Do you work in marketing and are you responsible for the company’s website?
Do you want to learn what is SEO, what does it involve and how to realize it?
With this article you will learn the following:
- what is SEO and what does it involve?
- how to effectively select key words?
- how to select SEO firm?
- what should be expected from the contractor?
How do catalogues and search engines work?
Internet catalogues – once the basic source of information on www sites, presently, in backstage position. They make lists of links to Internet sites accessible in the form of category tree. They are characterized by the way individual inscriptions get to the catalogue. They are added by hand by interested persons – most often creators or owners of www sites.
Such a person – with the help of special form – passes information such as address of the site, its title and description and then points to what category of the catalogue a given site belongs. After such entry the site waits for acceptance of catalogue moderator and after several days the inscription is published. There are many non-moderated catalogues, in which inscription is published immediately, but these are catalogues called “dustbins” nobody looks into. On the other hand, in order to get inscription – or accelerate its appearance – one has to incur a payment.
Catalogues have an option “search”, which displays the list of sites corresponding to the question in a given sequence (ex.: alphabetical order or according to appropriation).
Internet catalogues are not the subject of the hereby article, but they will appear there – as tools. Search engine – as contrasted with the catalogue –builds itself www sites’ basis. To do this, it uses special software (called “spiders” or “robots”), which surf on Internet sites using links found there. The software is visited cyclically by millions of sites, scanning their contents and writing the found information into the search engine basis.
Another mechanism is responsible for evaluating value of the site. The principles of its work are the secret of the search engine and, at the same time, the subject of speculations of specialists in the branch.
On the sites of the search engines you can usually find option “add site”, but in fact it does not accelerate the moment site indexing, which will come anyway, if there is a link to it (ex.: in Internet catalogue).
Searching – that is function search engines are made for – means adjusting the question to the scanned sites’ contents, which can be found in sites’ contents basis. The sequence of results depends on the degree the question harmonizes with the site content as well as site evaluation, as mentioned above. The evaluation takes into consideration various factors, for example quantity and frequency of occurrence of certain words; number of sites, where links to the given site occur, evaluation of these sites, etc.
Which search engines and catalogues are important?
Google, Google and once again Google. Seen from both world and local perspective Google takes the first place, unthreatened, outclasses the whole competition and takes majority of searches. Therefore, it is Google, which is the main SEO target.
Yahoo and Microsoft are runners-up (live.com/bing.com).
Yahoo is the most important among catalogues, but die to the search engine position Google. dmoz.org, i.e. Open Directory project is no less important. Microsoft is placed in the first three with its msn.com.
What is the importance of position for results?
If we assume that almost all web users use Google, you have to consider that many of them are your potential customers. Using Internet – mainly search engines – to find suppliers of good and services has become a daily practice. Why is it reasonable to have a high quality website indexed in Google.
Google displays many results – sometimes the whole list, which contains thousands, even millions of positions. The user will surely visit the site, which is shown in first place. He will, almost always, visit the two following sites or even, to compare, all sites from the first result page (10 positions). Only very determined user – or someone who needs bigger selection – will visit sites displayed on – let’s say – two pages of the result list. Websites from other pages will not arrest attention of Google users. Winners from the first three will enjoy visits of many users – and those who are most valuable. Those who are in search of concrete service or product – and were not attracted by any advertisement, or found the supplier themselves. Such users become customers very often.
What is SEO?
Knowing the importance and value of the first places in search results, firms, which make use of e-marketing in their communication activities, are engaged in actions aiming at getting to the highest positions.
In this way demand appeared, which, in short time, resulted in new discipline, even branch.
Independently of the scope and means, all the actions aiming at getting to the best position in search results for certain key words (questions) are known as SEO.
Unfortunately, this notion borrowed its meaning from marketing vocabulary, in which position was referred to the market. Therefore, misunderstandings occur, because explicit notions are not used such, as “Internet SEO” or “trade mark SEO”.
How to select good key words?
Before any actions are undertaken, which aim at SEO – with professional agency or one one’s own – key words list has to be built, for which SEO will be realized. It is a very important moment and devoting too little time to it will result in a considerable waste of resources – both time and money.
While selecting key words, we should not select products’ own names nor copy expressions from marketing materials. It is not easy, but we have to place ourselves in the potential customer’s position and describe our offer in his language. In other words – we have to guess, what questions will our potential customer use to search for our products or services.
Example. Internet supplier calls his products “wide-brand connection”, “DSL line”, “high-speed Internet”. But the website has to be positioned under the key notion “Internet access” – because it will be the key users will try to find the website.
Key words should as concise and concrete as possible. A phrase with narrower meaning offers more precise targeting and lower SEO costs.
Example. Local producer of windows in wooden frames should rather select “wooden windows Silesia” or at least “wooden windows” rather than just “windows”, which means users from all over the country or completely different products, for example PCV windows.
What should we demand from creator/administrator of the site?
