Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid ("organic") search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users.

SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

The plural of the abbreviation SEO can also refer to "search engine optimizers," those who provide SEO services.

By 1997, search engines recognized that webmasters were making efforts to rank well in their search engines, and that some webmasters were even manipulating their rankings in search results by stuffing pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords. Early search engines, such as Altavista and Infoseek, adjusted their algorithms in an effort to prevent webmasters from manipulating rankings.

In 2005, an annual conference, AIRWeb, Adversarial Information Retrieval on the Web was created to bring together practitioners and researchers concerned with search engine optimisation and related topics.

Companies that employ overly aggressive techniques can get their client websites banned from the search results. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported on a company, Traffic Power, which allegedly used high-risk techniques and failed to disclose those risks to its clients. Wired magazine reported that the same company sued blogger and SEO Aaron Wall for writing about the ban. Google's Matt Cutts later confirmed that Google did in fact ban Traffic Power and some of its clients.

Some search engines have also reached out to the SEO industry, and are frequent sponsors and guests at SEO conferences, chats, and seminars. Major search engines provide information and guidelines to help with site optimization. Google has a Sitemaps program to help webmasters learn if Google is having any problems indexing their website and also provides data on Google traffic to the website. Bing Webmaster Tools provides a way for webmasters to submit a sitemap and web feeds, allows users to determine the crawl rate, and track the web pages index status.

Methods of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Getting Indexed

The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. Some search engines, notably Yahoo!, operate a paid submission service that guarantee crawling for either a set fee or cost per click. Such programs usually guarantee inclusion in the database, but do not guarantee specific ranking within the search results. 

Two major directories, the Yahoo Directory and the Open Directory Project both require manual submission and human editorial review. Google offers Google Webmaster Tools, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that are not discoverable by automatically following links.

Search engine crawlers may look at a number of different factors when crawling a site. Not every page is indexed by the search engines. Distance of pages from the root directory of a site may also be a factor in whether or not pages get crawled.

Preventing Crawling Robots Exclusion Standard

To avoid undesirable content in the search indexes, webmasters can instruct spiders not to crawl certain files or directories through the standard robots.txt file in the root directory of the domain. Additionally, a page can be explicitly excluded from a search engine's database by using a meta tag specific to robots. When a search engine visits a site, the robots.txt located in the root directory is the first file crawled. The robots.txt file is then parsed, and will instruct the robot as to which pages are not to be crawled. As a search engine crawler may keep a cached copy of this file, it may on occasion crawl pages a webmaster does not wish crawled. Pages typically prevented from being crawled include login specific pages such as shopping carts and user-specific content such as search results from internal searches. In March 2007, Google warned webmasters that they should prevent indexing of internal search results because those pages are considered search spam.

Increasing Prominence

A variety of methods can increase the prominence of a webpage within the search results. Cross linking between pages of the same website to provide more links to most important pages may improve its visibility. Writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrase, so as to be relevant to a wide variety of search queries will tend to increase traffic. Updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently can give additional weight to a site. Adding relevant keywords to a web page's meta data, including the title tag and meta description, will tend to improve the relevancy of a site's search listings, thus increasing traffic. URL normalization of web pages accessible via multiple urls, using the canonical link element or via 301 redirects can help make sure links to different versions of the url all count towards the page's link popularity score.

White Hat versus Black Hat Techniques

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques of which search engines do not approve.

The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the latter, among them spamdexing. Industry commentators have classified these methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either White Hat SEO, or Black Hat SEO. White Hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas Black Hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.

An SEO technique is considered White Hat if it conforms to the search engines' guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White Hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see.

White Hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. White Hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility, although the two are not identical.

Black Hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One Black Hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as Cloaking.

Search engines may penalize sites they discover using Black Hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices. Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's list.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a Marketing Strategy

SEO is not an appropriate strategy for every website, and other Internet marketing strategies can be more effective like paid advertising through PPC campaigns, depending on the site operator's goals. A successful Internet marketing campaign may also depend upon building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure results, and improving a site's conversion rate.

SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors. Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website's placement, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. According to Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day. It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.

International Markets

Optimization techniques are highly tuned to the dominant search engines in the target market. The search engines' market shares vary from market to market, as does competition.

Legal Precedents

On October 17, 2002, SearchKing filed suit in the United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, against the search engine Google. SearchKing's claim was that Google's tactics to prevent spamdexing constituted a tortious interference with contractual relations. On May 27, 2003, the court granted Google's motion to dismiss the complaint because SearchKing "failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted."

