SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) target paid listings. In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website web presence.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and 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 acronym “SEO” can refer to “search engine optimizers,” a term adopted by an industry of consultants who carry out optimization projects on behalf of clients, and by employees who perform SEO services in-house. Search engine optimizers may offer SEO as a stand-alone service or as a part of a broader marketing campaign. Because effective SEO may require changes to the HTML source code of a site and site content, SEO tactics may be incorporated into website development and design. The term “search engine friendly” may be used to describe website designs, menus, content management systems, images, videos, shopping carts, and other elements that have been optimized for the purpose of search engine exposure.

Another class of techniques, known as black hat SEO or spamdexing, uses methods such as link farms, keyword stuffing and article spinning that degrade both the relevance of search results and the user-experience of search engines. Search engines look for sites that employ these techniques in order to remove them from their indices.

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 webmasters needed to do was submit the address of 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.[1] 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.

Site owners started to recognize the value of having their sites highly ranked and visible in search engine results, creating an opportunity for both white hat and black hat SEO practitioners. According to industry analyst Danny Sullivan, the phrase “search engine optimization” probably came into use in 1997.[2] The first documented use of the term Search Engine Optimization was John Audette and his company Multimedia Marketing Group as documented by a web page from the MMG site from August, 1997 on the Internet Way Back machine (Document Number 19970801004204).[3] The first registered USA Copyright of a website containing that phrase is by Bruce Clay effective March, 1997 (Document Registration Number TX0005001745, US Library of Congress Copyright Office).[4]

Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided information such as the keyword meta tag, or index files in engines like ALIWEB. Meta tags provide a guide to each page’s content. Using meta data to index pages was found to be less than reliable, however, because the webmaster’s choice of keywords in the meta tag could potentially be an inaccurate representation of the site’s actual content. Inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data in meta tags could and did cause pages to rank for irrelevant searches.[5] Web content providers also manipulated a number of attributes within the HTML source of a page in an attempt to rank well in search engines.[6]

By relying so much on factors such as keyword density which were exclusively within a webmaster’s control, early search engines suffered from abuse and ranking manipulation. To provide better results to their users, search engines had to adapt to ensure their results pages showed the most relevant search results, rather than unrelated pages stuffed with numerous keywords by unscrupulous webmasters. Since the success and popularity of a search engine is determined by its ability to produce the most relevant results to any given search, allowing those results to be false would turn users to find other search sources. Search engines responded by developing more complex ranking algorithms, taking into account additional factors that were more difficult for webmasters to manipulate.

Graduate students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, developed “backrub,” a search engine that relied on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. The number calculated by the algorithm, PageRank, is a function of the quantity and strength of inbound links.[7] PageRank estimates the likelihood that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web, and follows links from one page to another. In effect, this means that some links are stronger than others, as a higher PageRank page is more likely to be reached by the random surfer.

Page and Brin founded Google in 1998. Google attracted a loyal following among the growing number of Internet users, who liked its simple design.[8] Off-page factors (such as PageRank and hyperlink analysis) were considered as well as on-page factors (such as keyword frequency, meta tags, headings, links and site structure) to enable Google to avoid the kind of manipulation seen in search engines that only considered on-page factors for their rankings. Although PageRank was more difficult to game, webmasters had already developed link building tools and schemes to influence the Inktomi search engine, and these methods proved similarly applicable to gaming PageRank. Many sites focused on exchanging, buying, and selling links, often on a massive scale. Some of these schemes, or link farms, involved the creation of thousands of sites for the sole purpose of link spamming.[9]

By 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. Google says it ranks sites using more than 200 different signals.[10] The leading search engines, Google and Yahoo, do not disclose the algorithms they use to rank pages. Notable SEO service providers, such as Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz, Aaron Wall and Jill Whalen, have studied different approaches to search engine optimization, and have published their opinions in online forums and blogs.[11][12] SEO practitioners may also study patents held by various search engines to gain insight into the algorithms.[13]

In 2005 Google began personalizing search results for each user. Depending on their history of previous searches, Google crafted results for logged in users.[14] In 2008, Bruce Clay said that “ranking is dead” because of personalized search. It would become meaningless to discuss how a website ranked, because its rank would potentially be different for each user and each search.[15]

