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					WHITE PAPER
SEO: Optimizing Web Pages for Search Engines

Learn how your website can achieve consistently high rankings
among top search engines.




By: Richard Miller, Director, e-Commerce




Email:   info@triseptsolutions.com
Web:     www.triseptsolutions.com
Phone:   414.934.3900
Fax:     414.934.2391
Mail:    777 West Glencoe Place
         Milwaukee, WI 53217


Trisept Solutions provides leading-edge leisure travel industry technology services featuring inventory
management, a full spectrum of electronic distribution products, and other IT solutions. Trisept Solutions
processes more than 300 million e-commerce transactions annually and facilitates the sale of more than
three million vacation package reservations for its clients. Its team is comprised of more than 200 innovative
professionals at its Milwaukee headquarters. Visit www.triseptsolutions.com to learn more about the world
leader in Web-based leisure travel distribution technology.
                  SEO: Optimizing Web Pages for Search Engines
                  In these times of sophisticated Internet search engines, it’s no longer enough to
                  just have a website. You need to ensure your site will consistently achieve high
                  rankings when “Googled”. Over 75% of consumers use Yahoo, MSN, Google
                  or another search engine to research vacation options. That’s why it’s critical
                  that your site content become search engine-friendly by implementing a variety
                  of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.

                  As Internet users continue to become savvier and their search queries more
                  sharply defined, by properly optimizing your pages, your site will place higher in
                  the search listings and stay ahead of your competition.

                  This white paper will explain:

                     1)   The basics of SEO
                     2)   Benchmarking – what is it and why you should do it
                     3)   Tips for research keywords & writing search engine-friendly content
                     4)   How to submit sites to search engines and measure results


                  So, what does it take to get “Googled”?
                     A simple search engine optimization project is not hard to implement.
                     However, staying current on the latest trends, maintaining optimization and
                     reviewing the success of your SEO campaigns takes considerable time and
                     effort.

                     If you’re going to do it yourself, start with a simple strategy and proceed from
                     there as your knowledge and comfort level grows. Afterall, a little
                     optimization is better than none at all.




                                                                                                Pay-per-click




                                                                                                Organic




SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                  SEO needs long-term commitment, but yields long-term results

                    Tackling SEO in-house is not necessarily the best option for all website
                    owners. A successful SEO campaign is an ongoing project, not a one-time
                    task. It takes time and resources to stay optimized and many site managers
                    have their hands full with other aspects of the business.

                    It may be more advantageous to contract SEO services from a reputable
                    search marketing agency. Outsourcing relieves a site owner of the burden
                    of researching, testing, implementing and maintaining a large scale SEO
                    project.




                    First things first

                    Before undertaking any part of an SEO overhaul, a website should undergo
                    a thorough analysis for the purpose of benchmarking. A snapshot with
                    current number of visitors, page views, unique visitors, and keyword ranking
                    serves as a gauge by which to measure any improvements gained as a
                    result of any SEO effort.

                    Do your research

                    There are many good sources of information to keep up with the latest in
                    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) including online forums, newsletters and
                    conferences.

                    Best SEO websites:

                           SearchEngineNews newsletter by Planet Ocean
                           ClickZ's SearchEngineWatch

                    Best SEO conference:

                          The Search Engine Strategies Conference is located in various cities
                          and countries throughout the year. The conference includes sessions
                          for all levels (basic to advanced) and allows direct contact with some
                          of the search industry leaders.

                    In the end, an SEO strategy can be as complicated and technical or as easy
                    and clean as you want. Ask questions. Read a white paper, like the one

SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                    you’re holding now. Learning the ins and outs of search engine optimization
                    takes time, just like Spanish, Italian or any other new language.

                  Breaking it down: SEO Components

                    Search Engine Optimization is a skill that can be learned, just like any other.
                    Successful SEO strategies are built by utilizing these basic ideas:

                    Content - Otherwise known as body copy, content is what the search engine
                    spiders crawl over when attempting to match the keywords searched to offer
                    additional relevant information.

