Search Engine Terms

 1. Search Engine - Is a database of web sites that is ranked according to the computerized criteria that the programmers decide upon called an algorithm. Various search engines determine ranking on their own different factors of importance or relevancy. For the last few years the Google search engine was the most popular search engine supplying the search results for Yahoo and to a lesser extent MSN and AOL. This all changed recently after Yahoo purchased different search engine companies and developed its own search engine. Soon MSN will enter this market with its own search engine algorithm.
Searchers input keyword queries into search boxes and are given results from the databases of the search engines in accordance with the ranking algorithm from whatever search engine they are using.


In other words, search engines index sites it feels will be of value to its customers, which are Internet surfers searching for information.
The most important concept to grasp with a search engine, is that it uses an automated computerized system to find and rank the sites within its database of web sites.

2. Internet Directory - An Internet directory is a large listing of categorized web sites - however the concept that should be understood with the Internet directories, is that they actually have editors that decide what goes into the directory. Remember an Internet directory is decided and managed by human editors, while in contrast, a search engine is ranked by a computerized algorithm or system. Directories are important to get links from because, they will raise your rankings in the Google algorithm (which is based on Page Rank or links from other sites to a great extent).


3. SEO - Search Engine Optimization From the Tao of Search Engine Promotion represents the Ying or Female Principle in that it is more fluid and receptive to the algorithms of the search engines, which of course you - do not control. SEO promotion is using known conventions and in some cases deconstructing the algorithms of the developers of the search engines and working with them. In other words it is like Judo where you use the momentum and power of the search engines to build your business. You will have to be constantly vigilant, in order to try to stay abreast of the latest developments in SEO promotion.

4. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising with the search engines is bidding for particular keyword phrases or search terms used most frequently by Internet users related to information on certain niches and sectors. Overture was the first great pay-per-click advertising sales channel for the search engines. It presently represents Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Alta Vista, Hot Bot, and related partners allowing advertisers to bid on particular keywords. Google presently runs its own PPC Search Engine advertising branch called Google's Adwords Select. Since PPC advertising is so expensive use it in moderation by setting daily and monthly budgets (otherwise for high volume searched keywords you could go broke). After setting budgets, which you do in the Overture and Google advertising interfaces, use PPC to test your conversion rates for subscribers, sales, etc., and constantly monitor it and fine-tune it. You want to increase your conversation rates.


This is critical because as we alluded to the expense of PPC in earlier in this article the typical major ad agency or corporate brand only spends $5 - $15 dollars to reach a thousand people (CPM). Although they may go higher for a responsive direct mail lists like $100 or $150 to reach a thousand people. In PPC advertising small business are usually paying at least 35 cents on the dollar (for any word with any real competition) to reach a thousand people or $350 dollars. I have seen and experienced people paying $2.50 a click or $2250 dollars to reach a thousand people. The true expense of PPC is never discussed by experts in that industry. Any small business using PPC should have an outstanding product ready for prime time, to see any return in investment. Alternately, they should only use it for limited testing or to get a product quickly to market on-line.

Given the expense of PPC some small business people might be better off buying classified direct response advertising in a niche publication or obtaining ad space in ezines.
Another point to discuss in PPC is how the major companies hurt their advertisers (stab them in the back) by using pop-up blockers, which hurts the advertisers ability to collect email addresses on the front end, and with spam filters block even legitimate marketers ability to reach opt-in subscribers on the back end. Google is more of a front end pop-up blocker, AOL is more of an email blocker, while Yahoo is both. There are better ways to stop email and web site spam.


What is important is that small business, if it is not careful with PPC could be paying AOL, Google, and Yahoo/Overture to put them out of business.


5. Pay Per Inclusion is paying to be included in the database of a search engine or Internet directory. Presently it is free to be included in the Google search engine. You just need a link to your site from a few other sites already in the Google database and your site will be spidered in many cases. Recently it has been announced Yahoo will charge a fee to update your new content into their search engine database. From what I understand if you are already listed in Yahoo its all well and good, but any new content that you put on your site will not be indexed (thus so up in the search results without paying a fee).


