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Traffic is the lifeblood of all commercial activities online. The more visits a site receives, the more opportunities it has to convert its audience into paying customers. However, not all forms of traffic are equal in value. Targeted visitors who are looking for what your site has to offer have the highest chances of turning into customers later on.
This is why search engine traffic is so valuable to online enterprises. Search traffic pre-qualifies users based on the intent that their queries carry. When you receive a visit from Google, Bing or Yahoo, you can be sure that the user found your page because he was looking for information that your site might have.
And while getting listed in search engines is free, maximizing traffic referrals is a completely different matter. To get as many search engine-driven visits as you possibly can, your site’s pages have to rank on the first page of search results.
A study by Chitika reveals that 38% of searchers click on the number 1 listing in a search results page while 18% click on the second-placer. The percentages drop off significantly the lower the ranking is. In the same study, Chitika also showed that only a small minority of searchers ever check the second page of a query’s results.
Fortunately, rankings are not arbitrary and they’re not permanent either. Search engines use sophisticated algorithms to determine rankings based on a diverse set of factors. The craft of understanding these algorithms and implementing strategies that will help a website rank higher in search result pages (SERPs) is called search engine optimization (SEO).
The goal of every search engine is to deliver results that are as relevant to the queries of their users as possible. To that end, algorithm details are kept top secret and are regularly updated. This prevents webmasters from gaming the system and diluting search result quality. More natural results usually correlate with better user experiences.
In the Internet’s early days, search engines relied solely on on-page factors that webmasters manipulated to climb the rankings. Google later revolutionized web search by introducing the PageRank algorithm which introduced backlink quality and quantity signals to the equation. Today, search engines look at a wide range of ranking factors that include a site’s technical health, branding, content quality and authority. This has enabled the major search engines to identify and favor authoritative entities in the results that they serve up.
These developments have compelled legitimate SEO practitioners to abandon strategies that may violate the quality guidelines of search engines. The holistic approach adopted by Google and other major players has changed the SEO landscape from an industry of who’s best at gaming the system to who’s best at building a site that users like.
To succeed in today’s search engine landscape, your SEO strategy should cover the following bases:
SEO has traditionally been measured with rankings and organic traffic driven by target keywords. As innovations like personalized search, geo-specific search and socially-influenced search came into play, these KPIs stopped telling an accurate story of how well a campaign is going. Savvy marketers tend to look beyond traffic and rankings as they delve into metrics that illustrate SEO’s full business impact.
If you’ve hired a SEO agency or you’re doing it in-house, you should considering measuring your SEO program with the following KPIs:
If you want to do SEO work in house, hiring an agency is a practical alternative, You don’t have to hire a team, pay for overhead costs and go through a training process. However, not all agencies are built equal and some do a much better job than others. Given the fact that there’s no institution or licensing organization that can certify an agency’s competence, you’ll have to do your homework before you sign a deal with a service provider.
When choosing the SEO agency that you’ll commit a lot of time and money to, look for the following qualities:
My company, Glen Dimaandal, Inc. is a full service online marketing agency that offers search engine optimization services sourced from the Philippines. We have the manpower, processes and technology necessary to help your business gain better search engine visibility. To inquire about SEO and other things we’re good at, drop me a line via the Contact Us page.