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Drive Web Traffic with Search Engine Optimization

Future customers are out there searching for you.

  • The CEO Googled your most important product type and your offering was not on the first page, but your competitor's was. Now it's your job to get your product to the top with search engine optimization (SEO).
  • SEO can attract new customers, reduce marketing costs, and help your organization gain a competitive edge. But knowing how to implement it means wading through a sea of conflicting advice or paying big bucks to Internet marketing consultants just to figure out how to get started.
  • Use this solution set to focus on the most important elements of SEO, and get started with a program that leverages search engines to drive traffic to your site.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • SEO requires that you develop interesting and useful content, and get other Web sites to link to it.
  • These practices will increase the traffic and stickiness of your Web site, independently of their SEO impact, and are well worth investing in.

Impact and Result

  • Cut through the conflicting advice on SEO and learn fundamental SEO methods that will drive traffic to your site.
  • Use our tools and templates to jumpstart your SEO program.

Drive Web Traffic with Search Engine Optimization Research & Tools

1. Lay the groundwork for search engine optimization.

Educate yourself and the team on SEO.

2. Brainstorm, select, and implement the right keywords.

Create a comprehensive and functional list of effective customer-centric search terms.


Drive Web Traffic with Search Engine Optimization

Info-Tech Research Group

Introduction

  • Why Search Engine Optimize? SEO can attract new customers, reduce marketing costs, and help your organization gain a competitive edge. All organizations should invest some resources in SEO.
  • When not to Search Engine Optimize. SEO is a cost effective marketing method, but organizations that don’t intend to get much business over the Web should only invest in basic SEO and put their marketing resources elsewhere.
  • Target audience. This solution set will give IT leaders an overview of SEO that will help them to decide how to proceed with an SEO effort. It also covers the key technical issues a Web developer needs to know to search optimize the corporate Web site.
  • Scope. This solution set focuses on search optimizing for external traffic and does not cover optimizing enterprise search.
  • Research methods. This solution set is based on an Info-Tech Research Group study of IT leaders and Web professionals conducted between October, 2009 and April, 2010. The study included 24 interviews and two surveys, one on Web 2.0 (n=257) and another on Web redesign strategy (n=166). All statistics and data graphics that are not otherwise cited are from this Info-Tech Research Group study.

Executive Summary

  1. Follow Info-Tech’s five step program to drive traffic with SEO:E& s
    • Know SEO’s Value & Methods
    • SEO provides cost-effective value. It increases traffic, stickiness, and revenue while improving branding and impressing stakeholders
    • Focus on Classic SEO. Classic SEO focuses on keyword research and placement, site architecture, and link building, practices that are predictably effective over time. Move to bleeding edge SEO if you derive significant revenue from the Web, and avoid the spammy methods of deceptive black-hat SEO
    • Plan your SEO strategy. You’ll derive maximum value if you plan your SEO effort as part of a broader Web redesign and marketing strategy
  2. Define Search Terms
    • Create a long list of keywords. Brainstorm, talk to customers, do online research
    • Reduce it to a shortlist. Optimize for ten good words to get started
  3. Optimize Pages & Structure
    • Get your pages right. Remove landing page barriers & strategically place keywords. Use quality HTML, English, & URLs
    • Get your architecture right. Use a broad, not a deep structure. Guide robots to relevant content with redirects & robot/sitemap files. Speed up your site for even higher rankings
  4. Promote Backlinks
    • Get the link juice flowing. Place pages for link juice flow
    • Build backlinks for real ranking impact
  5. Execute the Strategy
    • Resource the SEO effort. Get focused staff, measure the results, refine the plan

Know SEO’s Value & Methods

  • SEO increases traffic, stickiness, & revenue
  • SEO improves branding & impresses stakeholders
  • Classic, Bleeding Edge, & Black-Hat SEO
  • Know the Jargon
  • Plan the strategy
  • Capture the strategy with the SEO Audit Tool

Search Engine Optimization increases traffic and more

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

  • SEO increases quantity and quality of Web traffic generated from unpaid (organic) search engine results by strategically placing search terms on Web pages, streamlining Web site architecture, and promoting backlink (links from external Web sites)

SEO: Speculation, con artistry, or good marketing?

  • Because search engines do not publish all the details of how they function, some SEO practises are speculative. Despite this, there are classic SEO techniques with proven efficacy that are well worth implementing
  • Some SEO practitioners over promise and under deliver, and some use deceptive (or “black hat”) practises that have a negligible or negative effect on search rankings. Despite this, there are SEO practitioners that deliver solid marketing value.