In March 2006, KinderStart filed a lawsuit against Google over search engine rankings. Kinderstart's website was removed from Google's index prior to the lawsuit and the amount of traffic to the site dropped by 70%. On March 16, 2007 the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose Division) dismissed KinderStart's complaint without leave to amend, and partially granted Google's motion for Rule 11 sanctions against KinderStart's attorney, requiring him to pay part of Google's legal expenses

most successful SEO strategies do require tedious tasks which primarily include content creation, link search, analysis, link acquisition and more research. The good news is that there are loads of free SEO tools out there that can help make our daily tasks much easier.

Positioning your Web Pages

The great goal of every webmaster is to place all their pages in the highest positions of a search engine like google and the great difficulty sometimes is to have the necessary tools to know if the work is doing well. Well here is where this web is going to be very useful since you will have in your hand all the Seo instruments necessary to perform a good optimization work.

Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools

These two web-based tools are extremely essential to any site, for it allows you to monitor and track results from your SEO efforts and to diagnose setbacks from your site’s end to further improve your site’s SEO campaign and overall performance.

Google Analytics

Is a tool that can track your site’s traffic sources, numbers of daily/monthly traffic and activity once visitors have landed on your site. It’s extremely helpful in monitoring site usage as well as in improving your site’s conversions. Google Analytics LogoAnalyzing your current traffic will get you more ideas on how to manipulate them in going to the direction where you want them to be, since the data presented through the various segments of the tool (bounce rates, average time on site, traffic sources, pages and keywords that bring you traffic, etc…) allows you to see where changes or improvements should take place.

Google Webmaster Tools

Is metrics dashboard that provides an in-depth view of your site’s backend. It mainly shGoogle Webmaster Tools Logoows activities and interactions of the site around the web as seen by Google’s search crawlers. Some of the main features of this tool are as follows:

Allows you to track search queries pertaining to your site’s pages, which includes each query’s average position on SERPs, number of impressions and click through Google’s result pages.

  • List of domains linking to your site, including the number of links from each site as well as a list of anchor texts used on external links pointing to your site – as fetched by Google’s crawlers.
  • Keywords significant to your site’s pages
  • Number of internal links.
  • Detects crawl errors for easier diagnostics, crawl stats of the site and provides HTML suggestions in case search crawlers find it difficult to skim through your site.
  • Allows you to submit your sitemap, RSS feed and generate Robots.txt for better crawl activity.

Google Adwords

Free google tool that allows you to create ad campaigns for your site, keyword analysis, traffic estimator, location tool, contextual targeting tool, diagnostic and ad preview among other things.

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

Apparently, Google Adwords Keyword Tool is the most precise keyword research tool when it comes to trending search terms and in analyzing the competitiveness of the keyword, seeing as the basis of its results are driven from Google’s worldwide search engine activity. There’s nothing much to say about it, knowing that it’s still the undisputed father of all keyword research tool.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is an email service from Google that allows you to monitor fresh pages around the web related to search terms or keywords you want to keep track of. Essentially, you can use this tool to track new pages related to your targeted keywords, to observe methods used by your competitors, monitor mentions of your brand (to get more valuable links through email requests) and to gain more ideas for content creation. 

 

Google Trends

Seo tool with which you can know if the search trends of your keywords are increasing in time or on the contrary is a keyword that is decreasing, which will decrease your visits.

SEOMOZ RankTracker

RankTracker is a web-based tool from SEOmoz.org. It has both free and Pro version, but what I really liked about this tool is that it keeps records of your previous results (positions/rankings), which allows you to track changes on your keywords’ positions weekly.

As what most successful people say – “the best things in life are free” – well, that catchphrase also applies to SEO. Because sometimes, skills aren’t enough to slaughter a dragon, perchance, an aid from a sword can. 

Advanced Web Ranking

is an excellent software for SEO created by Caphyon Ltd. Caphyon is headquartered in Romania, neighboring Ukranian-based and our top-ranked Web CEO. This begs the question, what is it about Eastern Europe and excellent SEO?

Standout Features

  • Some of the Best Link Building & Management elements
  • Competitor Analysis Including Number of Keyword Results and Number of Keyword Competitors
  • Keyword Research & Analysis Integrates Top Analysis Resources
  • Performance Reporting Including Automated Reporting

Advanced Web Ranking provides visibility into not just who links to your site, but the keywords they use. They also provide competitive intelligence on where your competitors’ links come from. This can be analyzed through Advanced Web Ranking’s graphic reports.

Another valuable feature is tracking your paid links. If you engage in link building campaigns that consist of paying sites to link to you, you need to monitor these to make sure you get what you pay for. Doing this manually is time-consuming and tedious.

SEO Studio

Is a product of Trendmetrix Software, based in Canada. Since their founding in 2001, they’ve focused on SEO for small and mid-sized businesses. An online marketing services company, Trendmetrix provides a range of SEO consulting services for clients. (For their SEO services, they guarantee top 10 natural search engine ranking on Google and boast a 95% success rate.)