6. Search Terms (AKA Keywords or Keyword Phrases) - Search terms and more specifically keyword phrases are words searchers put in a search box to find information on a particular product, service, or item. Keywords and Keyword phrases have different tiers. For instance the top tier keyword business probably receives 500,000 searches a month. But it is so general that it would not be a good keyword for which to optimize your site. However, the second tier Keyword phrase "small business" would have less searches, but it is more of a targeted search. The third tier keyword phrases are even more targeted and would be ideal for persons to optimize their sites for although there are less monthly searches for them.


7. Search Engine Algorithm - Algorithms are sets of rules according to which search engines rank web pages. Figuring out the algorithms is a major part of SEO. The thinking is that if you understand how they calculate relevance, you can make specific pages on your site super relevant for specific search terms. For more on algorithms and SEO in general, please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.


8. Search Engine Spider - An automated program that forms part of a search engine. Its task is to "surf" the web by following links from one page to the next and from one site to the next. It collects information from the sites it visits and that information is stored in the search engine's database. For detailed discussions on spiders, the other components of search engines, spider names etc., please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.

9. Search Engine Submission - is the act of signing up to get listed in the search engines. This is a time consuming task that should be done to get listed at some of the search engines or Internet directories. This should be done manually because the major search engines and Internet directories don't like automated submissions and if you do them too much you could get banned by the search engines for search engine spam.

10. Search Engine Indexing - is the process of when a search engine sends out an Internet spider to follow and then download the new pages of the Internet into its index. Basically an database of the text content and links of your site is recorded by the search engine or indexed. In other words when your site is indexed by a Search Engine it is catalogued for retrieval by Internet searchers.

11. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) - are the search results pages that you receive after you type into the search box of the Search Engine your keywords phrases or search terms. The first SERP usually gives you the results ranked according to their algorithm and also the number of sites returned from your search.

12. Search Engine Ranking - the position of your site in the search results of the Search Engines for particular keyword phrase or search term. Ranking results are shown on the SERPs in descending order from the number #1 ranked site on down.

13. Search Engine Copy-editing - is an art, as opposed to a science, that merges the traditional sales copy-editing skills of direct mail marketing, and the "on the page factors" of writing in a way that concurrently gets good Search Engine rankings. What I call sales copy-editing or copywriting in the direct mail and marketing world, is writing in an engaging and persuasive to way to get readers to buy or respond to an offer.

This is obviously an invaluable skill to bring into the Internet Marketing arena. But we are in a delicate balancing act with Search Engine Copy-editing, because we have to write to persuade our site visitors to buy our products or services and sign up for our ezines, special reports, blogs, etc. Furthermore, we have to give the Search Engines what they want to give us a higher ranking. Our first focus should be the site visitors, but we have to be savvy enough to also satisfy the Search Engines. This balanced approach is necessary because what good is it to have a fabulous web site that nobody ever sees? While on the other, had what good is it to have a high traffic web site that doesn't convert site visitors into subscribers, supporters, or customers for your ebusiness.

14. On the Page Factors - are things like the SEO copy-editing, interface and Web design, HTML coding and site layout, linking structure, or anything that you do on your actual site to make it more search engine friendly for higher rankings.

15. Off the Page Factors - are optimization techniques that you do like signing up for links from Internet Directories, reciprocal linking campaigns, writing articles with active inbound links, buying links from sites with a high PageRank from Google, or sending press releases with Online Wire Services with good link popularity to boost your web sites Search Engine Rankings. Off the Page factors have as much to do if not more with your web site's Search Engine rankings these days.

16. Link Popularity - is usually referred to as the number of links that point to your site from other sites (or inbound links). All the modern Search Engines like Google, Teoma, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL use some type of link popularity measurement as an important factor in ranking your web site. Link Popularity is a crucial "off the page" optimization issue that you have to be concerned with in marketing your web site.

Because many SEO's went overboard with linking, to increase the Search Engine Ranking of their web sites, Search Engines have become more sophisticated in how it measures your link popularity.

Search Engines now focus on the quality and relation of sites that link to your site. These new link popularity algorithms include complex algorithms like Teoma's HITS and Google's PageRank trademarked ranking systems. It is important to increase your link popularity now with important hub and authority sites in online sectors related to yours. If you go out and starting asking for links with a bunch of sites totally unrelated to yours you will possibly become penalized with the newer search engines especially Google.

