Search Engine Optimization

 SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the free, “organic,” or natural listings on search engines. These listings are displayed in the center of the results page.

All major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, deliver results web pages and other content such as videos or local listings which are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most “relevant” to users. When you search any of these “engines”, the relevant results returned are called SERPs. Organic Search Engine Results Pages.

Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads or PPC, pay per clicks. The PPC paid ads that are delivered for the same search word or phrase generally occupy the top 3 listings on the results page as well as all the listings in the right hand margin. PPC campaigns use many of the same techniques as organic campaigns but they deliver sponsored paid ad listings.

Google makes billions of dollars on these PPC ads but many studies have shown that PPC ads are shunned by many experienced web users.

Because The Farrell Company specializes in SEO and can deliver “organic” results, we only recommend PPC campaigns at the beginning of a project or with the launch of a new product or service because it does take time for Google to catch up with new pages. And to give you credit for them once they are indexed.

The process of SEO involves structuring the actual html code so that your pages are “responsible” as well as responsive. And it involves making certain that you have relevant content. This is accomplished through a great deal of research.

Off Page Optimization

To link or not to link – that is the question. Google has recently updated the rankings article within the Google Webmaster Help documentation regarding backlinks. The change is to keep Google consistent with their general change in messaging that CONTENT is what webmasters should focus on, not back links.

The article used to read: “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”

Now Google states: “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.”

This makes more sense when you think about it. Google is in the business of serving relevant results based on the natural flow of visitors to content they wish to find, not necessarily links from paid link farms or sites that use co-opted incoming links. It is only “natural” that content is king. It should be organic results that drive traffic to a web site.

On Page Optimization

The use of HTML 5 and CSS 3 is mandatory to gain the respect of Google’s search engine spiders.
  • 1) BLOCK ELEMENTS FOR STRUCTURE – Web designers must code all of the HTML 5 block elements properly. No longr simply DIV tags, HTML 5 gives block elements “meaning” for the first time.
  • 2) STYLE SHEETS FOR DESIGN – Web design must use CSS 3 and JQuery to deliver the content in a pleasing manner to the viewer.
  • 3) FLUID GRIDS – Web designers must also use a “responsive” fluid design for broswers on all device viewports and operating systems, smartphones and tablets.
  • 4) SEO KEYWORD RESEARCH…And then the web site copy must be written with the user and keyword research in mind. When you click on the image expansion button to the left, you can see that the search using the word “hotels”has 1 million more competing pages than the one using “hotel”. Fortunately for our client, they have first placement for both, but the rest of the web sites on the page are jockeying for position. Keyword research is essential to great keyword rankings, SERPs and Page Rank.
  • 5) ALT IMAGE TAGS – Alt tags for images should describe content as a “Yellow Monarch Butterfly” as opposed to “image#2.jpeg”. Alt tags give you additional SEO opportunities.
  • 6) SITE MAPS – Site maps provide a road-map for the search engine spiders. It gives them a table of contents. Imagine opening up a 600 page text book and looking at paragraph 5 of page 376? It would take a while to figure out what the content is all about. If, however, you opened to a table of contents, with chapters, sub-chapters, footnotes etc…it would make all the sense in the world. XML site maps are a very helpful guide.

Page Rank

A logarithmic scale of 0 to 10 with Ten being the ultimate rank. Sites with poor content and poor code and no relevancy on the internet have a page rank of zero. Those with a fair amount of importance can have a rank of 3 or 4. Sites with a rank of 5, 6 or 7 have done their homework and are major players in their field.

Page Rank is contingent upon a number of factors – age of the site, on page and off pgae optimization, back links referring to the site and most importantly, relevant content. Years ago you could get away with “stuffing” your site with keywords but Google is so sophisticated that using such “black hat” techniques will get you banned from the search engines.

SERP's

SERPs

Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs are the pages delivered by search engines when you search on a particular “keyword” or phrase.

Many SEO research specialists find niche phrases that have a “long tail”. This means that the combination of words in the serach phrase has a high KEI or keyword effectiveness index. The search phrase has a high number of searches per month but is present on a lower number of pages on the internet. The long tail phrase in the image above has a high number of monthly searches and only 2.3 million competing pages on the web, a realtively small number. Searching on “oceanfront hotels new england” yields a better KEI – The Pilgrim Sands ranks #3 but there are only 269,000 competing pages. An effective strategy always involves a keyword effectiveness index.

Keyword Research

A logarithmic scale of 0 to 10 with Ten being the ultimate rank. Sites with poor content and poor code and no relevancy on the internet have a page rank of zero. Those with a fair amount of importance can have a rank of 3 or 4. Sites with a rank of 5, 6 or 7 have done their homework and are major players in their field.

Page Rank is contingent upon a number of factors – age of the site, on page and off pgae optimization, back links referring to the site and most importantly, relevant content. Years ago you could get away with “stuffing” your site with keywords but Google is so sophisticated that using such “black hat” techniques will get you banned from the search engines.

Back Linking Campaigns

Not as important as it once was… but backlinks are an indication of your presence on the web. As long as the links are natural and you have great content, you are all set.

If Google determines your links are strained or unrelated, they will drop you in the rankings and penalize your efforts, or lack thereof, for proper SEO.

Any ongoing Search Engine Mangement strategy should balance a focus on backlinks and content, all while keeping a vigilant eye on the latest Google updates.

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