Sunday, November 3, 2013
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a subset of Internet Marketing and is one of the most cost effective means of driving targeted traffic to a website. The SEO practitioner will usually work with a business to develop an ongoing strategy to rank alongside and above competitor's in the major search engines for profitable search terms. These search terms are usually referred to as Keywords and if there are multiple Keywords in a phrase then the term keyphrase is generally used.It is worth noting that, as with most types of industry, SEO practitioners can be of varying levels of skills and experience. There is no particular level of attainment or degree of qualification that a SEO can achieve. This can make it difficult to choose a suitable individual or company to help improve a website's search engine rankings. Many companies choose to take a taster from a SEO company before they employ them to tackle a complete project. For example, if the website requires fifteen or so keyphrases.So what sets one particular SEO company apart from another? Well, many would argue that most, if not all, SEO practitioners are capable of delivering some kind of base Search Marketing product. Whether this is 50 backlinks per month or even if this is something that is more bespoke, this appears to be the norm for most SEO projects. But do these deliverables merely fit the client's perception of what a SEO project should entail and, most importantly, do these ventures actually deliver adequate results. When I say adequate I mean dramatically improved search engine results pertaining to worthwhile and profitable search terms as opposed to token number one positions for key phrases that no-one actually searches for!So how does SEO work? Well, the best SEO companies are skilled and experienced at finding niche and untapped areas that no-one has found and "milked" yet. If no niche areas exist then the best keyphrases that are available are focused upon using both a set methodology and a creative edge. For example, if your business provides accountancy services which focuses upon a friendly, local service then your website must focus upon search phrases that relate to keyphrases such as "accountants in Barnsley". I am by no means suggesting that all websites should focus upon geographical based search phrases because many company's target markets are, in fact, national or even international. So the context within which a particular website can be classified under certainly does determine the order that the keyword research is performed using.Context is a huge concern in SEO. The next part of the article attempts to determine the order in which a typical SEO practitioner might formulate a SEO strategy. A SEO strategy is a plan that a company, practitioner or SEO company must follow to achieve a perceived result. A SEO strategy is an initial phase of and forms the basis of a SEO plan which becomes part of a company's overall marketing plan. Remember the common business cliche, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. A SEO plan usually consists of a schedule of work that is based upon a prescribed amount of keyword research, competition research and SEO experience and expert guidance. Past trends can help the SEO practitioner to speculate upon a likely outcome but future web page positions in the popular search engines cannot always be accurately predicted based of the variables that are involved. These variables are often known as ranking factors.During the planning stages of a SEO strategy for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) it must be recognised that larger organisations may have teams of internet marketers who are working on promoting the website nine while five, Monday to Friday. How can smaller companies compete with larger companies? This is an age old problem. The larger organisations have huge marketing budgets and can test different ideas whereas smaller companies must be more frugal with their spending. This is why small internet marketing companies who specialise in search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising are being called upon more and more frequently by smaller businesses.Generally speaking the most successful SEO companies are those who follow a reusable and scalable process model but also go above and beyond the competition in terms of creativity. We should learn something from the big advertising agencies who spend days and even weeks conjuring up fantastic, enticing and engaging ideas to promote their client's products.We know that Search Engine Optimisation is a subset of Internet Marketing just as banner advertising is a part of Traditional Marketing. So what makes these two areas significantly different? Well, whereas Traditional Marketing is a form of push marketing, Internet Marketing is a type of pull marketing.Push MarketingThis is any type of marketing which is placed is front of people. The degree of targeting can vary widely. For example, advertisements for up and coming live music in pubs is fairly targeted whereas general banner advertisements in town centres would be rated low in terms of targeting. The main disadvantages of Push Marketing are that people see so many banner advertisements, posters, etc each and every day that their brains switch off to them and don't register them after a while.Pull MarketingSEO is a form of Pull Marketing which is much more targeted because searchers (the terms "searchers" refers to internet users who are performing keyword or keyphrases searches in search engines) are actually looking for and are, therefore, already interested in what you are selling. The downside to search engine optimisation is that it is becoming increasingly more difficult, time consuming and costly to become ranked for popular and profitable search phrases. We as Internet Marketers tackle this issue by looking for increasingly more creative avenues to go down. For example, Social Media Marketing is now a very popular choice for Internet Marketers to aid their SEO efforts. The very best SEO practitioners are capable of successfully integrating SEO strategies into the wider marketing plan. This helps to ensure that no stone is left unturned and that the bigger picture can always be seen whilst a SEO campaign progresses.This type of holistic approach to SEO the key to a successful SEO campaign for a great number of satisfied clients.