Works by Michele Kriegman
Bibliography Page | Business Profiles & Trends | Culture Essays & Interviews | Writing from Japanese Sources | Simplified Technical English

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide

Michele Kriegman
Sources:
2004, 'Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide,' Online "why-to" article with glossary of specialized terms, TBA. Anecdotal support for using SEO was captured in a Bergen Record article the following year.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

SEM = Search Engine Marketing

SEP = Search Engine Placement

Related terms include: search optimization, search results enhancement, website promotion, organic search engine marketing, online advertising, link popularity, and pay-per-click.

A combination of technical, linguistic and marketing skills go into creating the kind of search engine marketing (SEM) that makes good website promotion. SEM is comprised of competitive intelligence research, search engine optimization (SEO), and careful search engine placement (SEP). Most traditional graphic design houses, marketing consultants, and advertising agencies do not possess the specialized knowledge of SEO to do it well on their own. It is simply not their core business.

Alternately, there are many knowledgeable people out there who keep abreast of the fast-paced changes in search algorithms and ranking techniques. In fact, the first-rate companies are essentially using the same code optimization techniques. But they often lack the creative eye and wordsmith's ear that turn technical gimmicks (or even technical virtuosity) into successful marketing campaigns.

The scenario described in the first paragraph can leave you with a beautiful website that no one sees. ("If you build it, they will come," only works in the movies.) The situation in the second paragraph may keep you in the game, but prevent you from leading the pack in your specialty. Worse, sometimes technical proficiency without marketing aptitude can be harmful by leading you into the situation where you're  "making good time, but going in the wrong direction." Neither approach will take you to the ROI (return on investment) you want.

That's a needless shame because Search Engine Marketing done right reaches those who are already looking to buy. Think about it: if they're already searching for your product or service, they are a qualified prospect. That's why this field, known as SEO, SEM and SEP (Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Placement) has become the most appreciated development in the ethical advertising and marketing community.

There is "on-page" search engine optimization (editing the prose on your page, adjusting tags and HTML hooks), but more firms need to understand the importance of strategic alliances or link popularity as well. We have found that it is necessary to work pro-actively to get other websites to link to your site, and to show them the best way. This demands creative negotiation with potential online allies, but is well worth the investment of energy. If link popularity isn't part of your SEO strategy, you may hit a ceiling in search engine results rankings viz a viz your competition.

SEARCH OPTIMIZATION METHODOLOGY

We believe that the following five steps represent the best practices of search engine marketing.

Market Research - Meet with the client (or, the agency or design house representing them) to identify your top competitors in their field, and, specifically in their field online. Review their search engine optimization levels. Most important, use quantitative research and marketing savvy to identify the keywords most sought by your target audience.

Site Evaluation - Take the site's search engine temperature to see how it's doing now, if this is an existing site. There are three ways to do this. The first, of course, is noting its search engine ranking on the key search engines. Second, record monthly site traffic volume (number of visitors and page views). Finally, harvest the list of links to the web site (many of our clients are astonished to find out who does, and who doesn't appear on these lists)!

In addition to measuring the web site's current search results ranking status, warn the client if we find self-destructive design, navigation or architecture issues that may inhibit search engines from identifying the relevance of every page of the site. We have the expertise to fix what needs fixing.

Optimization of Website - Aid in coding the client's website pages with keyword-optimized titles, descriptions, and keyword tags. Edit actual text and page headings based on the incorporation of keyword phrases. Each page is coded with unique tags, and, where beneficial, additional text will be copy-edited with keyword phrases.

On-Line Strategic Alliances - Analyze the online strategic alliances of the top three results for the client's lead search term. Using their back link information, create a spreadsheet of possible link partners, or alliances, in order of importance. Seek to acquire these links, and more, for our clients. In some cases this will include suggestions for useful trade memberships.

Fine-tuning - As the techniques favored by the major search engines change, and as a client's competitor adapt, the client may want to fine-tune or update existing web pages. This is certainly true also when a client has launched a new product or service, or expanded the area of your website that you want to promote in search engines.

(Fine-tuning: this is why we are available for monthly contracts that do not lock you into a long-term commitment. We believe any SEO expert worth their salt should be willing to continue proving customer service excellence to clients!)

WHY SEARCH OPTIMIZATION WORKS

1. Marketing and Sales Support Happens from Under the Hood:

What you donít see is how you get seen. 

  • Site promotion/search engine marketing is strategic marketing
  • Optimization tools include much more than just search engine registration; they should include keyword and hook word positioning throughout coding
  • Improved website architecture and navigation encourages visitors to read more
  • PDF, "frames," and Flash pages require special techniques
  • Link popularity or "off-page" SEO, builds strategic alliances that improve search rankings


2.
The Rules of Good Customer Relations Still Apply on the Internet:

Donít make them work to work with you.

  • Donít make prospects wait to get compelling information
  • Make things easy to find: lists are kinder than clicks or search engines
  • Make your graphics easier on the eyes
  • Easy navigational structure will get them in contact with you more quickly
  • Use your text to sell and market; product specifications can come later

3. One-Stop Shopping = Easy Communication + Long-Term Benefits:

Outsourcing to foreign shores: cheap;
Real understanding: priceless.

  • Face-to-face contact is still the best way to work together
  • Technologies like web and email only succeed with seasoned business experience
  • Reach new markets with versions of your website in Spanish, German, Japanese and other languages
  • Email marketing and Whatís New Page updates create new opportunities to reach prospects and existing clients
  • Order related services like web re-design, brochure design, press releases, and hosting arrangements

Bibliography || Business Profiles & Trends || Culture Essays & Interviews || Writing from Japanese Sources ||  Simplified Technical English

Michele Kriegman TEL 973.292.9578