Why Internet Marketing Does Not Work Without SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered a critical element of any Internet marketing strategy. This is important because there is so much which can be gained from SEO in terms of Internet marketing and advertising. Failure to optimize your website for search engines can result in a considerable loss in terms of free advertising which is essentially gained from ranking well with search engines. This article will provide insight into what SEO is and will explain why Internet marketing requires at least some degree of SEO.
SEO optimization is a strategy in which a website is designed to obtain favorable search engine rankings from popular search engines. This may be achieved in a variety of different ways and optimal SEO strategies combine a variety of different strategies to complete one well orchestrated SEO campaign. There are several elements to consider when attempting to optimize your website for search engines. This may include keyword density, prominence, META tags, titles and inbound links. Keyword density is one of the most common SEO strategies and essentially involves using relevant keywords often in the content of a website to demonstrate the relevance of these keywords to the website. This is important because search engines are likely to reward websites with optimal keyword densities with favorable search engine rankings in an effort to provide Internet users with the most relevant websites for particular search terms.
The prominence of keywords should also be considered. This includes how close the keywords are placed to the beginning of the website. The common mistake with this strategy is to believe the first opportunity to incorporate keywords is in the first line of visible text on the webpage. This is not true because search engines crawl the code of a website as opposed to the visible content on the website. This means there are multiple opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords long before the actual visible content on the website. This might include the code for the title as well as the META tags. Business owners who realize the potential for incorporating keyword into the code gain an advantage over competitors who only incorporate keywords into the content on their website.
Another area of concern which is very important for those who are interested in SEO is inbound links. Inbound links are essentially links which reside on other websites and direct traffic to your website. These links are considered important because many search engines place a value on inbound links because they are essentially an example of one website recommending another website. However, when obtaining inbound links it is important to do so from other websites which rank well with search engines because many search engines consider the rank of the original website when determining the value of the inbound link.
Now that we have briefly explained some of the main concept of SEO, we will illustrate why it is important to optimize your website in the first place. SEO is so important because most Internet users highly value the results of search engines and are likely to only visit to ranking websites when they search for a particular keyword. Internet users trust search engines to serve the most relevant content first and are therefore not likely to visit websites which do not fall on the first or second page of search results. This means websites which rank well essentially are receiving a great deal of free advertising from search engines that place their website in a key position. Website owners who do not invest time into optimizing their websites miss out on a great deal of potential web traffic.
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Tools to monitor your website
You can’t just put your website on the net with right keywords and all the right touches and expect your traffic and ranking will remain constant. As the web is an ever changing landscape, you have to keep track of your own web results like what is happening with the competition and also the best and highest ranked sites. There are many useful tools to help you find out what exactly is happening.
1. A tool which you can use to test your own website links or other websites for broken links:
2. With this tool you can check search engines for the number of back links to your URL i.e. other web pages linking to your site:
3. It sometimes becomes important to know where the servers of your hosting company are physically located. Because, some search engines like Google have the ability to filter search results based on their physical location called geotargeting. This could be used to determine why your site is showing in only a certain country. This link can also be used to research the country location of a particular competitor’s website:
4. In order to track the location of the visitor or a customer to your website:
5. In order to check the Yahoo! web ranking of your’s or your competitor’s website use :
6. Here is a link to check the web ranking of a website using a Mac or Apple computer:
7. You need a Google AdSense account for using this. This link provides you with charts and reports which will help you analyze traffic, clicks, and results from your AdSense advertising
8. If you have an AdSense account, you can analyze your website address or another website address to see what Google ads will be displayed when the customer selects certain website names or keywords:
9. This link will take you to a cooperative advertising network where you can join to display and
share your ads with other website owners:
10. You can add the Search Functionality on your website which uses Google. This works only if your site is listed in the Google Index.
11. Here are some links to free website counters which you can use on your website to track your traffic and hits:
Tools to monitor your website
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Tips to Increase Ranking and Website Traffic
It is worth cataloguing the basic principles to be enforced to increase website traffic and search engine rankings.
• Create a site with valuable content, products or services.
• Place primary and secondary keywords within the first 25 words in your page content and spread them evenly throughout the document.
• Research and use the right keywords/phrases to attract your target customers.
• Use your keywords in the right fields and references within your web page. Like Title, META tags, Headers, etc.
