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
Search Engine
Optimisation



Beginner's Guide
Search Engine
Optimisation
Beginner's Guide




Published March 2008                                       Econsultancy
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Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008                      +44 (0) 20 7681 4052
Contents

      About Econsultancy ............................................................... 1
      What is this report and who is it for? .................................... 2
      What is a search engine? ....................................................... 3
             How do they work? .................................................................................. 3
             The Black Box of Search offers no guarantees ........................................ 3

      Why do people use search engines? ...................................... 4
             An example or search activity during the buying cycle .......................... 4

      What is Search Engine Marketing? ....................................... 5
      What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? ....................... 6
                     For example? ............................................................................................... 6
             How do you tell the difference between paid and non-paid results?..... 6

      Which is better? Paid or organic search? .............................. 7
      How does SEO work? ............................................................ 8
      Why does SEO matter? .......................................................... 9
             The trend is up!........................................................................................ 9

      Why should I bother with SEO? .......................................... 10
      What kind of results can I expect from SEO? ...................... 11
             Some useful SEO stats: ........................................................................... 11

      Who manages SEO? ............................................................ 12
             Charging Models ..................................................................................... 12
             Typical Costs ........................................................................................... 12

      Where do I start with SEO? ................................................. 14
             Education ................................................................................................ 14
             Preparation ............................................................................................. 14
             Key considerations – four questions to ask yourself ............................. 14



      Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide

      All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
      and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Further reading ................................................................... 15
       SEO research from Econsultancy........................................................... 15
       Econsultancy’s blog articles about SEO ................................................. 15
       Training courses ..................................................................................... 16
       Forthcoming roundtables.......................................................................16
       Supplier Showcases ................................................................................ 16

Glossary ................................................................................17




Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
About Econsultancy
      Econsultancy is the leading source of independent advice and insight on digital marketing and
      ecommerce.

      Our reports, events, online resources and training programmes help a community of over 80,000
      registered marketers make better decisions, build business cases, find the best suppliers, look
      smart in meetings and accelerate their careers.

      Econsultancy is an award-winning online publisher of reports covering best practice, user
      experience benchmarking, market data, trends and innovation, and supplier selection aimed at
      internet professionals that want practical advice on all aspects of ebusiness.

      Econsultancy also operates a highly popular training division, used by some of the world’s most
      prominent brands for staff education, both in-house and via public courses. We provide training
      across all areas of digital marketing and at all levels from one day courses to diplomas to Masters
      in Digital Marketing.

      In addition, we host more than 100 conferences and events a year, such as The Online Marketing
      Masterclass, regular Supplier Showcases and Roundtables, an annual Future of Digital Marketing
      event, Digital Cream and a range of social events.

      The Econsultancy site now attracts 175,000 unique users per month where they access research,
      read the blog and take part in discussions in the forums. And as a portal to the digital marketing
      community, Econsultancy members can also link up with other members and digital suppliers
      through our directories, as well as find a new job or new digital talent using the job listings.

      Some of Econsultancy’s client-side members include: Google, Yahoo, MSN, MySpace, BBC, BT,
      Shell, Vodafone, Yell.com, Dell, Oxfam, Virgin Atlantic, TUI, Barclays, Carphone Warehouse, IPC
      Media, Deloitte and Touche, T-Mobile and Estée Lauder.

      Join Econsultancy today to learn what’s happening in digital marketing – and what works.

      Call us to find out more on +44 (0)20 7681 4052 or contact us online.

      http://econsultancy.com




      Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                                Page 1

      All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
      and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
What is this report and who is it for?
       This guide aims to be the first step in a journey towards becoming an in-company expert in
       Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is central to the performance of your website (aka your
       ‘business’, if you’re selling online).

       You can use the guide to discover what SEO is all about: how it works, how to manage it, what
       pitfalls you need to avoid and why an investment in SEO can be a very smart move.

       But you should view this concise beginner’s guide as a jumping-off point – other reports we have
       published go into much more detail about SEO (details throughout this guide).

       We hope this guide helps you. If you have any feedback please email editor@Econsultancy.com.

       Best of luck!




       Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 2

       All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
       and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
What is a search engine?
        You’ve heard of Google, presumably. What about Yahoo? MSN? Ask? There are hundreds of
        search engines that people use to find websites (like yours). As such, they are tremendously
        powerful allies in your battle to attract relevant visitors.

