Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Search Engine Organization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical portion of the online marketing mix. Sure there’s much to be said about SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and it gets many a results, but if a company works out an efficient means of getting high organic search results for their company, it can mean all the difference. In the class we’ve discussed that many people don’t take the time to search and search page after page of results to find a particular site, but rather will stick to the first page, and maybe venture to the second to garner their information. Though it sounds simple, it’s actually quite a job, trying to rewrite HTML to best fit the criteria of search queries, and it’s also a daunting task to even hire an organizer to create this organic code. Mark Jackson reviews in his article on titled “Hiring an SEO”, hiring an organizer that will produce results can be a tricky affair. He gives some reference points from his own experience on hiring SEO’s, outlining that a blend of experience, references, what he calls “The human element” (essentially a general liking and fellowship between companies or team members), and giving potential candidates a small test to gauge their knowledge in reference to your work will provide a beneficial work relationship. He also puts in a little caveat that most of the seo’s he knows have or exhibit signs of ADD and that a strong process and/or talented manager is probably needed to keep organizers on track.
Search engine organizers have their work cut out for them, having to place relevant keywords, build reciprocal links, and pages that spiders can crawl over. They have to not only beat out their competition to the earlier spots on a results page, but also do it without resorting to keyword stuffing, link farms, or other somewhat nefarious black hat seo techniques. In fact there are two categories of optimizers, the aforementioned black hats who manipulate the HTML code in ways that search engines don’t find appropriate. Other than the methods previously mentioned, black hats employ other techniques like hiding text in the webpage by either using text the same color as the background or position it off-screen, or invisible iframes which is where the page shown isn’t necessarily the page hosted by the company one is looking for. The other side of this are white hat seo techniques, which are html modifications that search engines approve of. White hat advice can be summed up as creating for users and not for search engines.
Now, if one doesn’t want to hire an SEO solely for their company, there are many firms out there that can perform the same service for companies. On, they have even compiled a list of the top 50 seo firms in the world. Firms like Increase Visibility Inc., Slingshot SEO Inc., eVisability Inc. perform search engine optimization for clients like Banana Republic, Webtrends, and McDonalds. Though it’s not necessary for every small web-based business to have on retainer one of these top rated firms, but research into the reputability of any individual or firm is always necessary.

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