Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

 Preamble
We are in the 21st century and the era of quick and easy search engine optimisation (SEO), where the whole world can get to know you just because you provided a search engine with three keywords, is over. This was true in 1995 when there were only several thousand existing Internet sites around the globe. Today there are several hundred million! It's reassuring to know that in 1995, there were less than a million Internet users and that today there are more than a billion. With 1000 times the number of sites and 1000 times the number of visitors, it is not illogical that the same SEO has become 1000 times more difficult.

This being so, as soon as your site contains pertinent content, search engines are going to give it the attention it deserves because this is clearly where their interest lies.

Before focusing on search engine optimisation, carefully read the Marketing/Marketing Tools chapter in order to fully understand the tools you have at your disposal for creating qualified traffic on your site. After all, that's what it's all about.

Read the help pages dedicated to SEO very carefully. They contain many techniques that will help you with this step, which is likely uncharted territory for you, in particular for distinguishing between the different available tools. Indeed, it is essential to understand the difference between what you have to pay for and what is free, tools that give immediate results and those that offer long-term results, tools with guaranteed results and those providing random results.

If your site and domain name are "new", the first operation that needs to be carried out is to let the different search engines know that you exist and that you've just opened your "doors". This is what is called 'search engine submission'.

There are free submissions (with Google, for example) and paying submissions. When you have to pay, you are not paying for your spot in a directory (like with the Yahoo directory, for example). The fact that you pay for a submission simply means that the search engine will get to your site more quickly to index it. This payment in no way constitutes a placement guarantee in the search engine results.

Be wary of SEO solutions offering "the submission of your site to 1000 search engines after analysis and an expert evaluation for only 99 pounds!" Don't expect to find any more miracles on the Internet than in everyday life. For this price, you will get a "lousy" relationship created by a crawler that will stick a bit of not very pertinent advice into several paragraphs, and the submission of your site to numerous second-rate search engines that won't bring you a single qualified visit.

Remember

   1) that with a free submission to 2 or 3 of the big search engines leading the market, you will have covered 99.9% of searches without having spent a single pound,
   2) that if miracle solutions at 99 pounds really worked, Actinic would have negotiated a partnership with them years ago!

If you have to spend money on paying SEO tools, think about consulting an expert in regards to your choice of keywords and for advice about the content of your pages. Getting help with good SEO techniques can cost several thousand Pounds. But is this unreasonable? Not when you consider that the Google engine alone treats hundreds of millions of requests across the globe every day, which probably translates to tens of millions of requests for the English Web alone each and every day. The presence of an advertisement for your company in the yellow pages wouldn't cost any less for an equal amount of visibility! However, it's all a question of measure and budget. After all, you can't put all of your eggs into one basket.

If you don't want to spend several thousand Pounds for a SEO approach that, like corporate advertising, will only bear its fruit in the long-term, there is an excellent alternative solution. This solution, available in search engines, is called keyword campaigns. For several dozen or several hundred pounds a month, with a pay per click payment system, you can secure an excellent presence in these search engines at minimal cost to you. However, you must renew the operation on a regular basis. In the first case, you make a large investment that will pay for itself over the course of several years. In the second case, you have less up-front expenses, which may however become recurrent.

And Actinic' role in all of this? Actinic is a bit like a company who, in the real world, would provide you with a "store kit": the space, fittings, sign and display mounting hardware, etc. We would do this while ensuring the best possible quality of this equipment and making sure that you wouldn't need to call on specialist services in order to set up and maintain this equipment.

You wouldn't ask this company to guarantee your advertising effectiveness by defining your marketing and advertising message for you! On the other hand, you would insist that the metal shutters on the storefront be lifted every day so that you can set up your signs, light up the storefront, etc. This is exactly the type of service that Actinic provides for you on the Internet.

In this regard, we have clients who "turn up" in the top pages of Google and others who don't appear in these pages. This all depends on the way that they use the tools we provide and on the content of their site.
 
 Definitions: Search Engines, Directories, and Keyword Campaign Systems
Search engines are databases that index millions of Internet pages by attempting to classify them more or less automatically. They discover that a page or an Internet site exists either because a site that is already indexed in the engine's database contains a link to the new site, or because the administrator of this new site has manually submitted their site to the search engine so that it can be proposed to visitors searching the engine.

Directories are databases based on the same concept as the paper directory "the yellow pages". You will be part of a section\subsection\sub-subsection according to the organization that has been determined by the company that runs the directory. Most appearances in these directories are paid listings that are settled on a yearly basis. In general, someone will visit your site to validate its content before classifying it into a certain section. In some directories, you have the possibility of presenting your site in several sections by paying the registration fees several times.

Keyword campaign systems are systems that work in parallel with search engines and directories. They allow you to manage self-service keyword campaigns. And with a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) system, you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. You control your costs by setting your monthly or daily budget to the amount you are willing to spend. Your advertising budget can be anywhere from £5, £10, £100, to £1000 a month. You only pay according to the results you obtain. Thanks to Cost-Per-Click pricing, you only pay when your commercial link is clicked on, no matter how many times it's displayed.

