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Search Engine Marketing 101

How do search engines work?

Search engines use programs called “spiders” to jump from one link to the next recording web pages, spinning their text in to a search engine’s “index”. This index is a huge list of information about all the pages found by the spider.

The information includes your page content, when it was updated, and how it relates to other pages on your site and the Web. Each search engine has it's own algorithm, this determines how they weigh or rank all the pages and websites in it's database.

A SERP (search engine results page) is the results page you see when you type in a search query. Search engines pre-build these, and there are over 1 quadrillion of these lists in Google, 1 list per keyword/keyphrase. This explains how google can serve up a result so quickly, because they're all pre-built.

On Page Factors

Search engines examine the source code of every web page they can find. They look for search phrases in several areas, looking at the title and H1 tag first, and then go down the list. See the content tips below for more on this.

Off Page Factors

Off page factors include links to your site, consumer reviews for your website and mentions in news releases and social media sites.

Search Engines Are Still Text Engines

  • search engines evaluate text “on-page” and “off-page”
  • search engines hide and regularly change, their algorithms to protect their results
  • all the search engines have posted policies to protect the integrity of their results; violate those policies and you will most likely get banned

3 Very Different Search Engines

  • Bing - Freshness
  • Yahoo! - Content
  • Google - Popularity

What Impacts Rankings

  • Keywords
  • Content
  • Links

Keyword Tips

Search marketing campaigns begin by identifying the exact phrases used by potential customers/website audience that you want to attract to your website.

Use the following steps to build your keyword list:

  1. Identify and list your target regions
  2. Create a list of words and phrases that relate to your products/services
  3. Enhance list 1 and 2 with related terms
  4. Combine each term in 1 with each term in 2 to form your likely list of geographically targeted phrases
  5. Use online tools to validate and prioritize terms

Content Tips

  • PAGE TITLE: Give every page a unique title. Use your target keyword at least once near the beginning of your title.
  • META CONTENT: Write a compelling META description. Google ignores META keywords.
  • URL: Use your keywords in your folder and file names.
  • LINK TEXT: Use text links instead of images, Flash, or dynamic menus where possible. Use your keywords in link text.
  • HEADINGS (H TAGS): Divide up your pages with keyword rich headings and sub-headings.
  • BODY TEXT(COPY): Use your target keywords and synonyms several times across a page.

Linking Tips

  • links are built naturally over time
  • links generated by users
  • links from authoritative sources
  • links with the right keywords
  • links from reputable, related sites
  • there are bad link neighborhoods
  • ask your friends, colleagues, business partners, and vendors for links
  • earn inbound links with exceptional content, unique coverage, controversy, or free resources
  • pay to appear in topical directories, vertical industry guides and regional publications online

Search Engine Don'ts

  • don’t stuff keywords in your web pages
  • don’t build worthless “doorway” pages
  • don’t hide text
  • don’t buy links
  • don’t overuse flash - search engines can't read them
  • don’t show nudity or things that are NSFW(not safe for work) without a warning
  • don’t use copied content, search engines check for duplicate content