                       Common mistake: Jamming too many complex topics into a single page.
                       This just confuses the search engine as it searches for content relevant to
                       the search criteria.

                       The solution: Design your site to have a unique page or section for each
                       specific subject. Search engine spiders can recognize keywords that
                       have been embedded in a page, so be sure to pepper keywords into page
                       titles and tags, paragraph headlines and links.

                    Design - A flashy website may look impressive, but don’t let design get in
                    the way of function – or an effective SEO strategy.

                       Common mistake: Too much Flash and graphics. Search engines can’t
                       recognize keywords as phrases in a Flash or graphic format.

                       The solution: Keep the design simple. Successfully optimized sites avoid
                       slow-to-load graphics. Simple text-based designs attract search engine
                       spiders because they can process the relevant content much faster.

                    Tags - Often ignored, meta tagging is one of the more important
                    components of SEO. Page titles, meta titles, and keyword sets should be
                    created with keyword phrase-heavy content that compels users to click
                    through from the search results page.

                       Title Tag - A title tag for any web page appears in the blue field at the top
                       of the browser window. The title is usually the first element search engine
                       spiders encounter, thereby making it an important factor when giving your
                       site a ranking. An improperly composed title tag could be a major reason
                       why your site’s ranking is not as high as you think it ought to be.
                                                                                              Title tag




SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                       Writing a title tag

                       Say your business sells vacations to Hawaii. How should your title tag
                       read?

                              Good:          Hawaii Vacations
                              This page title tag is okay, but is limited in scope for both users
                              and search engines.

                              Better:          Hawaii Vacation Packages
                              This is a bit stronger, but there’s still room for improvement.

                              Best:          Hawaii Vacation Packages – ABC Vacations,
                                             Luxury Vacations to Hawaii
                              This one is the winner because it includes relatable terms, is still
                              to the point, and conveys more relevant information to a potential
                              customer.

                       TIP – Each page of your site should have a title tag that accurately
                       reflects the page content.


                  Benchmarking your site
                    Benchmarking is about identifying your site’s strengths and measuring
                    growth. It’s also about understanding your site’s weaknesses and taking
                    steps to correct them.

                    Benchmarking exercises can include:

                    Evaluating the look and size of your organization’s home page and
                    measuring:

                           Page views
                           Unique visits
                           Total visits
                           Ranking in search listings

                    Other qualities of measurement include:

                           Page content and relevance
                           Consistency of content
                           Keywords and phrases

                    Lastly, an important part of benchmarking is getting a snapshot of the
                    competitive landscape. In order to be successful, you must understand your
                    competition. Looking at websites that offer services or products like yours
                    will provide ideas for things to emulate as well as avoid. A good place to find
                    these competitors is at the top of the search listings.



SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                    Once a complete set of metrics has been established for your site, the data
                    gained from optimization can be reported and studied for continuing changes
                    or improvements in the future.

                  Researching Keywords

                    Keyword research - choosing the most relevant keyword phrases – is one of
                    the most important parts of any SEO campaign. You can spend a lot of time
                    optimizing your pages for better ranking, but it’s a wasted effort if the right
                    keyword phrases are not targeted. High search engine rankings due to poor
                    keyword selection may still not bring you relevant traffic. So, identify your
                    target audience and research what keywords they might be typing in the
                    search engines to discover your site. Below are some tools you may find
                    useful.

                    Keyword Research Tools

                    1) Wordtracker® http://www.wordtracker.com - Wordtracker® provides a
                       wide variety of ways to explore top-performing keywords.




                    2) Webmaster Toolkit http://www.webmaster-toolkit.com - Enter the word or
                       phrase you wish to be found under. The Webmaster tool will also
                       suggest additional words and phrases for you to consider using.




SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                  3) Overture Keyword Selection Tool http://www.overture.com - If you’re not
                     sure what search terms your customers may be using, enter a term
                     related to your site and Overture will show you how many times that term
                     was used as a search query.




