seo chapter 5

Bing Homepage in August 2010

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Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

Introduction

     Search engine optimization is forever an evolving topic. As long as search engines exist, new optimization strategies will be discovered. New spam techniques will be used to mislead search engines. Search engine optimization specifies techniques to achieve higher rankings in organic search engine results. Search engine marketing helps in achieving higher rankings in inorganic search engine results. SEO is an ongoing process with substantial long term benefits. SEM, on the other hand, produces instant results with no long term benefits.

Summary

     Search engine marketing demands every B2C website owner to plan and workout an effective SEO and SEM strategy. Typically, a search engine friendly website will achieve higher rankings over a period of time. A significant improvement may be noticed after at least 3 months. This is not promising to a website owner in terms of return on investment. On the contrary, a good SEM plan can bring new leads to the website instantly and provide a higher return on investment at least until the website achieves a significant ranking in organic search engine results. Achieving the perfect harmony between SEO and SEM will produce optimum ROI for the website owner.

Due to evolving nature of search technology, many articles available on the subject may be outdated. Some articles may be misleading which might flag a website as search engine spam. This manuscript provides a systematic approach to the subject. Chapter 2 has highlighted the significance of improving ranking not only in the most popular search engine but also in other major search engines. Chapter 3 discussed search engine optimization strategies. Following the guidelines in this chapter will ensure a good ranking in search engine results. These guidelines have to be followed through the inception of the website to regular maintenance tasks. Chapter 4 focused on major search engine spamming techniques that have been used to mislead search engines. Most of these techniques have been identified by popular search engines as spam. Sites which are penalized should expect to lose at least one month of search engine traffic, though 1 month period is a highly optimistic evaluation. Chapters 1 through 5 served as a guideline for new and experienced webmasters. Experienced webmasters can use this information to improve rankings. New webmasters may have to recruit a search engine optimization firm to help improve rankings but will be equipped to ask the “How and Why” of the trade. Many SEO firms incorporate spamming strategies to boost rankings. These are short term results and will consequently get one’s website penalized. Beware of such SEO firms. Last but not least, SEO results take time to show effect. Rankings tend to increase as the website grows in content rich pages and collects relevant inbound links. Chapter 6 served as an introduction to SEM. Search engine marketing is a fast and effective way to gain targeted visitors. Caution must be exercised about Bid jamming and Click fraud.

Conclusions

     No two search engine relevancy algorithms are the same. Every search engine company tries to achieve a distinct identity by providing different results to the same search query. Only 1.1% of the first page results of popular search engines are identical (Chapter 2; Section – Overlap Analysis). Though Google is currently deemed as the most popular search engine, there is no assurance that Google will maintain its popularity in the future. Hence, it is advisable to focus on achieving higher rankings not only in Google but also other prominent search engines. Additionally, 87.2% of search engine users exhibit loyalty to their favorite search engine (Chapter 1; Section – Significance of search engines). Achieving top rankings in popular search engines will provide exposure to unique users. These statistics are applicable to both SEO and SEM. An effective SEO strategy will be to focus on optimization taking into consideration the algorithms of at least a few popular search engines. Yahoo! Search and MSN Search are considered to adapt a content based relevancy algorithm where as Google has popularity based approach. Figure 8 (Chapter 2; Section – Overlap analysis) points out this difference between the relevancy algorithms. Achieving higher rankings in Yahoo! Search and MSN Search may be governed by higher quality content. This factor is controlled by the website owner. On the other hand, Google determines ranking by link popularity, over which the website owner has limited control. As a consequence, the website owner may notice an improvement in Yahoo! and MSN rankings in a relatively short period over Google.

Figure 4 (Chapter 2; Section – Search engine relationship chart) demonstrates the reach of Google Adsense and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Google Adsense and Yahoo! Search Marketing provides paid listings not only to many independent publishers but also to almost every popular search engine. It is necessary to build a SEM campaign devoting equal attention to both Google Adsense and Yahoo! Search Marketing to gain search users who are loyal to almost every popular search engine. SEM funds should be divided between both Google Adsense and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Keyword research is of utmost importance. Identifying new keywords and short listing existing keywords can be an empowering factor in gaining new leads.

There is a psychological difference between organic and inorganic search results. The user knows that inorganic search results are based on the CPC rate paid by the advertiser and hence may not lead to what the user is searching. This psychological difference may trigger the search user to give a higher priority to organic search results, which are unbiased over inorganic search results. This factor signifies the relative importance of SEO.

Recommendations

     Search engine algorithms are constantly updated by search engine companies to provide better search results to users and punish spammers. This constant evolution makes SEO a very volatile topic. The only alternative is to keep oneself abreast with the latest information available about popular search engines. In comparison to other research, this topic also imposes time restrictions. Identifying optimization strategies and implementing them in the shortest possible time to improve rankings and keeping one on top of spam policies specified by popular search engines is equally important. Any optimization technique that may improve rankings at present may be classified as spam in future. The website owner should be at guard to clean up the website before the site indexed in such a scenario. Most search engine spiders index websites every 15 to 30 days.

http://www.searchenginewatch.com is an industry authority in search engine marketing. Acquaintance with discussions and regularly published articles will help to improve knowledge and incorporate new strategies in areas of search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

Suggestions and Future Research

     Internet marketing is a blossoming field of study. Future research in this area should not only focus on search marketing but also on other marketing techniques. Email marketing is a tried and successful approach to draw a vast amount of targeted visitors in a very short time. Laws for email spamming are stringent and impose heavy penalties on the spammer. Email spamming unlike search engine spamming is governed by the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov). Continuous research is being carried out to identify effective forms of advertising media formats. Advertising media formats started as static images during the infancy of internet.  Presently, online advertising media formats have achieved speech and motion capabilities. Banner advertising which was very popular at one time is now regarded as one of the least effective means of online advertising. This is due to a growing trend in the psychology of internet users to unconsciously ignore banner advertisements referred to as banner blindness. For a new website, a single email with an effective image or movie forwarded by the website owner to acquaintances can have the same effect as a nuclear chain reaction. Only in this case, the victims are targeted visitors who are excited by the contents of the email and curious to know more about the website. Interesting emails may be forwarded by recipients to their acquaintances. This strategy can bring instant visitors to the website in vast numbers at absolutely no cost. This model is constantly abused in chat rooms generally by owners of pornographic and dating websites. The reason being chat rooms are not under as much strict supervision as emails. Moreover, the abuser uses a deceptive identity which might be psychologically favorable to prompt a random user to initiate communication with the abuser. The abuser responds with the intended material.

In conclusion, the basis of marketing is to develop new and effective means of captivating the target audience. There are no boundaries to the research that can be performed on this subject. This not only involves developing a stunning communication tool but also understanding the thought process of the user.

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