Presentation on theme: "What is a Search Engine? Definition: An internet-based tool that searches an index of documents for a particular term, phrase or text specified by the."— Presentation transcript:
What is a Search Engine? Definition: An internet-based tool that searches an index of documents for a particular term, phrase or text specified by the user. Commonly used to refer to large web- based search engines that search through billions of pages on the internet. Different than a Directory Common Characteristics: Spider, Indexer, Database, Algorithm Find matching documents and display them according to relevance Frequent updates to documents searched and ranking algorithm Strive to produce better, more relevant results than competitors
Examples popular Search Engines
How Do Search Engines Work? Spider crawls the web to find new documents (web pages, other documents) typically by following hyperlinks from websites already in their database Search engines indexes the content (text, code) in these documents by adding it to their databases and then periodically updates this content Search engines search their own databases when a user enters in a search to find related documents (not searching web pages in real-time) Search engines rank the resulting documents using an algorithm (mathematical formula) by assigning various weights and ranking factors
Why is Search Engine Marketing important? 85% of all traffic on the internet is referred to by search engines 90% of all users dont look past the first 30 results (most only view top 10) Search engine traffic is low and websites arent indexed because they are generally poorly optimized Cost-effective advertising Clear and measurable ROI Operates under this assumption: More (relevant) traffic + Good Conversions Rate = More Sales/Leads
What is Search Engine Optimization? SEO = Search Engine Optimization – Refers to the process of optimizing both the on-page and off-page ranking factors in order to achieve high search engine rankings for targeted search terms. – Refers to the industry that has been created regarding using keyword searching a a means of increasing relevant traffic to a website
What is a SEO Algorithm? Top Secret! Only select employees of a search engines company know for certain Reverse engineering, research and experiments gives SEOs (search engine optimization professionals) a pretty good idea of the major factors and approximate weight assignments The SEO algorithm is constantly changed, tweaked & updated Websites and documents being searched are also constantly changing Varies by Search Engine – some give more weight to on-page factors, some to link popularity
Steps to developing a good SEO strategy: Research desirable keywords and search phrases (WordTracker, Overture, Google AdWords)WordTrackerOvertureGoogle AdWords Identify search phrases to target (should be relevant to business/market, obtainable and profitable) Clean and optimize a websites HTML code for appropriate keyword density, title tag optimization, internal linking structure, headings and subheadings, etc. Help in writing copy to appeal to both search engines and actual website visitors Study competitors (competing websites) and search engines Implement a quality link building campaign Add Quality content Constant monitoring of rankings for targeted search terms
Ranking factors On-Page Factors (Code & Content) Title tags #3 Header tags #5 ALT image tags #4 Content, Content, Content (Body text) #1 Hyperlink text #6 Keyword frequency & density #2 Off-Page Factors Link Popularity (votes for your site) – adds credibility #2 Anchor text #1
Introduction to SEO What a search engine sees Spiders do not see a page like humans do, as it cannot describe an image, or tell you how pretty a site looks – Instead, it looks at the HTML code and structures it to make sense. Using a text browser, or disabling images and CSS are a good way of seeing your site through a search engines eyes.
What a Search Engine Sees View > Source (HTML code)
Crash Course in HTML/CSS (X)HTML is used to describe the data that is on your page CSS is used to format HTML and make it look more presentable. Web standards are continuously trying to separate content from presentation – Previously, HTML was used for both content and presentation. Latest Versions of the languages – XHTML 1.1 – CSS 3
Crash Course in HTML/CSS HTML Basics HTML uses to describe data – Data is usually enclosed in these tags Data – Tags can be images, paragraphs, titles, tables, and more Browsers render these tags differently on your screen. – There is a tendency to depend on these tags also for formatting, e.g. using tables to keep non-tabular data Not Good!
Crash Course in HTML/CSS HTML Basics (cont.) Every HTML document has some mandatory elements : Extra information about the document Document Title Page Content
Crash Course in HTML/CSS HTML Basics (cont.) Here are some basic tags important to SEO –,,, … Header tags – Makes text large and bold – Image tags – note the alternate text for SEs – link Link tags - Browsers makes the text inside a link – Bold Text Not recommended, but is said to help in SEO
SEO Techniques Keywords Keywords are the words on a webpage that best describe that page Keyword selection is the most important step to effective SEO – The keywords you use will be the phrases where you want to be highly ranked on SEs – Time and research should go into selecting the appropriate keywords before doing any SEO What are the words one would use to find your site?
SEO Techniques Keywords (cont.) Continuation on how search engines work… – When a spider goes through a webpage, it determines the weight of frequently used words in the document, and considers them the most important in the document. The more you use a word in important places, the more search engines give importance to it. – The words with highest weight are more likely to bring up your web page when used as a search term.
SEO Techniques Keywords (cont.) You must decide whether to focus on less frequently used keywords (niche) or compete for the commonly used ones. Here are some tools you can use to see which keywords are searched for frequently – Google Suggest (beta) (free) – Google adwords Offers a free keyword tool with its adwords services – WordTracker (paid)
SEO Techniques Meta Tags Meta tags are used to provide a description of the page, and a list of main keywords it uses. There is a debate over whether to cram loads of keywords into these tags, or just select the most important ones. – Search engines are getting smarter everyday, so they may penalise you for cramming – Some search engines reportedly dont even look at the meta tags (e.g. Google)
SEO Techniques Title Tag The text in this tag shows up on the top of your browser window. Quite important to include keywords here, as the title will give a general summary for what your page is about. Most search engines see this tag as an important tag for categorising what type of site you have.
