How can SEO benefit your business

how seo benefits online business and also what is benefit of seo
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RichardGibbs,United Kingdom,Professional
Published Date:04-08-2017
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The Big Picture Often, search engine optimization (SEO) comes as an afterthought, and not everyone is always fully aware of its long-term benefits. Depending on the situation, SEO may involve both the IT and marketing departments. In a small business, just one (or very few) individuals will be doing everything. Other times, companies will hire specialists to help them with their SEO needs. SEO can be defined as an aggregate of all the work necessary to produce a high volume of referral hits from search engines, web directories, and other websites, with the ulti- mate goal of making the website popular. SEO involves internal and external website analysis, including link building, proper website architecture and development, com- petitor analysis, keyword research, content development, and many other tasks. SEO is partly about building appropriate content and partly about getting people to link to you. Your content is essential, but Google’s ability to count incoming links, in addition to content, was considered a major breakthrough. Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to the utilization of pay-per-click (PPC) adver- tising such as through Google AdWords. Although some elements are common to both SEO and SEM, PPC advertising is much easier to implement and can achieve immediate results, usually in the form of getting visitors to see your website in a matter of minutes. Marketers will often ignore (or confuse) SEO in favor of (PPC) SEM, but by doing so they are ignoring great opportunities. SEO is about as close to free as you can get. It takes work, and work costs money, particularly if you hire a consultant. But you won’t have any advertising bills coming in. SEO work brings long-term value. If you operate your website for hobby or profit, SEO can be an important tool in making your website popular. SEO is not rocket science (or anywhere close to it). But it certainly can get as technical and detailed as you want to make it. One could argue that the deceptive SEO practiced in its early days is long gone. Today it takes a lot more effort for sites to be ranked well. Ranking well does not necessarily translate to relative site popularity or sites meeting their objectives (desired 1 conversions). SEO gets the visitor to the door. It is up to your site’s content to welcome and retain that visitor. Optimizing just for search engines may not be enough. Social media websites along with social bookmarking should be considered as well. Today’s web user demands more from websites. This evolution in site usability and interactivity, coupled with ever- changing search engine technology, brings with it additional demands for the website owner. SEO Benefits SEO provides numerous benefits. These include greater search engine results page (SERP) real estate, a historical trust factor, and a lower cost of ownership. SEO benefits are typically long lasting. The following subsections explore these benefits in more detail. SERP Real Estate Figure 1-1 shows the typical layout of a Google SERP. Sponsored (PPC) links appear on the far right as well as at the top (just below the Search box). Product results, local business results, book results, news results, and so forth may also appear just under the top Sponsored Links section. Moving farther down we find the SEO-based organic search results. Figure 1-1. Google SERP 2 Chapter 1: The Big Picture When looking at the SERP real estate in totality, you can see that organic results occupy most of the screen real estate. This is abundantly clear for the less popular keywords that have fewer sponsored links in the search results. Popular keywords When searching for popular keywords, search results are usually mixed with Blended Search results, as shown in Figure 1-1. This is perhaps the worst-case scenario in an SEO context. How do you stand out in all of the clutter? Typically, part of the answer is by targeting less popular keywords. Niche keywords Not all search results are cluttered. Searches for niche keywords often produce 100% organic results. Figure 1-2 is one example (for the keyword electrodermal testing sen- sitivities toronto). As you can observe, nobody is bidding for this keyword. Figure 1-2. Google SERP: Niche keywords Optimizing for niche keywords helps to attain greater conversion rates. To fortify their brands, the big industry players will also optimize their sites for the more (broad) pop- ular keywords, irrespective of the conversion rate. The Trust Factor Most people trust organic search results. According to a survey by iProspect, more than 60% of users click on organic search results. The percentage is even higher for indi- viduals with more Internet experience. The full report is at premiumPDFs/iProspectSurveyComplete.pdf. SEO Benefits 3Figure 1-3. The Golden Triangle Another study, titled “Paid search rates by industry” and conducted by Hitwise Intelli