17. PageRank - is Google's off the Page algorithm for determining the link popularity and overall rank of your web site. In its simplest theoretical form, it is getting a democratic vote of confidence from other highly regarded sites, in your online interest sector to link to your site. Google gives the web pages in its database a PageRank in the scale from 1 to 10

One (1) being the lowest score and (10) being almost impossible for any small business site to attain. A PageRank of five (5) with good content, SEO, and link popularity will get most sites a top ranking. A PageRank of 7 or 8 will enable a site to sell its outbound links for Good money to pass on its high PageRank to others. Yahoo and Google (two of the Internet's largest and most established sites) are the only sites that I know of with a PageRank of ten (10). Google changes its algorithms like PageRank on a constant basis to stay ahead of the SEO industry. However, conventional wisdom is to get as many links from related sites as you can with high PageRank scores to get higher SEO rankings in the Search Engines.

16. Reciprocal Linking - is the practice of web sites exchanging links to increase each other's link popularity, and for the more sophisticated web marketers their PageRank. Reciprocal linking is also important because it can drive significant traffic to both parties involved by sharing web traffic. Imagine if you had 100 reciprocal linking partners who were sending you just one visitor a day. In this scenario you would be receiving 3000 visitors a month from your reciprocal linking partners.
The downside is you would probably be sending them at least a few hundred visitors a month. Only obtain reciprocal links from quality sites that are of value to your site visitors. Your reciprocal linking partners should be sites in closely related, complementary, or synergistic online business sectors or communities to be affective in your SEO or web marketing plan. Furthermore, don't do reciprocal linking with sales web sites AKA mini-sites, because it will steal away your customers. Reciprocal linking gone terribly wrong could be considered a link farm and your site could get banned by the Search Engines.

17. Vertical SEO - this is my original terminology for the first basic goal of SEO, which is to get the highest ranking for the keywords (or search terms) with the most Internet traffic. With Vertical SEO you are focused on being on the top of the Search Engines with the most popular search terms related to your business - plain and simple. Vertical SEO is very competitive, time consuming, and some times doesn't bring the most targeted search engine traffic (like the keyword business). While general keywords like "business" gets plenty of searches, it many times is not to effective to focus on because it is too broad. Vertical SEO is only part of the SEO equation always look horizontally at smaller more specific keyword phrases when optimizing your site. Horizontal SEO is in order for marketing success as much as vertical SEO.

18. Horizontal SEO - is the opposite of Vertical SEO. It is when you focus on a large number of keyword phrases, which are more specific and specialized for your industry and ideal customers. For instance, if you were a business coach, rather than focusing on a broad keyword term like business with 500,000 monthly searches, you would focus on ranking high for smaller more specific keyword phrases. You would focus on more niche keyword phrases like business coaching, business training, business expert, business consulting, business mentor etc. Ten more specific keyword phrases may send your site as much collective traffic as a general term that has a lot of searches individually. More importantly in aggregate the smaller keyword phrases may send you more qualified and targeted traffic.

19. Site Statistics - You will never have a measurable online marketing program without having accurate site statistics. You can generate good traffic to your site and not even know where or how your site visitors are being routed to your site. If you don't have good site statistic software on your site, you aren't serious about e-business. This is because you are doing e-business totally in the dark without site statistic software.

Major stats you should be aware of are Unique Visitors (number of individuals visiting your site), Page Views (how many pages are viewed by the unique visitors - usually monthly), and Conversion Rates (ratio between how many unique users visit your site and those that either buy or subscribe at your web site). A good site statistic software will have many stats that will be crucial in telling you how well your site is reaching its goals, and more importantly how to improve your online fortunes.

20. Search Engine Spam - or otherwise known as "black hat" SEO is using tactics that actually hurt the relevancy of the Search Engines to achieve high-ranking web sites. This includes tactics like cloaking, hidden text, doorway pages, keyword stuffing, or redirects to erode the efficiency of the search engines to deliver good results to their end users searching for information.

21. Best Practice SEO - otherwise known as "white hat" SEO is studying the Search Engine algorithms and using accepted and standard SEO practices to create outstanding sites with relevant content, to boost the credibility of the Search Engines. Best Practice SEO sees the Search Engines as assets in Internet functionality and works to establish patterns and practices to insure their relevancy. A relevant Search Engine like Google can both make money, but help to make other businesses money with both its Adwords and Adsense programs.

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