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Before Launching Your Search Engine Optimization Campaign
Before you start any search engine optimization campaign, whether it’s for your own site or that belonging to a client, you need to answer the following important questions:
1) What is the overall motivation for optimizing this site? What do/they hope to achieve? (e.g. more sales, more subscribers, more traffic, more publicity etc.)
2) What is my/their time-frame for this project?
3) What is my/their budget for this project?
4) Who will be responsible for this project? Will it be a joint or solo effort? Will it be run entirely in-house or outsourced?
Answering these questions will help you to build a framework for your campaign and establish limitations for the size and scope of the campaign.
How Search Engine-Compatible is the Site Currently?
Something I find very useful before quoting on any SEO project is to produce what I call a Search Engine Compatibility Review. This is where I carry out a detailed overview and analysis of a site’s search engine compatibility in terms of HTML design, page extensions, link popularity, title and META tags, body text, target keywords, ALT IMG tags, page load time, and other design elements that can impact search engine indexing. It just helps sort out in my mind what design elements need tweaking to make the site as search engine-friendly as possible.
You might consider preparing something similar for your own site or clients.
Next, you need to establish the project requirements, so you can tailor the SEO campaign to you or your client’s exact needs. For those of you servicing clients, this information is often required before you are able to quote accurately.
To determine your project requirements, you need to have the following questions answered:
2) What are the file extensions of the pages? (i.e. .htm, .php, .cfm etc)
3) Does the site contain database driven content? If so, will the URLs contain query strings? e.g. chúng tôi (containing “?” symbols), or does the site use parameter workarounds to remove the query strings? (the latter is search engine friendly).
4) Are there at least 250 words of text on the home page and other pages to be optimized?
6) Approximately how many pages does the site contain? How many of these will be optimized?
7) What is the current link popularity of the site?
8) What is the approximate Google PageRank of the site? Would it benefit from link building?
9) Do I have the ability to edit the source code directly? Or will I need to hand-over the optimized code to a site admin for integration?
10) Do I have permission to alter the visible content of the site?
11) What are the products/services that the site promotes? (e.g. widgets, mobile phones, hire cars etc.)
12) What are the site’s geographical target markets? Are they global? Country specific? State specific? Town specific?
13) What are the site’s demographic target markets? (e.g. young urban females, working mothers, single parents etc.)
14) What are 20 search keywords or phrases that I think my/my client’s target markets will use to find the site in the search engines? (More about this next lesson).
15) Who are my/my client’s major competitors online? What are their URLs? What keywords are they targeting?
16) Who are the stake-holders of this site? How will I report to them?
17) Do I have access to site traffic logs or statistics to enable me to track visitor activity during the campaign? Specifically, what visitor activity will I be tracking?
18) How do I plan on tracking my or my client’s rankings in the search engines?
19) Do I or my client have the ability and resources in place to respond to increased traffic/business as a result of the campaign?
20) What are my/my client’s expectations for the optimization campaign? Are they realistic?
Answers to the first 10 questions above will determine the complexity of optimization required. For example, if the site pages currently have little text on them, you know you’ll need to integrate more text to make the site compatible with search engines and to be able to include your target keywords. If the site currently uses frames, you will need to rebuild the pages without frames or create special No-Frames tags to make sure the site can be indexed, and so on.
crucial. Otherwise you can find yourself in the middle of a project that you have severely under-quoted for.
For those of you optimizing web sites for a living, you might consider developing a questionnaire that you can give clients to complete to ensure you tailor the web site optimization to their exact needs.
You’re Now Prepared
So now you are clear about your motivations for optimizing the site, you know more about the target markets, you know how compatible the existing site is with search engines and how much work is involved in the search engine optimization process. You’re ready to tackle the job!
Kalena Jordan, was one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.
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Search Engine Personalization – The Fallout
There has been a lot of discussion recently about search engine personalization, with search engines such as Yahoo! and Google experimenting with factoring in profile information to adjust search results based on relevance to a specific user rather than just giving the exact same results to every user who searches for the certain keywords.
As I see it there are two major areas of fallout related to search engine personalization. The first is quite obvious and has IMHO received more attention than is necessary, while the second seems to have been completely overlooked but could have far-reaching effects within the search engine optimization (SEO) industry.
The obvious problem that people seem to be concerned about is privacy, fearing that use of personalized profiles would mean search engine operators could track everything an individual does on the Internet.
There are downsides to the anonymous approach and no doubt the search engines *want* your personal details so they can market to you more effectively, but whether people are prepared to give them out is another matter. That’s an issue which no doubt will be debated very publicly in months to come.
However, there is a totally different side-effect of search engine personalization that is also very important but has been overlooked so far. That side effect is a total revamp or maybe even the potential death of the SEO industry.
SEO consultants are hired by companies to tune their website to get better search engine rankings. Typical activities involve re-wording pages to achieve better keyword prominance, adding pages dedicated to specific sub-topics, tweaking page titles and image ALT tags, and adjusting link text. It’s a game of second-guessing what rules the major search engines use to determine their rankings, and then tuning the site to match those rules so the site appears as high as possible in search results.
