Great Ideas Start Here

blog: a regularly updated web page, typically run by an individual or organization, containing relevant thoughts and ideas.
by: Christine Swartzendruber, Chief Technology Officer

Web users love to search. They use the main search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask to find one thing only – information. What sort of information are they looking for? Clearly this depends on the individual. They might be looking for entertainment, news, or product reviews. They may be trying to compare vendors and services, or seeking their soul-mate, or buying a second-hand car. All these goals can start with a simple search query. The use of keywords or key-phrases (combining several keywords) helps users find exactly what they want. Modern search engines are generally great at delivering relevant results to users.

Smart marketers never launch any strategy without an appropriate amount of planning. The following steps represent a well-planned approach…


  • Goal setting.
  • Key-phrase analysis and selection.
  • Auditing current performance.
  • Competitor benchmarking.
  • SEM strategy selection.
  • Resourcing SEM.

When planning and implementing Search Engine Marketing it is important to consider, content optimization. Content should be highly relevant to whatever key-phrases you have chosen. Before you start optimizing pages, or adding new content to your website, you need a plan to highlight those key-phrases which you are targeting for each content section. Authors and editors must be made aware of this plan.

It is important to identify target key-phrases for each page, and to identify strategic key-phrases that are particularly important for a site or content category. It is also useful to encourage those completing on-page optimization to consider different priorities for optimizing key-phrases on each page. Ask them to identify the most important phrases grouping according to the emphasis or priority they are going to place on them – primary, secondary and tertiary or priority 1, 2 and 3.

The actual primary, secondary and tertiary key-phrases selected for a given page will depend on the volume of searches and intent of searchers against the amount of resource available.

For example, if there are around 100 searches per month on the primary key-phrase in this example, it is probably only worth optimizing all of these phrases on a single page. If there are 1,000 or more, it would be worth separating out the different key-phrases, with a different page for each. However, the ease of obtaining theme-specific inbound links to these.

The frequency, position and emphasis of the key-phrase in the body copy is very important for optimization. Relevance is also increased by a gamut of legitimate tricks, such as including the key-phrase in headings, anchor text in links and with a higher density towards the start of the document.
Over the last five years or so, key-phrase-related factors have been a battleground between search companies, search engine optimizers and spammers. Because of attempts to influence the search results through keyword stuffing and hiding keywords through text color, scripting or CSS, the algorithms have been revised to avoid such spamming techniques. Given these changes, sophisticated SEOs need to have a good understanding of the merits of different approaches to on-page optimization.

While client sites can be used as a test-bed, an independent test suite of pages is the best approach (since these can be used to conduct standard control-cell testing to isolate different variables to test their impact). In other words, you can attempt to reverse-engineer some elements of the algorithms (obviously reverse-engineering the whole algorithm is impossible). Of course, to test the effect of on-page optimization, it is necessary to isolate the effect of page connectivity aspects of the algorithm. And remember: be ethical.