Lets start with the basics, what is SEO? Search Engine Optimization In layman's terms is mostly about your content, the words and pages of your website, if you don't have good content 'words' then when people search the internet your will never get found, Google will never pull up your listing in the search results because 'Google does not know what you do' SEO is also about links 'referring domain links' theses are other 'trusted' websites that link to your website. When you first build a new website, the 'website guy' should put good content 'SEO' onto your website. This will get you started with Google being able to index your website (read your website) and you should start to show in the search results for the things you do.
The pages on your website must match what you do, the way your business works, this will also help your SEO (being found on Google) you see, if your website is like a messy kids bedroom,
how can you expect Google to find out 'what you do' or 'what you sell' example: if you sell 'shoes' (mens shoes) and (Ladies shoes) it would be logical to have two separate pages 'one for each' you see, if you pilled them all on one page and someone searched 'men's shoes' Google will favor a dedicated 'men's shoes page' rather than show your mixed pages!
So setting up your site around the things you sell will not only help the customers with 'user experience ' it will help with your SEO
How long is a piece of string? I joke but there is some truth to this statement. what i mean is you 'get out SEO what you put in' even doing one days SEO work per month is much better than doing no search engine optimization work at all. If you are up against 'giants' meaning your are trying to take on 'Boots' or 'John Lewis' then you need to be spending thousands of pounds per month, but if you just want to 'win locally with SEO' then 2 or 3 days per month working on your SEO would really help. for example £300 per month would be a good start. What would you get with this 'SEO work' you would get, content writing, cleaning up or your website and pages, titles, meta tags fixed, a bloody good tidying up of that 'messy kids bedroom' :)
Why not try me out for a two day per month 'SEO' campaign. With two days per month hard work, I could give your worn out old website a new lease of life, but of course most importantly, get you more traffic, more sales! No contract, pay as you go. £300 per month (Recommended by my dog Teddy)
Search engine optimization (SEO) very much revolves around Google today. However, the practice we now know as SEO actually pre-dates the world’s most popular search engine co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Although it could be argued that SEO and all things search engine marketing began with the launch of the first website published in 1991, or perhaps when the first web search engine launched, the story of SEO “officially” begins a bit later, around 1997.
According to Bob Heyman, author of “Digital Engagement,” we can thank none other than the manager of rock band Jefferson Starship for helping give birth to a new field that we would grow to know as “search engine optimization.”
You see, he was quite upset that the official Jefferson Starship website was ranking on Page 4 of some search engine at the time, rather than in Position 1 on Page 1.
Granted, we may never know if this tale is more revisionist history or 100 percent fact, all signs definitely point to the term SEO originating around 1997.
Do a little more hunting around and you’ll see John Audette of Multimedia Marketing Group was using the term as early as February 15, 1997.
Ranking high on search engines in 1997 was still a pretty new concept. It was also very directory driven. Before DMOZ fueled the original Google classification, LookSmart was powered by Zeal, Go.com was its own directory, and the Yahoo Directory was a major player in Yahoo Search.
If you’re unfamiliar with DMOZ, the Mozilla Open Directory Project (remember, Mozilla was a company and Moz was a brand well before SEOMoz), it was basically a Yellow Pages for websites. Which is what Yahoo was originally founded upon, the ability to find the best websites out there as approved by editors.
I started doing SEO in 1998, as a need for our clients who have built cool sites but were getting little traffic. Little did I know, it would become a lifestyle.
Then again, the World Wide Web was still a pretty new concept at the time to most people.
Today? Everybody wants to rule the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search Engine Optimization vs. Search Engine Marketing
Before Search Engine Optimization became the official name, other terms were used as well. For example:
But no discussion would be complete without mentioning another term: Search Engine Marketing.
At one point in 2001, one prominent industry writer suggested search engine marketing as a successor to search engine optimization.
Obviously, it didn’t happen.
Prepare yourself now: you’re going to see many false claims (e.g., “SEO is dead” “the new SEO”) and attempts at rebranding SEO (“Search Experience Optimization”).
While SEO as a term isn’t perfect – after all, we aren’t optimizing search engines, we’re optimizing our web presence – it has remained the preferred term of our industry for 20 years now and likely will be for the foreseeable future.
As for Search Engine Marketing – it is still used but is now more associated with paid search. The two terms co-exist peacefully today.
A Timeline of Search Engine History
Search engines have changed the way we find information, conduct research, shop for products and services, entertain ourselves, and connect with others.
Behind almost every online destination – whether it’s a website, blog, social network, or app – is a search engine. Search engines have become the connecting force and directional guide to everyday life.
But how did this all start?
