My company asked Rand Fishkin of http://www.seomoz.com to come talk about search engine optomization and current trends in the digital advertising world. Search engine optimization, or “SEO
” for short, refers to strategies that get a particular website near the top of the “hit list” (also called the “search results page” or SERP). Getting your website to be close to the first result on the list is obviously advantageous to people advertising their services. But understanding the process or algorithm by which a search engine like Google operates is shrouded in mystery (at least by Google) so that eager beaver advertisers cannot “game” the system.
In authoring a webpage, I know that one of the first things that you write in HTML code, in what is called the “Head” of the document, are a series of “meta tags”. Meta tags are essentially keywords that search engines use to tailor the results of a search to what the user put in the search window. For a bread company, they might have a meta tag list like “bread, baking, bakery, store, baked goods, Tacoma, Puget Sound Area, 98104, etc. It does no good to write the same word multiple times; Google will ignore that. But Google does look for images, videos, and links on a website — besides meta tags — in ordering that site on the results list. So companies that are tech savvy and struggling for visibility on the web try to do what they can to get their website to come to the top.
This fellow Fishkin is the head of a very successful company that does search engine optimization, and he’s an engaging, energetic, and funny speaker. In this talk about search engine optimization (http://www.slideshare.net/randfish/choose-tall-women-and-short-men), Fishkin says that nobody can guarantee that any particular website will always list first (unless you pay for that privledge). But, he argues, being first on the list isn’t always the best place to be. If a website contains video, or an interesting image, that image may display in the search results, drawing the interest of a searcher. In fact, having video on your website is an excellent way to attract viewers.
Fishkin also recommends that organizations have a Google+ account, along with the very common Facebook page, to increase exposure for that organization. So I’m trying this out. I’ve put links to SEOmoz and Fishkin’s talk into this email, and heck, I’ll even shamelessly plug my portfolio at www. ericstavney.com to see what comes up when I search for my name, and/or SEO. Should be interesting.