Musings

the transformation of search engine optimisation

Interesting thoughs on the future of search engine optimisation. The area which interests me most is that of personalisation as this, to me, is one of the key strengths of the internet. Amazon have done it for years, personalising the products offered to a return user, showing producst which may be of interest. The introduction fo this to the world of search engine marketing could change the way in which we all operate.

The Transformation Of Natural Search Optimization by Rob Garner, Wednesday, February 14, 2007

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT natural search is coming to a crossroads. My view is that the transformation may not be so radical that everything changes, in so much as having situations where only some things become more challenging. However, the basic tenets of natural search will remain the same, only applied to more sophisticated scenarios on a personalized level, a research level, and a technical level. Here are a few thoughts on some of these key drivers in the changing landscape of natural search optimization:
Personalization. Google recently announced that it was rolling out personalized results, marking the beginning of a change in the way we approach natural search optimization campaigns. Though there is the theoretical potential for every search result page to be different, the impact is not quite as drastic as it sounds.
My basic view of optimizing for personalized results is similar to some points outlined by David Berkowitz in yesterday’s Search Insider column. His primary assertion is that the basic benchmark for optimization is still the editorial results (personalization turned off).
Make it there, and you’ll make it anywhere. Achieving top rankings in the editorial results ensures that your site is trusted, and that you created a natural presence that is best-of-class in its keyword space.
More emphasis should be placed on aggregate traffic metrics such as increased share of natural search traffic, and ultimately, increased ROI and conversions. If personalization meets its primary goal of increased relevancy, then traffic and conversions should increase to properly tuned sites.
The rise of market research in search (going beyond “keyword research”). In recognizing that personalization is a now-major factor in the way that natural search traffic is delivered, the new imperative is optimizing a site to satisfy the target customer’s desires. This is accomplished by thoroughly knowing your customer through market research, and further down the road, testing and validating through analytics and clickstream analysis. The deeper implication is that search-informed market research should be further integrated into the discovery and design phases of Web development.
The future will be in knowing what your target audience wants, knowing the language they speak and knowing how they find what they seek. Provide the content and experience they are seeking, and you will naturally match your offering to the key aspects of the personalization algorithm, such as click-through rate, time-on-site, number of page views (or in a rich app, back to “time-on-site”), internal site clickstreams, repeat visits, bookmarks, etc. Engage your target market, and the search engines will engage your site.
Today, many search firms substitute “keyword research” for true “market research.” Predicting and understanding human search intent is much more complicated than choosing keyword terms based on search frequency, and the guestimated likelihood to click through. Human search intent is as complex as human beings themselves, and market research should be a primary driver in creating exceptional search engine marketing campaigns, for both natural and paid campaigns.
SEOs will be met with increasing technical demands to address the crawlability and indexability off rich Internet applications The trend of enterprise RIA adoption is hitting its stride in 2007. The shift is essentially focused on moving from a “page-based” paradigm to a “pageless” paradigm; one that treats the Web more as an application, rather than a book. Ajax is driving the change.
Senior Google engineer Matt Cutts told Search Insider back in December that RIA-based sites are not a threat to relevancy at this time, mainly because the developers that create them are technical enough to build a second site for search engines. This statement is interesting for a couple of reasons.
The first is that it is not a threat “at this time.” This indicates that widespread adoption of RIA without a secondary technical solution for search engines could be a major threat to relevancy, as well as a threat to a company’s search presence. If the content is hidden, the engines can’t find it, and companies cannot be found.
The second implication is that to have your user-interface cake and eat it too, a progressive tech solution for search is on the menu. This will go beyond the capabilities of many search firms.
Ultimately, I don’t believe that RIA will put any SEO firms out of business, because page-based sites are not going away any time soon (not for the next 10 years, anyway). As long as there are page-based sites and the need to rank those pages, there is room for those who practice current methods. But a new breed of SEO will emerge to address the need to optimize for RIA (there are many in existence now).
The bottom line is that natural search optimization is in a state of transformation at the enterprise level. If anything has changed, it’s not that SEO is dead or dying — it’s that the bar has just been set even higher.
Rob Garner is a senior strategic planner for interactive marketing and search agency iCrossing. He is president-elect of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, and also serves on the board of the Dallas/Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association.

Are the Search Engines Killing SEO?

Mark Simon reported in Medis Posts Search Insider (12/02/2007) that the search engines would be the death of SEO. The logic behind this arguement being that as the search engines advance even futher in the way they read and index web pages the more the tactis used by SEO companies will become irrelevant. They will eventually be so advance in their algorithm that they will pull the website which is most useful to the user regardless of the sites tactics, and maybe even content.

Im not sure I agree with this arguement but I do agree to some degree that search engine optimisers will need to become experts in usability and functionality of a website rather than content. Navigation will become increasingly important (even more so than today) as will display and ease of use. Elements such as download speed become more prevelant and the basic rules of SEO as we know today change. This nothing ground breaking but is something to consider when making recommendations for websites. In the future the basic premise will be, make the site user friendly and you will make it search engine friendly.

