Quality content and incoming links from related websites are the most important factors the search engines use to determine relevance. Page content should include your targeted keywords in H1-H3, ALT, TITLE and META Tags, as well as in paragraphs and links, with zero keywords repeated twice in a row. Incoming links should contain the keywords in the link text. You may also research the value of xml sitemaps and the Robots.txt file for other optimization opportunities.
Like PPC campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO) is not something you do only once. Not only will content get stale, to some extent, but search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms for web site ranking. You should use your web tracking and keyword tracking tools regularly to understand what kinds of visitors are coming to your site, what users are looking for, and even what is changing in your industry. You should check in with your SEO professionals to keep up to date with what different search engines are prioritizing or ignoring, and deploy resources to keep your web site optimized to these changing circumstances.
It is important that your web design is attractive and easy to use for your potential customers, and also that the design takes into account how non-human search engines will search and index the site. This might mean that some of the flashier components of site design, such as splash pages and pop-up windows, need to be omitted so that the site will not be ignored by search engines. If you are unsure whether your site design is impacting your traffic generation positively or negatively, conduct a search engine position analysis. If your rankings are lower than you would like, try revising part of the design and see if that helps.
Search engine optimization can be time-consuming, and because it works best when iterated, maintaining it can be frustrating. If you do not have in-house expertise, do not hesitate to talk with a specialist company. Search Engine Optimization companies understand the techniques required and stay abreast of the evolving requirements of the top search tools on the web. These companies will work with you to develop goals, create an effective search engine strategy, and generate long-term and targeted traffic to your web site.
While free search engine submission (or registration) is still available, there has been an increase in "paid participation" programs offered by search engines. Using paid participation often speeds up the posting process, and does tend to generate more engine-driven traffic for your web site. Therefore, you ought to establish a search engine submission budget to ensure that your site is covered. This budget does not have to be extensive – Yahoo!, for example, charges about $300 for a year of coverage, with incremental charges for expedited service. Do take into consideration, however, which sites you want to have a pay to submit to. Yahoo! and Google are among the largest, but if you have a more niche site, you might want to consider other directories and crawlers. Keyword tracking, web site analysis, and your previous campaign results that your have captured using web tracking tools to gauge which directories and engines you want to target.
Use your web site analysis tools to examine how your competitors use keywords in their web sites and ads. Look at the specific keywords that your competitors are using in their PPC campaigns and natural listings: are they the same as yours, or different? Are their sites and ads above or below yours in the various search engines? This will give you some insight on how their keyword strategy is working relative to your own. If they are applying different keywords than you are, and are performing better, consider adding those keywords to your content. If you are using the same keywords and you want to get more qualified visitors, consider adding descriptive positive or negative keywords to the mix. If you are unsure about how to go about gathering the information you need for this analysis, talk with a company that specializes in PPC and SEO
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|