new content. What’s more, they have to do so in a search engine friendly way. A new way of writing + new things to write = another team member to persuade.
The Marketer – If this isn’t you, then it’s likely your colleague or boss. The marketer has to ensure everything is on-brand, and that includes the changes to the meta-data and content you’re going to recommend. Figure out the approval process and key concerns early.
Chose: Buy SEO Services or Something Else?
You can buy $25 worth of paid search. You can’t buy $25 worth of SEO.
In reality, you’re going to have some per hour, per project or per month fee to get sound SEO advice customized for your business.
Assuming you’ve addressed the fundamentals mentioned above and can convince the key team members to pitch in, you now have to ask yourself: is this the best time to invest in SEO services?
There are times when SEO is a no-brainer:
Pre-Launch – It is 10 times easier to change things in the design phase than during coding or after launch. What’s more, the education and research will also weave its way into all of your decisions the sooner you learn about SEO.
Starting Paid Search – It makes sense to coordinate paid and organic search marketing. Think about it: do you want to pay for clicks you could get for free? Shouldn’t buy words that will take you months to win?
You’ve Done Everything Else – Well, that just makes logical sense
It’s always better to start SEO sooner rather than later, but there’s often an opportunity cost with that choice. The opportunity you could be giving up is better email marketing, more paid search, affiliate expansion, upgraded user experience, multivariate testing… the list goes on.
You need to ask:
Do I have the cash flow to pay for natural search optimization when it could take 6-9months before I get that money back?
Can I execute the SEO recommendations in a timely fashion?
Are there minor site changes that I could address in 1-3 months that would produce immediate returns across all channels (e.g., shopping cart improvements)?
How much traffic and revenue would I have to generate to make this investment worthwhile?
I’m not trying to scare you away from SEO. It’s totally the opposite–I think SEO is vital and, frankly, amazing. It’s important to have realistic expectations about how and when SEO will pay off.
The point is that there’s a reason many people don’t succeed at SEO–they’re not willing to put in the effort and give it time to succeed.
Understanding what it takes to be prepared for SEO will help you understand when you should invest in it.
Let me turn the question back to you: how/when did you decided to focus on SEO?
Search engine giant Google is focusing its energies on developing free music downloads in China, as well as struggling to maintain the online advertising industry in the west.
Google is battling with Microsoft over its potential takeover of Yahoo!, which the search engine market leader claims would unfairly affect competition.
But in China, Google is also trying to secure a deal which would allow it to offer free music downloads from some of the world’s leading music companies.
The move is part of a strategic battle with Baidu.com, the online search engine which is currently dominating the Chinese market and causing some concern for Google.
Baidu.com gets a lot of its traffic from users searching for illegal music downloads and Google is hoping a legal, free service, would be able to prise some of the huge amounts of traffic onto its own sites.
The Chinese-based engine currently holds a 60 per cent share of the search market in China, compared to Google’s 26 per cent.
Internet users in the US watched a massive ten billion videos online in December, according to new figures from comScore.
The figures bode well for Internet Advertising companies, which are keen to develop this potentially lucrative market.
As expected, Google sites (including YouTube) received the most hits, with a total of 3.3 billion videos watched, representing 32.6 per cent of the total. Google was followed by Fox Interactive Media (with a 3.5 per cent share), Yahoo sites (3.4 per cent), Viacom Digital (2.3 per cent) and Microsoft (1.8 per cent).
Google’s dominance also partly explains why Microsoft is so keen to buy Yahoo, as together they would arguably be better-placed to take on Google.
“December represented a considerably strong month for online video viewing,” said comScore’s Erin Hunter.
“With the writer’s strike keeping new TV episodes from reaching the airwaves, viewers have been seeking alternatives for fresh content. It appears that online video is stepping in to help fill that void.”
On YouTube, 77.6 million US viewers watched 3.2 billion videos in December. Google is investigating various ways of implementing online advertising on the popular video sharing website.
