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An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization | SEO For e-commerce Website – Part 1

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Search engines are constantly improving the algorithms to bring the most relevant search results to users. Search engine optimization evolves with them. This research is based on balancing between good practices in search engine optimization and making mistakes while using a particular optimization method which causes that web page is considered as less worthy or even spammy. New methods have been developed to avoid being declared as black hat and degradation by new algorithms. It has been shown which of those methods are being used in practice by several eCommerce in Croatia and which are being overlooked.

1. INTRODUCTION

Search engine queries create over 80% of all traffic on the Internet. Numerous studies have proven that Internet users mostly read only the first page of search engine results. Subsequently, it follows that owners of mission-critical websites should be concerned about the visibility of their websites to search engine crawlers1. An e-commerce business needs to have optimized sites in that manner, to override competition.

Several techniques are available to increase the visibility and ranking of a website. These techniques are generally classified as SEO white hat methods, SEO black hat methods, and paid placement (also referred to as PPC, or pay-per-click).

Combining web technology with business economics is of high importance for e-commerce. In the last 10 years, online visibility for such online enterprises relies on the relationship between their own online sales platform and search engines. It is important to improve traffic for customers with the intent of acquiring products or services related to the customers’ needs.

To boost their websites of low ranking web sites into the highest level search rankings, Internet spammers used search engine optimization techniques. Mostly used search engine optimization techniques include material keyword generation, directory submission, link exchanges, etc. Some methods are used ethically but some of them are abused.

A search engine crawler is a program or automated script for indexing web sites for search engines. It methodically browses the World Wide Web to provide up to date data to the particular search engine.

Only since the year 2007, search engines are becoming relatively resistant to manipulation. Google claimed that the ranking of Web sites is using more than 200 different parameters. Since then, SEO can’t be implemented by simple changes and refinement, and it becomes real science. 

2. INTERNET MARKETING

Internet behavioral analysis showed that in 2008 over 90% percent of Swedish internet users make use of search engines at least once a week, stating that online visibility through the use of search engines now is a crucial business marketing aspect. To improve the relationship between online e-commercial platforms and search engines several applications exist within the technical field of online marketing.

Search engine marketing Internet marketing involves the methods used to perform website marketing activities. It refers to the following: search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies.

Search engine marketing, or advertising to web searchers, involves a series of procedures that sites are using via other sites, portals, and search engines. Specifically, it’s about promoting the website by highlighting them in a web browser. It is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of search engine optimization, paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.

On the other hand, according to SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) definition, SEM area covers SEO, paid ads appear on themed websites (contextual advertising), and paid inclusion in directories or search engines.

 TABLE I. A COMPARISON OF SEO AND PPC

SEO PPC
Cost SEO could be regarded as free search engine marketing, so the cost will be lower. PPC, have to pay per click cost of the keyword, the cost will be higher.
Stay of rankings Use SEO rankings, in general use of formal behavior and without of foul under, the resulting ranking is more permanent, and will not easily change. Using the PPC’s website the exposure is relatively high, but after not using the attached fee still, return to the natural sort.
Risk of invalid clicks Do not have to bear the risk of invalid clicks. Have to bear the risk of invalid clicks.
Time Longer Shorter
Uncertainty of ranking Because of the popularity of each keyword, to ensure that each keyword appears in the high rankings, will be more uncertainty factors. Although each keyword’s cost is different, after paying, can be seen in the keyword search, belong to the unnatural order and the relatively high certainty.
Be diversionary Because search engine algorithms are not static, so it is easier to contain by the search engine algorithms. Paid to obtain the ranking is not easy to contain by the search engine algorithms

The largest SEM service providers are Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft AdCenter. That is the reason why, when it is about optimizing sites for a better rank, it is usually about optimizing the site for Google, Yahoo, and MSN search engines.

3. SEO optimization versus PPC

Two ways of internet marketing are associated with web search engines: Paid placement and search engine optimization. PPC is a non-natural website ranking, and it refers to paying for a common type of keyword advertisement. The locations of their occurrence are right, above, and left at the site. Quite to the contrary, SEO is known as a natural website ranking. PPC is a marketing approach that one has to pay advertising costs to after the consumer clicks. According to different keywords, there will be different spreads, and the more popular keyword cost per click would be higher.

Both of them are compared as shown in Table 1. After comparing SEO and PPC, it is obvious that there are much more pros for SEO because the use of SEO can cut down the cost, even though it might take a long time to get a good rank. However, after a good rank is obtained on the search engine, it would be affected and could work for longer times.

4. USAGE OF ETHICAL SEO METHODOLOGIES

There are many methods for optimizing websites and they are grouped into two areas: on page and off page. On page optimization is a prerequisite for off-page optimization – making structures and navigating web pages, as well as all the other elements that are essential for on-page optimization, should precede indexing by the search engines and creating links to another website.
SEO techniques can be divided into two basic groups: black hat SEO and white hat SEO. SEO search engines do not approve black hat – their effect is usually only a short- term while search engines can discover and punish them by lowering the rank of a site in search results or even by deletion. An Overview of the most commonly used white hat methods can be found below.

I. Directory Submission

Directory submission refers to creating incoming links to a website through related pages and categories. A created website needs to be ranked to get good business results and manual submission to directories is a good approach for that. An Internet directory is a platform on the World Wide Web for information and links to many websites.
Many directories are providing free service to the website in the directory. Directory submission requires some information about the website, such as URL, title, description, keywords, category, and email. The directory submission is used as SEO technique to promote the company’s business.

II. Keyword Generation

Keywords generation process is method that is used by every search engine optimization. The keywords are necessary and most important part of SEO. All internet search engines require some words to elaborate information based on these words. The keywords must be related to the business domain. There are many online tools available to generate keywords relevant to the website’s needs. Some of them are Word tracker, Yahoo keyword selector tool, Google Ad words keyword tool, Thesaurus, etc. These tools operate by entering one keyword and then the tool returns the huge number of keywords relevant to the website. But only keywords are not assuring the popularity of a website.

III. Link Exchanges

When starting an e-commerce business on the internet, it is necessary to have a reciprocal link or link exchange with other websites or webshops. The link exchange is the method in SEO to place your link on other websites and

Vice versa: There are many types of link exchanges used: illustrate interest directly on web pages, sending e-mails, or discussion forums to show interest for link exchanges. Only related websites with good page rank are required to build reciprocal links. Generation of reciprocal links requires website title, description, keywords, URL, and email address for both parties. Link exchange boosts website traffic from a user who clicks on website link as well as they increase ranking in web search engine. The disadvantage of the reciprocal link is that some sites do frauds. Sharing of all information, including customers, is the main disadvantage.

Every method has some positive and negative aspects. Table 2 shows a description of them according to a study of four different companies.

TABLE II. BASIC TECHNIQUES – PROS AND CONS

Positive aspects Negative aspects
Directory submission – Majority of links to the web sites are from directories
– Directories provide a permanent link
– Time-consuming technique and need extra effort to compile
– Free listing takes time
Keyword generation – Keyword is first and most important part of every website
– Keywords generation is built to attract visitor
Some abbreviation will not provide the same information as required
– Overfilling keywords has negative consequences
– Time-consuming
Link Exchanges – Sharing traffic provides better visibility of business goals
– Provide good revenue from web
– Time-consuming and sometimes costly
– It is difficult to find a good link partner and related website on which link can be placed
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