SEO Research: Understanding Search Engine Optimization & SERPs

A friend of my owns an SEO firm in New York City (site here) and constantly get’s asked “how do you rank websites in the search results.” Obviously, as a search engine marketer, you would not want to share your SEO strategies. But as a blogger who is an internet marketing expert (referring to myself), it’s only natural that I share the basics.

The Basics of SEO

Search Engine Optimization – affectionately called by its acronym SEO – is a wild-west frontier of the Internet: a boisterous new field with burgeoning revenues that employs tens of thousands of people with job titles and descriptions that did not exist 15 years ago.

In the SEO arena, gaudy patent-medicine *get rich quick* hucksterism meets successful marketing techniques (and people who do make a great deal of money), and both meet the nuts and bolts of a technology framework.

Like a beautiful spy with limpid eyes and unknowable depths, or an iceberg with 95% of its mass hidden beneath the surface of an arctic ocean, SEO can appear wondrous, mysterious, and baffling.

Less poetically, the core of SEO is the art and science of promoting web pages so they are high in natural search engine rankings. (A natural search engine result is one that is not paid for, as opposed to paid advertising links that also appear on search-results pages.)

Extended SEO has come to mean the whole field of marketing in relationship to web properties-so it is not unusual these days to have an SEO expert propose paid advertising via Google AdWords or another program as an adjunct to core SEO techniques.

I’m pleased that my book Google Advertising Tools: Cashing in with AdSense, AdWords, and the Google APIs has been doing well (it’s shown up on Amazon?s list of computer bestsellers in the last few weeks).

My book is about the landscape of making money on the web: how to create content that will make money, how to monetize that content with Google’s AdSense program, how affiliate programs work, how to effectively use Google’s AdWords program to promote traffic, and how to program custom applications related to Google’s advertising programs.

In other words, this is a practical book aimed at helping you make money, but it is primarily about effectively using technology. There are two chapters in the book (out of 16 chapters) that discuss SEO issues from a nuts and bolts perspective.

So I was pleased when O?Reilly (the publisher of my book) asked me to write a short electronic book specifically about SEO. You can download Search Engine Optimization: Building Traffic and Making Money as a PDF.

Like Google Advertising Tools: Cashing in with AdSense, AdWords, and the Google APIs, my SEO PDF is not get-rich-quick hype, and is focused on concise nuts and bolts issues. It doesn’t really tackle marketing techniques at a strategic level (which I am looking forward to doing soon).

Building Traffic and Making Money

SEO-the common abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization-is, as I’ve said before, “a wild-west frontier of the Internet: a boisterous new field with burgeoning revenues that employs tens of thousands of people with job titles and descriptions that did not exist five years ago.”
That said, SEO has come of age, along with its slightly more respectable relative, CPC-or Cost Per Click-advertising via Google AdWords (or elsewhere).

Any business, no matter its size, needs to include an Internet marketing and advertising component as part of its business plan. For some businesses, this Internet marketing effort is the only advertising that is necessary. A key component of this marketing plan is crafting an effective SEO strategy.

In crafting your effective SEO strategy, it is necessary to walk a narrow line. Over aggressive tricks-sometimes called Blackhat SEO-do not work in the long run, except for scamsters. On the other hand, it is right and just to put one’s best foot forward, and get as a high a natural search ranking as possible.

Contextually, SEO needs to be regarded as a component of online marketing and advertising. It’s perfectly reasonable to allocate a percentage of resources to SEO at the same time as a CPC budget is formulated.

While there are some responsible and reputable SEO consultants, the field has not entirely emerged from an era of gaudy patent-medicine *get rich quick* hucksterism.

In response, my electronic book Search Engine Optimization: Building Traffic and Making Money is available as downloadable PDF from O’Reilly, the publisher. It’s not about getting rich quick, and is focused on concise nuts and bolts issues. You can take this PDF to the boardroom and understand the technology issues underlying SEO (it won’t replace your marketing consultant). If you are a do-it-yourself webmaster, my PDF should tell you everything you need to become a SEO whiz from a technical perspective.

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