While social media sites like Facebook may be getting all the press these days, it's important to remember that search not only started it all, but is still the most effective Internet marketing channel.
Any Internet marketing strategy needs to be heavily weighted toward search. And search engine optimization is the first place to start. I've written quite a bit about search engine optimization in the past, but this month I'll begin a two part video series on how Newfangled approaches search engine optimization. Here in part one I'll cover the nitty-gritty of how to optimize a specific web page for search engines, and next month, I'll review our search engine performance using Google Analytics. You can either click below to begin watching the video or continue reading and watch clips from the video as you follow along.
Studies consistently show that organic search results, the ones that display on the main body of search results pages, significantly out perform purchased AdWords that appear along top and right side of search results. Organic search results are free, they get clicked much more frequently, and they carry a sense of trust and authority over their link-for-hire cousins--precisely because they can't be bought. The value of organic search results make the extra work needed to optimize your pages well worth the effort.
Optimizing Every Page
Search engine optimization is not about getting your home page to the top of search results. It's about optimizing every single page on your site--since they all contribute to traffic. Some pages will get a lot of traffic, and some will just get a little, but a lot of a little is still a lot. In fact, as you'll see next month when we review our search traffic in Google Analytics, sometimes infrequently visited pages can be more valuable than home page visits. It has to do with the searcher's intent--but I'll come back to that concept later.
Search engines like Google are very secretive about how they rank pages for search phrases, but whatever subtleties they may employ, they never wander far from the basics. The most important criteria for any search engine are the words on the page.
It's every search engine's goal to help you find what you're looking for. Like digital librarians they sift though billions of pages in their website stacks to find the very best resources to recommend. When you think about how little they have to go on--the few words we enter into a search box, contrasted with how many sources there are to consider--among the billions of web pages, the fact that search engines work at all is pretty amazing.
Becoming an Assistant Librarian
If a search engine is like a librarian, then search engine optimization is like being a librarian's assistant.
As an assistant librarian, it's your job to make sure every book--or in this case, every web page--is properly identified, categorized, and cataloged, and tagged to make the librarian's job easier.