gence, shows a wider gap in favor of organic search results. The only exception to the rule is that of the insurance industry, with 45% of traffic coming in via PPC campaigns. The full article is available at _search_rates_by_industry.html. It should be very clear that if you are solely using PPC as your conduit for search engine traffic, you are missing out on the broader picture. Organic search results have tradi- tionally enjoyed more trust, especially among more experienced and Internet-savvy people. And if these people are your demographic, you need to have your SEO in order. The Golden Triangle In an eye-tracking study conducted by Didit, Enquiro, and Eyetools, 50 participants were observed while browsing through Google search results. The results of this study uncovered what is termed the “Golden Triangle.” This refers to the screen area (in the shape of the letter F) that 100% of the participants viewed, as shown in Figure 1-3. 4 Chapter 1: The Big Picture Another interesting finding of this study included an analysis of the percentage of peo- ple looking at specific search result(s) as well as the percentage of people looking at specific paid results. Table 1-1 shows the breakdown. For more information, visit http: // Table 1-1. The Golden Triangle findings Organic results AdWords results Rank Percent viewed Ad position Percent viewed 1 100% 1 50% 2 100% 2 40% 3 100% 3 30% 4 85% 4 20% 5 60% 5 10% 6 50% 6 10% 7 50% 7 10% 8 30% 8 10% 9 30% Note: there are only eight ads per SERP 10 20% Lower Cost of Ownership Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not free. At the very least, it takes time to implement. From a long-term perspective, it does provide for better ROI when compared to PPC or other marketing methods. Getting free hits from organic results can minimize or eliminate the need to use PPC campaigns. Well-ranked sites (utilizing only organic SEO techniques) can significantly reduce marketing expenditures. The added benefit of SEO is that it is long lasting, provided that it is content- and web user–centric. For companies on a budget, SEO can make all the difference. Investing some time in early website setup (mindful of SEO) can make a big impact on the future growth and visibility of such companies’ websites. Making provisions for SEO from the very beginning pays dividends in the long term, as less rework will be required to achieve specific SEO goals. If time is not a factor, that’s all the more reason to use SEO. Once a company adopts SEO as part of its online strategy, everything becomes easier. Web designers, developers, web server adminis- trators, and marketers now carry the same vision, with SEO being the norm. Ta- ble 1-2 provides a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of SEO and PPC. SEO Benefits 5Table 1-2. SEO and PPC summary SEO PPC Advantages • Lower cost (time) • Instant traffic • Sustained long-term benefits • Easier to implement • Fosters natural website growth with reliance • Easier to manage on compelling content • Trust • Higher click-through rate (CTR) Disadvantages • Initial results take time • Can drain budgets quickly with low conversion rates • Requires more effort • Highest positions go to highest bidders • No guarantees (but has proven to work time and time again) • Historical distrust • Traffic stops when you stop paying SEO Challenges SEO does have its quirks and is a long-term commitment. Some of these challenges are not related to the technology. Some are just out of your control. The following sub- sections discuss some of these challenges, including competition, no guarantees, rank- ing fluctuations, time factors, and organization structure. Competition In June 2008, VeriSign reported that there were about 168 million domain name reg- istrations across all of the top-level domain (TLD) names. You can find the report at According to another survey, conducted by Netcraft in April 2009, there were approximately 231.5 million websites across the globe ( Although these numbers are staggering, it is likely that the true number of all websites is even higher. As each domain can have numerous subdomains, websites realistically number somewhere in the billions. It’s almost inconceivable that you are the only person in your niche. At the same time, many sites don’t do any SEO, and so it’s relatively easy to gain mindshare and search engine rankings, particularly if you are serving a niche market. No Guarantees Nobody can actually guarantee the top spot on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. It is simply impossible to do so. Though many have certainly tried, too many variables are involved. 