Improving search engine results, Part 2

Improving search engine results, Part 2

In part one of this series, we covered the basics of how search engines work, and how they rank sites. In this installment, we’ll provide you with basic knowledge and techniques you can put to use right away. As with part one, our focus is on helping demystify search engine optimization for newbies, business owners and managers. At a minimum, this series will help you have smarter conversations with agencies, search consultants and your own marketing team on how to improve search results and rankings. Quick Recap of Search Engines First, a quick recap: search engines largely “see” your website as plain text and HTML.  Here’s what the Atomic Bell home page looks like to a search engine: Looks quite different, eh?  No images, no colors.  Mostly text. Search engine bots (also called spiders) “crawl” your site’s content regularly so that they can match up user’s search terms (keywords) to the highest quality sites.  So the fundamentals of SEO (search engine optimization) largely focus on the what (keywords), where (HTML elements – more on this later) and the overall quality of content. It’s Elementary The “low hanging fruits” of SEO are HTML elements, which are made up of “tags”.  It’s the easiest thing to focus on at first because it’s 100% at your control. Think of these “on-page factors” as the “blocking and tackling” of SEO. “Off the page” factors, such as the number and quality of sites linking to your page are harder to control and take more time to cultivate. There are countless online tutorials and books on HTML, so we won’t get into too much detail here.  For those who aren’t familiar with HTML, the basics that you...
Improving search engine results Part 1: How search engines work.

Improving search engine results Part 1: How search engines work.

High placement on search engine results is critical for a businesses of any size. For a small business, it can be a make or break factor. Unfortunately, getting started with SEO (search engine optimization) can be daunting. In this post, Part 1 of 2, we’ll help you learn the basics of SEO and provide you with useful resources to take you to the next level.  In Part 2, we’ll dig in a bit deeper with some simple techniques to boost your search engine results. Let’s get started! Some definitions. Before we start, let’s define and differentiate SEO and SEM.  The two terms are often confused and incorrectly used interchangeably. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of best practices that help maximize how high search engines will list your page within un-paid (organic) results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a broader term.  It encompasses a number of marketing activities, including SEO.  However, SEO always refers to un-paid, organic search results. SEM, on the other hand, typically also incorporates paid advertising, including paid search result ads. Oh, what a tangled web the Internet weaves: the basics of how search engines work. The best place to start is to dig a bit into how search engines gather, classify and rank information about websites.  It all starts with links (hyperlinks) and search engine’s unsung heroes: automated “robots” lovingly, and appropriately, called “crawlers” or “spiders”.   These little guys work tirelessly, day and night, crawling the web and following each and every link to whatever website it leads them.  Along the way, they look through the site’s code and record selected pieces of content and other data. As the robots crawl the billions of interconnected websites that make up the World...