We’ve put together a timeline of notable milestones from the history of search engines and search engine optimization to understand the roots of this technology, which has become such an important part of our world.
Dawn of SEO: “The Wild West” Era
In the last decade of the 1900s, the search engine landscape was highly competitive. You had your choice of search engines – both human-powered directories and crawler-based listings – including the likes of AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, and Yahoo.
In the beginning, the only way to perform any kind of SEO, was through on-page activities. This included making sure the content was good and relevant, there was enough text, your HTML tags were accurate, and that you had internal and external links, among other factors.
If you wanted to rank well in this era, the trick was pretty much just repeating your keywords enough times throughout your webpages and meta tags. Want to outrank a page that uses a keyword 100 times? Then you’d use the keyword 200 times! Today, we call this practice spamming.
1994: Yahoo was created by Stanford University students Jerry Wang and David Filo in a campus trailer. Yahoo was originally an Internet bookmark list and directory of interesting sites. Webmasters had to manually submit their page to the Yahoo directory for indexing so that it would be there for Yahoo to find when someone performed a search. Alta Vista, Excite, and Lycos also launched.
1996: Page and Brin, two Stanford University students, built and tested Backrub, a new search engine that ranked sites based on inbound link relevancy and popularity. Backrub would ultimately become Google. HotBot, powered by Inktomi, also launched.
1997: Following on the success of A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines, Danny Sullivan launched Search Engine Watch, a website dedicated to providing news about the search industry, tips on searching the web, and information about how to rank websites better. (Ten years later, after leaving SEW, Sullivan founded another popular search publication, Search Engine Land.) Ask Jeeves also debuted and Google.com was registered.
1998: Goto.com launched with sponsored links and paid search. Advertisers bid on Goto.com to rank above organic search results, which were powered by Inktomi. Goto.com was ultimately acquired by Yahoo. DMOZ (the Open Directory Project) became the most sought-after place for SEO practitioners to get their pages listed. MSN entered into search with MSN Search, initially powered by Inktomi.
1999: The first-ever all search marketing conference, Search Engine Strategies (SES), took place. You can read a retrospective on that event by Sullivan here. (The SES conference series continued running under various monikers and parent companies until shutting down in 2016.)
The Google Revolution
In 2000, Yahoo pulled off the worst strategic move in the history of search and partnered with Google and let Google power their organic results instead of Inktomi. Beforehand Google was a little-known search engine. Hardly known! The end result: every Yahoo search result said “Powered by Google” and they ended up introducing their largest competitor to the world and Google became a household name.
Until this point, search engines mainly ranked sites based on the on-page content, domain names, ability to get listed in aforementioned directories, and basic site structure (breadcrumbing). But Google’s web crawler and PageRank algorithm were revolutionary for information retrieval. Google looked at both on-page and off-page factors – the quantity and quality of external links pointing to a website (as well as the anchor text used).
If you think about it, Google’s algorithm was essentially about “if people are talking about you, you must be important.”
Although links were only one component of Google’s overall ranking algorithm, SEO practitioners latched onto links as being the most important factor – and an entire sub-industry of link building was created. Over the next decade, it became a race to acquire as many links as possible in the hopes of ranking higher and links became a heavily abused tactic that Google would have to address in coming years.
It was also in 2000 that the Google Toolbar became available on Internet Explorer, allowing SEO practitioners to see their Page Rank score (a number between 0-10). This ushered in an era of unsolicited link exchange request emails.
So with Page Rank, Google essentially introduced a measure of currency to its linking. Much like domain authority is misused today.
Google’s organic results also got some company in the form of AdWords ads starting in 2000. These paid search ads began appearing above, below, and to the right of Google’s unpaid results.
Meanwhile, a group of webmasters informally got together at a pub in London to start sharing information about all things SEO in 2000. This informal gathering eventually turned into Pubcon, a large search conference series that still runs today.
Over the coming months and years, the SEO world got used to a monthly Google Dance, or a period of time during which Google updated its index, sometimes resulting in major ranking fluctuations.
Although Google’s Brin once famously said Google didn’t believe in web spam, his opinion had probably changed by the time 2003 rolled around. SEO got a lot harder following updates like Florida because it became much more important than just repeating keywords x amount of times.
Google AdSense: Monetizing Terrible SEO Content
In 2003, after acquiring Blogger.com, Google launched AdSense, which serves contextually targeted Google AdWords ads on publisher sites. The mix of AdSense and Blogger.com leads to a surge in monetized simple Internet publishing and a blogging revolution.
While Google probably didn’t realize it at the time, they were creating problems they would have to fix down the road. AdSense gave rise to Spam tactics and Made for AdSense sites filled with thin/poor/stolen content that existed solely to rank well, get clicks, and make money.