                  TIPS
                  1) Carefully target the search keywords
                  2) Keep key phrases relevant and targeted to what a specific web page is
                     about.
                  3) Avoid placing keywords in JPG, GIF or other graphic formats. Because
                     search engines do not read information contained in graphics, important
SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                       words or phrases will be ignored. Although use of graphics may be more
                       visually sophisticated, it’s more important for people to find your page.
                       Find appropriate ways to ensure keywords and phrases remain in a text-
                       based format.


                  Writing for Search Engines

                    Most web users know how to use Internet search engines to help them find
                    what they’re looking for. The most-used search engines are:




                    Search engines have become invaluable tools for web users simply because
                    they’re able to instantly sift through millions of web pages. The matches they
                    find are then returned to the user with the most relevant pages at the top of
                    the list.

                    Because search engines respond directly to the keywords or phrase they’re
                    given, an internal algorithm drives the engine to find the relevant pages.
                    Thus, it’s critical that your web pages contain enough of the keywords and
                    phrases that your customers are using to find pages like yours.

                    Placement of keywords

                    Search engines perform their tasks similar to how the human brain performs
                    basic functions. Someone browsing in a bookstore will most likely start
                    searching for a book by looking at the title. Search engines do the same
                    thing, and that’s why it’s so important that the title of each page contain only
                    the most relevant information pertaining to the content of that particular
                    page.

                    EXAMPLE:

                    Let’s say a person conducts a Google search on the keywords “book family
                    beach vacations”.

                    The search engine logically pushes pages with the search terms appearing
                    in the HTML title tag to the top of the listing. The following result, offers a
                    description relevant to the keyword search.

                    Next, the engine checks to see if the search keywords relevant to the topic
                    appear near the top of a web page, such as in the headline or in the first few


SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                  paragraphs of text. If they are found there, that page stays at the top of the
                  ranking list.

                  Because the title tag and body copy matched the keywords searched, the
                  keywords appear bolded. Also, some of the keyword-rich content will display
                  on the search engine results page, allowing the user to read an informative
                  description of your product or service.

                  Here are the Google results for “book family beach vacations”:




                  Keyword Frequency

                  The other way search engines measure relevancy is the number of times the
                  keywords appear within the page content or body copy. As part of the
                  retrieval process, a search engine analyzes how often keywords appear in
                  relation to other words in a web page.

                  Pages with a higher frequency of relevant keywords outrank other pages to
                  the top of the search listing that is returned to the user. Of course, all this
                  happens in the blink of an eye, and that’s why it’s so important to think like
                  the search engines “think” when writing content for your pages.




SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                    Example of keyword-rich site copy:
                                                                                          Title tag




                                                                                  Keyword-rich
                                                                                  body copy




                    Don’t overdo it

                    A word of caution is in order, however. Going overboard with keyword or key
                    phrase placement in page texts can have the opposite effect. If the search
                    engine detects an abnormal amount of keywords, it may actually reject that
                    page from the final search queue. This is known as search engine
                    “spamming” or keyword “stuffing.” For example, repeating a word hundreds
                    of times on a page is a tactic that the search engine may already be trained
                    to recognize.

                  Submitting to Search Engines

                    Search engine submission, or search engine registration, is the practice of
                    listing your site with the major search engines. Most people with web pages
                    submit their sites to search engines hoping to be as high as possible in the
                    rankings, and hopefully on the first page.

                    However, just as it isn’t enough to simply have a web page, it’s also not
                    enough to just submit your site to the search engine. All a submission really
                    means is that the search engine has been made aware of your page.
SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                    Unless your page is properly optimized, there’s little hope of achieving any
                    consistent or lasting results.

                    That’s where search engine marketing (SEM) comes in. SEM describes the
                    overall strategy of using search engines to market a website. That strategy
                    includes submission, optimization, managing paid listings and more.
                    Appearing high in the search engine rankings can be achieved if
                    optimization, submission and all other factors are carefully considered. By
                    approaching improvements to your site in this manner, the audience you
                    seek will be able to find you.