        Search engines help users find web pages on any given subject. They index web pages in databases
        and list them in the search results in order of ‘relevancy’ (to the search query).


How do they work?
        Given the scale of the web it should be no surprise to learn that it is highly automated. Imagine
        having to sift through millions of web pages yourself! Search engines use software programs
        known as ‘robots’ (or ‘spiders’, or ‘crawlers’) to surf the internet. They follow links and try to make
        sense of web pages. As such, quality links from quality sites are highly important to your search
        rankings.

        The spider starts with a list of web addresses or URLs to visit and then follows any links found on
        the page. When a robot discovers a new site or new web page, it sends information back to its
        main site to be indexed.


The Black Box of Search offers no guarantees
        All search engines are ferociously private and guard their rules for ranking web pages with great
        care. Why? To avoid spam, that’s why.

        Spam is the killer of relevancy, which is the mantra of search. If people search for something they
        expect to see relevant results, otherwise they’d use another search engine with more reliable
        listings.

        We do have lots of evidence that gives us some understanding of the most important ranking
        factors, but search engines can change the rules (the ‘algorithm’) overnight. This can have an
        astonishing / terrifying effect on your search results. You could be the number one result for a
        popular search query today, but tomorrow you may fall 30 places or more, if you have been
        unethical in your pursuit of high rankings.

        As such, results on search engines are far from guaranteed. That said, the upside is massive, and
        figuring out how to get the best out of the search engines is one of the smartest business decisions
        you will ever make.




         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 3

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         and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Why do people use search engines?
         One thing is for certain: people simply love to search. The likes of Google are the first port of call
         if you are looking for information. Gone are the days of stumbling around dusty, old libraries.

         People want information at their fingertips – and they want it fast. Now they have it. Google will
         deliver relevant results in a fraction of a second. That’s why people use Google.

         Searchers are looking for all kinds of information. They come in all shapes and sizes, but search
         activity can be split into three broad categories:

         1. Content (you want to find news articles, videos, forums, blogs etc)
         2. Research (you want reviews, product and price comparison sites)
         3. Commerce (you want to buy something)
         The search query a user types into Google tells you a lot about what they are trying to find, and,
         specifically, about their mindset. Users refine their searches, typically by adding more words to
         the search query to hone in on something highly relevant.

         It is also worth noting that people use search engines (and the browser toolbars they provide) as a
         quick way of navigating to their favourite sites. In the past this was largely done via bookmarking
         sites (by clicking ‘add to favourites’ in Internet Explorer), but many of the top searches last year
         were for brand names (eg Myspace, Bebo, Yahoo).


An example or search activity during the buying cycle
         If the searcher is a consumer in the process of buying something then they may be in a research
         phase (what kind of product do I want?), the price / product comparison phase (where can I buy
         the product?), or the buy phase (I know what I want, now give it to me!).

          Research phase – the search query might be ‘digital cameras’ and then ‘digital camera
           reviews’, to identify a product or create a shortlist.
          Price / product comparison phase – query might be ‘sony cybershot offers’, if the
           consumer likes the look of Sony’s product.
          Buy phase – the search might now be very specific as the consumer knows exactly what he /
           she wants, eg ‘sony cybershot t10 black’.




         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 4

         All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
         and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
What is Search Engine Marketing?
      Search Engine Marketing is about using search engines like Google to attract visitors to your
      website.

      There are two ways of going about this.

      1. Search engine optimisation (SEO). This is about trying to gain prominence in the
         ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ listings - the results found on the left of the search results page. It doesn’t
         cost you anything when someone clicks on these links, but SEO requires patience, investment
         and a long-term approach.
      2. Paid search. These ‘sponsored links’ are essentially results that advertisers have control
         over. Companies choose to place ads that are matched to search queries. These links tend to
         be found on the right of the page and at the very top. You undergo a cost every time somebody
         clicks on them. You define how much you’re prepared to pay – it’s essentially an auction that
         governs ad position, with the top ad typically paying the most per click.
      Search engine marketing is hugely important for all businesses, even if you are not selling online.
      There are no exceptions to the rule – you absolutely must have a strategy for search. Despite
      this fact, many businesses have yet to fully embrace the search engines, despite the popularity of
      Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

      Search engines allow you to reach out to consumers at a time when they are actively ‘searching’
      for something. It is a highly-targeted form of advertising that can deliver excellent results.

