segunda-feira, 16 de outubro de 2006

Search Engine Optimization

Too Important definitions:
Search engine optimization
SEO and marketing

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of methods aimed at improving the number and quality of visitors to a web site from "natural" or "organic" search engine listings. SEO is a subset of search engine marketing, which also includes sponsored search listings. The term SEO can also refer to "search engine optimizers," an industry of consultants who carry out optimization projects on behalf of clients. Some commentators, and even some SEOs, distinguish methods used by practitioners as either "white hat SEO" (methods generally approved by search engines, such as building content and improving site quality), or "black hat SEO" (tricks such as cloaking and spamdexing). White hats say that black hat methods are an attempt to manipulate search rankings unfairly. Black hatters counter that all SEO is an attempt to manipulate rankings, and that the particular methods one uses to rank well are irrelevant. Other SEOs reject the black and white hat dichotomy as over-simplification.

Search engines display different kinds of listings in the search engine results pages (SERPs), including: pay per click advertisements, paid inclusion listings, and organic search results. SEO is primarily concerned with advancing the goals of a website by improving the number and position of its organic search results for a wide variety of relevant keywords. SEO strategies may increase both the number and quality of visitors. A quality visitor is one who takes the conversion action intended by the web site operator, such as making a purchase or requesting further information. Search engine optimization is sometimes offered as a stand-alone service, or as a part of a larger marketing effort, and can often be very effective when incorporated into the initial development and design of a site. As more web site owners become familiar with the benefits of SEO, the demand for SEO services as part of web site design has increased. Industry commentators have suggested that SEO will eventually become an integral part of mainsteam web site development.

For competitive, high-volume search terms, the cost of pay per click advertising can be substantial. Ranking well in the organic search results can provide the same targeted traffic at a potentially significant savings. Site owners may choose to optimize their sites for organic search, if the cost of optimization is less than the cost of advertising.

Not all sites have identical goals for search optimization. Some sites seek any and all traffic, and may be optimized to rank highly for common search phrases. A broad search optimization strategy can work for a site that has broad interest, such as a periodical, a directory, or site that displays advertising with a CPM revenue model. In contrast, many businesses try to optimize their sites for large numbers of highly specific keywords that indicate readiness to buy. Overly broad search optimization can hinder marketing strategy by generating a large volume of low-quality inquiries that cost money to handle, yet result in little business. Focusing on desirable traffic generates better quality sales leads, resulting in more sales. Search engine optimization can be very effective when used as part of a smart niche marketing strategy.

SEO and marketing

There is a considerable sized body of practitioners of SEO who see search engines as just another visitor to a site, and try to make the site as accessible to those visitors as to any other who would come to the pages. They often see the white hat/black hat dichotomy mentioned above as a false dilemma. The focus of their work isn't primarily to rank the highest for certain terms in search engines, but rather to help site owners fullfill the business objectives of their sites. Indeed, ranking well for a few terms among the many possibilities does not guarantee more sales. A successful Internet marketing campaign may drive organic search results to pages, but it also may involve the use of paid advertising on search engines and other pages, building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, addressing technical issues that may keep search engines from crawling and indexing those sites, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure their successes, and making sites accessible and usable.

SEOs may work in-house for an organization, or as consultants, and search engine optimization may be only part of their daily functions. Often their education of how search engines function come from interacting and discussing the topics on forums, through blogs, at popular conferences and seminars, and by experimentation on their own sites. There are few college courses that cover online marketing from an ecommerce perspective that can keep up with the changes that the web sees on a daily basis.

While endeavoring to meet the guidelines posted by search engines can help build a solid foundation for success on the web, such efforts are only a start. Many see search engine marketing as a larger umbrella under which search engine optimization fits, but it's possible that many who focused primarily on SEO in the past are incorporating more and more marketing ideas into their efforts, including public relations strategy and implementation, online display media buying, web site transition SEO, web trends data anaylsis, HTML E-mail campaigns, and business blog consulting making SEO firms more like an ad agency.

Source From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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