Friday, August 1, 2008

Search Engine Optimisation

As mentioned in the first birthday article, 1 Year Old Today! I use Google Analytics to get an idea of visitor trends, and what articles people are reading the most. Another piece if insight is how people are finding the articles through search engines. It's interesting to see what people are looking for, and how that changes over time. Here are the top search keywords used each month for people finding SOA Station.

  • July - 'mind the gap oracle'
  • June - 'trailing block elements must have an id attribute'
  • May - 'trailing block elements must have an id attribute'
  • April - 'iban check'
  • March - 'oracle bpel custom functions'
  • February - 'extension functions for xsl in bpel'
  • January - 'soa diagram'
Of course, this is only showing you what people that found SOA Station had been searching for. What such information gives is a picture of how search engines represent your website and the content on it. This is often quite different from how you, the publisher, sees it. The styling, context and structure of the site gets lost in search engine algorithms. Many people use the search engines as their portal to the internet so Search Engine Optimisation becomes very important when trying to make your web site stand out from all the others.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via search results for targeted keywords. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results or the higher it "ranks", the more searchers will visit that site. SEO is not advertising, but to get it done well often involves specialists with in-depth knowledge of search engine algorithms.

One such specialist is Sean O'Brien ( no relation ) founder of SEO Expert, a search engine optimisation company that provides consultation, but also tailored optimisation services such as getting inbound links, listed in directories and making optimisation changes to your site. This means that these SEO Experts can be engaged on a once off or on going basis depending on your on budget and capabilities. Their site has further information on this, but only a little information on their clients or techniques. This is understandable, to a certain degree, however, having some figures on page rank improvements achieved, and a high level description of actions taken would give better justification for using SEO.

Bringing in an external, specialist, company to boost your sites ranking in search engines does make a good deal of sense. While it is not the same as advertising, you are looking for the same results. That is, increased brand awareness, and sales.

Of course, once you've spent your advertising budget, it's gone. Applying SEO and using SEO techniques on your site does have longer lasting effects.

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