Search Engine Optimization Explained
SEO by definition is the process of optimizing a web site to achieve a high rank on the search engines. Many searchers will not click through numerous pages of search engine results, so achieving a high ranking is essential to SEO.
It is estimated that over 260 million people world-wide use search engines as a tool to find products and information. Most importantly, these potential customers trust the results that Google provided. If you rank at the top, they will assume that you are the best in your field.
Organic search results, often times called natural results, are reached when a search engine lists the most relevant results to a key word search that is based solely on content. Paid advertisements, or sponsor results, are excluded from organic results in the major search engines.
There are 10 organic result to each search conducted by the three major search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN. 80% of those who use search engines completely ignore the paid results, like we all do to billboards, radio commercials, and junk mail. The reason for the disparity between the organic results and the sponsored results is people trust the organic results far more than the paid advertisements.
Pay-per-click marketing ads appear near the top of a search or to the right of the organic results of a search. These ads, also known as sponsored ads or sponsored links, are placed there because the company has paid the search engine a fee, via bidding for keywords specific to their product. Each time somebody clicks on a link in the sponsored section, the search engine charges the company, thus the term pay-per-click. While this can be an effective marketing tool, Nashville SEO experts rarely recommend this method because it is a form of paid advertising. Consumers tend to be leery of these ads and generally do not click on them. In fact, Google has estimated that 80% of those who use their search engine click the organic, natural results, versus just 20% who click on the sponsored results.
Local phrases are searches conducted by local people looking for a particular business in their area. For example, if I were looking for a Dentist or a Real Estate Agent, I would search for one within my local area. A few of the search phrases I could use are: Dentist in Nashville or Nashville Real Estate Agent.
National Phrases are searches conducted by those looking for a product from any area in the country, such as Auto Insurance or a Financial Manager.
For many professionals getting a high ranking locally will be the only form of marketing needed. A Dentist is a great example of a local search term that can be very lucrative. Also, local marketing is usually achieved much faster than national phrases. National phrases, on the other hand, generate far more traffic, which makes them the most lucrative.
Nashville SEO Information gives you accurate time lines for achieving high rankings for both local and national phrases, to help you make the best decision for your company.
How to Achieve High Rankings
The Nuts and Bolts of SEO
Many people still believe that all you need to do to achieve a good search engine ranking is to add meta-tags to their web pages. There is a major problem with that theory. EVERY decently designed web page has meta-tags! So how is Google going to weed through a million pages (all saying pick me, pick me!) to decide which pages deserve to be ranked in the top ten?
The the worth of Google corporation hinges on their reputation. Specifically, the quality of results they return when people use their search engine to find something online. If people lose respect for the quality of those results and begin utilizing other search engines, the Google empire will collapse. Therefore, the way in which Google determines search rankings is very complex and careful.
Google sends out spiders called “Google Bots” to literally read every page on the Internet on a regular basis. Each and every page that Google knows of will be read anywhere from once every two weeks to multiple times a day. It takes the data it collects and sends it through the Google algorithm, which determines search ranking. If you were to print out this algorithm on an 8.5 inch piece of paper it would extend over a mile long. What’s more, Google updates and changes this algorithm every two weeks! Therefore attaining and maintaining search engine rankings is a never ending process.
When a Google Bot reads an Internet page it searches for many factors. Meta-tags are one of those factors. If that page has the most perfectly designed meta-tags and tells Google, in Google’s own language, “I have the absolute best and most relevant page on the entire Internet for this area,” the Google bot will respond, “Of course you think so.” But the truth is meta-tags alone will do very little for the ranking of a web page these days.
The vast majority of effort necessary to pull an Internet page up from the dense forrest of Internet pages happens off-site. Once the Google Bots’ index your page, the way they determine how to rank your page is similar to the way in which a candidate goes about winning the Presidency. In the same way that Google cares very little about what is written in the meta-tags on a site, no news organization or political party is going to care where a particular candidate stands on any issue until that candidate has enough ‘votes’; and more importantly, enough votes in the right demographics. A presidential candidate who starts with 25% of the vote is impressive, except if that number is 25% of the residents from his home state of Alaska. To be a viable candidate you must have a high enough percentage of the vote in a large enough number of states to be considered a viable candidate. In addition, you must also have enough of the “right votes” from powerful people who can lend financial or name support to your candidacy. It is the same with Internet rankings. The way in which Google largely determines the credibility of a particular web site is by looking for ‘votes’ on the Internet. A vote comes in the form of separate websites pointing to the site in question, through a “link.” Google will look at many factors in determining the credibility and weight of the link sources pointing in to a website.
For instance, Google will look at factors such as:
•The PAGE RANK of the link: If a site has a PR7 (page rank of 7 out of 10) then it will be given A LOT of weight by Google, versus a PR0 link. Think of it as the difference of Oprah or Chuck Norris supporting a candidate, versus Billy Bob down at the local Bait and Tackle store.
•Whether the link is a reciprocal link or a one-way link: A reciprocal link simply means that website A points to website B and website B points back to website A. Google views such ‘back-scratching’ with less credibility.
•The diversity of links: There are many companies and services online that say they will ‘submit’ your site to hundreds of Internet directories. First of all, most of those submission services are scams (see the page on SEO scams). In addition, such a lopsided approach will again be given less credibility by the Google algorithm or could get your site banned for trying to scam Google.
•Of course, the best trade secrets we keep to ourselves, to ensure our clients are guaranteed the best rankings when they become clients of our elite Nashville SEO firm.
We at Nashville SEO Info pride ourselves in building a very diverse and extremely powerful Link Portfolio for our clients. A lot of SEO Firms build a lopsided number of links for a page, which can be effective to a point, but in the long run the best rankings require a strong and well-balance campaign. Other firms will also typically reduce their link building efforts after they achieve a certain ranking. We never stop building our client’s Link Portfolio, so that once we achieve a top ranking, we will never be passed. This is a crucial point! The wave of SEO firms is going to hit within the next two to five years. A good firm may get you a good ranking now, but when that wave of firms hits in a few years, your ranking will fall. The way in which we build our campaigns and the fact that we continue to build will mean that when a competing website hires an SEO firm in two years, the best they can hope for will be #2.