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As Search Engines Grow Smarter, Will You?

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As search gets smarter, tricks get cheaper and we get nearer to coming full circle to an original goal of Internet search: that content is, indeed, king. It cuts across the grain of some notions we've held in the industry for some time, that there are shortcuts aplenty in the hunt for better search rankings. Search experts at ICMediaDirect.com dissuade clients from thinking that they can or should fool Google and Yahoo. Instead, we show them solid methodology that works. Above all else, your website needs superior content that anchors your search engine optimization strategy.

Algorithmic innovation, much of it by Google's engineers, has thankfully rendered search engine spamming a fruitless endeavor. This has made the search engine a far greater tool for us to use and, in turn, has sparked the online advertising industry.


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Nevertheless, Google and other search engines closely guard their Search secrets. Their constant tweaking compels smart webmasters to not rely on keyword strategy alone. Your site must be prepared to weather the ensuing fallout from any change in web-crawler browsing instigated by their engineers in those far-off, unseen laboratories. Any quest for keyword perfection is folly by nature, since that success is fleeting.

Search engines take link relevancy into account when ranking webpages. As a search engine optimizer it's important for you to keep your "white hat" on. This means, for the uninitiated, that instead of spamdexing or deceiving the search engine through trickery, you employ ethical means to achieve ranking. Crime doesn't pay in the search world because deceptive sites get shown the door and no site can afford to pay that price.

Google recently caught BMW's websites gaming the system and the company's sites were essentially blacklisted from the results listings. Did BMW not have enough confidence in the quality of their cars and motorcycles or was their online optimizer getting too cute? No matter, it's BMW's problem; one nobody needs to have.

Your white hat optimization entails shoring up whatever online relationships you can with other sites for link exchange, promoting your site with new ones for more link exchange, and joining web directories. This is not an instantaneous process, like most SEO work, but it is indispensable for your long-term online planning.

After dashing any notion of SEO trickery from our repertoire we focus on content. Content requires actual work, anathema, perhaps, to those seeking quick rewards with no effort, but this work pays off. You're charged with producing fresh, relevant content that - gulp - someone might even want to read!

I've yet to hear of a web crawling spider that purchases anything online. Until this starts happening (hey, we rule out nothing at ICMediaDirect.com), you should start writing (or rewriting) your website's content with an ideal reader in mind: your customer. For instance, if you're marketing rock-climbing gear, sell that helmet, weave the thrill of the sport into your language and not a language of sugar and carrots you believe will attract Google or Yahoo. Be genuine.

State the aim of your site's business by using clear and direct language early in your text, or "up there" on the page. Indirectness or misleading intros may not only divert the attention of people and cause them to leave, but the same for web crawlers, too. State your business early. Remember: simple beats complex in the SEO arena.

The goal is to win people over. It bears repeating that loading text with a barrage of related keywords that doesn't keep with a natural flow of language is not going to work, on any level. Did you know that search engines can pick out the poor structural balance in language? They actually pick out overly optimized sites. Those flagged sites can go fish because their ranking is then shot. The lesson here is to work with the system.

Now your content is written. After having a second (and third) person read it over to find any inaccuracies or grammar mistakes, you supplement its structure. It's time to optimize the text with keywords. But not too much. While it's okay for a reader to notice repeats of a word throughout the written content, it's too much when it distracts from the message. Use keywords at the beginning, end, and in header text. Review your text and see where you might re-work some more keywords. Be creative and thorough in these efforts and do not to exceed a 20:1 prose-to-keyword ratio within the copy.

Search algorithms scan text, not pictures. Therefore, it's important to front-load relevant text onto your homepage, even to a point where you might think there's too much text. Don't worry about that. Remember that first time visitors to your webpage who come via search engine are arriving because they're looking for something specific. Your homepage isn't a billboard attracting the attention of motorists. Your objective is to "close" on those already interested. If they're not ready to read a couple of paragraphs, they're not ready to buy.

This isn't to say that images are unimportant. They can actually be a tremendous search resource. You should slip in keywords when filling out your image's alternate text description. Make them fit the keywords of your site and try to have the description of the pictures match the keywords, as well. This way "Image Search" functions of search engines will provide any number of interested queries. This is an area that is a) not nearly as optimized as text and b) increasing in aggregate search numbers. A well optimized image selection for your site could pay off serious dividends, while random descriptions for your imagery will fritter this chance away.


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Spellcheck. Use it, that's what it's there for. There is no excuse for a poorly written website that smacks of amateurism. Sloppy efforts tend to spook page viewers from doing business. If you're not up to writing articles for whatever reason, you can hire a professional copywriter for the job. ICMediaDirect.com has them, if need be, one shouldn't be hard to find.

Any expense taken in regards to your website is a mere pittance when compared to the disparity in value between a well-written site and a poorly written one. Website quality is too important for a business to trifle with. A good web copywriter is well-versed in keyword utilization and can make your specific directives look natural and effortless.

Search engines are getting smarter almost daily and continue to level the playing fields in the process. Subsequently, Search Engine Optimization has turned away from gamesmanship and towards crafting quality websites. Those who put in extra effort will be the ones to reap the long-term SEO benefits and, ultimately, more business.

Good luck.


About the Author: Joseph Pratt Media Analyst ICMediaDirect.com http://www.icmediadirect.com, e: joseph@icmediadirect.com.


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Seek2Day Search Engine

Apr. 6, ISSUE #220
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