SEO The complete Guide 7

Posted on January 30, 2012. Filed under: CMS, mysql, SEO |

The search engines are in a constant quest to improve their results by providing the “best” possible results. While “best” is subjective, the engines have a very good idea of the kinds of pages and sites that satisfy their searchers. Generally, these sites have several traits in common:
  1.  Easy to use, navigate, and understand
  2.  Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the query
  3.  Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers
  4.  Deliver high quality, legitimate, credible content
Search engines can’t understand text, view images, or watch video the same way a human being can. Thus, in order to understand content they rely on meta information (not necessarily meta tags) about sites and pages in order to rank content. The engines discovered early on that the link structure of the web could serve as a proxy for votes and popularity – higher quality sites and information earned more links than their less useful, lower quality peers. Today, link analysis algorithms have advanced considerably, but these principles hold true.
Really Cool and Really Lame Site
All of that positive attention and excitement around the content offered by the new site translates into a machine parse-able (and algorithmically valuable) collection of links. The timing, source, anchor text, and number of links to the new site are all factored into its potential performance (i.e., ranking) for relevant queries at the engines.
Now imagine that site wasn’t so great – let’s say it’s just an ordinary site without anything unique or impressive.

 

On Search Engine Rankings

There are a limited number of variables that search engines can take into account directly, including keyword placement, links, and site structure. However, through linking patterns, the engines make a considerable number of intuitions about a given site. Usability and user experience are “second order” influences on search engine ranking success. They provide an indirect, but measurable benefit to a site’s external popularity, which the engines can then interpret as a signal of higher quality. This is called the “no one likes to link to a crummy site” phenomenon.
Really Slick Site
Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience can ensure that your site is perceived positively by those who visit, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits and links – signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings.

 

For Search Engine Success

Developing “great content” may be the most repeated suggestion in the SEO world. Yet, despite its clichéd status, appealing, useful content is critical to search engine optimization. Every search performed at the engines comes with an intent – to find, learn, solve, buy, fix, treat, or understand. Search engines place web pages in their results in order to satisfy that intent in the best possible way, and crafting the most fulfilling, thorough content that addresses a searcher’s needs provides an excellent chance to earn top rankings.

 

Search intent comes in a variety of flavors…

Ice Cream Flavors

 

Visiting a pre-determined destination and sourcing the “correct” website URL.
Navigational searches are performed with the intent of surfing directly to a specific website. In some cases, the user may not know the exact URL, and the search engine serves as the “White Pages,” passing along the (hopefully) correct location.
Navigational Searches
Informational Searches

 

Researching non-transactional information, getting quick answers, and ego-searching.
Informational searches involve a huge range of queries from finding out the local weather, getting a map and directions, to finding the name of Tony Starks’ military buddy from the Iron Man movie or checking on just how long that trip to Mars really takes. The common thread here is that the searches are primarily non-commercial and non-transaction-oriented in nature; the information itself is the goal, and no interaction beyond clicking and reading is required.

 

Researching sources for a story, uncovering potential clients/partners, acquiring competitive intelligence, discovering options for future transactions.
A commercial investigation search straddles the line between pure research and commercial intent. For example, sourcing potential partners for distribution of your new t-shirts in Albuquerque, determining what companies make laptop bags for sale in the United Kingdom, or researching the best brand of digital cameras for an upcoming purchase all qualify. They’re not directly transactional, and may never result in an exchange of goods, services, or monies, but they’re not purely informational either.
Commercial Investigation
Transactional Searches

 

Identifying a local business, making a purchase online, and completing a task.
Transactional searches don’t necessarily involve a credit card or wire transfer. Signing up for a free trial account at Cook’s Illustrated, creating a Gmail account, or finding the best local Mexican cuisine (in Seattle it’s Carta de Oaxaca) are all transactional queries.
Fulfilling these intents is up to you – Creativity, high quality writing, use of examples, images, and multimedia all help in crafting content that perfectly fits with a searcher’s goals. Your reward is satisfied searchers who find their queries fulfilled and reward that positive experience through activity on your site or with links to it.


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