THE SEARCH ENGINE SPEAKS TECHNO
Marketing Primary Objective: Stimulate Business Growth
by charming the consumer through creative expression of utilitarian and/or emotional concepts.
Before the existence of digital media the distribution of marketing material would occur through print, radio and TV.
In today’s marketing, to even reach the consumer and have the chance to discover if your promotional mojo is still running strong, the implementation of any marketing material has to be preceded, and followed, by Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Everything has to first pass the Search Engine (SE) scrutiny, and charming the search engine requires a different set of skills.
The average consumer is driven by emotions, we have learned how to work with that. Unfortunately the SE has no emotions, all it can do is work with data. In very simple terms; the search engine can only read and count. It cannot even ‘look’ at the pictures.
Search Engine Technology Is The Marketing Medium
Let’s take a quick look at the website evaluation process, in extremely simplified terms.
The SE ‘Machine’ reads and records everything, code and text, and starts classifying data, just as it is programmed to do.
It sorts the data following an ‘Optimal’ information architecture logic.
Then it crawls its own index (Where all the other websites are) to find all documents belonging to the same category.
It compares our document to the others based on content relevance to the search query and information quality, including overall website quality and hundreds of technical functional factors (for example ‘Mobile Devices Compatibility’).
As result of the analysis a value is calculated to determine the right position in the index and finally the list is sent to the browser which display the SERP , which is the marketing acronym for Search Engine Result Page.
SEO Fundamental Analysis Concepts
There are three crucial aspects of the process which are the focus of technical SEO.
Since the essence and purpose of SEO is to facilitate the work of the SE analytic software the SEO specialist has to function as a sort of ‘interpreter’..
The marketing message is crafted to be easily assimilated by humans who are heavily effected by Visual Signals. The machine has limits which need to be bridged.
For example, analytic software cannot see, therefore images, while very effective in communicating to humans, are empty gaps in the digital discourse which the SEO specialist has to fill using special tags in the code which would, for example, describe a sense of freshness or the concept of elegance and any other concepts the designer is communicating visually.
Another common occurrence is a ‘Lifestyle’ image preceding a call to action link.
That works wonder in setting the potential buyer in the right mood… but the machine first requirement is to determine how the website is organized to be able to decide ‘where’ to store the information attached to the image.
The seo specialist need to modify the code so that the navigation links precede the images in the html document while still visually displaying after the image to adhere with the designer esthetic vision of the web page.
By finding the data in the order that is most congenial to its system of information management and data storage the SE will be able to work much faster than if it had to jump back and forthwithin the document trying to reorganize the information so that it would make sense to the “machine”.
In order of importance the next factor is information quality.
The SE determines quality by means of semantic analysis. We will explore this at length in coming articles, for right now all we need to know is that the overall ‘assortment’ of keywords related to the industry, the theme of the page, and site, is compared to many other sites in the same category or market and graded consequently.
Quantity is not as critical as quality is, as far as it doesn’t become so little to be seen as not sufficient to satisfy the user need for information.
As you can see the SEO specialist’s skills have to span from web technology to programming, from information architecture to semantic research to be able to provide the SE with just the right balance of quantity, quality and logical organization of information.
It definitely requires deep familiarity with web technology since the clarity of code and information architecture is the main contributing factor to the speed with which the information is processed and consequently presented to the web user. At parity of quality and quantity of information, the technical delivery (Optimization of the programming code creating a clear logic priority path for the SE.) will decide the SE final evaluation.
The totality of this process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
It should be evident at this point that marketing without adhering to the set of conventions dictated by SE technology, in this day and age, would produce substandard marketing campaigns and without a doubt a very poor ROI, if any.
Search Engine Marketing is in part science and part art. On the surface it appears to be all technology but it takes both; method and creativity to organize website code, content and information architectural structure while making sure that the marketing message is delivered to the potential customer as originally intended by the marketing and creative departments.
What SEM Is and What Is Not
Here is where my personal bird’s eye view of modern marketing deviates slightly from the norm.
Probably because of the term marketing a good percentage of industry insiders consider SEM strictly related to advertising online, in other words to place ads ON the search engine results page.
Well, first of all marketing is much more than “placing ads”, second SEM is the expansion of marketing into the age of technology and as such it spans the whole breadth of visual and non-visual digital technology whenever it relates to promotion of products and services.
Just to mention the two biggest; content marketing and video marketing. With both of them you have to be familiar with how the search engine works and several other aspects of technology.
Someone could object that you can shoot a video with your iPhone, or record a podcast and put it on youtube or itune, no biggy, but the point is, without the application of the type of insider knowledge the expert offers you are not applying the same leverage and producing all the ROI that is potentially available.
Having established that SE Technical Optimization is beneficial to any and all aspect of modern marketing, Search Engine Marketing includes every single method of modern promotion.
A quick note before we continue:
SEO IS NOT PROGRAMMING — SEM IS NOT MARKETING
Most business professionals often think that SEO is some kind of programming and SEM a marketing strategy. They are neither.
Programmers hate SEO. They would be very happy if they could throw it off the train for good. Similarly, SEM is not something that marketers go crazy about it either.
They both see these new branches of their disciplines as a complication due to the crossover of digital technology into the day to day necessity to do marketing.
That is also the reason why it is not so easy to find a very good SEO specialist. Most are either programmers forced to do SEO or marketers forced to adventure into the meanders of technology concepts because the SE decides how many of your potential customers you will be able to reach.
SEO is the most technical aspect of SEM which exists because without optimizing for the SE nothing would reach the consumer. It is a discipline born out of the necessity to clearly evaluate websites content which in turn allow the SE to connect business to consumer and vice versa.
Code, page and content optimization is done to prepare for marketing, which in the digital era, a.k.a now, consists on being fit for the digital environment (SE Optimization) Fit to perform at the highest level (SE Marketing strategies) and fit to satisfy consumers with brand/product/service delivery beyond expectations (Achieved through User Experience Optimization process, UXO).
Once the website, its content and promotional material are optimized they can be published and strategically distributed.
The information quality, correct technological implementation, distribution and how it all interconnect (off-site content SEO) is evaluated by a number of search engines.
The Search Engine Can Tell!
Many are skeptical. They don’t believe it can be as advanced as the technical SEO experts describe it, but it is; how you write about your business will determine your website domain authority and level of competence. The SE can tell.
Analytic technology has come to the point of being able to measure our level of expertise.
It uses latent semantic indexing (LSI). In simple terms it measures the relationship between industry related (key) words.
Depending on the variety of industry specific terms you use, frequency and contest, the SE is today able to evaluate how informative your content is and grade it in order to compare it with the competition.
It is part of the SEM’s specialist job to research and find all the industry specific terms relevant to the topic, and make sure they are included with pertinency, adequate frequency and supported by synonymous as it would occur naturally in a fluent and logical human discourse, for every page and article.
SEM – The One You Can’t Go Without.
If you could afford only one marketing service, search engine marketing is where you would start.
The search engine is the ultimate authority on the web. If your website and promotional material are not properly optimized to rank, your business will not get the exposure it needs to grow.
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