- Business and Employment
Test Your SEO Knowledge With This FAQ
This lens is an SEO Management primer in a quiz format. Come test your skills or simply learn more about search engine optimization (SEO).
Did you know that for every search on Google, Yahoo! or Bing there are only twenty websites that will get traffic? Ten of these websites pay for their traffic (pay-per-click advertising), while the other ten earn their position.
Interestingly, the organic search results (non paid results) receive far more clicks than the paid positions, even though the paid listings are more prominently displayed. As a result, proper website SEO is critical to every business that conducts business online or needs to be found online to get new customers.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of configuring web pages to make them visible and relevant to search engines, and applying external efforts to make the web pages discoverable and popular . Within the scope of SEO work there are on-page functions and off-page functions.
What's The Difference Between On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO?
On-page SEO concerns itself with the technical aspects of web page construction and the proper use of keywords, meta data, and HTML attributes. Web page content is another significant focus of on-page SEO, including document quality, document authority, multi-media assets (i.e., images, video, podcasts, etc.), and internal linking.
Off-page SEO involves the myriad of opportunities available to "get found" by having your website linked in blogs, forums, directories, social media sites (i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and social book-marking sites, like Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon. The benefit of links from external sites is amplified when the text of the link - called anchor text - is highly relevant to your website.
The goal of on-page SEO is to tune the content and code to make your website easier for the search engines to consume, understand and index.
What Does On-Page SEO Involve?
On-page SEO is a process that takes a top-down view of page titles, header tags, content, meta tags, hyperlinks, image titles, site maps and many other critical factors. The end result of the fine tuning effort is vastly improved search engine exposure on searches that are relevant to your business.
The key here is " improved search engine exposure on searches that are relevant."
What's Involved With Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is any effort made to improve search rankings outside of your own website. It is widely believed by the SEO community that off-page optimization is the most significant factor in determining search rankings. The primary effort involves building relevant link popularity, but also includes establishing a strong social presence.
The Benefit Of SEO
The benefit of SEO is that top ranked pages get the majority of the search engine traffic. In fact, the top three organic page listings on a Google search engine results page (SERP) are believed to get as much as 62% of all the traffic (SOURCE: Nobel Samurai), with the number one spot pulling a whopping 42% of the traffic. The results on Bing and Yahoo! are similar. This makes any one of the top three positions more valuable than any single paid position on the page.
The top ten earned positions – called organic page rank – receive almost 80% of all traffic. Fewer than 3% of people ever leave page one!
What Is SEM?
SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is any type of website promotion that seeks to increase visibility through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion. SEM is generally an umbrella term for various means of marketing a website, including SEO. The most common use of the term is in conjunction with paid advertising (e.g., search engine pay-per-click advertising).
Paid placement (pay-per-click advertising) and SEO can be used together very effectively.
In fact, a PPC campaign on the same page as an organic listing strengthens trust in the organic search result.
How Important Are SEO/SEM?
SEO and SEM are critical to any business that wants to be discovered by local, national or international clients. When making important buying decisions, 89% of consumers go online to do research before making offline purchases (Source: ComScore). If your business can’t be found online, in the many different ways that people use search engines, your business is as good as invisible.
We live in an increasingly web-centric world where people have access to the web from home, smart mobile devices, kiosks, cafes, even their automobiles. That means you have the unprecedented ability to connect with people where ever they go throughout the day. The difference between those who do connect and those who don't is SEO/SEM.
Plus, SEM is replacing traditional outbound advertising methods, including television, radio, print and e-mail. The number one reason companies are abandoning outbound adverting method is cost and flat-out rejection by consumers. Today, consumers have complete control over advertising and can virtually lock it out with caller ID, Tivo, and e-mail spam filters, to name just a few.
The Importance Of SEO Can't Be Overemphasized.
People use search engines to look for information, products and people. Search engines do their job so well, fewer than 3% of people ever venture past page one. Remarkably, more than 60% of people click on one of the top three organic listings.
Is SEO Technical?
While there are many technical aspects to SEO, it's not all technical. The most difficult part of search engine optimization and search engine marketing is the sheer amount of knowledge and experience required to do it well and achieve consistent results.
Online marketing is developing so fast that information and methods that an SEO/SEM expert knew to be true a year ago are no longer true today. So, while a search engine marketing specialist must have experience with HTML, cascading style sheets (CSS), and HTML scripting languages, they also need research skills, copy writing skills and advertising experience.
When constructing a web page (or even a Squidoo Lens!), it's important to use all of the available meta tags and page markup elements available to help paint a clear picture of the page contents to both human visitors and search engine spiders.
