admin - 05/06/2014
Last month alone, Google processed 13.1 billion core search queries, followed by Microsoft with 3.6 billion, Yahoo at 2 billion, Ask Network with 478 million, and AOL Inc. with 259 million. And that was just in the United States. Google led the market share for global searches owning 67.5%, followed by Microsoft with 18.6%, Yahoo holding 10.1%, Ask with 2.5%, and AOL with 1.3%
There are hundreds of search engines to choose from and many that cater to specific industries or types of content. Also, some of the major search engines actually power multiple smaller branded search engines. As the recent ComScore report reveals, however, Google is the industry leader by a landslide.
According to the just released IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Internet Advertising Revenue Report, total digital ad revenue generated in 2013 was $42.8 billion. Search contributed to 46% of the total revenue at 18.4 billion. Mobile had the fastest overall growth at $7.1 billion.
The statistics are overwhelmingly clear. To remain competitive and viable, a company must integrate an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy into their overall marketing and communications plans and budgets.
How Do Search Engines Work?
In order to understand the value of an SEO program, it’s important to be familiar with how search engines work. Here’s a quick explanation. Search queries can be conducted by a user on a desktop, laptop, tablet, smart TV or smart phone. A search engine then sends out robots, also known as “crawlers” or “spiders,” to find search results.
Since the Internet is text-based, websites are developed and programmed with a fundamental digital code called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Crawlers scan through HTML to find websites and content that is the most relevant to what the user is searching. HTML evaluated in this process includes headers; titles; images; keywords; links to other relevant web pages; page layouts; advertising; as well as the text and links hidden in a web page footer (content below the fold on the bottom of a web page).
Algorithm Changes Impact Online Strategies
Search engines originally operated on a fairly simple algorithm based on keyword formulas. When a user entered a word, the web pages containing the most mentions of that specific keyword were ranked the highest. Like with everything in life, somebody is going to try and beat the system. Getting a high ranking on search engines is no exception. Web masters and those responsible for maintaining a website began listing keywords as many times as possible on a given web page. This practice is known as “keyword stuffing,” and it didn’t matter if the keywords were ridiculously redundant and poorly presented – “keyword stuffing” generally worked.
Realizing what was happening, search engines modified their algorithms, placing greater importance on web pages that link to other web pages. The thinking was that if other web pages linked to your web page, your content must be valuable and should therefore be recognized as relevant. The ranking game continued and webmasters began setting up hundreds of URL (Uniform Resource Locator) addresses as free link directories. These websites did not offer relevant content, but by linking your website to these directory farms, you met the new criteria to achieve a high search ranking.
To better identify the free linking directories and differentiate them from websites with relevant, valuable content, search engines rewrote their algorithms yet again. Today, search engines will actually penalize web pages that link to free directories, or non-relevant, non-valuable websites.
All search engines have slightly different criteria for ranking content on a web page. However, they all share one universal philosophy and goal. All search engines want to provide the best search experience for their users and this means serving up valuable content quickly and conveniently. Their teams of programmers are continually writing and rewriting sophisticated algorithms to achieve this objective.
As the leader, Google sets the standard in the search marketplace, and in 2013 changed its search algorithms an astonishing 550 times. There really is no way to beat the search engine systems anymore. The foundation to any strong SEO strategy is developing and publishing unique, relevant content on a consistent basis.
The first step to implementing an SEO strategy is to conduct a Position Analysis Report PAR). PAR compares your website’s search ranking to your competitors’ sites, provides a list of competitive keywords, audits and reviews your relevant content, and evaluates your content publishing schedule.