Search Engine Optimization and Online Stores

Search Engine Optimization 101– Marketing Keywords on the Internet

Build it and they will come. This famous line might apply to ball fields but not to web sites. Getting people to visit a web site takes a lot of work. Getting people to visit a site via a search engine when they are looking for something specific is even harder.

This paper will review the process for basic search engine optimization (SEO henceforth). Covered are the basic components of marketing a site to attract specific traffic. These components include keywords, directories, back links and content.

The first step in SEO is to define your keywords. For instance, Amazon.com’s keywords could include; books, online bookstore, etc. Careful thought should be placed in your keyword selection. This phase is the foundation to support all other SEO efforts. Fredrick Marckini in Keyword Selection - The Most Overlooked Element of Success, August 2002, Market Postion had this to say about keyword selection:

"Most people target the wrong keywords. No client has ever presented us with a thorough keyword universe upon initiating their engagement. Invariably, the keyword list supplied by the client includes keywords that are too broad, or not specifically relevant to the content of their site."

It is important to select specific and applicable keywords. Avoid anything broad or general.

Once you have your list of keywords, it’s time to market them. To do this, it is important to understand how search engines works. Google is currently the most popular search engine the USA, so lets review how their technology works.

Google uses bots (applications that run with little to no human intervention) to scan the internet for known web site and indexes the content found on these web sites. This cataloging process is called crawling. Google sends out a bot that crawls web sites. and looks for changes in content, this is called the fresh bot. Fresh bot is sent out almost daily and only scans the surface of web site digging no more that 2-3 layers deep (layers refer to the linked structure of a site). Every 2-3 months, Google sends out a deep bot that index the entire structure of a web site All the information collected by the bots is stored in Google’s index servers.

Google then uses an algorithm to process queries which compares the data in their index server and uses other weighed factors to return web pages that meet the queries request.

Once your site is listed in Google’s index servers, you will want to get high ranks (listed on the first 1-2 pages of Google’s search result pages). To achieve this we should discuss the other factors Google uses to weigh their search results. These factors are not published by Google and are only made available via backward engineering the search results. These are ten factors that Google’s algorithm(s) uses (not in any order of relevance) when determining search results:

1. Amount of content on the site.

2. Number of web sites. in your theme linking to your site with your keywords in the link text (anchor text)

3. Date the web site was first indexed and how often content is refreshed.

4. The code or the html tags (code to tell the browser how to display a web page).

5. If a web site is listed in an online directory like DMOZ.org or Yahoo’s directory.

6. Names of pages on the web site

7. The amount of the Google issued page rank of a web site

8. The Google determined theme of the web site

9. Are the keywords located in the content of the site?

10. Does the site have a site map?