What Are Keywords
If there is an art to SEO it’s identifying the search phrases people use when looking for information, products, entertainment and people on the Internet. The word or words you use with a search engine are called keywords or keyword phrases.
The ability to pinpoint keywords that command traffic is the starting point of for any SEO effort. After discovering relevant keywords that have traffic, these keywords can be targeted for search engine results using on-page and off-page efforts.
Use the keywords you want to rank for in your web pages and in the backlinks you build to your pages. If you use your keywords in your page title, in the H1 header tag, and one or two more time in the body of the text, your page will be well on its way.
Why Are Links So Important?
It’s important to remember that the world-wide web was developed with the idea that documents and websites will be linked together with hyper-links (aka "backlinks"). Therefore it’s no surprise that search engines use hyper-links to discover new pages and to understand who is linking to whom. As a result, the more links a web page has the more popular it must be. Links are one of the few accurate indicators the search engines have to determine popularity and relevance.
A link from one website to another is like a vote. It’s an indicator that there’s valuable information on the other end of the link. To make this connection more meaningful, search engines also look at the anchor text (clickable text) of a link. The anchor text helps the search engines determine relevance. A website with 500 backlinks containing the anchor text “dog collars” is far more likely to rank well in the search engines for “dog collars” than a website with 10,000 backlinks with the anchor text “click here.”
Three Cheers for Squidoo!
One of the best ways to get high quality, relevant backlinks to your web pages is to write Squidoo Lenses and add one or two links in your text.
Do You Link To Your Website In Your Squidoo Lenses
What Does "Search Engine" Friendly Mean?
Hello Ms. Spider, I'm a web page!
Search engine friendly is techno-babble for a website or web page that does not have barriers preventing the search engines from discovering the content or the meaning of the content. For example, a website that is 100% graphical or one that is produced using Adobe Flash will not have text content that a search engine can read. As a result, it will be difficult or impossible for the search engine to understand the meaning or context of the website or web page. As a result, it is not search engine friendly.
While a picture may say a thousand words to humans, search engines can't read the meaning of pictures. Video is not much better. Although Google has invented the technology to produce speech to text for videos, it is years behind. As a publisher, you must give the search engines a helping hand so they know what your images and videos are all about. This is an SEO function.
A search engine spider is a software program designed to read (“crawl”) web pages and index all of the assets (e.g., text, images, videos, title, meta data, etc.) and store the information in a search-able database.
How Long Does It Take For SEO To Work?
SEO is a moving target. Changes to a web page that used to show up in a matter of days now take weeks. Generally speaking, anything you do to a web page today will take 30 to 45 days to show a true effect in the search engines. Smart SEO specialists keep accurate log books of all changes made so they can look back to see which changes had positive and negative effects.
What is PageRank?
Page Rank refers to an algorithm Google uses to determine the authority level of a page. It's a ten point scale from 0 to 9. The algorithm is a significant part of one of Google's patents. Interestingly, the word "Page" has nothing to do with web page, it is the sir name of the man who authored the algorithm,
The original PageRank algorithm was described by Lawrence Page in several publications. It is given by:
PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + ... + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
PR(A) is the PageRank of page A,
PR(Ti) is the PageRank of pages Ti which link to page A,
C(Ti) is the number of outbound links on page Ti and
d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1.
There is some debate whether PageRank means anything at all anymore after all of the changes Google has made. Google's top spam cop, Matt Cutts, went on record saying that it is no longer a factor in determining page rank.
Quality Content Matters Most
The #1 factor contributing to PageRank is quality content. When you create interesting, informative pages, people will share them with others, bringing you plenty of backlinks.
How Much Time Do You Spend Creating Content For Your Website?
Top Ways To Get Backlinks
Over the past ten years or so, people have come up with some pretty inventive ways to get backlinks. Unfortunately, most of the methods amount to links schemes, which are strictly against the terms of service of all major search engines.
There are several valid ways to get quality backlinks. All of them require an investment in time. They include:
- Article Directories
- Web 2.0 and Social Sites
- Social Bookmarks
Depending on how much time you have, article directories, Web 2.0 properties and social bookmarking have the best rate of return. There are plenty of tools available that allow you to push content to these sites without spamming.
Used properly, article marketing continues to offer the most value for the time invested. You can write an article once, prepare it for syndication, and easy get hundreds of backlinks for your effort.
The best method of all remains quality content. When you create quality content people will naturally share it with others. The value of backlinking your own pages is the "little shove" it takes to get things rolling. It's also the best way to ensure the search engines rank your content for the keywords you intended.