6 Chapter 1: The Big Picture However, the benefit of SEO is real. If you do your SEO due diligence, rankings and popularity will come in time—provided you have relevant content. Many sites are tak- ing advantage of SEO. It would be foolish not to utilize SEO as part of your overall online marketing strategy. Ranking Fluctuations The motive of any business is growth. If you don’t grow, you could be in trouble. This is especially the case with businesses that depend solely on their websites for revenues. For some, the Internet is one way to expand and increase their business. For others, the Internet is their lifeline and the core of their business model. With tens of millions of domains all competing for popularity, trying to stand out in the crowd can be a daunting or even frightening prospect. With continuous improvements in search engine technology, search engines are using hundreds of different ranking factors. Sometimes all it takes is for one factor to change for your site to sink in the rankings or (even worse) be wiped out of the index completely. Although nobody knows the exact ranking formula, each search engine has its own take on ranking factors. “Positive” ranking factors aid your rank. “Negative” ranking factors (such as having duplicate content) penalize your rank. If you could illustrate this concept, it would look similar to Figure 1-4. The positive weights would represent the factors aiding your rank, while the negative weights would represent the factors working against your rank. The cumulative total (of all weights) would represent the relative rank weight that search engines could use in establishing the relative page rank for a particular keyword. Figure 1-4. Ranking factors SEO Challenges 7Note that the bar height is only for illustration purposes. Every search engine will have its own weight formula. Time Factors Each site is different, so the SEO strategy applied to each site will also be different. There are so many factors that it would be naïve to put an exact time frame for SEO to show desired results. SEO is not finished when you start seeing results. Even if you get to the top spot on the Google searches that you care about, your job isn’t done. You need to make sure you stay on top of these searches. Your competitors will want to take your top spot away from you. SEO fosters the natural, long-term growth of a website, and once you achieve its ben- efits, there is usually a ripple effect where you’ll be getting traffic from sources other than search engines by means of other websites linking to yours. If you have the content or product that people want to see, it is only natural to attract inbound links. Organizational Structure Organizational structure can play a significant role in SEO. Big companies can some- times be difficult to navigate. It may be unclear who is responsible for SEO. Having no ownership typically means no work gets done. Smaller companies can be faster paced, but also carry their own troubles. Big companies and organizations Although big companies have large marketing budgets, they too can benefit from re- ceiving (almost free) hits. When it comes to large departmentalized organizations with marketing (or e-business) and IT departments operating in isolation, it can be difficult to adopt a common SEO vision. Typically, large organizations have complex, dynamic websites. In these cases, mar- keters depend on IT (usually web development and infrastructure teams) for publishing their content, for site maintenance, and so on. Most software developers or web server administrators do not think about SEO. Most marketers today employ SEM (PPC) and do not know all of the technical details of SEO. This is where a bit of education and training is essential. Virtual teams. Forming virtual teams comprising members from each department can help solve these problems. This is often necessary because the best SEO is attained from expertise derived from multiple disciplines. Adopting an early strategy and identifying roles and responsibilities can make a big difference. Most developers are not proficient copywriters. Most marketers do not understand what the HTTP response codes are. 8 Chapter 1: The Big Picture Sometimes an in-house approach may not be the best choice simply because Outsourcing. no in-house expertise is available. Even when you have in-house expertise, sometimes it is good to get second opinions. Other times your key people may be involved in other projects and you just don’t have enough resources. Large, complex sites Industry giants can run hundreds of different websites with millions of web pages. Having so many web pages (typically) manifests many unique challenges. Some of those challenges include: • How to optimize many thousands or millions of pages • Poor indexing of deep pages • Determining which pages are preferred entry pages • The quality of most inner pages • Duplicate content • Making changes to many pages at once • Archiving Small companies and individuals Many small-business owners often struggle with the concept of the Internet, web de- sign, and SEO. A smaller company generally means a smaller budget. With this in mind, SEO can become the most important tool for gaining online traction and eventual sales leads. Many free tools are available on the Internet, including content management system (CMS) portals, blogs, and forums—with built-in SEO. Leveraging these tools can significantly lower the total cost of SEO ownership while achieving most of the benefits. Refer to Chapter 3 for more details. The SEO Process The SEO process can be broken down into six general phases. These include research, planning and