Organic Search Engine Real Estate

15 Mar Organic Search Engine Real Estate

I was speaking to a SEO newbie recently on establishing a solid foundation on SEO/SEM, and included in this discussion was how to view search engines from a marketing perspective rather than a consumer perspective.  I do admit, he had some great questions to ask, and was very inquisitive on question upon question.  I enjoy those kinds of discussions, especially when it makes me sharpen my foundation as well.  With their permission, I am able to share a few keynotes on this discussion.

{DISCLAIMER: The questions I am listing are not verbatim; rather, they are paraphrased based on the nature of the content being asked.}

1.  [In relation to title tags] When someone searches for a specific keyword or keyphrase, not all results show that keyword/key phrase in the title tags [or even descriptions].  Why is that?

Good question!  [I actually had to think hard about this]  In actuality, unless the search queries have parameters, primarily quotes, at least one of the words being searched on, with the exception of conjunctions, will show that word either on the title tag, description, URL, or all three.  From what is seen, searched keywords will typically be displayed within the first 5-6 words of the title tag, and will show individual or phrased words on the description, and sometimes followed by an optimized URL.  However, what’s more important are factors that are not seen and work behind the scenes, and I gave them a few variables, including a) length of time the site has been live, b) quality and quantity of link exchanges (if any), 3) keyword integrity and density within page, 4) content integrity and relevancy, and 5) site popularity based on link exchanges and other marketing initiatives (email, SMM, guerilla, UGC, etc.).

2.  Should I target my search marketing on just Google, or is it worth it to target to other engines?

Another good question.  This is a debate that everyone and their dog will have opinionated remarks on, including yours truly.  But, resisting the urge to rank on any one engine, I did tell them that it is good to grab your share on all the major engines, because when it comes to the bottom line, it’s not necessarily one particular engine that is going to bring positive ROI; rather, it is the collective that will bring a unified, more established result to your business, site, etc.  More intentional marketing in Google, Yahoo, Windows Live, and Ask will definitely yield much better results than just targeting one specific engine, because in online marketing, exposure will make or break the business, and will cause a snowball effect on how everyday business is conducted.

3.  Does social media play a part in Google ranks [or search engine ranks in general]?  If they do, how?

At this point, there aren’t really too many conclusive data on the part social media plays on SERPs.  The role that the SMM scene plays right now is generating indirect relevancy on SERPs than direct search optimization results.  I believe that SMM is going in the direction that blogs went during its first inception and how they played a role in search results, although it may not be as predominant in search queries as blogs were.  SMM does not necessarily have regularly updated content to really rank higher than it should, but what it does have is the ability to produce popularity and relevancy rankings through more of a “viral” aspect of marketing, which in that environment, can cause a site to be ranked due to relevancy factors.   But like I said, it’s still indirectly affecting a site’s search results, because in SEO/SEM, organic on-page optimization and paid search creates more exposure directly to marketing for search engines.

And let’s not forget the differences in algorithms of multiple search engines, so how each SE defines rankings will also affect how SMM plays in affecting SERPs.

4.  I can’t find any flash-based sites that rank high in search engines.  Why is that?

Google just recently (or at least within the past year) launched its ability to extract content data from flash for ranking purposes, so that at least is a good start.  But in reality, even with Google’s updated algorithm functionality to cater to flash sites, it’s still going to be a long time for full-fledged flash sites to get ranked.  Yes, you can update meta tags, create some link exchanges, be creative in your online marketing to create constantly updated content to rank high in SEs.  But with the way Google, Yahoo, and Windows Live run their algorithms, flash sites will only be reduced to more interactive sites that do not necessarily rank high in searches, unless you’re actually searching specific flash queries such as “great flash sites” or “cool flash templates.”

Another thing that came to mind is if your site/brand/company is heavily branded already and is already known to be searched by its name/product than by any other search queries.  For example, searching a movie trailer/movie site like “Corpse Bride” will show the flash site in the first page (corpsebride.warnerbros.com), even though it does not have organic content to update.

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After that conversation, it was great to see his eyes thinking and you can tell his mind was churning up a lot of things to ponder.  It was also good for me, since I need to keep my focus on the basic foundation as I grow in this as well.  It takes 2 to tango, and I’m grateful that he was able to give me the opportunity to dance some knowledge to him.



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