SEO and Digital Marketing

In order to have an effective website you must from the very beginning take notice of SEO and digital marketing.  Here are a few pointers as to the complexity of this.

search engine optimizationMany agencies will concentrate on Keyword research and placement.  Whilst this is a start, it is just a start and successful ranking in search engines is much more complex…

SEO is vitally important to any business web site as without it you would need to resort to on-line advertising to make up the shortfall.  This can get very expensive very quickly. Here is a list of how you can achieve effective on-page SEO

  1. Keyword Usage

In the beginning, there were keywords. All over the page!

The concept was this: If your page focused on a certain topic, search engines would discover keywords in important areas. These locations included the title tag, headlines, alt attributes of images, and throughout in the text. SEOs helped their pages rank by placing keywords in these areas.

Even today, we start with keywords, and it remains the most basic form of on-page optimization.

If we take the keywords “car repairs” the keywords should be arranged as below

Tom’s Car Repairs  =  The Title element repairs =  URL

Body text to contain “car repairs”

Image alt text to contain “car repairs”

Most on-page SEO tools still rely on keyword placement to grade pages, and while it remains a good place to start, research shows its influence has fallen. 

While it’s important to ensure our page at a bare minimum contains the keywords we want to rank for, it is unlikely that keyword placement by itself will have much of an influence on our page’s ranking potential.

  1. TF-IDF

It’s not keyword density, it’s term frequency–inverse document frequency (TF-IDF). 

Google researchers recently described TF-IDF as “long used to index web pages” and variations of TF-IDF appear as a component in several well-known Google patents.

TF-IDF doesn’t measure how often a keyword appears, but offers a measurement of importance by comparing how often a keyword appears compared to expectations gathered from a larger set of documents.

If we compare the phrases “basket” to “basketball player” in Google’s Ngram viewer, we see that “basketball player” is a rarer, while “basket” is more common. Based on this frequency, we might conclude that “basketball player” is significant on a page that contains that term, while the threshold for “basket” remains much higher.

For SEO purposes, when we measure TF-IDF’s correlation with higher rankings, it performs only moderately better than individual keyword usage. In other words, generating a high TF-IDF score by itself generally isn’t enough to expect much of an SEO boost. Instead, we should think of TF-IDF as an important component of other more advanced on-page concepts. 

  1. Synonyms and Close Variants

With over 6 billion searches per day, Google has a wealth of information to determine what searchers actually mean when typing queries into a search box. Google’s own research shows that synonyms actually play a role in up to70% of searches.

To solve this problem, search engines possess a vast repository of synonyms and close variants for billions of phrases, which allow them to match content to queries even when searchers use different words than your text. An example is the query dog picswhich can mean the same thing as:

  • Dog Photos   • Pictures of Dogs   • Dog Pictures   • Canine Photos   • Dog Photographs

On the other hand, the query Dog Motion Picture means something else entirely, and it’s important for search engines to know the difference.

From an SEO point of view, this means creating content using natural language and variations, instead of employing the same strict keywords over and over again.

Using variations of your main topics can also add deeper semantic meaning and help solve the problem of disambiguation, when the same keyword phrase can refer to more than one concept. Plant and factory together might refer to a manufacturing plant, whereas plant and shrub refer to vegetation.

Today, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm also uses co-occurrence to identify synonyms for query replacement.

  1. Page Segmentation

Where you place your words on a page is often as important as the words themselves.

Each web page is made up of different parts—headers, footers, sidebars, and more. Search engines have long worked to determine the most important part of a given page. Both Microsoft and Google hold several patents suggesting content in the more relevant sections of HTML carry more weight.

Content located in the main body text likely holds more importance than text placed in sidebars or alternative positions. Repeating text placed in boilerplate locations, or chrome, runs the risk of being discounted even more.

Page segmentation becomes significantly more important as we move toward  mobile devices, which often hide portions of the page. Search engines want to serve users the portion of your pages that are visible and important, so text in these areas deserves the most focus.

To take it a step further, HTML5 offers addition semantic elements such as <article>, <aside>, and <nav>, which can clearly define sections of your webpage.

  1. Semantic Distance and Term Relationships

When talking about on-page optimization, semantic distance refers to the relationships between different words and phrases in the text. This differs from the physical distance between phrases, and focuses on how terms connect within sentences, paragraphs, and other HTML elements.

How do search engines know that “Labrador” relates to “dog breeds” when the two phrases aren’t in the same sentence?

Search engines solve this problem by measuring the distance between different words and phrases within different HTML elements. The closer the concepts are semantically, the closer the concepts may be related. Phrases located in the same paragraph are closer semantically than phrases separated by several blocks of text.

Additionally, HTML elements may shorten the semantic distance between concepts, pulling them closer together. For example, list items can be considered equally distant to one another, and “the title of a document may be considered to be close to every other term in document”.

  1. Co-occurrence and Phrase-Based Indexing

Up to this point, we’ve discussed individual keywords and relationships between them. Search engines also employ methods of indexing pages based on complete phrases, and also ranking pages on the relevance of those phrases.

We know this process as phrase-based indexing.

What’s most interesting about this process is not how Google determines the important phrases for a webpage, but how Google can use these phrases to rank a webpage based on how relevant they are.

Using the concept of co-occurrence, search engines know that certain phrases tend to predict other phrases. If your main topic targets “Jeremy Clarkson,” this phrase often co-occurs with other phrases like “motoring journalist” “Top Gear,” and “Car Reviews.” A page that contains these related terms is more likely to be about “Jeremy Clarkson” than a page that doesn’t contain related terms.

Add to this incoming links from pages with related, co-occurring phrases and you’ve given your page powerful contextual signals.

  1. Entity Salience

Looking to the future, search engines are exploring ways of using relationships between entities, not just keywords, to determine topical relevance.

One technique, published as a Google research paper, describes assigning relevance through entity salience.

Entity salience goes beyond traditional keyword techniques, like TF-IDF, for finding relevant terms in a document by leveraging known relationships between entities. An entity is anything in the document that is distinct and well defined.

The stronger an entity’s relationship to other entities on the page, the more significant that entity becomes.

If we think about an on page article that contains the topics Iron ManTony StarkPepper Potts and Science Fiction. The phrase “Marvel Comics” has a strong entity relationship to all these terms. Even it only appears once, it’s likely significant in the document. 

On the other hand, even though the phrase “Cinema” appears multiple times (because the film showed there), this phrase has weaker entity relationships, and likely isn’t as significant.

If you have read the above you can see that effective SEO and digital marketing are by no means an easy process.  We can help, advise or run these processes for you so you can concentrate on taking the money!