                  Metrics & Reporting

                    After your pages have been successfully optimized, it’s natural to want to
                    track the results. This is where having carefully documented benchmarks
                    comes in handy.

                    The original benchmarks created during the site analysis can be used to
                    measure all future performance. Checking regular monthly or quarterly
                    reports from a service such as HitBox or WebTrends help you track your
                    success from day one. You can then use that data to continuously make
                    improvements and upgrades to your keywords and page content.




                  Be patient

                    It’s important to remember that good SEO results take time. In other words,
                    don’t expect immediate changes in your rankings. It may take weeks or even
                    months for your SEO efforts to show results. But once those changes start to
                    happen, you should continue to rank well, especially if you practice a system
                    of regular monitoring and page updates.




SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                  Doing SEO In-house

                    Undertaking an SEO project is a long-term commitment - not a one-time
                    task. SEO is a growing field that is constantly changing. Be sure to
                    dedicate enough budget, resources, and time to conduct a thorough SEO
                    campaign.

                    You may want to add a full-time SEO analyst to your staff or at a minimum,
                    dedicate an existing team member to the job. Hiring a person who already
                    has the knowledge and the skills will eliminate a time-consuming learning
                    curve. If this isn’t an option, there are a number of workshops, web groups,
                    and seminars available that can teach SEO practices effectively.

                    Another aspect of good SEO practices is strong copy writing. If you already
                    have a good copywriter on staff, they can be partnered with an experienced
                    SEO person to weave the all-important key phrases into the text.

                    As you explore the options for doing SEO in-house, consider all the factors
                    involved. If it appears to be too time consuming or too draining on existing
                    resources, you will want to find a reliable SEO firm to whom you can
                    outsource the project.

                  Outsourcing SEO

                    There are several reasons why outsourcing SEO may be your best option.
                    SEO practices change quickly. Your internal resources may be too busy
                    managing other aspects of your business to effectively stay abreast of the
                    latest developments in the field. An external SEO team dedicates 100% of
                    its time to maximizing the use of search engines. There is no learning curve,
                    there is no back burner. Your website is their top priority.

                    Perhaps the biggest benefit of outsourcing to a reputable, well-respected
                    SEO firm is that you can leverage their relationships with top search
                    engines. On your own, Google or Yahoo may not be easy to access. You
                    might have trouble getting a foot in the door. But a well-known SEO
                    company already has relationships with search engines and you can use
                    that to your advantage.

                    Trisept Solutions, one such firm, has been at the forefront of SEO since its
                    inception.    Trisept Solutions, a leading travel technology company,
                    integrates SEO practices into web development services for many of the
                    travel industry’s leading tour operators, top hoteliers, and major airlines.
                    Trisept’s SEO team works closely with top search engines like Google, MSN,
                    and Yahoo to submit sites, test new search practices, and offer training
                    sessions for Trisept’s customers.




SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006
                  Putting it all together

                    Whether you decide to tackle SEO in-house or to entrust a reputable e-
                    marketing firm to handle it for you, SEO is a vital part of any successful e-
                    marketing campaign. Creating a compelling website that engages visitors
                    and achieves your corporate objectives is only half the battle. Making sure
                    your customers and prospects can find it, is a whole other story.


                  Who We Are

                    Trisept Solutions - Search Engine Marketing

                    Trisept Solutions is the global leader in technology powering vacations,
                    providing airlines, hoteliers, tour operators, and travel agents with innovative
                    leisure travel technology. Trisept’s e-marketing services include Search
                    Engine Optimization, Paid Placement Campaign Management and Affiliate
                    Marketing Management. A few of the brands we manage search engine
                    marketing for include Funjet Vacations, Southwest Airlines Vacations, Spirit
                    Vacations, Midwest Airlines Vacations and United Vacations.




                    For more information about Trisept Solutions and to learn more about its role as the world-
                    leader in web-based leisure travel distribution technology, visit our website at
                    www.triseptsolutions.com or contact us via info@triseptsolutions.com.



SEO: Optimizing
Web Pages for
Search Engines
July, 2006

				
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