Successful Long Term SEO Marketing
-Fiona Kelman, 2010
It is important to implement a long term strategy when implementing a website search engine optimization (SEO) marketing plan. Keyword development, usage, metadata, interlinking and anchor text positioning is the key to gaining successful SERP placement and helps determine whether the pages you target and the keyword you choose will move up in the top positions of the search engines.
A Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the listing of web pages, images and news results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. SERP results typically include a list of web pages with titles, a link to the page and a short description. The goal is to have a client’s targeted keywords appear in the first page and top 10 positions on a search engines results page.
Organic search marketing is extremely valuable based on overall investment and works well because targeting and timing intersect meeting the user’s expectations. Search engine optimization was ranked with the highest ROI in a recent study by William Blair & Company.
William Blair & Company, L.L.C is a global investment firm offering investment banking, asset management, equity research, institutional and private brokerage, and private capital to individual, institutional, and issuing clients
In organic search optimization, having your website show in the search engine results pages as high as possible should be your goal, position one being the most desirable and best outcome. Secondly, using best practices and focusing on the development of your site, not worrying about what search engines are doing with their algorithms that may jeopardize your website development efforts further down the road.
Google’s search algorithm is a work in progress and is constantly being refined over countless iterations. If a companies’ SEO campaign is not maintained properly these algorithm changes could potentially result in a downturn in their keyword position rankings. Google’s algorithm changes can occur at anytime but the larger algorithm changes tend to occur less frequently. The number of search quality improvements made in 2009 by Google was 550 or approximately 1.5 a day.
Google’s search quality team is responsible for the ranking of Google search results and the algorithm changes. Google really protects the details of its algorithm changes and considers them “Google’s crown jewels.” Therefore, changes are usually secretive and done in a way to safeguard against competition and abuse so the formulas and changes are not initially recognizable and accessible.
With so many search algorithm changes it is important to stay abreast of search engine technology. Over a 24 month period Google would have published nearly 1000 algorithm updates.
The following are a list and explanation of the 5 significant Google algorithm changes and related updates from 2008 to 2010.
November 2008: Keyword Relevancy Algorithm Change - This algorithm placed the importance on anchor-text rather than on-site optimization. Quality score was changed to reflect a calculations at the time of the query as opposed the static per- keyword method. Keywords were no longer enabled to be marked inactive for search and the phrase ‘minimum bid” was replaced with the phrase “first page bid.”
February 2009: Google Brand Algorithm - Webmasters and SEO’s notice a change in the way Google returned results for a certain set of keywords. This algorithm favored big brands over small brands on Google search result pages. Google claims algorithm in not really about pushing brands to the front of queries and more about factoring trust into the algorithm for generic queries Factors such as page rank, trust, quality and other metrics are being factored in the ranking algorithm.
August 2009: Initial Google Caffeine Rollout - This algorithm change focused on real-time search. Google stated that “Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than their last index.” Relevant web content has become available faster than it ever was before.
Dec 2009: Real-Time Search Feature Launched - Clicking on “latest results” or selecting “latest” from the search option menu offers a full page view of live tweets, blogs, news and other web content scrolling right on Google.
May 2010: Google Mayday Update-Long Tail Algorithm Change - This algorithm change was ultimately a ranking change effecting long tail searches. The Long tail search concept refers to business that sell a small amount of hard to find items to many customers rather than the traditional concept of selling a large volume of popular items to a reduced number of customers. This algorithm change was important because long tail searches produce higher conversion rates can be up to 200% higher than short tail searches. Webmasters were reported experiencing between a 50-90% decrease in long tail traffic searches. Overdrive clients did not see a decrease in traffic search but an increase of 3.2% from may 2010 to June 2010.
These 5 major and important Google algorithm updates and changes had a significant effect on many company’s keyword rankings. The24 month keyword positioning graph illustrates that despite the changes in rankings reported by other search engine managers in the industry; clients were not affected and actually saw increases in their keyword positioning. This illustration again reiterates the importance of working with a company that does not algorithm chases but rather focuses on a strategy that has a proven methodology increasing keyword positioning over time.
A long term keyword strategy makes SEO effective and a great investment over time. Therefore, it is important to create an SEO team with experience in search marketing, organic search, paid search, online media and social media for a blended search engine marketing strategy and program.