strategy, implementation, monitoring, (re)assessment, and maintenance. Figure 1-5 shows the phases connected with arrows. Note that the SEO process is highly iterative. Each phase constitutes its own body of knowledge. Also note that Figure 1-5 uses arrows to indicate the relative order of each phase, and loops to indicate the iterative nature of the SEO process. The smaller loop occurs between the (re)assessment phase and the maintenance phase, and the larger loop oc- curs between the (re)assessment phase and the research phase. Moving forward, let’s explore each of these phases. The SEO Process 9Figure 1-5. SEO process phases The Research Phase The research phase is the first phase of the SEO process. It usually consists of several different types of research, including business research, competitor analysis, current state assessment, and keyword research. Business research Before doing anything else, learn about your business in relation to its online presence. In this phase, you need to answer lots of questions, and most of them may be specific to your business. What does your company have that the competition does not? What is your selling point? Many other questions and topics need to be asked and explored, and much of this may be outlined in your standard business and/or marketing plans as well as in your (web- site) business requirements. When it comes to your online marketing, ask yourself: how much do you understand about SEO and PPC? Are you looking to target certain dem- ographics or geographical locations? What are your general and specific expectations? How do you measure success? What do you perceive as failure? What is your budget? Do you have resources available to handle SEO and/or SEM? Who is the owner (driver) of your SEO efforts? What does the project schedule look like? Are there specific timelines? 10 Chapter 1: The Big Picture The more you know about the business, the better. The clearer the picture you have at the start, the more focused your efforts will be. Find answers to all of your questions early. Competitor analysis Once you know what the business is like and what the expectations are, it is time to see what others are doing. How can you base your SEO if you are not aware of the playing field? Rest assured that your site will be looked at, crawled, and scrutinized by your competitors or their SEO consultants Learn about all the players in your business area. Understand where they are now and how they got there. Find out who is linking to them. Explore how much content their site contains. See how many pages they have indexed in Google and other search engines. Estimate their website traffic and investigate what keywords they are targeting. In general, the more you know about your competitors, the better. This book talks about a number of tools you can use to analyze your site and your competitors’ sites. Current state assessment So, you are tasked with increasing the visibility of an existing site. Now you must dig deep into the site, dissecting it from all angles. In SEO vocabulary, this is labeled as the site clinic. This research process is very similar to competitor analysis, only this time your focus is solely on the site you are assigned to work with. First things first: you check the current site rankings (if any). Next, you start examining the internal (on-page and on-site) factors, including site age,title tags,meta tags, internal linking structures, content duplication, search engine traps, and so forth. In parallel, you also look at the external factors. How many backlinks does this site have? Who is linking to this site? From there, you inquire about current technology being used, current practices, the availability of any in-house technical expertise, web server logs, web analytics, and so on. Knowing the current website size and the current website performance can also help. Resource availability and budget need to be defined. Keyword research Conversion rate can mean several different things (depending on the site context). For some sites, conversion rate can be the number of visitors that bought a particular prod- uct. For other sites, it can mean the number of visitors that registered on the site. Con- version implies a specific gained value. In PPC, if the conversion rate is too low, the gained value may be less than the invested value, defeating the purpose of the PPC campaign. The SEO Process 11 Keyword research is the activity of identifying and targeting specific keywords with the goal of creating relevant search engine referrals. For existing sites, keyword research identifies keywords that are already “working” (i.e., keywords that convert) and tries to find new ones that can assist in attaining additional quality traffic. Keyword research does not apply only to on-page textual elements. It also applies to domain name selection, inbound links, link composition, directory listings, and many other elements. The basic question is always: what keywords do I target? The answer is not always the same. Do you target the most popular (broad) keywords? Or do you target the niche (narrow) keywords? Output of the research phase After all of the