As an SEO firm, they have a ready base of customers for SEO Studio. Users include University of California, Health Canada, Chevron and GE Money. These are far above the standard caliber of clients for most SEO products reviewed. 

Standout Features

  • Link Building & Management
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Submission Tools
  • Help & Support

SEO Suite

Is marketed by Apex Pacific, formally Dynamic Software. The company is privately held in Sydney, Australia. One of two Australian companies to make the top 10, Apex Pacific sells a variety of internet marketing software. SEO Suite is first and foremost.

While SEO Suite doesn’t have the market footprint of Web CEO or iBusiness Promoter, this SEO software provides a robust feature listing. The customers listed in testimonials and case studies are far from household names, but the product is catching on. It has been downloaded over 2,700 times from CNET.

Standout Features

  • Strong Competitor Analysis components
  • Submission Tools
  • Performance Reporting

SEO Administrator

Is marketed by FlamingoSoft of Vancouver, British Columbia. But with no corporate information on the SEO Administrator website and little on FlamingoSoft in the public domain, it’s difficult for a buyer to get a feel for the company behind this SEO software.

This product is the least expensive of all SEO tools we reviewed, at only $99 for their highest level Expert version. When you balance cost and functionality, SEO Administrator may be a good fit for you.

Standout Features

  • Least Expensive in Our Lineup
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Keyword Research & Analysis
  • Performance Reporting
  • Link Building & Management

SEO Toolkit

Is a product of the Australian company, Trellian Software. Since 1997, internet marketing has been Trellian’s core business, with SubmitWolf and SEO Toolkit their flagship products.

Trellian has received PromotionWorld's prestigious Top10 SEO Company Award, ZD Net’s Editors Pick award, and many other distinctions from shareware sites and the user community. Our review will examine the components of this search engine optimization software compared with other applications.

Standout Features

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customized Ranking Reports
  • Submission Tools
  • Report Export

Traffic TravisTraffic Travis

Traffic Travis is a powerful standalone software designed for both beginners and advanced internet marketers and SEO practitioners. It offers tons of features that allow users to obtain significant data and statistics related to your market, site as well as your competitors’. The free SEO software’ features include:

Keyword Research – which allows you to find lucrative search phrases you can add to your campaign. They use a different system in tracking data for approximate search counts, which can give you different perspectives in targeting and specifying keywords that will suit your campaign.

Search Engine Tools – provide users data such as search rankings and positions, top sites for keywords and backlinks directing to a certain site.

PPC Analysis – gives you relevant details about the keywords you are targeting, popular keywords in your niche and list of keywords that your competitors are aiming at.

Page Analysis – simply allows you to analyze a website

SEO Analysis – this my favorite feature of the tool for it imparts all the necessary details you’ll want to know about your targeted keywords, including vital information from your competitors as well as the difficulty and the number of competing pages for the keyword.

Open Site ExplorerOpen Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a web-based tool that was developed by SEOmoz.org. This tool lets you analyze the authority and link popularity of pages or links linking to your competitors’ or your site. If you also get the Pro version of this tool, you can get to see the anchor texts used on each pages linking to your competitors and if they are followed or not.

Though with the free version, you can get a lot, such as the anchor text distribution of the page and the full link metrics of the page, where it shows the approximate percentage of nofollow and dofollow links pointing to the page and the comparison of amount of external vs. internal links. The best thing about this feature is that you get to have an idea where the site is lacking or robust, which is a good signal in outranking your competitors or in improving your link profile.

I use this tool to observe how my competitors are shaping their link landscape and in determining the methods that I can or must use to replicate their links or in prevailing over their campaign. It’s actually best used in reverse engineering your competitors’ links.

 

Mozbar

Seo tool that is installed in Firefox or Google Chrome browsers which once added to our navigation bar with just one click we can analyze all elements of the page, title, description, keywords, title and alt of the images , text code ratio and incoming links among other things. But also in the results of Google searches we can know the page authority and authority of the domain along with the numbers of links and domains that link us.

Alexa Traffic Rank

Tool that can be installed in the navigation bar of the Chrome browser and with it you can know with just one click the Ranking of visitors that gives you Alexa worldwide and local, in addition to the loading speed of your page so important to google, the places that point to your site and the rating in stars that the users of your site give all this in addition to many Seo ratings that will help you to know if you are doing the job well.

 

 

Advanced web Ranking Tool

Very powerful when it comes to knowing in which position are the keywords for our website. It allows you to create reports to be able to buy the list of your competitors in different search engines. Advanced Web Ranking Tool is very useful to be able to compete in the positioning of our web.

 

SEO Chat - SEO Tools

This is not a tool, but a collection of SEO tools and web optimization. Here you can find everything you need to do keyword analysis, links, urls, maps of your website, meta-tags, loading time.