SEO Techniques Anchor Tags One of the most important tags you must use for SEO. – Spiders use these to crawl your site, so you must have links to pages throughout your site. – Other sites that link to yours will send spiders your way also. Google (and others) use anchor tags to rank your site in many ways: – Firstly, text in anchor tags are given a lot of importance. – If other sites link to you, this must mean your site is popular, and so you increase in rankings. The most popular sites would, in theory, be linked to by many websites throughout the internet.
SEO Techniques Anchor Tags (cont.) Since anchor tags are so important, it is vital that you include keywords in these tags – SEs think the words to describe a link should give a good indication of what that page is about. This is one reason why it is good to have a navigation bar that uses links to all your sites. – Better that you use words, not images – Try and use tags, and not image maps, flash, etc. A sitemap is also an effective way of tying your site up if you link all your pages to this site map.
SEO Techniques Anchor Tags (cont.) Here is an example of why a sitemap is effective Page 1 Page 3 Page 4 Page 2 Sitemap This is a website without a site map. This is a website with a site map. Page 1 and 2 can only reach page 3 via page 4 Page 1 and 2 can now reach page 3 in many ways
SEO Techniques Text and Content Throughout your page you will need to use keywords in order to rank well for that word The most important places of your content to put keywords are in the headers, at the beginning, and the end of paragraphs. It is importance to balance the overuse of keywords for the sake of SEO and keeping the text relevant, readable, and informative – There is no point in having a highly ranked page if it provides no information to a user, as they will leave your site immediately
SEO Techniques H1, H2, H3, etc. Tags These tags are considered by search engines to be a description of your page. – Very important to put in some keywords there. It is always a good idea to structure your content so that it contains these tags at beginning of paragraphs, tables, sections, etc. It is quite logical that a search engine gets the overview of a paragraph from a header tag – We know what this slide is about by looking at the title of the slide
SEO Techniques Images Images are not read by search engines, and so you should avoid using too many images on your site – Many sites use images for fancy fonts, when they contain keywords that are never read by a search engine Always use an alt attribute when including an image – This gives a spider a description of the image, and also doubles as making your site accessible to blind people.
SEO Techniques Code Structure It is important to look at your HTML code and see the structure of it. – Some pages have too much code, and too little content – Some code makes it so that content is found at the bottom of the page. Pages that use tables for layout are notorious for doing this. Make sure that keywords are found at the top of your source code as well as on the actual web page – Remember, SEs dont see pages like we do, they only see our HTML code.
SEO Techniques Update your site regularly Sites that are updated regularly are spidered and indexed more frequently by SEs Sites that change often are considered by SEs as sites that provide current information, and must therefore (although not always) provide up to date information – This would provide a more relevant set of results than providing a user with pages that were made 10 years ago News Items are a great way of including a regular changing page.
SEO Techniques Dynamic Code Dynamic code can make updating your site very easy – Also useful for creating pages on the fly E.g. A shopping cart with items you want to buy SEs do not always look favourably on pages with dynamic data – These pages usually have a ? after the page name and are followed by data – You have to regularly update your site if you want to do well with dynamic pages E.g. Forums
SEO Techniques Inbound Links As said before, links from other sites are very important. – Google will no list your site if its not found on an other webpage listed by them Methods to get links on other pages – Link Exchange (free) – Paid Advertising Google Adwords Overture Specific Websites
Measuring Results Once you have started your SEO campaign, you need to measure your results and make sure you are improving on SE Rankings When you first make changes, SEs may take up to about four weeks to scan your site for changes. – There are millions of web pages for them to crawl, and so it takes time for them to get to you.
Measuring Results Reasons for no improvements Sometimes, you may not notice an improvement in your rankings – This can be due to many reasons as many factors affect your SE rankings Competition may be doing better – Marketing – More linking from other sites – Better SEO Bad choice of keywords Too much competition Etc.
Measuring Results Statistics Monitoring You can view statistics of visitors to your site. – Onestat (paid) – Google Analytics (free) – StatCounter (free) You can see what engines are used more to find your site – You can also see which keywords are used to find your site, which helps with keyword research – This can help you target particular search engines and accommodate their searching methods.
Measuring Results SEO software SEO software can be used to scan many SEs for phrases of your choice and produce visual results of how your website is doing. – Much faster than doing this manually – You can run regular searches and monitor your positioning easily and efficiently Some SEO software can also help you scan you pages and make suggestions for improvements.
Measuring Results SEO software (cont.) SEO tools : – WebPosition Gold(paid) – Advanced Web Ranking (free)
Resources Links to further SEO resources – – – –
Limitations of SEO
Searching is an evolving process from the point of view of providers (the search engines), users and website owners. What worked yesterday may not work today and be counter-productive or harmful tomorrow. In the result, monitoring or regular checks of the key search engines and directories is required to maintain a high ranking once it is achieved.
The cost of SEO is rising. More expertise is required than before and this trend will continue. The techniques employed are more sophisticated, complex and time consuming. There are fewer worthwhile search engines and directories that offer free listings. Paid placement costs are rising and the best key words expensive.
The search lottery. Search engines collect only a fraction of the billions of sites' pages for various technological reasons which change over time but nonetheless will mean for the foreseeable future that searching is akin to a lottery. SEO improves the odds but cannot remove the uncertainty altogether
SEO is a marketing exercise and, accordingly, the same old business rules apply.