Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A 2009 Midterm look at the Algorithms

Now that we’re past the half way mark for 2009, it is important to reexamine optimization strategies for a ‘mid term’ look at what the search engines have been paying attention to when indexing websites for organic search engine rankings.

  Each year, over 400 algorithm changes or adjustments are made by Google.
‘Algorithm’ is a fancy way of saying ‘rule’ in the search engine realm. Sometimes these changes are announced and other times we are left out of the loop. Although we SEO guys would like to think its Google’s way of breaking our stones, it is really just Google and the other search engines doing what is in the best interest of the users.

  For example, if Google, Yahoo, and other search engines earn money from text ad revenue, it only makes sense for them to try to bring the most traffic to their search engines. The way of doing this is by competing with one another to create the very best user experience through navigation, relevance, and ease of use. Therefore, it’s crucial to constantly refine their algorithms.

  The example above describes what you should be doing when creating and marketing a website as well. Creating a reliable, informative, and user-friendly experience is Google’s main priority and should always be the website builder’s as well.

  In a recent article in WebProNews Mike McDonald talks about some of the most important SEO considerations for webmasters to keep in mind as we continue through 2009. We’ve summarized for you:

  Title Tag: An important on-page SEO element for every web page. A good title tag that is specific to its individual page is essential. Beyond that, having the important terms appear early in your title tag also has a significant impact.

  Anchor Text: The visible text of a link. Inbound links are a critical search factor. It is important to keep in mind internal linking between your website pages as well, which has grown in relevance over the last few years. Remember to use descriptive terms, and stay away from generic terms such as ‘home’ and ‘here’.

  Quantity of Domains Linking: Not only is the number of links important, but also the number of unique domains from which those links are coming from. For example, you may have 10,000 inbound links coming from 5,000 unique and separate domains. On the other hand, your competitor may have only 7,000 inbound links, but if they have 6,000 coming in from separate domains, they will have a link popularity advantage (higher page rank) over your site.

  Social Media/Mobile: These two categories have endless potential, but are harder to quantify. The number of users on many social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is growing rapidly. An effective social media campaign can be an ideal source for generating awareness, traffic, and inbound links.

  H1 Tags: Effective H1 tags define the content of the page, and gives a proper and relevant heading. They do play an important role for defining your site, when tied in with other on page factors. However, they only represent a small portion of SEO and website usability.

  Keyword Density: Website copy should always be written first with the visitor in mind. It is completely undesirable to sneak in an overload of your target key phrase into the text of your target page. Including your target key phrase in your title, as well as in the anchor text of pages linking to your site are both great ideas. Anything more and your site will look unnecessarily cluttered and spammy.

  A great example of keyword density overload is a website like “Bob’s Cheap Office Supplies,” where the description looks something like this:

  “Bob’s Cheap Office Supplies has the widest selection of cheap office supplies in Connecticut. Our cheap office supplies beat any competitors cheap office supplies, because our customers think that our office supplies are so cheap. If you or a friend are looking for cheap office supplies, you have found the right place-Bob’s Cheap Office Supplies!”

  For more information on current SEO practices, visit us at www.digitalsurgeons.com or call (203) 672-6201.