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SEO Tips

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  MaryO's Photo
Posted Nov 04 2009 01:34 PM

If you're looking for information on SEO for raw traffic, e-commerce sales, mindshare/branding, lead generation, direct marketing, reputation management, or ideological influence, then this excerpt from The Art of SEO is for you.


SEO for Raw Traffic

Optimizing a site for search engines and creating keyword-targeted content helps a site rank for key search terms, which typically leads to direct traffic and referring links as more and more people find, use, and enjoy what you’ve produced. Thousands of sites on the Web leverage this traffic to serve advertising, directly monetizing the traffic sent from the engines. From banner ads to contextual services such as Google’s AdSense program to affiliate programs and beyond, web advertising has become a massive industry—$25 billion plus, according to eMarketer (http://www.thestanda...g-grows-10-2009).

Here are some factors to think about when considering SEO for raw traffic:

When to employ

Use it when you can monetize traffic without actions or financial transactions on your site (usually through advertising).

Keyword targeting

Keyword targeting in this scenario can be very broad. The goal here isn’t typically to select specific keywords, but rather to create lots of high-quality content that naturally targets interesting/searched-for terms. Instead of singular optimization on specific terms, the focus is on accessibility and best practices throughout the site to earn traffic through both high volume and long tail queries. Concentrate efforts on great content, and use keyword-based optimization only as a secondary method to confirm the titles/headlines of the works you create.

Page and content creation/optimization

A shallow, highly crawlable link structure is critical to getting all of your content indexed—follow good information architecture practices and use intelligent, detailed category and subcategory structures to get the most benefit out of your work. You’ll also need to employ good on-page optimization (titles, headlines, internal linking, etc.) and make your articles easy to share and optimized for viral spreading.

SEO for E-Commerce Sales

One of the most direct monetization strategies for SEO is driving relevant traffic to an e-commerce shop to boost sales. Search traffic is among the best quality available on the Web, primarily because a search user has expressed a specific goal through her query, and when this matches a product or brand the web store carries, conversion rates are often extremely high.

Forrester Research estimated the e-commerce market would top $235 billion in 2009 (http://www.computerw...4&intsrc=kc_top), though the recent economic downturn may affect that number somewhat. With so many dollars flowing over the Web, it is little surprise that e-commerce-focused SEO is among the most competitive and popular applications of the practice.

Here are some factors to think about when considering SEO for e-commerce sales:

When to employ

Use it when you have products/services that are directly for sale on your website.

Keyword targeting

Paid search advertising is an excellent way to test the efficacy and potential ROI of keyword targets. Find those that have reasonable traffic and convert well, and then pursue them further. You’ll often find that the more specific the query—brand-inclusive, product-inclusive, and so on—the more likely the visitors are to make the purchase.

Page and content creation/optimization

You’ll typically need some serious link building, along with internal optimization, to achieve high rankings for competitive, high-value keywords that bring in conversion-focused traffic. Manual link building is an option here, but scalable strategies that leverage a community or customers can be equally, or even more, valuable.

SEO for Mindshare/Branding

A less popular but equally powerful application of SEO is its use for branding purposes. Bloggers, social media/community websites, content producers, news outlets, and dozens of other web publishing archetypes have found tremendous value in appearing atop search results and using the resulting exposure to bolster their brand recognition and authority.

The process is fairly simple, much like the goals in traditional advertising of ad repetition to enter the buyer’s consideration set. (Read about the three laws of branding at http://www.palgrave-...l/2550139a.html for more information on this topic.) Similarly, online marketers have observed that being at the top of search rankings around a particular subject has a positive impact on traffic, consideration, and perceived authority.

Here are some factors to think about when considering SEO for mindshare/branding:

When to employ

Use it when branding, or communicating a message, is your goal. If you do not have direct monetization goals for the moment or for the foreseeable future, this is the approach for you.

Keyword targeting

A keyword focus is less critical here—you’ll likely have a few broad terms that receive the high traffic you want, but the long tail may be far more achievable and the better target. Focus on keywords that are going to bring you visitors who are likely to be interested in and remember your brand.

Page and content creation/optimization

Make an accessible site, use good link structure, apply best practices, and focus on links for domain authority rather than chasing after specific keywords.

SEO for Lead Generation and Direct Marketing

Although lead generation via the Web is less direct than an e-commerce transaction, it is arguably just as valuable and important for building customers, revenue, and long-term value. Millions of search queries have commercial intents that can’t be (or currently aren’t) fulfilled directly online. These can include searches for services such as legal consulting, contract construction, commercial loan requests, alternative energy providers, or virtually any service or product people source via the Web.

Here are some factors to think about when considering SEO for lead generation and direct marketing:

When to employ

Use it when you have a non-e-commerce product/service/goal that you want users to accomplish on your site or for which you are hoping to attract inquiries/direct contact over the Web.

