Search Engine Optimization: An overview
Search engine optimization is one of most popular online marketing tools for any website. With most websites looking forward to increasing the online sales of their products/services, search engine optimization can be a very cost-effective tool to target and procure your customers online. In this paper, we will discuss search engine optimization, its benefits and how you can optimize your website for top search engine rankings.
1. What is search engine optimization?
Search engine optimization (also known by various other names like search engine ranking, search engine promotion, website promotion, SEO etc.) is a method through which a website is given top rankings in various search engines. According to a recent industry study, 1 in every 20 people go to the second page of search results pages, but only 1 in every 100 people go beyond that. So, by top search engine rankings, we mean that your website should be within the first two pages of the search results, preferably in the first page (i.e. within top 10 rankings).
2. What are the prime benefits of search engine optimization?
- Top search engine rankings result in more pre-qualified business leads coming to your website which in turn can convert to greater sales for your organization.
- Search engine promotion is one of the cheapest methods of advertising for your organization. Compared to advertisements in the newspapers/magazines or in the television, search engine promotion costs many times less and can bring more traffic to your websites, thereby providing greater ROI.
- Search engine optimization enhances online brand identity of your organization.
3. What are the key factors for your website to have top search engine rankings?
Search engines change their algorithms frequently, thereby forcing the search engine optimization companies to re-strategize their search engine optimization techniques. However, the following attributes are basic and play a major role in procuring top search engine rankings.
- Keyword Research: Keywords play the most vital role
in your search engine optimization campaign. Keywords (can be 1, 2,
3 or more words) are the search terms which a surfer types in the search
box of a search engine to reach your website. Let us consider that you
are an “India-based Outsourcing consultant”
interested in optimizing your website for top search engine rankings.
The following are some of the keywords which surfers will type to reach
- bpo india
- bpo outsourcing services
- business outsourcing services
- business process outsourcing
- offshore companies
- offshore outsourcing
- offshore outsourcing services
- offshore services
- outsource india
- outsourcing companies
- outsourcing consultants
- outsourcing india
- outsourcing services
- outsourcing services company
Keyword research tips:
- Always target keywords that best describe your products/service.
- Try to find multiword potential keywords compared to single keywords.
- Try formulating keywords which give answers to as “why/how/what …….?”
- Utilize your server log files to know what your customers searched most while visiting your site.
- Use keyword generator software like Wordtracker or Overture
- Include popular common misspellings (e.g. viagra typed as viagara etc.) in your keyword list.
- Title of the webpage:
</title>Title has a deep impact on your website's search engine rankings. Experience shows that most companies use the following as title of their index page which can prevent them from getting top search engine rankings.
<title>Welcome to the website of XYZ.com</title>
For example, let’s continue with the above example of “India-based Outsourcing consultant”.
An ideally optimized title should contain the top 3-5 keywords of your business, e.g. outsourcing consultants, outsourcing india, outsource india
<title>Outsourcing Consultants, Outsourcing India, Outsource India</title>
- Description Meta tag of the webpage – Description
of a webpage also plays important role in getting top search engine rankings.
Optimized Description - Develop a suitable description based on your top 3 keywords
<meta name="description" content="One of the most reputed outsourcing consultants offering outsourcing India services and strategies on how to outsource India.">
- Keywords Meta Tag of the webpage - This meta tag was of
great importance at one time. But rampant manipulations (i.e. multiple, often
non-relevant keyword stuffing in the “keywords” tag), leading
to abuse has resulted in search engines giving lesser importance to “keywords”
tag while ranking sites. Nevertheless, you can always place top 3 –
5 keywords of your site in the “keywords” tag.
Optimized Keywords -
<meta name="keywords" content = "outsourcing consultants, outsourcing india, outsource india">
- Importance of Content/Keyword-enriched optimized pages for top search engine rankings
Well, if there is one aspect which holds supreme importance in search engine, especially in Google ranking, then it is this. Yes, content! The popular industry saying: "Content is King" was perhaps devised by watching Google's love for content. Develop content based on the top keywords related to your business. While developing content for your web pages, keep in mind the keyword density (KD).