      Search engines are immensely popular, and the internet’s foremost navigational tool. As a
      route to market, Google, the most popular search engine by far, is unsurpassed. It generates many
      billions of pounds worth of revenue for the companies indexed in its results. Google’s users are
      your prospective customers, and probably your existing ones too.

      With search engines, placement is everything. Most people will click on the first result presented
      to them by following a keyword search. The vast majority won’t get beyond the first 10 results. As
      such, if your company isn’t found on the first page of the organic results then you may consider
      buying your way to the top via paid search platforms (such as Google Adwords).

      If you’re new to search there is no need to panic. It really isn’t rocket science. You just need to
      start somewhere. This guide will help you understand the opportunity, and we have some other
      guides to help you understand the finer details of search.




      Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 5

      All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
      and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
        Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about making your product, services or brand visible on
        search engines, and using relevant content to lure searchers towards your site.

        Most sites need some love and attention in order for them to be especially Google-friendly. In a
        nut, your website and web pages need to be optimised so that they are prominent in the ‘organic’
        listings, which are free.

        For example?
        If you run a shoe shop you might want to achieve high visibility in Google for terms like ‘men’s
        shoes’ or ‘buy trainers online’.


How do you tell the difference between paid and non-paid
results?
        The screenshot below shows you how Google divides up its search results to accommodate both
        organic and paid listings. For the purposes of this report we are primarily concerned with the
        area shaded in orange…




         The right-hand column and the first three results on the left column – all shaded in dark blue
          – are ‘sponsored links’ that have been paid for. Every time somebody clicks, the advertiser
          pays a fee.
         The left-hand column, shaded in orange, hosts natural listings that Google has selected as the
          most relevant websites for the search term (in this case ‘car insurance’).




         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 6

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         and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Which is better? Paid or organic search?
               Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, but, like any dynamic duo, they are better when
               used together as part of the same marketing strategy.

               Organic search is essentially free – you don’t pay for clicks, but you will need to invest in other
               areas (e.g. website improvements, content and copywriting, link-building and PR) to get to the
               top of the search engines. It takes longer to achieve these results. The upside can be massive.

               But until you get there, embracing paid search can provide you with high visibility in the short
               term. It can support your best performing pages. Paid search can also be used to plug gaps in your
               natural search strategy, where your website’s pages don’t rank so well in the organic listings.

               You should also consider how people use websites. Typically, the eye will automatically aim for
               the left of the page, rather like reading a book. As such, content that appears on the top left of a
               web page tends to see the most action. Because most paid search ads are placed on the right they
               receive fewer clicks, as can be seen on the image below (the peaks indicate click activity).




Make a Business Case for Search
Need to convince your boss that Search Engine Optimisation is right for your company? Want to be sure you
spend your budget in the best possible way?

Our Business Case can help.

It contains:

 Research, tips and information from the experts.
 Case studies on the Finance, Retail and Travel sectors.
Go get it: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Business Case




               Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                                Page 7

               All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
               and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
How does SEO work?
              We explain this in far greater detail in our Best Practice Guide, but for now let’s distil SEO into
              four points:

              1. SEO has nothing to do with paid search – these are not ‘sponsored links’ but links to
                 pages that the search engine deems to be the most relevant to the search query. As such, ‘SEO’
                 is only concerned with achieving the highest position possible in the ‘organic’ listings. SEO
                 can be seen as the science of influencing Google / Yahoo etc…
              2. There is no charge for organic listings or when a link to your site is clicked on. Unless
                 you are very lucky (or very clever) there may be costs in securing high visibility on search
                 engines like Google, but subsequent clicks are free.
              3. SEO is far more complicated than paid search, and, for my money, far more lucrative.
                 How search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN select the best websites for a specific
                 term is not known, so SEO is a combination of reverse-engineering, experiments and
                 educated guesswork. Through years of observation we have a good idea about the most
                 important factors that govern your search listings.
              4. More than 200 ‘ranking factors’ determine placement. Google is a black box but we
                 know that it uses more than 200 rules to determine the relevancy of any given web page. As
                 such results cannot be guaranteed (and do not believe anybody who tells you otherwise). A list
                 of the key ranking factors can be found in our ultra-comprehensive SEO Best Practice Guide.



Get the Detail!
Our SEO Best Practice Guide is the definitive guide to increasing your site traffic through search engine
optimization. Learn the best practice techniques to improve your website’s search engine rankings.