With keyword campaign systems, positioning is optimal and accessible to everyone. Indeed, the combination of your click-through rate and your CPC is what determines the display position of your ads: The best ads are displayed at the top of the list. Thanks to this system, your competitors can no longer prevent you from taking up the best positions in the search result pages! You can modify your ads as often as you wish. You can choose to place several ads with a set of keywords or create several campaigns. Publication is extremely rapid, in general taking between several minutes and several days.

Be sure you can differentiate between:
  • Listings in search engines, which is a bit like corporate advertising.
  • Listings in directories, which are the electronic equivalent of the yellow pages.
  • Keyword Campaigns, which come closer to classic commercial advertising.
 
 General Warnings for SEO (engines, directories, keywords)

WARNING: Before submitting your site to the different search engines, make sure:
  • That your site is open to the public. Otherwise, the search engine crawlers will consider your submission to be invalid.
  • That you have carefully filled in the "Meta Description" zones and that you have understood the meaning.
  • That you are well advanced in the construction of your site so that any automatic or manual controls performed by the search engines do not result in your exclusion.
  • That you possess a domain name. Using mysite.oxatis.com will work, but it is more intelligent to communicate using your own domain name.
  • You know that submitting an unfinished site is an error. Don't think that it's the first thing you need to do. Would you invite the press to visit the empty and unrenovated site of your new store?
  • That you respect the search engines. Do not submit the same information to the same search engine more than once thinking that you will receive a better ranking. Remember that an elevator will not arrive any faster if you press the button a hundred times! Furthermore, search engines are more cunning than elevators and won't hesitate to exclude you if abused.
  • Lastly, be patient. Quality search engine optimisation is built over a period of several months.
 
 Yahoo!, Google, etc. Search Engines? Directories? or Keyword Campaign Systems?
Hard to say! In general, they combine several activities. They can even be portals. But, again, none of this is very different from the real world. When you read a magazine, you will find original articles, press releases that seem to be the same in every magazine, advertisements, and editorial advertising. The same thing goes for the Internet.

Some services, like Google, use their own database for indexing purposes. Others are fed by these outside specialist databases. For this reason, there is no point in submitting your site to both services because the first one will do all of the indexing work.
 
 Search Engines
Search engines generally take into account the registration of a URL to their database immediately. On the other hand, the indexing of its content requires about 1 to 2 weeks for paying submissions and 2 to 6 months for free submissions.

Indexing crawlers behave in exactly the same way as Web surfers: they scan the pages, carefully logging all of the words therein and successively visiting the existing URLs. In this fashion, using a base of several hundred pages, the crawlers are able to scan several million documents connected together by hypertext links.

If a site is momentarily unavailable when the crawlers pass by (under construction, closed to the public, failure or network problem), its indexing is simply postponed.

When crawlers index a site, they first use the META tags to build the summary that will appear when this site is searched for. META tags are HTML tags that are automatically inserted in the pages of your site by the Actinic system based on the information that you have provided (title, description, keywords, etc.) and that specify for the crawlers how the page should be indexed (recognition of the title, keywords, description, etc.).

Indexing is carried out for the integrality of the text, which means that crawlers take all of the words in a Web page into account. In other words, when a keyword is entered in a search, crawlers respond according to the weight that they give to each word in the site. This weight takes META tags into account, as well as the location of the words in the page, their frequency and their formatting.

In other words, it is pointless to enter keywords that don't correspond to your site's content, and in particular your home page.
 
 How are the scores calculated?
Don't be overly curious. Would a renowned chef reveal their famous recipes? Each search engine has closely-kept secrets regarding the workings of their ranking system.

This being said, logic can be used to understand their methods. Their goal is to provide the user who is performing a search with the most pertinent results.

The search engine has to avoid proposing sites that claim to correspond to the expressions or keywords selected by the internet user, but whose content doesn't actually provide any useful information.

Therefore, consider that search engines react negatively to your keywords. They are going to try to find correlation criteria for each of your keywords to test their veracity. Is this keyword used on your home page? Several times in several different paragraphs? Does your domain name contain this word? Do you refer to it in your site's title? Do you mention this word in your site's description?

Because the domain name, title and description are relatively short expressions, the search engine knows full well that you can't "cheat" by using irrelevant keywords.

It is, therefore, useless to list tons of keywords. The most important thing when defining your content, keywords, title, domain name and description is to remain consistent.
 
 How often do crawlers visit my site?
Once every fifteen days, once a year: it all depends on the type of submission. If you have paid for this service, they come more often! They check to see if the content has been modified.
 
 It's been several weeks or several months and my site is still not indexed. What's going on?
If you have paid for a submission, then contact the concerned search engine. If you used a free submission, and if the search engine accepts them (certain search engines only accepts them for non-commercial sites), just be patient. Search engines make no commitments when it comes to indexing wait times for free submissions.
 