Mathematically speaking, Keyword Density is the ratio of the total number of time a keyword is repeated divided by the total content words. Since KD is normally represented in percentage, the above figure is to be multiplied by 100
For example, if you have developed a web page of around 250 words on the keyword "search engine optimization", and that particular keyword (search engine optimization) is repeated 10 times, then:
Keyword Density (KD) = 10/250 * 100
As a thumb rule, Keyword Density of an optimized page for top search engine rankings should vary between 2 and 7 % (this figure varies among different search engines)
4. Submission of Keyword-enriched optimized pages
After you have finished content development for the optimized pages based on the keywords targeted for top search engine rankings, submit those pages to various search engines:
- Google - http://www.google.com/addurl.html
- AlltheWeb - http://addurl.alltheweb.com/add_url
- AltaVista - http://addurl.altavista.com/addurl/new
- MSN - http://submitit.bcentral.com/msnsubmit.htm
5. Role of Link Popularity in top search engine rankings
Link popularity has assumed tremendous importance for getting good ranks in Google now a days. In fact, what started as a friendly reciprocal link exchange program among various webmasters has now become a sub-industry within the SEO industry itself, with thousands of link farms popping up every day! Yes, if you are interested in getting top ranks in search engines, especially Google, then you must pay effort in building up links for your site.
- Create an html page, preferably named as "Resources/Links/Partners"
and place a link of this page from Index Page of your site. This page
should never be more than 1 click away from the index page of your site,
else webmasters won't be interested in participating in the reciprocal
link exchange program.
- Target both "industry-related" and "non-industry-related"
websites as your link exchange partners. For example, if you
are providing outsourcing services, then try getting links from "industry-related"
websites (i.e. websites dealing with outsourcing services, maybe your
business rivals!). This is important, because if 10 of your rival sites
give links to your site, then Google will surely pay importance to your
site, because getting links from rival companies are difficult. Your
site MUST be of some high caliber, else the other 10 sites won't have
linked! Also, try procuring links from top ranked general informative
websites as well.
- Always exchange links with websites which have high Google
PageRank (PR) of at least 4, the more the better! (both Index
Page as well as Resources/Links Page of the Link Partner's site should
have PRs of >=4) [PageRank is a proprietary tool that Google uses to
determine the importance of a page and varies in a scale of 0 (least
important) to 10 (maximum importance)].
- Have a link code ready for participating in link
exchange program. Here is a sample link code for an India-based Outsourcing
<a href = "http://www.indian-outsourcing-consultant.com" title = "indian outsourcing consultant"></a> - Indian outsourcing consultant providing guidance to companies willing to set up outsourcing centers in India.
Always prefer a text link (as given above) in comparison to a banner link, where your chance of Google and other search engine spiders finding the potential keywords is limited only to the "alt tag" of the banner. Also, Google pays importance to the text of the incoming link/anchor text (i.e. the incoming link text must contain high potential, relevant keywords), so develop a link text with title ("indian outsourcing consultant") which will help you in Google Ranking.
Key SEO Factors
- Targeting the right keywords for your website.
- Title of your webpage.
- Description Meta tag of your webpage.
- Keywords Meta tag of your webpage.
- Quality, Informative Content.
- Link Popularity.
With Google's numero uno position in the search engine market being threatened by arch-rivals Yahoo! [bought Overture, the largest PPC search engine recently, who in turn bought Altavista and Alltheweb] and Microsoft's MSN [believed to be developing its own search engine], it is no doubt that the search engine industry is going to experience tremendous changes in the next few months.
The recent Google "Florida" Update is just one of the many upheavals that we may be witnessing in an industry where the only constant factor is the "change". However, the various techniques outlined in this paper are basic and are we believe that following them you will be able to achieve top 10 ranks in Google and other search engines.