Search Engine Optimization Is One Aspect of an Integrated Web Presence

Let’s say some feral pigeons have taken up residence under an eave outside your Houston condo. A Google search engine query for the keywords “feral pigeon removal” shows nearly one million results on 65 pages in 0.26 seconds. If you’re like most people, you will never make it through the 65 pages of search results; in fact, you’re likely to look no further than page one or two. As far as you’re concerned, the thousands of other websites might as well be invisible.

Enter a marketing strategy called search engine optimization (SEO), which strives to improve the visibility of a website or web page when a consumer searches on a topic using a set of keywords. Internet marketers know the value of being more visible in search results, and they offer their clients services designed specifically for search engine optimization. In promoting their clients’ websites, marketers hope not only to raise their client’s visibility, but also increase website traffic to capture more sales.

Often, Internet marketing firms like to plan a client’s website as part of an integrated media approach for maximum impact rather than simply focusing on one website. However, a website’s design is crucial to how effective search engine optimization works. One SEO approach is to embed keywords in the content of the site or in places related to the website. One Houston Internet marketing firm wanted to increase a client’s Google page rank. To do this, they selected nine keywords relevant to the website’s expertise and geographic location and embedded them in strategic spots. Keywords can appear in various web sources such as websites, articles, blog posts, online magazines, Facebook, and Twitter. However, embedding keywords works well for a client only if the content of the website and related articles are creative and well written. As Jill Whalen of High Rankings says, “Good content isn’t stuff you write for the search engines. Good content is unique. …The key to good content is creativity.”

Content is just one factor that can influence page rankings. Another factor is the age of the website. Google’s algorithm gives priority to established websites — those at least a year old. The Houston client’s domain was only two months old when they attempted to improve their search page ranking, which meant they had to be patient for several months before seeing any improvement in search results. The payoff of search engine optimization requires a long-term commitment; it is not a quick fix.

Search engine optimization is not an end in itself. SEO is one piece of an integrated marketing plan that is based on strategic business goals. The real issue remains how companies can attract the right audience to their websites and turn them into customers — and then keep them coming back.

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