by March 21, 2012 0 comments

Search engine rankings are in a constant flux with hundreds of factors influencing the same. Search engines almost on a daily basis introduce new factors and tweak algorithms. The 500 updates brought in by Google in search engines last year affected up to 35% of search queries. During the last few months, Google has been very forthcoming about sharing information regarding their updates and helping Webmasters along the transition. However, there are updates that happen behind the scenes. You realize them through internal analysis and joining on discussions on SEO forums. On the other side the keywords searched for are also changing with the advent of auto suggestion & completion, industry trends, seasonal user intent, etc. Given this dynamic nature of search, it seems tricky optimizing your website to guarantee search engine positions.

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In addition, search engines have learnt to move from optimized content to valuable content. The impact of social signals are testimony to that. The value of content is also now evaluated by numerous non-automated methods including real human testers mapping the searched keywords with the individual search results. So you need to ensure that the content on their website is relevant, up-to-date and informative. How do you stay up the changes? Here is what the CEO of Page Traffic has to say.

No company can absolutely guarantee search engine positions for a website! Then why is all this fuss?

Yes, Google Terms of Service makes it pretty evident that no one can claim such control on Google search algorithms. In fact, it is not even possible to do it accurately. What we rather do is carry out an extensive keyword research which is completely data driven. Based on this solid data, we provide time estimations for rankings for every single keyword. We share this feasibility report with the client and decide on the nature of the campaign that will suit the client best.

What are the top five- tools in your SEO audit that you use to get the desired rankings in search engines?

Google is the best search engine tool that you can get. All the data and insight you need is right there in the SERPs (search engine results page). You can check the top ten pages on a particular keyword, analyze their titles and content and tweak your site accordingly.

Apart from that, we use a range of free Google tools along with some paid tools too. The most prominent ones are:

1. Google Keyword Tool for keyword research
2. Wordtracker to supplement Google Keyword Tool for keyword research
3. Google Webmaster Tools for ensuring error free site
4. Majestic SEO for backlinks intelligence on your competitors

How often do the rules change (algorithms for instance)? Is it possible to stay on top of these changes?

Google keeps making changes to its algorithm almost every day. For example, it carried out around 500 updates in 2011. These algorithm changes effected up to 35% of search queries. Updates like Panda and introduction of Google + is one of the most significant updates in recent times. You should also be on the lookout for small changes in the indexing and rankings pattern of their websites to anticipate the algorithm changes. This is where major search engine forums and blogs can help a lot too. All of these recent updates have been aimed at one thing –making content more important. So you need to ensure that the content on their website is relevant, up-to-date and informative.

Now that social media has created lots of noise and is being utilized by almost all SMEs, how do you draw the line between SEO & SMO?

The line is quite thin, to be honest. You do any brand name or person name search and you will see that there will be 3-5 results from social media sites. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr dominate top pages of searches where such results are available. Google + has brought some interesting variations to the mix too. Today an SEO campaign will not be complete without paying its due to social media properties. Similarly, social results don’t automatically show up in the top, they need to be optimized and shared too.

What is your advice to those that are new to SEO?

You should learn and understand how the search algorithms work. Going through the Google SEO Starter Guide, Google Webmaster Guidelines and the Webmaster Central blog are the primary requirements. You should also make a habit of staying updated with the leading industry blogs and forums. Google Webmaster forums and Search Engine Land are the two most authentic source of search news. It is also important to keep the user at the center of all your activities. So practices such as keyword stuffing, etc should not be pursued. Sites and all links within them should load faster and should be browser and device compatible too. Never forget that “Content is the king”.

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