Search Engine Optimization for Strategic Marketing

by : Christian Fea

Copyright (c) 2008 Christian Fea

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website, and this is a key technique for a strategic marketing platform.

Search engine optimization drives traffic to a website by matching targeted keywords with searches performed by a search engine like Google or Yahoo. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the list of search results, or the higher it ranks, the more people will visit that site. If someone performs a search for "cosmetics" and your website comes up in the first position on the first page, more people will go to your site than the site in the first position on the second page, or even to the site that is the fifth position on the first page. Search engine optimization can also target different kinds of searches, including image search, local search, industry-specific, and vertical search engines.

As a marketing strategy for increasing a site's placement and relevance, search engine optimization considers how search algorithms work and what people search for. Search engine optimization may involve a site's coding, presentation and structure, as well as fixing problems that could prevent search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a site.

Another class of techniques, know as black hat search engine optimization or spamdexing, use methods such as link farms and keyword stuffing that tend to harm the search engine user's experience. Search engines look for sites that employ these techniques and may remove them from their indexes.

SEO History

Webmasters and content providers began optimizing sites for search engines in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloging the early web. Initially, all a webmaster needed to do was submit a page, or URL, to the various engines which would send a spider to "crawl" that page, extract links to other pages from it, and return information found on the page to be indexed. The process involves a search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search engine's own server, where a second program, known as an indexer, extracts various information about the page, such as the words it contains and where these are located, as well as any weight for specific words and all links the page contains, which are then placed into a scheduler for crawling at a later date.

SEO for Your Strategic Marketing Strategy

Having your website high in the rankings of a search engine is a strategic marketing way to increase your exposure. The higher you rank on a search engine, the more likely people are to visit your site.

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

These are a few ideas on how to start thinking about applying search engine optimization to your business marketing plan. The first step to gaining new customers is by driving them to your site. Search engine optimization can be an important part of your successful strategic marketing plan by increasing the easy search-ability of your company's website and making your business more noticeable.