In 2007 Google announced a campaign against paid links that transfer PageRank.[16] On June 15, 2009, Google disclosed that they had taken measures to mitigate the effects of PageRank sculpting by use of the nofollow attribute on links. Matt Cutts, a well-known software engineer at Google, announced that Google Bot would no longer treat nofollowed links in the same way, in order to prevent SEO service providers from using nofollow for PageRank sculpting.[17] As a result of this change the usage of nofollow leads to evaporation of pagerank. In order to avoid the above, SEO engineers developed alternative techniques that replace nofollowed tags with obfuscated Javascript and thus permit PageRank sculpting. Additionally several solutions have been suggested that include the usage of iframes, Flash and Javascript. [18]

In December 2009 Google announced it would be using the web search history of all its users in order to populate search results.[19]

Real-time-search was introduced in late 2009 in an attempt to make search results more timely and relevant. Historically site administrators have spent months or even years optimizing a website to increase search rankings. With the growth in popularity of social media sites and blogs the leading engines made changes to their algorithms to allow fresh content to rank quickly within the search results.[20]

Copywriters

Most copywriters are employees within organizations such as advertising agencies, public relations firms, company advertising departments, large stores, marketing firms, broadcasters and cable providers, newspapers, book publishers and magazines. Copywriters can also be independent contractors who freelance for a variety of clients, at the clients’ offices or working from their own, or partners or employees in a specialized copywriting agency. Such agencies combine copywriting services with a range of editorial and associated services that may include positioning and messaging consulting, social media and SEO consulting, developmental editing, and copy editing, proofreading, fact checking, layout, and design. A copywriting agency most often serves large corporations.

A copywriter usually works as part of a creative team. Advertising agencies partner copywriters with art directors. The copywriter has ultimate responsibility for the advertisement’s verbal or textual content, which often includes receiving the copy information from the client. The copywriter is responsible for telling the story, crafting it in such a way that it resonates with the viewer/reader. The art director has ultimate responsibility for visual communication and, particularly in the case of print work, may oversee production. Although, in many instances, either person may come up with the overall idea for the advertisement or commercial (typically referred to as the concept or “big idea”), and the process of collaboration often improves the work.

Copywriters are similar to technical writers and the careers may overlap. Broadly speaking, however, technical writing is dedicated to informing readers rather than persuading them. For example, a copywriter writes an ad to sell a car, while a technical writer writes the operator’s manual explaining how to use it.

Because the words sound alike, copywriters are sometimes confused with people who work in copyright law. These careers are unrelated.

Famous copywriters include David Ogilvy, William Bernbach and Leo Burnett. Many creative artists spent some of their career as copywriters before becoming famous for other things, including Peter Carey, Dorothy L. Sayers, Eric Ambler, Joseph Heller, Terry Gilliam, William S. Burroughs, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, Lawrence Kasdan, Fay Weldon, Philip Kerr and Shigesato Itoi. (Herschell Gordon Lewis, on the other hand, became famous for directing violent exploitation films, then became a very successful copywriter.)

The Internet has expanded the range of copywriting opportunities to include web content, ads, emails and other online media. It has also brought new opportunities for copywriters to learn their craft, conduct research and view others’ work. And the Internet has made it easier for employers, copywriters and art directors to find each other.

As a consequence of these factors, along with increased use of independent contractors and virtual commuting generally, freelancing has become a more viable job option, particularly in certain copywriting specialties and markets. A generation ago, professional freelance copywriters (except those between full-time jobs) were rare.

While schooling may be a good start or supplement in a budding copywriter’s professional education, working as part of an advertising team arguably remains the best way for novices to gain the experience and business sense required by many employers, and expands the range of career opportunities.

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is considered to be broad in scope because it not only refers to marketing on the Internet, but also includes marketing done via e-mail and wireless media. Digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management (ECRM) systems are also often grouped together under internet marketing.

Internet marketing ties together the creative and technical aspects of the Internet, including design, development, advertising, and sales. Internet marketing also refers to the placement of media along many different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, email marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies

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