research is done, it is helpful to produce a document (the SEO research artifact) summarizing the findings of the research phase. This document should contain all of your findings, including the business research, competitor analysis, current state assessment, and keyword research. The Planning and Strategy Phase The planning and strategy phase answers some fundamental questions based on the output of the research phase. You need to iron out several strategies in this phase, including those for handling content, link building, social media, and SEM, as well as technical strategies. All of these strategies can be rolled up into a single artifact: the SEO plan. Content strategy Your content strategy needs to address all aspects of content: creation, modification, dissemination, and archival. It also needs to address the area of content presentation: how will this content be presented to end users? Your content strategy also needs to answer many additional questions, such as whether the site will include blogs, press releases, testimonials, syndication, media files, and similar items. Also consider which content needs to be crawled (and indexed) and which does not need to be in the search engine index. Link-building strategy One of the pillars of SEO, a link-building strategy is crucial. Whether you are going after (paid or free) directory submissions, social media sites, social bookmarking, blog comments, direct solicitation, news syndication, or press releases, you must have solid inbound links. Content with no links can go only so far. Good content can foster natural link acquisitions. However, you cannot rely only on content. 12 Chapter 1: The Big PictureSocial media strategy Engaging your clients on social media sites can be helpful and rewarding if done prop- erly. You can consider this strategy as an important extension of the overall link- building strategy. The phenomenon of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, among others, is changing the landscape of link acquisitions. Search engine targeting strategy A search engine targeting strategy can mean several things. First, what search engines will you be targeting? This includes targeting regional as well as major search engines. There are search engines besides Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If you are concerned about your presence overseas, there are many other search engines you need to worry about. Big search engines also operate on several different search engine verticals. Do not confuse search engine verticals with vertical search engines (which specialize in specific areas or data). The reference is to the Blended Search results shown on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These are additional avenues that you may want to explore. SEM strategy Using PPC in parallel with SEO can be helpful. The benefits are multifold, especially if the site in question is brand new. PPC can provide accurate forecasts for targeted key- words. For example, within the Google AdWords platform you can target the same keywords in your ads that you are currently targeting on specific pages. You can then accurately forecast how your pages will convert for the same keywords once you start getting the equivalent SEO traffic. Technical strategy Developing a sound technical strategy involves many technical considerations. For starters, you should think about URL rewriting, avoiding content duplication (canon- icalization), error messaging, and linking structures. After the basic SEO technical elements, think about some of the other elements. For instance, what tools and platforms are required to build the site? Will you be de- veloping custom software? In the case of custom software development, understanding the underlying software architecture is important. Even more important is for the cus- tom software to make architectural provisions to allow for proper SEO. You need to ask many other questions as well. What browsers will need to be suppor- ted? Do any hosting considerations need to be taken into account? Information on DNS, file space, traffic bandwidth, backups, CPU utilization, and so on can be helpful in painting an accurate technical picture. Make sure you understand the acceptable performance baselines, the scheduled maintenance times, and the change request methodology (if any). The SEO Process 13 Website performance is important. It is essential for large sites with many thousands of pages. In general, slow sites waste everyone’s time and tend to be a big distraction to your web visitors. Also, web crawlers may not crawl all of the pages in a big site (if it is very slow). Your technical strategy also needs to include provisions for monitoring, reporting, and analyzing SEO progress. Web server log analysis and web analytics are part of SEO monitoring. Analyzing web traffic is at the core of SEO activities. Converting traffic is what matters. Ranking high with no conversions is a wasted effort. Output of the planning and strategy phase The output of the planning and strategy phase is the SEO plan. The SEO plan contains information on internal and external proposed optimizations. This