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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

SEO Principles

The following is an excerpt from Infoworld.com

What are some basic SEO principles?

A Web site built with users in mind is likely to fare well with the software "spiders" that search engines use to index content and rank sites, Thurow says. The three building blocks of such a site are:

-- Text: Use content that includes words and phrases your company's target audience is likely to type into search queries. If you're selling mountain bikes, that term should be everywhere -- in page headings, navigation buttons, photo captions and the like.

-- Links: A site's navigation scheme should be accessible, coherent and consistent so that spiders and humans can easily traverse it.

-- Popularity: A good site will prompt others to link to it. External links from reputable sites will enhance your Web site's ranking in search engines.

Why should a company bother to use SEO if it can buy pay-per-click ads?

A company can always buy pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search engines. These ads appear whenever users query specific keywords. However, JupiterResearch has found that the average company gets about 80 percent of its commercial search engine referrals from organic results and the rest from PPC ads. So while PPC ads can complement organic search results, particularly when doing seasonal promotions, they are no substitute.

How much should a company expect to spend on SEO consulting work?

It depends on the size of the Web site and the condition it's in, says Chris Winfield, president and cofounder of search engine marketer 10e20. Most of his company's clients sign up for a year's service, paying between US$5,000 and $15,000 per month, plus sometimes an initial, one-time fee, he says.

What should CMOs look for when evaluating SEO consultants?

In addition to checking the obvious -- references, expertise and resources -- it's critical to hire a consultant who abides by a search engine's SEO guidelines. Avoid search engine marketing firms that offer to elevate rankings for a low, one-time fee, since the only way to legitimately guarantee top positioning is with a PPC ad. Unscrupulous firms typically try to trick search engine spiders by employing so-called black hat techniques, such as stuffing a Web site with hidden keywords. When a search engine detects such a trick, it will ban the site from its index. Then no amount of SEO will make it appear.
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