Why Should You Care About SEO?

The Basics

Organizations are spending more and more money on internet advertising and SEO every year.  Internet advertising is even expected to exceed print advertising for the first time this year. The competition for internet market share is also increasing. Companies want to make sure that their name, brand, and website are at the top of the search results page because most times that means they will be clicked on first.

Search engines like Google and Bing run complicated algorithms that calculate many factors each time someone performs a search. These algorithms process the search term and try to connect the user to websites with the highest ranking for that term. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization makes your website more attractive for search engines, which in turn helps make sure that potential shoppers or clients can find your website. According to Search Engine Land, a popular SEO blog the five most important factors for SEO are:

Words, words, words
* Search engines catalog each word on your page–make sure your content is quality.
* Important information needs to be in text, rather than graphics, because search engines can’t “read” images.
* Keywords are very important for SEO: the more comprehensive your keyword list is, the more it is that users can find your site. Keywords should include multiple words for the same term, common misspellings, slang, etc. See Keyword List Building 101 for more tips.

Webpage titles
* Be descriptive; summarize what your page is about.
* Avoid vague titles like “specifications,” “information,” or the default “untitled.”
* Radical Web Design’s blog, says that up to 7 words or 60 characters is a good limit. However in a title with less words, each word is given more weight by the search engine.

Links between websites
* The more websites linking to your page (particularly websites with good reputations), the more highly a search engine will rank your page.

Words used in links
* Make sure your link titles are descriptive.
* Avoid links like: “for more information, click here” or particularly problematic for e-commerce sites, having 100 links for “more product information.”

Reputation
* Credible, fresh content and good website reputation will increase your search engine rankings.

Search Engine Land also created an infographic called The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors, which gives a more detailed picture of all the factors that determine a websites ranking for search engines.

Crisis Management

Michael Bush is the author of an interesting article, Experts Say SEO Groundwork Must be Laid Well Before Crisis Hits, about the importance of including negative terms in your keyword list as a method of crisis management. The article explains that in the event of a disaster or crisis, people would be searching for negative terms connected to the crisis (the example they use is oil “spill”), and that the company would want to be able to counteract this with positive search results.

The Dark Side of SEO

So, the world is a better place, now, because Google and Bing help us find exactly what we’re looking for online, right? Not necessarily. In his 2011 TEDTalk, Eli Pariser talks about what he calls “online filter bubbles.”  Pariser’s TED Talk is a  fascinating look at how search engines and websites tailor our experiences online. Pariser says, “the internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.”

SEO Tips

For more great SEO tips and information, try: SEOmoz Blog, SEO Book Blog, Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Conversation Marketing, SEO by the Sea, Matt Cutts’ Blog.

 

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