• Keep your site design simple so that your customers can navigate easily between web pages, find what they want and buy products and services.
• Submit your web pages i.e. every web page and not just the home page, to the most popular search engines and directory services. Hire someone to do so, if required. Be sure this is a manual submission. Do not engage an automated submission service.
• Keep track of changes in search engine algorithms and processes and accordingly modify your web pages so your search engine ranking remains high. Use online tools and utilities to keep track of how your website is doing.
• Monitor your competitors and the top ranked websites to see what they are doing right in the way of design, navigation, content, keywords, etc.
• Use reports and logs from your web hosting company to see where your traffic is coming from. Analyze your visitor location and their incoming sources whether search engines or links from other sites and the keywords they used to find you.
• Make your customer visit easy and give them plenty of ways to remember you in the form of newsletters, free reports, reduction coupons etc.
• Demonstrate your industry and product or service expertise by writing and submitting articles for your website or for article banks so you are perceived as an expert in your field.
• When selling products online, use simple payment and shipment methods to make your customer’s experience fast and easy.
• When not sure, hire professionals. Though it may seem costly, but it is a lot less expensive than spending your money on a website which no one visits.
• Don’t look at your website as a static brochure. Treat it as a dynamic, ever-changing sales tool and location, just like your real store to which your customers with the same seriousness.
Tips to Increase Ranking and Website Traffic
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The Importance of Search Engines
It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers. When a topic is typed for search, nearly instantly, the search engine will sift through the millions of pages it has indexed about and present you with ones that match your topic. The searched matches are also ranked, so that the most relevant ones come first.
Remember that a prospective customer will probably only look at the first 2-3 listings in the search results. So it does matter where your website appears in the search engine ranking.
Further, they all use one of the top 6-7 search engines and these search engines attract more visitors to websites than anything else. So finally it all depends on which search engines the customers use and how they rank your site.
It is the Keywords that play an important role than any expensive online or offline advertising of your website.
It is found by surveys that a when customers want to find a website for information or to buy a product or service, they find their site in one of the following ways:
• The first option is they find their site through a search engine.
• Secondly they find their site by clicking on a link from another website or page that relates to the topic in which they are interested.
• Occasionally, they find a site by hearing about it from a friend or reading in an article.
Thus it’s obvious the the most popular way to find a site, by search engine, represents more than 90% of online users. In other words, only 10% of the people looking for a website will use methods other than search engines.
All search engines employ a ranking algorithm and one of the main rules in a ranking algorithm is to check the location and frequency of keywords on a web page. Don’t forget that algorithms also give weightage to link population (number of web pages linking to your site). When performed by a qualified, experienced search engine optimization consultant, your site for high search engine rankings really does work, unless you have a lot of money and can afford to pay the expert. With better knowledge of search engines and how they work, you can also do it on your own.
The Importance of Search Engines
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The Importance of Referrer Logs
Referrer logging is used to allow web servers and websites to identify where people are visiting them either for promotional or security purposes. You can find out which search engine they used to find your site and whether your customer has come from a ‘linked site’. It is basically the URL of the previous webpage from which your link was followed.
By default, most hosting accounts don’t include referrer logs but may be subscribedd for an extra monthly fee. If your web host does not provide a graphic report of your log files, you can still view the referrer logs for your website by logging into the host server using free or low-cost FTP software, like these:
FTP Explorer: http://www.ftpx.com/
FTP Voyager: http://www.ftpvoyager.com/
The log file is available on your web server which can be download into your computer later. You can use a log analysis tool, like those mentioned below, to create a graphic report from your log files so that the files are easier to understand.
Abacre Advanced Log Analyzer http://www.abacre.com/ala/
Referrer Soft http://www.softplatz.com/software/referrer/
Log Analyzer http://www.loganalyzer.net
You can view the files using Word, Word Perfect, txt or WordPad files even if you don’t have the right tool. This information is very crucial to your business and marketing plans and is not advisable to neglect it.
In addition to identifying the search engine or linked site from where your visitor arrived, referrer logs can also tell you what keywords or keyword phrases your client used for searching.