Are you ready? There are no magic tricks or quick answers. I know this may sound crazy, but when you create your website pages you have to keep one very important thing in mind, the end user. KISS, keep it simple stupid will allow you too page rank in the top 5 search on any niche or keyword you are using.
Even when Google changes their algorithms you won’t be worried. These SEO techniques are not really fantastic, they just work. You will need to stick with the basics, these have worked for years, they work now and it is what the search engines want I feel there are two types of SEO people, 1. the first is simply setting up your website so the search engines will serve you when a potential customer types in your keyword, 2. the second is Search Engine Octopus.
This person constantly sits and tweaks their pages , not thinking about the end user. You don’t want to be the second SEO. We all want to be on the #1 page and listed with all the major search engines. Keywords are the bread and butter to your online success, but gathering a large number of keywords and then dumping them into your site will not work.
Relevant keywords and relevant content on your keyword is the key to success. Don’t build your pages using only your main keyword, search engines will also determine other relevant keywords, use variation keywords.
A reality check, use every possible keyword, one month that keyword may only have 300 searches, but the previous month it may have had over 1500. Here is another basic SEO technique often overlooked, site structure. We all do it including myself, create a couple of pages ftp them and then hope the search engines pick them up. Maybe later on you will add a couple of pages and hope for the best this is generic and wrong!
Want to see how a site should be properly structured?. Head over to Ebay. The key here is to concentrate on categories and not the menus on our site, use your keywords and create a skeleton structure of your website so that your keywords flow consistently. Another important part of getting listed in the search engines is the Title tag, get this wrong and you will lose a lot of traffic.
Remember the first two or three words should have your keyword in it, I also wouldn’t go over a maximum of 9 words. Try and create a catchy and inviting title, something that will appeal to the surfer, so you can get the click. Elaborate and make the title catchy, provide a solution for your customer to ensure the click.
I believe 99% of all webmasters shoot for the top ten keywords, certainly understandable to get a lot of traffic. But consider this, why not concentrate on the bottom of the list and work your way up, here you will want to try and focus on the targeted keywords for your industry. What you want to do is understand your main keyword and think logically.
Yes .it may have less people searching for them but at least they will be more accurate and highly targeted. Remember each page you create for your website will have it’s own value, so each page is keyword targeted. If your particular market has 50 keywords then by all means create 50 pages. Linking between sites is an crazy task, most webmasters will spend weeks searching for links and a lot of webmasters are very choosey with whom they exchange links with.
If you set up your site properly and it is established, you can let them come begging to you for links, the key here is to properly structure your site.
Does putting two losers together make a winner, or just one big loser?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has declared that combining his company with Yahoo would make the internet marketplace more competitive by establishing a strong number two in search and search advertising.
Then again it, maybe it will just make a weak number two. Microsoft and Yahoo have both been leaders in their own fields but in search, they suck. Put them together and they will still suck, in a bigger way.
These days it’s search that matters and the customers are discerning about it. The key to success is not brand or scale but the quality of the algorithm, and Google’s is the best.
Maybe Microsoft and Yahoo together can invent a better search algorithm than Google, but it’s doubtful. They haven’t done it separately and anyway Google is now making so much money it is attracting the best programmers who are constantly refining the algorithm that Sergey Brin and Larry Page invented in 1995.
It was then called ‘BackRub’, named for the way the algorithm analysed the “back links” that point to a website. Now it’s called PageRank, after Larry Page, and although the algorithm has been refined and added to over the past ten years, at its heart the system still computes a recursive score for web pages based on the weighted sum of the other websites that link to them.
That was the insight of Brin and Page: that the number of links to a website that are generated by other human beings is a good way to measure relevance based on human concepts of importance.
The other advantage of Google was that it focused on search. That meant it has a beautifully simple website, with nothing but a good brand, a search field and – for the first few years at least – the number of web pages being indexed. That number passed a billion pages in April 2000, which made the Google search offering astounding and compelling.
In February 1994, a year before Brin and Page started creating their search algorithm, Yahoo’s founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo, working in a trailer at Stanford University California, started organising their own web surfing into links that they saved as bookmarks. As the list of links got longer, they put them into categories and then sub-categories.