The report contains:

 Instructions on how to apply 70 positive ranking factors rated for importance
 50 key recommendations to assess your current practice
 50 quick win tips to improve your position
 Links to the best free and paid SEO resources on the web
 Detailed Request for Proposals template showing how to get the most from a search marketing agency when
  tendering for a new agency.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practice Guide




               Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 8

               All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
               and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Why does SEO matter?
         Why indeed? Maybe the best way of demonstrating how important SEO is in today’s business
         environment is to show you some market intelligence to see what other people are doing in this
         area.

         Here are three key things to take away…

         1. 68% growth in SEO investment in 2007
            And that’s just in the UK. Overall, marketers spent around £2.22bn on search engine
            marketing, with the vast majority of budgets being pumped into paid search. But more than
            £250m was spent in 2007 on SEO, despite the fact that it takes longer to see the results.
         2. Spending to increase in 2008
            According to Econsultancy’s UK Search Marketing Report, 60% of marketers plan to increase
            search budgets ‘in the next 12 months’, which is a higher percentage than any other digital
            marketing channel.
         3. SEO can deliver a seriously high return on investment
            For natural search, we have found that more than two thirds of marketers generate returns of
            more than 300% on the amount they invested in boosting their organic listings. Google is seen
            as the best search engine, in terms of ROI, followed by MSN and Yahoo.




The trend is up!
         Investment into search marketing has soared over the past four years, as can be seen on the chart
         below. The area shaded in light blue represents SEO budgets, which have quadrupled since we
         started measuring the UK market in this way. Econsultancy polls the top search agencies in the
         UK to find out these numbers, and we never look more than 12 months into the future.




         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 9

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         and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Why should I bother with SEO?
      There are five things key reasons …

       Higher visibility
        It stands to reason that if you are setting up a shop that you are better off on the high street
        than some back alley. And just like happy shoppers, web users love to browse. So why not
        make it easy for them? Help them find you. Over half of all web traffic is generated by search
        engines, so getting on the first few pages of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask could not be more
        crucial. Google is the top dog. Make it so.
       It can help you achieve your business goals
        Want more customers? More leads? More sales? The internet is a global marketplace and
        consumers appear to have lost their fear of buying things online. E-commerce is booming!
        Remember that search is demand-driven so you can target your messages to specific search
        queries. It is surely one of the least intrusive ways of advertising your presence to interested
        consumers.
       Competitor activity means that you have to
        In 2007, UK businesses spent more than £2 billion on search engine marketing, so if you are
        spending nothing then you’re behind. Companies spend to try to stay one step ahead of their
        rivals in the rankings. If you are serious about online marketing, you cannot afford to be left
        behind. Try searching in Google for keyphrases relevant to your business and take a look
        around – is your website listed? What about the competition? Don’t let them steal a march…
       To help people find your site
        What better way to reach your audience than when they are looking for information about a
        specific product or supplier?
       Because it’s very easy to gauge its success
        The beauty of the internet is that every click is monitored and recorded. If you want to know if
        your SEM strategy is working, it is very easy to find out. Are you top of the listings? How
        many customers came to you through via a search engine etc.




      Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 10

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      and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
What kind of results can I expect from SEO?
        Basically, an investment in SEO should see your website featured more prominently in the search
        results. Increased search engine visibility means more traffic and, hopefully, higher sales.


Some useful SEO stats:
         An eye-tracking study by Dutch market research firm De Vos & Jansen found that people who
          search with a view to buying looked at more results than those who merely searched for
          information. 1
         Organic results were viewed most often – 98% viewed these results, while 95% looked at the
          sponsored results at the top, and only 31% the sponsored results on the right of the page.
         In July 2007 UK web users clicked on over 1.3bn search results, which equates to 29,000
          every minute. 2
         According to a recent comScore/ SEMPO study, search marketing is crucial in building brand
          awareness and driving offline sales for Consumer Packaged Goods Companies. 3 The study
          also found that customers arriving at the site via search engines spent an average of 20% more
          than non-searchers.
         Search engines have more than twice the e-commerce conversion rate of other traffic
          acquisition sources. During the last three months of 2005, the search engine conversion rate
          at business-to-consumer e-commerce web sites was 2.30%, more than twice the conversion
          rate of other acquisition sources (0.96%), which include banner ads, affiliate marketing links,
          shopping search engines and other referring links. 4
              – Conversion rate for direct navigation (typing in URL, bookmarked) was 4.23%