As referrer information can sometimes violate privacy, some browsers allow the user to disable the sending of referrer information. Proxy and Firewall software can also filter out referrer information, to avoid leaking the location of private websites. This can result in other problems, as some servers block parts of their site to browsers that don’t send the right referrer information, in an attempt to prevent deep linking or unauthorized use of bandwidth. Some proxy software gives the top-level address of the target site itself as the referrer, which prevents these problems and still not divulging the user’s last visited site.
Since the referrer can easily be spoofed or faked, however, it is of limited use in this regard except on a casual basis.
The Importance of Referrer Logs
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Some other Keyword Research Tools
One need to choose those keywords that are frequently searched for and which is in high demand, but not being already used by many other websites and competitors, and thus has low competition. There are a number of keyword research tools that can help you find them.
Apart from the Wordtracker which was already discussed in an other article, we have some more equally important research tools like the Overture, Google AdWords Keyword and Guidebeam.
Overture’s http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ keyword suggestion tool is free and much quicker to use than Wordtracker. It works more like the Wordtracker but doesn’t tell you how many websites are targeting each keyword phrase. For example if you type ‘Computer’, the Overture search suggestion tool will tell you that during the last month the word ‘Computer’ was searched, say for example 459550 times at Overture.Com. Similarly ‘computer game’ was searched 302210 times. Also, given one word it will tell you all relevant combinations of that word, which are based on actual searches done by people. If the word you keyed in is not a common search term then you will not get any results. It means that very few people have actually searched for that word during the last month.
Even Google Keyword Tool generates potential keywords for your ad campaign and reports their Google statistics, including search performance and seasonal trends. Features of this tool include,
• Sorting the results of your desired keyword search by popularity, past performance history within the AdWords system, cost, and predicted ad position.
• Easy keyword manipulation where you can select a few keywords here and there or add them all at once.
• Searches for keywords present even in any webpage URL specified by your search. It can also expand your keyword search even further to include those pages that are linked to or from the original URL page.
• More keyword results are generated based on regularly updated usage statistics database. This helps you to get new keywords or phrases.
Guidebeam http://www.guidebeam.com/ is an interesting resource. Type in a phrase and it will suggest a large number of related searches. The numbers generated against each phrase are Guidebeam’s estimation of how relevant that phrase is.
These softwares are useful for researching how people search the web and then optimizing your own web pages so that more people find your web site.
Some other Keyword Research Tools
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Must Have Features Your Web Site
Just don’t focus on the home page, keywords and titles.
The first step to sales when customers visit your site to see the products they were looking for. Of course, search engine optimization and better rankings can’t keep your customer on your site or make them buy. The customer having visited your site, now ensure that he gets interested in your products or services and stays around. Motivate him to buy the product by providing clear and unambiguous information. Thus if you happen to sell more than one product or service, provide all necessary information about this, may be by keeping the information at a different page. By providing suitable and easily visible links, the customer can navigate to these pages and get the details.
Understanding Your Target Customer
If you design a website you think will attract clients, but you don’t really know who your customers are and what they want to buy, it is unlikely you make much money. Website business is an extension or replacement for a standard storefront. You can send email to your existing clients and ask them to complete a survey or even while they are browsing on your website. Ask them about their choices. Why do they like your products? Do you discount prices or offer coupons? Are your prices consistently lower than others? Is your shipping price cheaper? Do you respond faster to client questions? Are your product descriptions better? Your return policies and guarantees better than your competitor’s? To know your customer you can check credit card records or ask your customer to complete a simple contact form with name, address, age, gender, etc. when they purchase a product.
Does your website give enough contact information?
When you sell from a website, your customer can buy your products 24 hrs a day and also your customers may be from other states that are thousands of miles away. Always provide contact information, preferably on every page of your website, complete with mailing address, telephone number and an email address that reaches you. People may need to contact you about sales, general information or technical problems on your site. Also have your email forwarded to another email address if you do not check your website mailbox often. When customer wants to buy online provide enough options like credit card, PayPal or other online payment service.
Must Have Features Your Web Site
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Keyword density is an indicator of the number of times the selected keyword appears in the web page. But mind you, keywords shouldn’t be over used, but should be just sufficient enough to appear at important places.
If you repeat your keywords with every other word on every line, then your site will probably be rejected as an artificial site or spam site.
Keyword density is always expressed as a percentage of the total word content on a given web page.