The first area, which has to be dealt with in SEO, is the website itself. The agency, which produced it, should have, as part of the agreement, optimized it with regard to search engines. Optimization means right placing in the code of the start site appropriately formulated title and description of the site. This operation will largely affect the appearance of the inscription displayed by the search engines.
Another very important aspect is such a construction of the website that the search robots were able to surf on the site. What may disturb? For example, a very beautiful animated menu made in Flash technology. Or using, ex.: Frames. But these are details the agency has to bear in mind.
What can we do ourselves?
Apart from reasonable preparation of the list of key words, marketers who manage the www site prepare the title and site description on their own – i.e. contents, which will be displayed as search engine result. It is good to exercise control of what is the inscription representing the firm like and it is worth commissioning specialists, who will help in appropriate enclosing key words in the content. And this operation is not without influence on the general SEO effect.
When we have the description, title and list of key words, we can add inscriptions in selected Internet catalogues on our own – especially the paid one. In is worth to create inscriptions in the most important catalogues on our own – and retain the possibility of later updating.
Getting valuable links pointing to the website directly affects the position in search results. Customers, sub-contractors, partners and employees – among them we will surely find those who will give consent to place link on our site. In reference, history, on partner list, anywhere. It is good to have important key words placed somewhere near the link. It would be good if such a word is the link.
What is SEO service?
Firms, which deal in SEO usually begin with the earlier mentioned optimizing the website, which is to be positioned. But the main value, which is supplied, means acquiring and maintaining the biggest number of valuable links pointing to the positioned site. Therefore, they add the inscription about the site to a big number of Internet catalogues, discussion forums, websites etc. The biggest number of links is supplied by the use of the so-called “link farms”.
These are, maintained by positioners, various types of sites – blogs, forums, catalogues, galleries – linked among them and existing only to publish links to positioned customers’ sites. Firms offering SEO give much energy to get and create content to sites, which form “link farms”. The higher the search engine will evaluate the site, which is part of the “farm”, the better for the whole farm and the better SEO effect for the sites of customers.
Unfortunately, many firms specializing in SEO use methods on the borderline of legal regulations. For example, they cheat robots of the search engines in many ways – for example they recognize them and show to them another site than to the ordinary users – usually loaded with key words. There are many such methods and using any of them, ends up in “spam” and may conclude with “ban” – i.e. penal excluding from search results for some time. And this means a measurable loss for the firm – therefore, the contractor has to be told that the use of such methods is prohibited.
How much does it cost and how to select the contractor?
Price model used by all important firms in the SEO branch was settled by the market. It means that it is beneficial both for the customer and the service provider. After obtaining the list of key words, the firm offering SEO prepares cost draft and examines popularity of key words and the competition analysis – i.e. websites, which will compete for the position in a given case.
Price offer contains the amount of month costs of getting and maintaining given positions – for every key word.
Usually the customer has an option of the first place (the most expensive one), first three places, first five places and top ten as well as additionally 3-5 or 5-10.
Monthly cost of SEO with one key word may well be $30 and $3000. It all depends on the key word and the desired position.
Majority of the firms specializing in SEO follow the principle, according to which, monthly subscription is paid only when agreed results are obtained. If not, costs are not born at all or are lowered to the level referring to the number of days during the month, when the agreed position is maintained.
As to the selection of SEO firm it is best to write in Google the phrase “SEO” and see the firms on the first result page. If someone can position own site for the most asked for key word, he/she is good in his/her work.
How to avoid being taken in?
First of all, one has to consider the starting point, i.e. to know the present website position for the selected key words. There is no sense in hand checking position in Google results by searching link to the site on many screens and count “by hand”. We have specialized tools for this purpose accessible on-line.
If the current position is not bad – let’s say first 10,20,30 of the results – SEO need not cost as much as in the case of key word, for which the result appears far behind the first 50 or 100 positions.
It is important to watch current positions using independent tools. Firms, which position, regularly pass information on current results – they either give access to own application, where they can be observed. In spite of that it is good to use the tool, which is not connected with our SEO service provider and cannot be manipulated by him.
Position monitoring should be used before starting co-operation with the SEO firm – as well as when we manage SEO website on our own.
What are the alternatives?
SEO is part of a larger category – SEM (Search Engine Marketing), i.e. marketing in search engines. Apart from SEO SEM includes sponsored links and the so-called boxes – frames with text advertisements displayed alongside search results.
These boxes are a good alternative for SEO – for example, in the situation, when cost of SEO, for a given key word, is too high. Their biggest advantage, as compared with the traditional Internet advertising forms, is the price model – in this case we do not pay for display, but for clicking – i.e. genuine passage to the advertised site. The cost of clicking depends on the interest of advertisement bidder in a given key word. The more interest you get in boxes for a given word, the more expensive the clicking. Approximate cost of clicking in case of moderately popular key word is $40.
Box administration can be commissioned in agency specialized in SEM or try to administer one one’s own. Panel for box administration in Google is accessible under the address http://adwords.google.com/, for Yahoo http://advertising.yahoo.com/ for Microsoft http://advertising.microsoft.com/search-advertising.