SEO Vs. PPC

Although this is an interesting articale about the differences in the approach taken to PPC and SEO I feel that it is a little naive to treat the two as seperate entities. They have obvious similarities and by treating them as one channel (search) there is a lot that can be gained. Cross over of learnings is significant and by managing them closely together with a holistic approach brings the best out of each.

SEO Vs. PPC: The Heavyweight Battle Of Internet Marketing


SO, YOU’RE ASKING yourself the question online marketers are asking themselves today. Where should I spend most of my time, money, and efforts — SEO or PPC? The battle has begun.
The conflict begins with too many choices. It’s easy to feel lost when new forms of online advertising are constantly emerging. So, where do you start? You hear about social media networks, pay-per-call, blogs and innumerable others as they develop into bigger markets, but do any of these choices make sense? Here’s the reality – no matter how many other avenues pop up, the engines still maintain the largest market share of all searches online. It is there that you’d be wisest to invest your money.
Round 1 – Time. When considering which form of Internet marketing to choose, your biggest determinants should be time and efficiency. Depending on how time-sensitive your objective is, it is important to know that the quickest way to drive traffic is through PPC (pay-per-click). You build your campaign, and with the click of a button, you’re getting traffic. Changes are immediate, and you have control. SEO (search engine optimization) is quite the opposite, although certainly worth the effort. A couple of things to keep in mind — it is very important to be patient. Due to the dynamic nature of the engines, time projections are difficult to make. You make a change, and it often takes months to see results. Also, you need to keep in mind that optimizing your Web site is an ongoing effort. As the nature of search engine algorithms, your site might need “adjustments.” But the end result — the possibility of increasing your site’s natural rankings and getting a high volume of free traffic — is well worth the time spent
Round 2 – Money. You often hear people saying that “SEO is so expensive!” But is it really? Let’s compare it to PPC. Granted, SEO often requires a considerable upfront investment, but consider the payoff. An optimization professional recommends (and often makes) changes that are intended to increase a site’s natural rankings — which translates into free traffic. Although you can control your site’s rankings via PPC, you will always have to pay for them, which most often ends up being many times more expensive than the SEO investment. Anyone can start a PPC campaign, but the challenge is getting your site ranked in the first pages of the engines. Having the first spot or even the 5th or 6th in Google for your keywords is like having a huge billboard in the middle of Times Square. The traffic is intense and the exposure is priceless! We can say the same about a great ranking on a PPC campaign, but remember one thing — you will always have to pay for it. Free clicks in sponsored search? Never.
Round 3 – Effort We know SEO takes more time and effort than creating and maintaining a PPC campaign. Yet, it’s important to recognize that a considerable effort is required with both. Optimizing a Web site is like trying to climb to the top of a mountain. Once you start, you can’t stop until you reach the top. You work for hours at a time on optimization, with your goal in sight, and then rest while the engine crawlers find and assess your improvements. You see the results of those changes via movement of your site’s natural rankings, and then start up the mountain, again. The creation of a PPC campaign takes only a few steps — but to make it successful, consistent maintenance is required. Rather than investing hours of work at once with down time in between, PPC requires almost daily attention and maintenance. It may look simple from the outside, but there are so many small things can make a huge difference in the success of a campaign. This is the rivalry of the Internet marketing world and getting more and more intense. Who’s watching? We all are.
Each tactic, whether it is SEO or PPC, has its positives and negatives. Consider the following:
1 – Business Growth. SEO and PPC have opened the doors to small business and fueled fast- growing enterprises. A company can make a name for itself in no time if it pays enough per keyword to be in Google’s top ranked positions or has a better optimized Web site than its competitors. For e-commerce clients, this has been an incredible way to market and sell their products. Think about how much renting a locale can cost a business per month and how much traffic will actually go into your store. Now, think about the traffic that exists online, in which you can target either by city, state, region, or country, and how much more affordable it can be!
2 – Brand Awareness. When launching an Internet marketing campaign, you’re not only marketing your product or service but acting on a form of public relations. Many PR firms are reaching out to Internet marketing firms to help their client’s efforts. When deciding whether or not PPC is viable, consider both the cost per click, and the number of people who will see your ad (whether or not they clicked). It’s free exposure, and what’s better?
3 – Traffic. Traffic will make or break your online business. If you’re not generating traffic, you’re not generating sales. The engines can deliver the highest volume of traffic if positioned in the top rankings. You already know this! Now, the important factor is driving qualified traffic to your Web site. This all comes down to the SEO and PPC determinants, such as choosing the right keywords, ads and other elements that are driving the traffic you want to ensure your online efforts are successful. One major factor of failing campaigns is insufficient research. Research is crucial to creating a winning campaign to compete in a growing market.
It’s time to start considering which type of marketing will best suit the needs of your business. If you’re still debating whether it’s the right time to get serious about marketing online, consider that your competition is most likely making their presence felt there already.

Hello

hello and welcome to world of search. Here I will be posting and commenting on articles from across the globe which relate to search engine marketing. All views contained in this blog are my own and are not necessarily shared by my employer. If you disagree or have a major greivance with anything I have siad then feel free to contact me on the link provided.