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Online Promotion & Marketing:

CEO Meet SEO - Introduction to Optimization
By: Christine Stander

Having been in the search marketing industry for a couple of years, it still strikes me when I meet website owners that have just recently become aware of this “phenomenon”.

The newbies introduction.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in a nutshell is helping a website to achieve higher positioning on search engines and thus to be found by users typing in a specific query related to the website contents.

The first thing most searchers do when looking for anything on the web, is turn to their favourite search engine, for example: Google, Yahoo! and MSN to name the top three, type in their query (what they are looking for), press submit, and results magically appear approximately 3 seconds later.

For most searchers whatever is displayed on that very first page is deemed the most relevant of the hundreds and sometimes thousands of websites on the search engine’s index.

It has been proven that most people do not browse further than the first two result pages at most; therefore it is safe to assume that if your site is not listed on the first 10 – 20 results it will likely not be found.

Gaining position.

SEO uses various techniques to help prepare and boost a website into these sought after positions.

Some of the techniques used are, but not limited to:
1.Site architecture
2.Optimized content
3.Optimized html
4.Link building campaigns

To briefly explain these four points:
1.Site architecture – the directory & page structure, page names, domain name and language (asp, php, jsp, html etc. )
2.Optimized content – Key-phrases are chosen based on target market. (Key-phrases are the phrases that people will type into their browser when they are looking for something on the web.) Each page of a website is optimized for a particular term. The page copy, image names, hyperlinks etc are all carefully optimized in strategically chosen areas to reflect this particular term to the spider.
3.Optimized html – One area is the page title and meta description. This is what most search engines use to display in their results pages. This is the area that sets your site apart from the other nine results that are displayed on the page and encourages the user to choose your site.
4.Link building campaigns – Google developed their PageRank algorithm to determine the relevancy of sites as seen from a hub or group perspective. In a nutshell it ranks sites out of 10 based on how many other sites are linked to it. The theory goes that if many sites are interested in that site, then that site is surely important to users and therefore it should be important in the index. To kick-start a site Link builders are assigned to research sites that are in similar industries to their own projects, email the relevant webmaster and exchange links. In so doing, building up the site’s relevance within the hub. Once the relevance is built up, the Link building will occur on a more natural basis and link building requests should no longer be necessary.

SEO is just one area of the growing search engine marketing service industry. Most website owners turn to it first as it is a source of free traffic, unlike that of Pay per Click or Affiliate Marketing Campaigns. If you have a good SEO consultant, it is also quite easy to implement on your site, as the consultant will work with your existing site to improve its SEO friendliness.

The two major areas of search marketing are SEO and PPC, with Affiliate Marketing swiftly catching up to the former. Both PPC and SEO are equally important to ensure healthy and larger target market coverage.

Where PPC does not reach the intended market, SEO will…and vice versa, thereby increasing ROI two-fold. If you intend on making use of a PPC strategy for your website, be sure to include the services of a Web Analytics consultant. He or she will ensure that your dollars are not spent in vain on your PPC campaign and that you will benefit from good returns.

Together the SEO and Web Analyser make a powerful team.

The next step.

Contact a well informed SEO consultant to assist your site in achieving optimum exposure on the web. Be sure to obtain a list of their recommended changes prior to implementation. If they refuse to disclose their methods, it is safe to assume that their methods may be somewhat less than ethical.

Be sure to request reports on your site’s improvement, keeping in mind that SEO is not a quick fix and may take up to three months to see the desired results.

There is no doubt that optimizing your website will make a vast difference to your overall ROI. By optimizing your site it will benefit from increased exposure on the search engines and thereby increased traffic leading on to your site.

About the Author


Christine Stander is a professional search engine optimisation and online marketing strategist with experience in many facets of search marketing, user behaviour analysis and brand management.


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