INTRODUCTION TO WEB MARKETING
Search Engines constitute the principal access to Websites. It is a statistical fact that a user who carries out a search with a Search Engine does not then look beyond the third page of ‘results’. Consequently, in order to attain a good Net visibility, it is essential to appear in those first thirty positions thrown up by the Search Engine.
Therefore it is fundamental to promote one’s own website on Research Engines.
When one refers to such ‘promotion’, one has in mind two main disciplines:
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What’s the difference between Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing?
The two terms are often wrongly regarded as interchangeable. But in fact it is important to emphasise that they constitute two distinct methodologies.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a broad heading which includes all aspects of web marketing aimed at increasing both the visibility and accessibility of a site, via Search Engines. This includes ‘Pay per click’, link ‘popularity’ measures, social media marketing, viral marketing etc. SEM also permits an accurate analysis of feedback and response for each individual method utilised.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has as it’s main objective the positioning of the Website pages within the ‘organic results’ of the searches carried out by Search Engines. These ‘organic results’ refer to the pages automatically thrown up when a search is carried out by a search engine.
In particular, SEO concentrates on maximising the architecture of a website, and of all aspects of the content of each of its individual pages.
SOME NOTES ON SEM
How do search engines indices work
Search engines use a ‘spider’ to catalogue the thousands of pages on the Net.
What is a spider?
Spider is the software utilised by search engines to catalogue all the material that they find on the Net.When the spider comes across a new site, it memorises the different pages and follows the links toward other sites, following it’s pathway. The role of a spider is to create indices of the material it finds on the Net, placing it in order depending upon its popularity.
How do google indices work?
The indexing of websites by Google is based upon a formula, PAGERANK, which evaluates the relevance of a particular page.
PageRank is nothing other than a numeric value given by Google to each url that is catalogued by its spider. The higher the number of links that point in the direction of a particular page, the higher its PageRank rating.
In turn, it is influenced by the PageRank rating of those pages which indicate those very same links.
Google doesn’t take into account only the quantity of links, but also their quality. The idea behind PageRank is very simple: each link is regarded as a ‘vote’ by the site which mentions the link, awarded to the site to which the link refers. ‘Votes’ by sites which themselves are popular sites, carry more value.
NOTE: The Google algorythym does not remain unchanged. On the contrary, it is periodically updated by search engines to contrast attempts by spam and other tricks to increase the PageRank of less popular sites.
What's Link Popularity?
Link Popularity refers to the inbound links toward a web page. This statistic has a notable influence upon its visibility on the search engine. In the first instance, a website’s ‘link popularity’ is determined by the quantity and the quality of inbound links that it receives. The higher the number of such links and the more that they derive from authoritative sites, the higher the visibility it will possess on the search engine.
This visibility on the leading search engines is higher still if the inbound link is based on a key word with which we are attempting to position ourselves.
What are the main strategies adopted in order to increase your own site’s popularity?
- Create a blog to promote the site
- Exploit social media marketing
- Write articles ('article marketing') on the issue and post them to the leading platforms (eg. Comunicatostampa.net, Squidoo, Digg). Use the key word, with which we wish to position ourselves, as an 'anchor text' to link the site
- Insert one’s site into the Local Business Centre for Google
- Exploit Yahoo Answers
- Intervene in newsgroups and forums and link one’s own site
- Spreading link requests to all the sites in one’s sector of interest
- Obtaining links from another site with the aim of attaining a PageRank rather than traffic
- Forum Spam: exaggerated use of link insertions and interventions in forum
- Blog Spam: inserting keywords and links to one’s own site in the first comments on a blog (it can be done, but in moderation and in relation to the topic of discussion)
- Dangerous Link Exchanges: sending requests to exchange links
- Hiding the repetition of key words in a text by colouring the text the same as the background
- Inserting images that are irrelevant or of one pixel, only to insert ‘Return’ tags carrying texts useful for ‘positioning’
- Excessive repetition of key words
- Inserting lists of key words in the tag title and in the description
Pay per Click
pay per click (PPC) is a method of buying and paying for OnLine publicity; the cost of the Ad varies depending upon the number of clicks accrued by the Ad. This form of advertising allows you to maximise your investment. One example of Pay Per Click advertising is KEYWORD ADVERTISING, those sponsored ads which appear alongside the search results. Based upon keyword-selection, groups are created of those Ads which appear whenever a user utilises a key word in the title of their search phrase.
Links sponsored by Google are created by the GOOGLE ADWORDS PROGRAMME, which permits it to show the Ads that are visualised on the results pages of Google’s search.
The GOOGLE ADSENSE PROGRAMME, instead publishes the AdWords advertisements of Google on individual websites. Google then makes a payment to the publishers of the sites upon which the Ads are viewed, based upon the clicks received or the impressions generated, depending upon the type of advertisement.
BRIEF GUIDE TO SEO TECHNIQUES
What are the stages in the optimization of a site?
Definition of a keyword selection; Optimization of the Tag (Title, Description, Return…); Optimization of content (both for the user and for the search engine);Registration on the search engine and in the requisite directories.
- Definition of keyword selection
What are keywords? Keywords can be made up of a single word or of a combination of words with which the search engines classify a site within their database, and which are utilised by users as a term for carrying out their research.
The objective is to find the words which, on the one hand, fit well with the site contents, and at the same time will be most often typed by the users of the search engines.
Once identified, keywords (from ten to twenty at most) will be inserted into the site (in the tags and in the content) and will be used for link popularity.
How does one carry out a keyword selection?
First of all it is necessary to identify the user, and imagine how he/she might describe the item for which he/she is searching during the research phase. There are suitable tools for this (eg. Google Webmaster) which assist in the choice of key words.
- Maximisation of the tag
The title of each page is one of the most important factors influencing its positioning.
It is fundamental that the titles:
are different for each individual page of the site;
are compatible with the page contents;
contain the most important key words;
include the name of the site; are composed of two-to-four words and do not exceed sixty characters; are not composed solely of the key word.
picture searching is the second type of research carried out by Google. The images traceable by the search engines will have an influence upon the index-rating of the pages upon which they are found. To be traceable, the images must carry a Tag ALT which describes them.
It is important that the ALT:
are different for each image carried on the site; relate to the image; contain the principal key word.
The tag description provides a brief description of the contents of the page. It is almost always used by Google as a snippet of the site (the short presentation of the site which appears in the research). The tag description is also useful to encourage the user to enter the site.
A good Description must:
not be longer than two or three lines; contain the most important key words plus some of those of the second level; be compatible with the page; not be the same for all the pages; be attractive or informative.
A search engine doesn’t classify sites according to their visual appearance.
Instead, it tends to prioritise those sites which present themselves with a simple, linear structure, and which avoid over-technical language. It is much better to create pages using the HTML vocabulary.
- Optimization of Content:
The Spiders go looking for content to be indexed. For search engines, therefore, content is the most fundamental aspect of the site.
For the positioning of the site, it is the text on the pages that is the most important feature.
If the objective is to attain a good positioning within the search engines, it is not the graphics that need to be emphasised (even though they can attract users), but rather the content, given that that is what interests most the search engines.
The rule is: "CONTENT IS KING". In terms of positioning, search engines prefer sites which carry text which is the most accurate, relevant and updated, compared to the competition.
Bear in mind that, when cataloguing pages, the search engines currently do not count:
elements of Flash;
elements in ASP or in PHP.
In order to create high-value content it is necessary to:write interesting text; write unique content – don’t ever copy text from other sites, something which would risk being penalized; frequently update the text of your own site; insert the keyword within the text, but without exaggerating.