        1 De Vos&Jansen, February 2007
        2 Nielsen/NetRatings, September 2007
        3 comScore/SEMPO, October 2007
        4 WebSideStory, January 2006

        Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                               Page 11

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        and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Who manages SEO?
        You don’t need to outsource your SEO requirements, but many firms choose to do so, for the
        following reasons:

         Recruitment challenges. You just can’t get the right calibre staff! Experienced search
          marketers are hard to find.
         Silo SEO. It can be very difficult to find a single agency to maximise your returns from all
          aspects of online and search marketing. Many full-service agencies now offer SEO, but many
          clients often select a specialist search agency, to concentrate on organic – rather than paid –
          search.
         Focus. Search marketing is a complex game. Search engines update their algorithms all the
          time, to combat spam. A search agency will naturally keep a closer eye on this than a
          generalist in-house marketing executive.
         SEO can be expensive. Why? Because it takes time. And there are no guarantees that you’ll
          get to first place by building up resources in-house, or by using a specialist agency, but using
          an agency might just help you climb the rankings faster than if you don’t (unless you can
          quickly build and educate a team of SEOers).
         Trend towards in-house expertise. ‘SEO managers’ are increasingly being recruited by
          companies, mainly as an interface to oversee agency activity (rather than ditching the agency
          and assembling an in-house team from scratch). Organisations need somebody internally to
          coordinate agency your SEO efforts, even if the bulk of the work is outsourced.


Charging Models
        1. Consultancy basis based on day rates up to an agreed maximum, e.g. £3,000 per
           month. With this approach regular review meetings are required so the client can determine
           they are getting value for money.
        2. Results-based. With a results-based approach there is less onus on the client to determine
           whether or not they are getting value for money. This paid-on-performance model can work
           well for paid-search but is less straightforward for SEO, and agencies selling on the basis of a
           ‘we will get you to the top of Google, guaranteed!’ are to be avoided.
        3. No results, no pay. This is usually based on positions across a range of search engines –
           remember it is normally Google (plus a few others) that really counts. This is still offered by
           some agencies, but it is no longer valid in a competitive market. It depends on the phrases
           selected and will be difficult to deliver for strategic keyphrases. We don’t like this approach.
           SEO agencies may resort to unethical techniques to desperately try to boost positions, in order
           to earn their fee. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!


Typical Costs
        Prices for SEO range from about £2,000 – for relatively limited campaigns tailored to suit SMEs
        – to costs running into tens of thousands of pounds for larger enterprises committed to a long-
        term approach. Projects tend to be based – either loosely or otherwise – on time.

         In terms of day rates, the fees for agencies profiled in Econsultancy’s Search Marketing
          Buyer’s Guide typically range from £500 to £1,000 per day.
         Charges for SEO are typically based on an initial project set-up fee and an ongoing monthly
          charge for management and reporting.
         Set-up fees for those agencies profiled in our buyer’s guide are in the range of £1,000 to
          £6,000, depending on the scope of the project.


         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 12

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                Agencies will also generally impose a regular charge, usually monthly, in line with a longer
                 term approach to improving your visibility. The monthly cost will vary according to the
                 project or projects.



Looking to Outsource your SEO Requirements?
Our Buyer’s Guide, focused on the UK search market, contains profiles of 31 leading agencies operating in the
UK.

The guide also provides detail on the issues and trends affecting this sector, as well as advice about how to find
the right agency.

Search Engine Marketing: Buyer's Guide 2007




                Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 13

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                and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Where do I start with SEO?
         Start? You already have! By reading the basics in this guide you have already set the wheels in
         motion. But before you get any new project off the ground you have to think about two key
         factors: education and preparation.


Education
         Now you have seen how search marketing can transform your business, it is up to you to spread
         the word. Educate your colleagues and boss on how much impact it could have on your online
         strategy. But don’t stop there. Read our best practice guides and business case reports to find out
         more. And work out how paid search and SEO interact with one another for the best results.