 How to be at the top of the list?
The results are classified according to the content of your pages. Calculating the scores is complicated. The number, quality and reputation of other sites with a backlink to your site (reciprocal links) are all taken into account by search engines, who generally classify sites without any sort of manual intervention.

The same rules apply as in real life: To be at the top, you have to be the best, most well-rounded, most noteworthy site.
 
 How to achieve the best possible search engine ranking?
The best way to obtain a well-placed search engine listing is to be filled with content.

Identify and focus your efforts on several keywords or expressions -- those that internet users will enter to access you pages. Build the titles of your components, menus, home page, etc. around these words. They need to show up more often than the others. An introduction paragraph with a descriptive text containing your "preference keywords" will help the search engine to create a better summary of your site.
 
 How to optimise keywords?
Several recommendations concerning the critical choice of keywords:

Use specific expressions describing the type of products or services that you offer because the competition for certain general terms is so tight that it will be very difficult to be ranked among them. You will attract more-focused, high quality visitors if they come from a web search query containing specific terms.

Do your homework and find out what your competitors are doing. Perform a search using the keywords you favor and when you have found a website, display its source code (Menu: View/Page Source) and take note of the keywords that are being used for the site in the META tags (look for the [ meta name="keywords" ] tag).

Establish a list of keyword expressions. A good method is to use an Excel table with the keywords you have chosen in the first column, and then use a column for each competitor. Determine which keywords are the most used and the most pertinent, as well as those that will differentiate you from the others.
 
 How to optimise the title?
The title is one of the most important factors for optimising your web pages. This title is also the one that search engines generally use as the title of your page in their list of search results.

The title should be between 50 and 80 characters long to satisfy the criteria of most search engines.

Recommendations concerning the title:
  • Include one or two of your most important expressions or keywords in the title. However, don't just list your keywords. Formulate an intelligible sentence.
  • Choose an attractive title that will inspire Internet users to click on your link.
  • Put the keywords at the beginning of your title so that they won't be cut off by search engine space limitations.
 
 How to optimise the description?
The description is another important element. Certain search engines use it in their list of search results.

The description should be between 100 and 200 characters long to satisfy the criteria of most search engines.

Recommendations regarding the description:
  • Describe the content of your site while at the same time inspiring visitors to click.
  • Include your most important keyword expressions, especially those that are present in your title and in your content.
  • Put the most important keywords at the beginning of your description so that your keywords won't be cut off by possible length restrictions applied by the search engines.
 
 How to optimise the content?
The content of your home page is just as important as the title, the description and the keywords if you want to be placed higher up in the lists of search engine search results. The content is the text that will be read by someone who visits your site.

Search engine crawlers read this content as any other visitor would and look for keyword expressions.

To get the best results, the page should include at least 200 words. The text should not only include your keywords, but should also be coherent and intelligible. It is imperative that you use the words and expressions that you used in the title, description and keyword fields.
 
 How to make my site appear when "my keywords" are searched for?
When a search is launched, search engines compare the words contained in the user request and the words contained in their databases, those of which are pulled from the INTEGRALITY of your site (keywords present in the META tags and especially their appearance in the pages). Different sites appear according to the match of the request in relation to the content of the page, from the most to the least pertinent. This being the case, there are no guarantees that your site will be shown for a search on a keyword that you have used if the search engine doesn't consider this keyword to be very representative.
 
 SEO experts have advised me to do this or that. What should I really be doing?
The amazing thing about experts in the SEO world is that there aren't any qualifying criteria for becoming an expert, other than self-proclaiming yourself as one! Each site is different and each site's content is more or less difficult to index. Success with one site in no way proves that there are one or several miracle methods for good search engine optimisation and that whoever worked on the SEO of such and such a site is an expert or a guru!

Also keep in mind that the goal of search engines is to propose the most useful content to their visitors. For this reason, they invest hundreds of millions of dollars to create the most dependable algorithms that neutralise "cheaters" whose goal, if you really think about it, is to be better indexed than what the content of their site is really worth! In view of the players that they're up against (Google, Microsoft, and others), the life of a "cheater" is not an easy one.

Therefore, avoid gimmicks, that seem a little too easy, like the plague from people claiming to know it all: For example, "You need to put a certain file in the root so that the search engine indexes the site better", "You need to add a certain piece of script", "You need to use a certain TXT or XML file", etc. Google and their colleagues are perfectly capable of following the links in your site like a real visitor. After all, the ideal search engine would be the one that ignores all of the METAs and that would be able to index your site solely based on your content!

This being said, there are real "experts" in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the term: "one who has skill, experience, or extensive knowledge, a specialist".

If your expert talks to you about the content of your site, asks you who your competitors are, reasons according to the keywords and content of your competitors: then you have probably found someone you can depend on to succeeed in the SEO of your site.
 

Add to favorites: http://www.actinic.co.uk/Help/HelpCenterContent.asp?ActionID=512&TID=1224&MID=7000%7C55434&LangID=1
© 2001-2018 Actinic. All rights reserved.