Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Managing Website Optimization | SEO and SEM Services On and Off Site

As it stands today, one of the best long-term solutions to overall website visibilty that we know of is search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). This is the the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via “natural” search results for targeted keywords.

The earlier a site is presented in the search results for respective keywords or the higher it “ranks” in the SERPS (search engine page results) the more potential searchers will visit that site.

While most website owners still don't understand the importance of having these services applied to their website or how it how it can affect a website's total traffic over time; it is a seperate challenge for many more even to understand the specifics involved in managing an on-site or off-site website marketing campaign for their business.

There are many resources online that talk about the differneces between these types of campaigns and although there are many differences of opinion, the fact of the matter is that the processes involved are very complicated and can be very time consuming to explain to the average Joe or Jane. Ultimately understanding that content is king, goes a long way in this business. Which means that if you write great content that is properly optimzed the search engines will know what to do with it. Great content will not only get people to your website but will keep them coming back.

The following are some basics about on-site and off-site website optimization and how they apply to SEO and SEM marketing strategies.

On-Site Website Search Engine Optimization-

The process of On-site search engine optimization involves optimizing your website for the specific keywords that you are trying to rank for in the SERPS. It involves the manipulation specific attributes within the website document, which are listed below.

1. Meta Tags
2. Image Alt Tags
3. Sitemap
4. Robots.txt
5. Home Page
6. Sub Pages and Content

This can itself be a daunting task, however the common goal in manipulating these attributes is simple, to define how the search engines will interact with your website which will in turn determine your websites page-rank over time as well as it's visibilty within the search engines for specifically targeted keywords.

Once these attributes have been manipulated for optimization based on your keyword selection.

The search engines then very carefully determine the websites page(s) relevancy to it's content, title, and name of the URL by calculating it's keyword density weight against other similarly optimized websites (usually your competitors) .

Whichever website has the higher density of prominent keywords get's the higher pagerank.

It's really that simple to understand, although the process is not as simple as it can be explained.

Although there are many of you that have very simple websites and very basic optimization needs in terms of visibilty; if you don't know what your doing, you should speak with a trusted SEO company or SEM firm before making any changes to your website code on your own.

I have spoken with several individuals that tried to manipulate this content on there own and ended up hurting their online business efforts in the long run.

But, there are many free tools on the web that can help you manage your on-site website optimization if you search around.

I would recommend starting with Google. First, try a search for "free keyword density checker". There will be several versions of this tool, choose the one that best suits your specific needs. Next do a search for "free pagerank checker". There will be several version of this as well, again simply choose the one that best suits your needs. Last but not least is a really basic website code /design editor like MS Frontpage or even Dreamweaver if it they are accessible, but any will do.

Once you have these three tools and have done a little more marketing research on the attributes mentioned above you should be ready to begin your on-site website optimization.

Off-Site Website Search Engine Optimization-

Off-site website search engine optimization is a much easier concept to understand but is much more time consuming in the long-run to explain.

Off-site website search engine optimization is generally done after your website has been made search engine friendly by on-site website optimization.

In order to further increase your website traffic, pagerank and overall visibilty, your website now needs to get "votes" links pointing to it. The types of links are very important for your website to rank for certain search phrases.

When speaking in terms of digital space you want your network of links to reflect the keywords your website page(s) is optimized for.

(Example:- if you want to rank for the keyword phrase “abc golf supplies” the inbound link text must be “abc golf supplies”, this creates a “vote” for your website for the search phrase “abc golf supplies” – in very simple terms the website that has the most “votes” or inbound links with the “anchor text” or search phrase in the link text should outrank competitive websites with the same prevalent keyword targets. Anchored links should be text that is relevant to the website and a term the website is trying to be recognized for. The best place to start is with Authority Websites , or sites which have similarly related content that already ranks higher than your own website.

These types of links can be obtained through several different ways and are mentioned below.

1) Reciprocal Links

2) One-way Links

3) Triangulated Links

In a nutshell you want to have as many of these links as possible linking back to your website. Anchored links from authority sites is what gives your site recognition in the eyes of the search engines. The problem with getting anchored links from authority sites is that most authority sites are careful who they link to and will not always honor a request from a new site to give you an anchored link.

However there are several professional SEO companies that specialize at link building, that already have resources available the match your target market.

A Powerful Combination-

While manging your on-site website optimization, which can be an ongoing process until you get the results you want it terms of keyword density as well as relevancy; in addition to considering the aging or maturing periods of inbound links, which takes approximately 3 to 6 months for links to count as solid votes for your website. You must realize in general that the SEO, SEM process could easily be a full-time job and learning this art is far easier than implementing a campaign yesterday, which is when you needed it.

Where inbound links no longer count as a vote immediately, like they did in the past and Google as well as other search engines constantly changing the way in which SERPS are delivered; it's not hard to realize how much effort really is involved in having your website properly optimized to bring quality and consistant traffic from your on-site and off-site website optimization practices.

Although on-site website optimization is designed to work independantly from off-site website optimization and can prove to be fruitful if you are well enough optimized for your target market; there is virtually no point in running an off-site campaign without first having your on-site content optimized for search.

Together these powerful website marketing techniques are certain to help to make your website a powerful HUB and eventually an authority within it’s industry, by building your backlinks properly.

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