Beyond the Buzzwords: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

March 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm 2 comments

This is the first post in a series of “Beyond the Buzzwords” articles designed to help business owners understand some confusing marketing lingo.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to improving your ranking among the natural listings on a search engine.  Natural rankings are the listings typically found on the left side of a search result and are not based on advertising campaigns such as pay-per-click or impression-based campaigns (typically found on the right side of the page).  The main objective to SEO is to increase the rank of your company’s listing when searching for certain keywords or phrases.  Ideally you’d like to be listed first or at least on the first page of results, but how?

It first needs to be understood that SEO is more of an art that a science.  Because of the ever-changing algorithms that the search engines use, results cannot be guaranteed and methods are always changing.  However, from the majority of SEO professionals that we’ve interviewed, we’ve garnered 3 key areas that play a big part in how you rank:

  1. Code. If you are looking at your website online, go to “View” and then “page source.”  This will bring up the code associated with your site.  The majority of the time it will be html based, but other programing languages are also used.  Code affects your rank in a number of ways.  First, your content should be easy to find.  If you site is coded in tables (look for the <table> tag in the page source), this makes it more difficult for site crawlers to find your content and isn’t good for your ranking.  Most web developers have transitioned into div and css based layouts which are much more search engine friendly.  Second, your code needs to be accessible.  Lots of people are online today, many of which have disabilities.  Search engines like sites that are easily accessible to everyone so make sure you have alternative tags for your images and your site is W3C compliant.
  2. Content. If you want visitors to keep coming back to your site, you need relevant and up-to-date content.  If search engines see that new and returning visitors are constantly rotating through your site, it raises a flag that your site is more dynamic that other sites and should be crawled more often for relevant information.  Being crawled more means that your a higher priority which brings your rank up.
  3. Links. We refer to this as online public relations.  What matters the most here is really inbound links (links from other sites to your site).  It’s important to keep in mind “you are the company you keep.” This is especially true for inbound links.  The more relevant and popular the sites that link to you, the more important you appear to the search engines.  Think of links as endorsements.  If a political person is endorsed by the President of the United States, the national and international media pays more attention than if that same person were endorsed by a Senator from Wyoming (no offense to Wyoming).  Search engines work the same way.  If a you’re a pharmaceutical consulting company and are linked to from major pharmaceutical companies, you’re seen as much more important for relevant keywords that if you were linked to from your brothers myspace page.

Hopefully you can gather from this information that SEO isn’t something that can be completed in an afternoon, but is an on-going process that requires some discipline and forsight.  Keep in mind that this is not meant to be an all-inclusive list but is here to help you understand more about SEO and how it might help your company.  We’d love to hear your feedback and ideas on other SEO tips.


Entry filed under: marketing tips. Tags: , , , , .

Monitor Your Company’s Social Media Impact Beyond the Buzzwords: Web 2.0

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. NS RAO  |  March 17, 2009 at 3:02 am


    Its really nice and good informative post.


  • 2. Freterz  |  March 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Good content. Just wanted to add some points here that may be helpful for those looking out for professional SEO services. There are tons of SEO companies offering different SEO packages and solutions at highly competitive rates. However, when looking our for these services, its important to not only look at the affordability factor but also what is unique about their SEO service and what differentiates them from other companies.

    While choosing an SEO company its equally important to analyze the SEO company’s website in terms of their Rankings, Yahoo links, Google index, Alexa ranking and similar such factors which indicates the company’s expertise in the field of SEO. So make sure you are doing enough research and smart work before investing your advertising spend.


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