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What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a necessary component for any web-based strategy. It has been said that a web site is like a billboard in the desert unless it is well-indexed in the major search engines. Today there are various types of SEO, and in this article we will try to help you better understand these types so that you may make a well-informed decision regarding your web strategy.

Organic search engine optimization is based on several elements. The first is the metatag information that is part of the web site’s code (HTML). Visitors do not see this code and it is not important for them to do so. The important “person” who needs to see this is the search engine robots (known also as bots) or crawlers. Search engines are driven and propagated by bots that crawl or search websites and then index them based on their own set criteria. These criteria vary from engine to engine and it is relatively mysterious. In other words, search engine companies typically do not post their criteria nor is it static. These criteria change almost daily it seems and this is one of the main reasons individuals should rely on professional search engine optimization companies who keep up with the changing trends. Back to the metatags…this code is made up of keywords, a description, a title (this metatag is visible on the website as the page title) and other components that communicate to the search bots information such as the language of the site, how often it should be crawled, and other standards that the site conforms to. Various search engines limit the number of characters for both the keyword metatags and the description. Characters that exceed this limit may either be ignored or considered as SPAM (and the site may therefore me completely ignored). Another issue of spamming involves the repetition of keywords. Some engines also limit this, and again may ignore the site if keywords are used too many times. This is actually a benefit to legitimate sites since this factor was not considered in earlier days and some web sites spammed particular keywords to gain top positions, even though their sites had little to do with that topic. Individuals and businesses should look for SEO firms that not only build metatags that conform to industry standards, but should also expect quality metatags that are built based on research of search terms used. This is accomplished by SEO firms who determine which keywords and keyword phrases will render the best results. Another factor of organic SEO is the actual content. One philosophy of the organic SEO is that content is king. Because various standards exist among search engines, this is not absolute. However, content is very important, and page text should be written in such a way as to draw a top position. Again, research is important to determine what combinations of words and phrases should be used.

Another element of SEO is pay-per-click advertising. This is also known as paid linking. Pay-per-click ads are an important element of a web strategy as they deliver immediate results. Ads are constructed and terms are purchased based on bidding. Depending on the market your business is in, bidding may be highly competitive. Each time a search is performed for the keyword(s) that you are bidding on, an ad will appear (typically at the top of the search results). These ads are noted as “Sponsored Matches.” If an individual clicks on your ad, you are charged the rate you bid at. Most SEO companies allow you to establish a monthly budget and they handle the bidding. Typically, you’ll get what you pay for, but some companies may charge a percentage of your monthly budget toward covering their cost and time. Be aware of what you are purchasing before you make a commitment.

By developing an SEO campaign that uses both organic and pay-per-click advertising, you will achieve immediate and long-range results. The pay-per-click ads will get traffic to your site immediately, while not helping your site achieve actual page rank. Organic SEO takes time but delivers increased page rank over time, if it is done correctly.

If you have done much research into SEO, you have probably noticed numerous advertisements promising top positions for as little as $9.95 a month. Typically this is achieved through pay-per-click ads, and a cut of the monthly fee goes to the administration of this service. This is not an effective strategy. SEO firms that have higher prices up front typically deliver organic SEO. The research process is tedious (if done correctly) which justifies the higher upfront cost. However, this strategy will take your site farther in the long run. Consider first what your goals for your site are, then determine your budget. From there, you’ll want to find a company that delivers and has a proven track record.

© Web Renown, 2005

Web Renown has been performing SEO strategies in both the organic and pay-per-click realms since its inception. We offer pre-configured packages as well as fully customized packages to meet our customers’ needs. Click here to find out more.


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