Search Engine Marketing

startwaitingInternet and Web Development

Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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Michelle Ayache


11/18/2013



1

Search Engine Marketing


Search engines provide a unique opportunity for marketers to specifically target
vertical markets, yet reach any type of customer day or night. It takes time, money,
and dedication to keep pace in the search engine wars, though.
The optimization of
every page is tedious and the constantly shifting world of search engines makes it
hard to make decisions that will hold through the year. Still, this relatively
unpleasant process is a must for any company with important product infor
mation or
e
-
commerce on their website. Internet users have become accustomed to finding
the information they want within minutes of starting a search, and not having a
corporate website in those listings is like putting a plant in a trunk and hoping it wi
ll
grow. It is important to keep in mind that a budget of only about $1500 per year
and some grunt work can help even a garden
-
variety site achieve top placement.
This paper will cover some of the information necessary to improve site rankings in
today’s

search engines.


When developing a search engine strategy, a few important decisions must be made:
Which engines to submit pages to, which keyword phrases should be targeted and
how much should be spent. The answers to each of these questions must then b
e
reviewed at least once a year thanks to the continuously shifting relationships and
business models in the search engine industry.



How to Select Engines for Submission


The current paradigm for most search engine results is a combination of human
-
rev
iewed listings, paid listings, and other websites from an index all mixed together
with some unique algorithm. These website listing sources are the ones that a
company must select from for their optimization. Each type of source has very
specific techni
ques for gaining rank, and the sources chosen will impact the results in
several search engine portals.


Before going much further, it is important to know some of the terms used in this
subject area. When most people refer to a search engine, they typi
cally mean a
portal of some sort.
Portals

are entry points where users can check the weather,
Michelle Ayache


11/18/2013



2

perform a web search, browse directories, view stock quotes, and more. Google,
Yahoo, and AltaVista are all examples of portals that contain search engines
.
Se
arch Engines

are the actual search functions that usually consist of a form for
entering a search phrase and a list of results that match the phrase.


As mentioned earlier, search engines typically return results from many different
sources such as direc
tories, pay services, and indexes.
Directories

are collections
of websites that have been viewed, described, and then categorized by human
editors. These directories make it possible for users to browse the web by category,
such as “shopping


shoes” or
“car mechanics”. Then there are
Spiders
, the
workhorses of the internet. Spiders are programs that programmatically visit
millions of websites and index their content into large databases that can later be
queried by search engines. They get their name
from the way they crawl along links
to other pages and the fact that these links form an immense web of information.
Finally, there are the most recent additions to search engines: paid placement.
Paid
Placement
services were developed in hopes of helpin
g to weed out the true
businesses from the plethora of nonsense websites that had popped up in top
listings. Paid placement usually involves selecting a target keyword or phrase that
applies to a business and bidding for a price per click that they will p
ay to be ranked
at the top of the page. Depending on competition, this can be a very useful means
of getting good placement. They also usually come coupled with a good tracking
system for determining if the money spent is translating into customer purcha
ses.


The directories, spiders, and paid services that a company chooses should be largely
based on how many portals those sources will reach. Most of the major engines are
related to each other through the various sources they use. As of March 2003, no
single source officially reached more that four portals. This makes it difficult to
suggest submitting to any particular source, except for the Open Directory Project.
The Open Directory Project (
www.dmoz.com
) is a fr
ee, volunteer
-
edited directory
that is used by several of the big
-
name search engines. Before submitting to the
ODP or any other search engine source, it is important to have determined the
keywords you will target in your optimization strategy.


Michelle Ayache


11/18/2013



3

Choosin
g Targeted Keywords


Making a product or service available on the internet essentially turns everyone into
a global competitor. While this can be good for business, it makes showing up on
Google within the first two pages under “web design” impossible for

a local
developer. This is where a typical differentiation strategy comes in. The developer
should brainstorm key phrases that put emphasis on location, special technologies,
special services, or past projects to really grab the spotlight when users per
form
those more specific searches. This applies to any company’s search engine strategy.
Unless you are a heavyweight in your industry, be sure to find your niche online by
picking the right keywords.


Keywords come into play in a number of different loc
ations. When submitting to
directories, the forms often allow for suggestions and/or keywords that might help
describe a business. They also require a category to be selected, which should
include the relevant keywords. For spiders, a website’s page nam
es, domain names,
content, links, META tags, and titles should all include keywords. One technique for
getting high rankings from spiders is to develop a doorway page. A doorway page
has content that is dedicated to a key phrase, and that has links leadi
ng into related
content on the company’s website. These pages should not use advanced
programming techniques such as frames or JavaScript since some spiders tend to
trip over the code. Paid placement services are also directly dependent on keywords
for t
heir pricing strategies, thus the keywords should be well
-
chosen and monitored
for competition.


Determine How Much to Spend


A once completely free/low
-
cost industry has learned its lesson from the dot
-
com
bust. Most of the data sources have found that t
hey need to make money off the
submissions of business sites to their listings. The most noticeable change is that of
Yahoo, whose once free submission process now has a minimum charge of around
$300 with no guarantee that you will get the results you wan
t. With only three
directories to choose from, however, most businesses will gladly fork over the money
to reach the large number of users that Yahoo draws. Businesses looking to submit
to LookSmart must join a pay
-
per
-
click schema that is designed simpl
y to make
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them more money over time. When it comes to paid placement, the sky is the limit.
Since each phrase is priced according to competition and popularity, the prices per
click for the placement will vary greatly. However, as long as well
-
targeted
keywords are selected, the paid services will hopefully earn back their cost within a
few purchases.


These are the main concepts to consider when developing a search engine
optimization strategy. Although there are many more technically advanced ways to
increase rankings, this overview should be enough to begin the climb.