Oh and something else important happened in 2003. I founded the site you’re on, Search Engine Journal! And I’m incredibly happy to say we’re still here, going stronger than ever!
Local SEO & Personalisation
Around 2004, Google and other top search engines started improving results for queries that had a geographic intent (e.g., a restaurant, plumber, or some other type of business or service provider in your city or town). By 2006, Google rolled out a Maps Plus Box, which I was quite impressed by at the time.
It was also around 2004 that Google and search engines began making greater use of end-user data, such as search history and interests, to personalize search results. This meant that the results you saw could be different than what another person sitting next to you in a coffee shop when searching for the same query.
Also in 2005, no-follow tags were created as a means to combat spam. SEO pros began using this tag as a way of Page-Rank sculpting.
Google also unleashed a couple of noteworthy updates:
Jagger, which helped to diminish the level of unsolicited link exchanges that were flying around, as well as heralding the decline in the importance of anchor text as a factor due to its corruptibility.
Big Daddy (coined by Jeff Manson of RealGeeks), which improved the architecture of Google to allow for improved understanding of the worth and relationship of links between sites.
YouTube, Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools
In October 2006, Google acquired user-generated video sharing network YouTube for $1.65 billion, which ultimately became the second most used search property in the world.
Today, YouTube has more than a billion users. Due to its soaring popularity, video SEO become crucial for brands, businesses, and individuals that wanted to be found.
Google also launched two incredibly important products in 2006:
Google Analytics. This free, web-based tool was so popular at launch that webmasters experienced downtime and maintenance warnings.
Google Webmaster Tools. Now known as the Search Console, Google Webmaster Tools let webmasters view crawling errors, see what searches your site showed up for, and request re-inclusion.
Also in 2006 XML sitemaps gained universal support from the search engines. XML sitemaps allow webmasters to display to the search engines, every URL on their website that is available for crawling. An XML sitemap contains not only a list of URLs but a range of further information, which helped search engines to crawl more intelligently.
Credits Go To
One of the perks of launching a digital marketing campaign is the ability to see what’s working, what’s converting, the return on ad spend and how to optimize the campaign or change your approach for future marketing efforts.
The two most common methods for tracking digital campaigns are using UTM codes and Pixels.
UTM codes are tags which are added to the end of an URL. They allow you to track specific parameters such as:
Source of the campaign—Google, Facebook, E-newsletter
Campaign medium—Email, banner ad, paid search, social
Campaign name—Fall promotion, BOGO coupon
Content/creative version—Version A, family photo
UTM codes are an extension of the URL and do not require any website code changes. These codes allow you to organize your campaigns to track the effectiveness of various aspects of your marketing effort.
So how do UTM codes work?
When a user clicks on an ad with a UTM code appended to it, Google Analytics tracks the click and reports on key metrics associated with that ad.
A Standard URL looks like this:
A URL with UTM code appended for tracking looks like this:
If you want to create your own UTM codes, visit: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
Pixels (sometimes called floodlight tags) are a snippet of code placed on a website that is used to track user behavior throughout the flow of the website. A pixel is different from a UTM code because it can track a specific EVENT or ACTION such as a form completion, online order, site visit, etc. A new pixel must be generated for each activity that you want to track.
Pixels allow marketers to capture and report on the actions of users who visit the site after viewing or clicking on an ad. They give marketers the ability to assign a sale/action directly to a paid marketing campaign. This allows you to track ROAS on marketing efforts. You can even record actions based on an “attribution window” or period of time specified. For example, if a user clicks on your ad on Monday, but does not place an online order until Saturday, as long as the purchase happens within the pre-established “attribution window,” the conversion will be counted as belonging to the campaign. However, if the conversion lives outside of the attribution window, the activity will not be counted.
How do Pixels work?
When a user lands on a page with a pixel and an action is completed (example: an order is placed), the pixel tag captures data about that order. This data is then available to analyze. Some common pixel types include:
Retargeting pixel–used to track site visitors who did not complete the desired action and remarket to them
Conversion pixel–used to validate action (i.e. placed on an order confirmation “Thank You” page)
Site visit pixel–used to track campaign traffic (web page visits)
So how do you know which tracking method to use? The answer is to review the business goals you are trying to achieve and align campaign metrics accordingly. If you are looking to track overall traffic, leverage UTM codes. If you are looking to track a specific action or event, leverage pixels. However, we at the Fridge believe that the more data you have, the better, so we often use a combination of the two.
If you are preparing to launch a digital marketing campaign, contact Googlenaut to help optimize the campaign to make sure you get the most of your marketing efforts.
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