Keyword targeting

As with e-commerce, choose phrases that convert well, have reasonable traffic, and have previously performed in PPC campaigns.

Page and content creation/optimization

Although you might think it would be easier to rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for lead generation programs than for e-commerce, it is often equally challenging. You’ll need a solid combination of on-site optimization and external link building to many different pages on the site (with good anchor text) to be competitive in the more challenging arenas.

SEO for Reputation Management

Since one’s own name—whether personal or corporate—is one’s identity, establishing and maintaining the reputation associated with that identity is generally of great interest.

Imagine that you search for your brand name in a search engine and high up in the search results is a web page that is highly critical of your organization. Consider the search for Whole Foods shown in Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5. Reputation management search example

Attached Image

SEO for reputation management is a process for neutralizing negative mentions of your name in the SERPs. In this type of SEO project, you would strive to occupy additional spots in the top 10 results to push the critical listing lower and hopefully off the first page. You may accomplish this using social media, major media, bloggers, your own sites and subdomains, and various other tactics.

SEO enables this process through both content creation and promotion via link building. Although reputation management is among the most challenging of SEO tasks (primarily because you are optimizing many results for a query rather than one), demand for these types of services is rising as more and more companies become aware of the issue.

Here are some factors to think about when considering SEO for reputation management:

When to employ

If you’re trying to either protect your brand from negative results appearing on page 1 or push down already existing negative content, reputation management SEO is the only path to success.

Keyword targeting

Chances are this is very easy—it’s your personal name, your brand name, or some common variant (and you already know what it is). You might want to use keyword research tools just to see whether there are popular variants you’re missing.

Page and content creation/optimization

Unlike the other SEO tactics, reputation management involves optimizing pages on many different domains to demote negative listings. This involves using social media profiles, public relations, press releases, and links from networks of sites you might own or control, along with classic optimization of internal links and on-page elements. It is certainly among the most challenging of SEO practices, especially in Google, where query deserves diversity (QDD) can mean you have to work much harder to push down negatives because of how the algorithm favors diverse content.

SEO for Ideological Influence

For those seeking to sway public (or private) opinion about a particular topic, SEO can be a powerful tool. By promoting ideas and content within the search results for queries likely to be made by those seeking information about a topic, you can influence the perception of even very large groups. Politicians and political groups and individuals are the most likely employers of this tactic, but it can certainly be applied to any subject from the theological to the technical or civic.

Here are some factors to think about when considering SEO for ideological influence:

When to employ

Use it when you need to change minds or influence decisions/thinking around a subject—for example, a group of theoretical physicists attempting to get more of their peers considering the possibility of alternative universes as a dark matter source.

Keyword targeting

It’s tough to say for certain, but if you’re engaging in these types of campaigns, you probably know the primary keywords you’re chasing and can use keyword research query expansion to find others.

Page and content creation/optimization

This is classic SEO, but with a twist. Since you’re engaging in ideological warfare in the SERPs, chances are you’ve got allies you can rally to the cause. Leverage your combined links and content to espouse your philosophical preferences.


Do you have any tips you could add to this? If so you should add them as a comment to this post.

The Art of SEO

Learn more about this topic from The Art of SEO.

Four acknowledged experts in search engine optimization share guidelines and innovative techniques that will help you plan and execute a comprehensive SEO strategy. This second edition brings you up to date on recent changes in search engine behavior—such as new ranking methods involving user engagement and social media—with an array of effective tactics, from basic to advanced.

See what you'll learn


7 Replies

 : Nov 16 2009 10:10 PM
Nice Tips!

Here are some simple steps to be on top of Google, Yahoo, MSN instead of hiring a SEO. check ... "Basic steps required for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of any site"
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 : Dec 05 2009 10:14 AM
The book seems to be interesting. On my to-read-list
 : Dec 23 2009 12:33 AM
Yes, this book is excellent and if you ask me to give a single name of a book to learn all about SEO i would recommend "AOS" alone.

But I am having some confusion about keyword research and its online tools. I targeted some long tail keyword with quite a nos. of search and in spite of ranking in first page I have no traffic. I think Google adword keyword search tool has some fault showing exact nos.
 : Jan 04 2010 08:25 AM
It looks like an interesting book. My problem with buying books about anything to do with seo is that the information is usually out of date. There are so many resources online that stay more current.
 : Feb 02 2010 06:57 AM
Rand Fishkin is one of the coauthors of this book. You can bet that any information coming out of that book is going to be current and valuable.
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  SilviaDewyze's Photo
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  Bright Choice's Photo
Posted Sep 15 2013 08:04 PM

Thanks for sharing, this is really a very nice. SEO is tough job and to be done very precisely. This will surely help those who are new or who are thinking about to be one. The explanation part is the best. Stepwise explanation of every detail is the nicest part of this article.