It was a pretty useful bunch of links, so they created a web page to make them easier to use and available to others. It was called ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’. That soon became too long so they used an acronym: Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle – that is, Yahoo
Word spread fast around the internet and Yahoo had its first million hit day in the autumn of 1994, which translated to 100,000 unique users. In April 1995 Yang and Filo got $2 million from Sequoia Capital, which had seed-funded Apple Computers, Oracle and Cisco Systems, and they were away.
So Yahoo is a directory site that added search later, when the company bought the Inktomi search engine in 2002.
Inktomi was developed in 1995 by Eric Brewer, at the University of Berkeley, and put more emphasis on keyword density than external links. It was a sort of wholesale search, designed to power the search engines of other websites, including AOL. In 2003 Yahoo also bought Overture, another wholesale search business.
Microsoft, meanwhile, was sound asleep, lying on the soft bed of the cash it was making from its Windows operating system monopoly. It eventually used the Inktomi/Yahoo search engine in msn.com, but basically Microsoft was caught out by Google’s advance in the same way IBM was caught out by Paul Allen’s and Bill Gates’ PC revolution during the 1980s.
The only other major search engine that survived the shake-out that followed the tech wreck is Ask Jeeves, later renamed ask.com, developed by Garrett Greuner and David Warthen. They had the idea of users being able to search using plain English questions; it was pretty cool, but never really took off, although Ask is still one of the top four search engines.
So there are four major search engines, but it’s Google, daylight, and then the other three.
The reason Google dominates is that its algorithm is still the most efficient – it most quickly searches the most pages and sorts them better than the others. It’s true that its brand is powerful and the advertising model produces so much cash that the company is a juggernaut, but those things derive from the quality of the search engine.
Google now is the market. Search engine optimisation (SEO) means manipulating or subverting Google to get a better ranking, and Google spends a fortune trying to maintain the integrity of its results. For example, there’s a ‘sandbox’ that you sit in for a few months while Google’s web crawlers inspect your website to make sure it’s kosher.
Brin, Page, Yang and Filo have themselves proved that on the internet scale does not matter – they succeeded when their businesses were small.
One day someone will challenge Google, but it’s unlikely to be Steve Ballmer.
If you set yourself up properly, when users click through an ad for your product or company on another site, they end up on your main page. This is your chance to grab their attention and keep their attention. You’ll find plenty of tips for building, testing, and improving your site, but it all boils down to one word: focus.
Hard selling belongs on your main page, but it’s a special kind of hard sell. You must take your visitors by the hand and guide them to what you want them to do. In the days before the web, consumers simply read and/or watched ads, which marketers could at least imagine led smoothly and directly to a sale. But it’s quite rare for a person to go online, type a URL into a browser, visit that single site, accomplish a task, and leave the web completely.
This is what you’re up against when you create your main page. Your main page needs to grab your visitors’ attention, hold onto that attention while giving them what they want and expect, and persuade them to do what you want them to do: buy the product, sign up for the newsletter, what have you. In marketing, this is sometimes referred to as the three C’s: capture their attention, communicate the value of your offering, and close the deal.
A main page is actually a “second impression.” The first impression is the ad through which the visitor clicked to arrive at the main page. Since they left one page to go to another, it behooves you to make sure they know they arrived at the right place. Tell your visitors that the main page is relevant to what they clicked through. Use the same colors and logos if you can. Use the same title as you used for the original ad. If you made a particular offer in the ad, it should be clearly visible on your page. Some main pages that visitors arrive at through sponsored links on search engines even include search text: “You searched for Gibson guitar,” for example.
Once your visitors know they’re in the right place, it’s your job to keep them focused. Most people have a shorter attention span for online activities than they do for offline things. That’s even true for something as simple as reading. No matter how good your monitor is, it’s still much more enjoyable to read a book or magazine offline than it is to read online. This makes users restless; they’ll fidget, and fidgeting can mean they click away from your site if they’re bored.