Suppose you have 100 words on your webpage (not including HMTL code used for writing the web page), and you use a certain keyword for five times in the content. The keyword density on that page is got by simply dividing the total number of keywords, by the total number of words that appear on your web page. So here it is 5 divided by 100 = .05. Because keyword density is a percentage of the total word count on the page, multiply the above by 100, that is 0.05 x 100 = 5%
The accepted standard for a keyword density is between 3% and 5%, to get recognized by the search engines and you should never exceed it.
Remember, that this rule applies to every page on your site. It also applies to not just to one keyword but also a set of keywords that relates to a different product or service. The keyword density should always be between 3% and 5%.
Simple steps to check the density:
- Copy and paste the content from an individual web page into a word-processing software program like Word or Word Perfect.
- Go to the ‘Edit’ menu and click ‘Select All’. Now go to the ‘Tools’ menu and select ‘Word Count’. Write down the total number of words in the page.
- Now select the ‘Find’ function on the ‘Edit’ menu. Go to the ‘Replace’ tab and type in the keyword you want to find. ‘Replace’ that word with the same word, so you don’t change the text.
- When you complete the replace function, the system will provide a count of the words you replaced. That gives the number of times you have used the keyword in that page.
- Using the total word count for the page and the total number of keywords you can now calculate the keyword density.
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How Do Search Engines Work – Web Crawlers
It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers. Hence it is better to know how these search engines actually work and how they present information to the customer initiating a search.
There are basically two types of search engines. The first is by robots called crawlers or spiders.
Search Engines use spiders to index websites. When you submit your website pages to a search engine by completing their required submission page, the search engine spider will index your entire site. A ‘spider’ is an automated program that is run by the search engine system. Spider visits a web site, read the content on the actual site, the site’s Meta tags and also follow the links that the site connects. The spider then returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed. It will visit each link you have on your website and index those sites as well. Some spiders will only index a certain number of pages on your site, so don’t create a site with 500 pages!
The spider will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the moderators of the search engine.
A spider is almost like a book where it contains the table of contents, the actual content and the links and references for all the websites it finds during its search, and it may index up to a million pages a day.
Example: Excite, Lycos, AltaVista and Google.
When you ask a search engine to locate information, it is actually searching through the index which it has created and not actually searching the Web. Different search engines produce different rankings because not every search engine uses the same algorithm to search through the indices.
One of the things that a search engine algorithm scans for is the frequency and location of keywords on a web page, but it can also detect artificial keyword stuffing or spamdexing. Then the algorithms analyze the way that pages link to other pages in the Web. By checking how pages link to each other, an engine can both determine what a page is about, if the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page.
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Website as Storefronts
A customer walks into the store, browses through products and shelves, picks up items, inspects, considers the prices, chooses a product and takes it to the cash register to pay. Now if you want to sell your products online, then your site must be enabled for e-commerce, where you must have the following features:
- You need to provide plenty of content and product description like sizes, dimensions, colors and comparisons with other similar products. It must allow the customer to choose a product, get a clear pricing and shipping costs on the product, complete the transaction and get an order number, and/or invoice confirmation via email. Allow your customer to choose a shipping method.
- You must tell the customer if the item is in stock or delivered against order. Ideally, you should have an email contact or live help if the customer has a question. Most importantly you must respond immediately! If you want to provide your own live chat and help desk services on your website, specialized softwares are available for purchase.
- Be sure your customer service links are large and clearly marked, so your client does not have to dig around to find information.
- Provide an ‘about us’ section or a section about your policies. If you have privacy statements and customer satisfaction policies, your customer will feel better about shopping in your store.
- You probably want to have customer quotes and references on the storefront page, as well, to let your prospective client know that others are happy with your service.
- Provide an FAQ with information about your return-back policies, guarantees, shipping prices and insurance charges if any.
- If you are so inclined, you can offer a print catalogue if the customer prefers to order one from your storefront and shop in the privacy of their homes.
- Do not annoy your customers by presenting products that are marked ‘sold’ or pages that say ‘under construction’ or ‘coming soon’.
- Do add new content frequently, so your returning customers will not be bored by seeing the same products they saw four months ago.
- If your site has got a date tag or has current references, be careful to change these references frequently so you don’t give the perception that nobody is attending or reading your site.
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