Preparation
         This is one of the most important aspects of any search marketing project but probably the most
         overlooked. Without clear aims and objectives your campaign is doomed to failure before you
         even begin. So stop and ask yourself the following questions:


Key considerations – four questions to ask yourself
         1. What are we hoping to get out of this?
            What is the overall motivation for optimising this site? (i.e. more sales, more subscribers,
            more traffic, more publicity etc?) This will help determine what keywords and phrases you
            want to focus on.
         2. What is the timeframe?
            How long will it take to get off the ground? Is this a quick fix or part of a long-term strategy?
            This will help decide whether to focus your strategy on paid search, which essentially is a
            quick fix, or search engine optimisation, which is more of a long-term commitment. The best
            strategies use both.
         3. How much money is needed?
            It’s one of the first questions any boss will ask, so you need to come up with the answers.
            Obviously, paid search would be a lot more expensive, but SEO could pay dividends in the
            long term. How much you spend will also be determined on whether you decide to use
            agencies or not.
         4. Who will be responsible for this project?
            Will it be run entirely in-house or will it be handed to another company to sort out. Do you
            have the staff do run such an operation? Who will coordinate training?




         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 14

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         and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Further reading
        Econsultancy has the knowledge. Now it’s your turn. Happy hunting, and good luck…


SEO research from Econsultancy
        Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Business Case
        Do you have a budget yet? Well, do you? Many people don’t! After years of hearing that ‘winning
        the budget is painful and takes forever’ we decide to write a series of business cases to help you
        convince the boss. They are short and sweet, and spell out the benefits without resorting to jargon
        or hype. Let us know how you get on!

        Search Engine Marketing – A Best Practice Guide
        This comprehensive SEO Best Practice Guide will help you understand search marketing like
        never before! At over 200 pages, it contains everything you need to know about search engine
        optimization, whether you work for an in-house client team or for an agency. Invaluable for
        anybody working in internet marketing, or looking to appoint an SEO agency, or simply trying to
        secure better Google rankings.

        Search Marketing Buyer’s Guide
        A guide for anybody on the cusp of recruiting a search marketing agency. Includes profiles of what
        we consider to be the top suppliers in this sector, as well as market research, trends and issues,
        plus advice on how to buy (questions to ask) and average rates. These guides make the task of
        researching this space so much easier.

        Search Engine Marketing Roundtable Briefing - September 2007
        Econsultancy hosts a number of highly exclusive roundtables every month. Attendees regularly
        include some of the top names in the industry, and lots of smart people working at the sharp end.
        We write up summary briefings of these events, such as this one, but you should attend a live
        event for the real deal.

        Internet Statistics Compendium
        A mega-compilation of the latest internet-related facts and figures from Econsultancy and third
        party research firms. Perfect if you want fast access to relevant data, and ideal for internal
        presentations and client pitches.


Econsultancy’s blog articles about SEO
        Search is a subject we write about most days. The Econsultancy blog has a section devoted to
        search that features site reviews, tips and advice, interviews with experts, and related research.

        Here are a few articles to whet your appetite…

         Do you track your Google rankings?
         SEO strategy for new websites
         How to target the lucrative long tail of search
         How to improve your Google rankings
         The biggest secret about SEO
         Search listings have significant branding impact - study


         Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 15

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         and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
         What does PageRank mean today?
         Simplifying SEO - Five laws of effective search engine optimisation
         SEO commitment essential as consumers go organic
         Do you make Google look good?
         The issues facing big brand SEO
         SEO tips for product pages
         The power of universal search
         Are you breaking Google's rules?
         Why SEO is expensive




Training courses
        Econsultancy has a fantastic training division that is retained by some of the world’s biggest
        brands. We train both privately and publicly, depending on your needs, and because we truly
        understand how the internet affects businesses we’re able to deliver everything from ‘starter
        courses’ to high-level strategic briefings for executives.

        Check out our Search Engine Optimisation Training Courses.


Forthcoming roundtables
        We regularly host roundtables in a behind-closed-doors setting so attendees are comfortable
        talking about the challenges and issues that they face. Most roundtables take place in London
        over the course of a couple of hours. They’re very exclusive and normally don’t have any more
        than 15 attendees. Check out our schedule of forthcoming roundtables if you’re keen to find out
        more.


Supplier Showcases
        These are regular, subject-specific events that allow clients / prospective buyers to evaluate six
        top suppliers in one afternoon – a serious timesaver. To see what’s coming up, aim here.




        Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 16

        All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
        and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
Glossary
      Like it or loathe it, (internet) marketing is full of jargon and acronyms. So rather than have you
      scratching your head, Econsultancy has put together a handy, bite-sized glossary of the key
      terms. There is a larger glossary in our best practice guides to paid search and SEO.