includes on-page and off-page optimizations as derived from particular strategies. The SEO plan is really a proposal and a call to action to address pertinent SEO requirements. The SEO plan is also a road map. It documents the steps and activities that are required to get better rankings for a particular site. It also documents steps and procedures that will need to be followed for the addition or modification of any new content, after the SEO plan is implemented. The SEO plan should be revised every few months, as search engines and your rankings never stand still. The Implementation Phase After the SEO plan is approved, the implementation phase can start. The SEO imple- mentation phase is where all the planning and strategy come into effect. This phase comprises two broad areas of work effort: internal and external optimizations. Ta- ble 1-3 lists some of the activities in each area. Note that the creation of compelling content is implied. Table 1-3. Implementation phase activities Internal optimization External optimization On-page optimization On-site optimization Authoritative backlinks Title tag Domain name selection Social media Meta description Website (re)design Link solicitation Keyword density Web server (re)configuration Directory submissions Keyword proximity Geotargeting Blog submissions Keyword prominence URL canonicalization Forum submissions Long-tail keywords Linking architecture Article writing Short-tail keywords Performance enhancements Press releases Anchor text robots.txt file Syndication And more... And more... And more... 14 Chapter 1: The Big PictureInternal optimization Internal optimization refers to on-page and on-site activities. On-page activities include keyword optimizations of title tags, description meta tags, page copy, and link anchor text. On-site optimization refers to holistic sitewide activities. Domain selection (in the case of new sites), website design or redesign, web server configuration, and sitewide performance tuning are all part of on-site optimization activities. For more detailed coverage of internal optimization, refer to Chapter 4. External optimization External optimization is just as important as internal optimization. The major goal of all external optimization activities centers on link building. It is all about your site’s visibility. Each link referral can be viewed as a vote for your site. The more quality links you have, the more popular your site will be. For more detailed coverage of external optimization, refer to Chapter 5. Output of the implementation phase The implementation phase can vary drastically in size and complexity depending on the project. It does not have to be done all at once, and it usually never is. Introducing too many variables can get confusing when tracking SEO progress. The output of the implementation phase can be several artifacts detailing any new technical knowledge gained, problems encountered, and lessons learned. Furthermore, any deviations from the original SEO plan should be documented with appropriate rationale noted (and any future actions that would need to be performed). Procedures and processes for adding new content or making website changes (e.g., backups, main- tenance, and deployment) should also be formalized. Sticking to the SEO plan is a must. Introducing deviations could be counterproductive and could hinder (or confuse) the benefits of other work. The Monitoring Phase The monitoring phase comprises just that: monitoring. You need to monitor several things, including web spider activities, referral sites, search engine rankings, website traffic, conversions, hacker intrusions, and more. All of these activities are related and are highly dependent on the analysis of your web server logs. Chapter 6 explores several web stats monitoring tools, including Webalizer, AWStats, and WebLog Expert. Con- sult Chapter 7 for additional information on the subject. Web spider activity You’ve just done a lot of work on your site (in the implementation phase). No spider activity could signal problems. Watch spidering activities closely. The SEO Process 15Website referrals Knowing website referrals can help you identify which link-building strategies are working. It is all about time. There is no point wasting additional time in specific link- building avenues if they are not producing any referral hits. Search engine rankings The search engine page rankings are important. Without good rankings, you will not get any traffic. With no traffic, you will not get any conversions. Don’t get too obsessed Initially, your page rankings could be in a state of flux. Focus on your most important pages. Website traffic Although website traffic is different from converting traffic, it is still an indicator of your relative site visibility. An increase in visitor traffic is always good news (unless your site is having performance problems). Examining your web server logs can help you spot particular trends. You may even get some surprises in terms of which pages are getting hits. Conversions Ultimately, it is the conversions that matter. If you are selling products or services, you want to know how