Info-Tech’s survey respondents reported SEO value as defined by increased and improved traffic, stickiness, brand image, revenue, and stakeholder satisfaction

Info-Tech recommends SEO to increase traffic

  • Thorough SEO is SEO that is planned as part of a broader Web and marketing strategy and applied consistently over time

Making some major changes to our URL structure, using keyword-rich page titles, and cleaning up code errors has resulted in a nearly 200% traffic growth year-over-year.
-Marketing Manager, Professional Services

SEO increases stickiness

What is stickiness?

  • Stickiness is the tendency for a user to visit a site more often, spend more time there, or browse more pages

Does stickiness matter?

Get Sticky with Thorough SEO

This is an image of a bar graph which demonstrates how one can Get Sticky with Thorough SEO

Info-Tech Recommends:

Info-Tech recommends implementing SEO to increase stickiness

SEO improves brand image

36% of Internet users said that seeing a company listed among the top results on a search engine made them think the company is in the top of its field (Source: iProspect)

Having a more prominent search engine response page presence helps proliferate and define your brand, as it creates greater online exposure and accessibility.
-Marketing Coordinator, Electronic Distribution

This is an image of a bar graph which reports survey results demonstrating that Thorough SEO is Good for Brand Image

Info-Tech Recommends:

Info-Tech recommends implementing SEO to improve brand image

SEO increases revenue and impresses stakeholders

Thorough SEO Produces Revenue Results

Thorough SEO Impresses Stakeholders

This is an image of a bar graph which demonstrates that Thorough SEO Produces Revenue Results This is an image of a bar graph which demonstrates that Thorough SEO Impresses Stakeholders

SEO provides multiple points of value, not the least of which is the ROI from increasing sales through search engine yields.
-Marketing Coordinator, Electronic Distribution

I have found SEO to be a major benefit to garnering executive support.
-Marketing Manager, Professional Services

Info-Tech Recommends:

Info-Tech recommends SEO to increase revenue and improve stakeholder relationships

Follow Classic SEO’s four steps for good ROI

Classic SEO

  • Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to improve results and prevent unscrupulous or black hat search engine optimizers from polluting their result pages with irrelevant spam
  • Despite constant algorithm change, some approaches to SEO, referred to here as “Classic SEO,” have remained effective for years and are likely do so for the foreseeable future

Classic SEO demonstrates good ROI because:

  • Results are relatively predictable and likely to continue to be effective in the foreseeable future
  • Requires useful content, good information architecture, and good inbound links, all of which will increase the traffic and stickiness of your Web site independently of their SEO impact

Before optimization, our company was buried past the 10th page when you searched for “PMA Canada.” We just followed Google’s guidelines and moved to the top spot within a year.
- Mark Pleasance, Data Center Manager, PMA Fine Wines & Spirits Canada

Four Steps to Classic SEO

  1. Define
    • user search terms that can be converted to sales or other valued user behaviour
  2. Place
    • search terms on Web pages were they can be search engine indexed, while ensuring the page contains useful content
  3. Structure
    • the site’s information architecture so it’s accessible for search engine indexing
  4. Promote
    • inbound links to the site, especially from popular and credible sites

Bleeding edge SEO is good for some, black-hat is good for none

Bleeding Edge SEO attempts to:

  • Speculate on, or reverse engineer, gritty details of search engine algorithms and optimize to exploit them

Bleeding Edge SEO only shows good ROI for some organizations because:

  • It takes more effort and expertise to implement than Classic SEO
  • It produces results that are less predictable than Classic SEO, and is more likely to become obsolete earlier
  • Therefore, it only makes sense for organizations that rely on search for a significant amount of their revenue
  • For these organizations even a proportionally small increase in traffic can result in a meaningful revenue increase

I promise that no harebrained scheme to manipulate search rankings is either new or going to work. Apply your creativity in white hat ways and make sure it passes the Google Web spam litmus test.
-Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz

Black-hat SEO:

  • Uses deceptive practises to trick search engines to list content that may not be useful to the searcher
  • While it can increase traffic, this traffic is unlikely to convert into sales
  • Additionally, sites discovered using black-hat methods can be removed from search results

SEO expert’s top 4 negative back-hat methods

  • Maliciously offering different content to robots than to users
  • Link acquisition from known link brokers/sellers
  • Links from the page to Web spam sites/pages
  • Hiding Text with same colored text & background

Avoid these black hat methods to prevent removal from search engine indexes
(Source: SEOmoz Ranking Factors

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About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Author

Howard Kiewe

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