      Black-hat SEO: An approach to SEO that pushes the boundaries of ethical practice. Potentially
      contravenes the search engine’s terms of service. High risk, high-reward approach. May gain
      more visitors if techniques are more effective than those of companies following an ethical, white-
      hat SEO approach. However, may be subject to algorithm changes.

      Blog: A commentary on particular topics which is updated daily, weekly or monthly by an
      individual or a group of people.

      Click fraud: Clicking on sponsored links, typically arranged through competitors, for the sole
      purpose of costing the advertiser money.

      Clickthrough rate (CTR): The number of clicks on ad or link as a proportion of ads or pages
      served. Usually expressed as a percentage.

      CPM (Cost per mille / thousand): A payment model for online advertising where the
      advertiser is charged for every 1,000 views of the page containing the ad (page views or
      impressions) or more accurately, the ad itself (the ad is served 1,000) times.

      Index: A database created by search engine robots which contains information on the URL of
      each page crawled, the keyphrases it contains together with other information which determines
      weighting in SERPs such as keyword density, formatting and PageRank.

      IP address: The unique numerical address of a computer.

      Keywords: The keyphrase or search query which is typed into the search engine.

      Keyword stuffing: The repeated use of a keyphrase within a page or within a meta keyword tag.
      Penalties may be applied for keyword stuffing.

      Natural or organic listings: The pages listing results from a search engine query which are
      displayed in a sequence according to relevance of match between the keyword phrase typed into a
      search engine and a web page according to a ranking algorithm used by the search engine.

      On-page optimization: Devising page content, structure and HTML markup to prove relevance
      of a search keyphrase to the search engines.

      PageRank: Google’s trademarked approach to assess the value of a web page based on the
      number of inbound links or backlinks.

      Paid-search marketing: There are two types of paid-search marketing: Pay Per Click paid-
      search engine marketing and Content-network paid-search marketing (which may be on a PPC
      basis or on a CPM basis). A relevant text ad with a link to a company page is displayed when the
      user of a search engine types in a specific phrase. A fee is charged for every click of each link, with
      the amount bid for the click mainly determining its position.

      Paid listings of a search engine: A relevant ad with a link to a company page is displayed
      when the user of a search engine types in a specific phrase. A fee is charged for every click of each
      link, with the amount bid for the click mainly determining its position.

      Pay per Click (PPC) paid-search marketing: A relevant text ad with a link to a company
      page is displayed on the SERPs when the user of a search engine types in a specific phrase. A fee is

      Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 17

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      and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Copyright © Econsultancy.com Ltd 2008
charged for every click of each link, with the amount bid for the click mainly determining its
position.

Ranking factors: The criteria used by the search engine in their algorithms to determine how
high a website / page is displayed in the natural listings for a particular phrase.

Robots: Automated software agents located on a search engine server that collect page data from
different sites by following links between pages and sites. Robots follow policies which determine
how often they visit a site. Search engine robots collect data about each page which is added into
the search engine index.

Search engine ranking algorithm: The search engine users a complex evaluation of different
ranking factors occurs to assess the order of relevance of results returned on the SERPs for a
given search phrase.

Search engine index: A database containing details of pages crawled by search engine robots.
Includes assessments of keyphrases and information need to determine ranking factors.

Search engine marketing (SEM): Promoting an organization through search engines to meet
its objectives by delivering relevant content in the search listings when they search and
encouraging them to click through to a destination site. The two key techniques of SEM are
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve results from the natural listings and Paid-search
marketing to deliver results from the sponsored listings within the search engines through Pay
Per Click (PPC) paid-search engine marketing and through Content-network paid-search
marketing (which may be on a PPC basis or on a CPM basis). SEM is about connecting the
searchers with information which will help them find what they are looking for and will help site
owners generate revenue or disseminate information.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A structured approach used to increase the position of a
company or its products in search engine natural or organic results listings for selected key
phrases.

Search engine results page (SERP): The page(s) containing the results after a user types in a
key phrase into a search engine. SERPS contain both natural or organic listings and paid or
sponsored listings.

White-hat SEO: An approach to SEO which follows an ethical approach of what is generally
agreed as acceptable best-practice within the industry. It is the opposite of black-hat SEO.




Search Engine Optimisation Beginner's Guide                                                                                                                                              Page 18

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