many people that came from search engines bought the product or service. More specifically, you may want to know the entry pages that contributed to these conversions. Depending on your organization and your level of expertise, this could be a challenge if you are employing SEO and SEM at the same time. Knowing how to differentiate SEO from SEM conversions is essential. Utilizing Google Analytics can help you achieve these goals. Output of the monitoring phase The output of the monitoring phase is sets of data, typically organized in monthly report summaries. This usually includes data from web stats tools and web analytics tools. This output serves as the input to the (re)assessment phase. The Assessment Phase The assessment phase uses the output of the monitoring phase as well as a series of checklists (on which to base the assessment). This phase is also referred to as the checkpoint phase. SEO checkpoints can be defined on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or yearly basis. At the very least, quarterly assessments are required. The point of the assessment phase is to see what is and isn’t working according to the SEO plan. The assessment phase can uncover many problems. Referring back to Fig- ure 1-5, minor problems would be handled in the maintenance phase. Major problems 16 Chapter 1: The Big Picture might need a different approach, including getting a second SEO opinion or going back to the research phase. Output of the assessment phase The output of the assessment phase is the recommendation artifact. At times, this could be a call to action for further research or a call to action for further minor tweaks. The Maintenance Phase Once the major SEO work is done in the implementation phase, the focus will be on website maintenance. The maintenance phase takes care of problems (minor and ma- jor) found in the (re)assessment phase. In many ways, the maintenance phase is similar to the implementation phase. Output of the maintenance phase The output of the maintenance phase is a confirmation of all the SEO work performed, in addition to any problems encountered and any lessons learned. SEO Alternatives The Internet is not just about search engines. If your objective is solely to reach your desired level of traffic, there are many ways to “skin the cat.” SEO alternatives (or complements) can be divided into two broad categories: online and offline. Online alternatives come in the form of paid ads, while offline alternatives are used in the traditional marketing sense. Paid Ads (or Links) Paid links can be highly targeted and produce excellent-quality traffic to your site— often outperforming search engine traffic. If your paid link traffic conversion rate is producing a profit, there is no reason to stop utilizing paid links. The essence of organic SEO is in natural link acquisitions. Paid links are typically con- sidered noise factors in search engine algorithms. Google is most vocal about paid links. This wasn’t always the case, but Google is now looking at paid links carefully. If you use paid links, Google wants to ensure that it doesn’t follow these paid links when spidering. It’s your responsibility to make sure paid links have thenofollow link attribute. If they don’t, your site may be penalized. We will discuss paid links and thenofollow attribute in more detail throughout this book. SEO Alternatives 17Traditional Marketing Many books cover the topic of traditional marketing, so that is not the focus of this book. Nonetheless, you should be aware of any other promotions that your company is doing. Your URL should appear on all of the company’s advertising; otherwise, it’s a waste. Summary The value of using SEO is clear. Studies have shown that organic search results are more highly trusted than PPC (SEM) advertising. SEO is about having the right knowledge, applying proven techniques, experimenting with new ones, and letting the search en- gine do the rest. Naturally, the prerequisite to all of that is to have engaging content and a quality product (or service). Stay away from: • Making changes to emulate the competition without knowing why the change was made • Applying every SEO rule in the book (overdoing it) • Not trying different keywords, and instead stopping at only one or a few • Making frequent SEO-related changes without realizing the effects of previous changes The SEO work for each website is different. What is similar, though, is the actual SEO process. You still have to go through the same exercise, regardless of whether you are working on a new site or an existing one. The SEO process is always in motion. Along its path, several artifacts are produced to foster better tracking and management of overall SEO efforts. When done properly, working through the SEO process phases will take time. Once the major SEO efforts are complete (in the implementation phase), SEO becomes more of an operational activity as opposed to a full-blown project. With the SEO fun- damentals in place, your website will be on the right path toward increased search engine visibility. 18 Chapter 1: The Big Picture

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