A major industry has grown up around theorizing about those rules, testing theories using dummy sites, using statistical software agents to measure rankings and ranking trends over time, predicting what the next big change will be and when, and always tweaking, tweaking, tweaking. Whole armies of people sit around in online forums discussing the relevant rankings of their clients’ websites, and what date the next Google PageRank calculation update might take place. These are smart, dedicated, and obsessive people who are totally focused on making sites rank as highly as possible in search engines by adjusting sites to suit the ranking algorithms of each search engine.
But what happens when search engines get personal? What happens when the results delivered to one person searching for “eagles” consists entirely of Glenn Frey fan pages, while another user doing the exact same search at the exact same time is given a list of Philadelphia Eagles NFL club fan sites?
Suddenly SEO consultants don’t have a reference platform to work from. Suddenly there’s no definitive SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for specific search terms. Discussions like “my site was ranking 15 for our keywords until yesterday, when it dropped to 27” have absolutely no meaning. Ranked 15 for whom? With what profile? Located in what geographic area?
Search engine personalization is all about empowing the user. It’s about search engines finally delivering what they have always tried to do: results that are relevant to the individual performing a search, given their specific psychological profile. Not results based on a global average.
I don’t seriously expect the SEO industry to collapse overnight because of this. No doubt the industry will come up with methods to capitalize on it instead, and will take another leap in professionalism that will leave the amateur page tweakers behind. Standard profiles will be developed for different user demographics, and SEO consultants will start using those when discussing relative rankings. Demographic and psychographic profiling will become standard tools of trade. Discussion will change to something like “my site was ranking 15 for our keywords with profile Boston/ITWorker until yesterday, when it dropped to 27”. And of course “Boston/ITWorker25” will mean they’re measuring with an industry-standard demographic profile called ITWorker25, testing from a Boston location since geographic location will be factored in as well.
So the job of an SEO consultant is about to become a whole lot more complex, but for end users the result is going to become a whole lot more useful.
Bottom line? What I’ve been saying for years is to optimize sites for people, not machines. If you create a site that is genuinely useful to real people, with content they are interested in and good usability, that will be of far greater benefit than creating a site that’s optimized totally for search engines at the expense of human usability. The day is coming when search engine ranking algorithms become so complex and personalized that when a search engine does site ranking it will do it as an extension of the psyche of the end user, with their preferences and interests. Good search engines will almost become a transparent layer between users and sites, so when you optimize a site for end users you will also be optimizing for the search engines that represent those users. As far as site owners and SEO consultants are concerned, users and search engines will almost become one and the same.
And that is a very interesting future for users, for site developers, and especially for the SEO industry.
Guest Columnist Jonathan Oxer is Founder and Technical Director of Internet Vision Technologies, an Australian company which has been developing web applications for more than 10 years. He is also author of “How To Build A Website And Stay Sane“, is currently working on “Running Debian GNU/Linux” for O’Reilly, and is a regular speaker at Open Source conferences and events.
Which Search Engine Will Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Buy?
Rupert Murdoch and News Corp are on a Barry Diller type quest to buy up online destinations in an attempt to expand their grasp on the news industry before they are left high and dry behind Google, Yahoo, IAC (Ask) and others. One of the major acquisitions was of MySpace, a youth oriented social networking community with a focus on music. Additionally, it was reported that Skype – the VOIP messaging network, was in talks with News Corp which fell through. So, which search engine is News Corp targeting for a buy out?
BIG NEWS – LOOKS LIKE NEWS CORP IS STARTING ITS ACQUISITIONS WITH THE BLINKX SEARCH ENGINE
LookSmart – In my own opinion LookSmart is the number one contender for a News Corp takeover. Its stock is way down, its performance is off, popularity weening, but LookSmart is the owner of the WiseNut search technology, the LookSmart and Zeal directories, chúng tôi and various LookSmart owned educational, news, NetNanny, chúng tôi and article search operations.
Basically, LookSmart has all of the works (the whole shabang!) for putting together a huge rebranding and relaunch. Plus, Looksmart was originally an Australian company (now based in San Francisco) – Murdoch’s home country. If I was a project manager for News Corp’s acquisition of a search engine, my mouth would be watering over the chance to integrate the existing offerings over chúng tôi chúng tôi the New York Post, News Corp’s television and cable entities, MySpace, and all of its local web properties.
Technorati – this blog and feed search engine has been the talk of Yahoo acquisition rumors according to BL Ochman. However, with its popularity among bloggers and news enthusiasts it may be the perfect companion to News Corp’s MyWay.
Gigablast – this independently owned search engine has been the darling of the search geek community for years. Its recently added a blog and government search and has an index of 2,068,530,608 pages.
Mamma – Mamma is not really a search engine in its own right but is a paid search “mini-network” with its own existing tecnology for paid sponsored listings. However, its a Mark Cuban property and he may have larger plans for integration into Icerocket and BlogScour.
SCiO spectrometer: a handheld physical search engine
Point SCiO at a leaf and your smartphone will tell you what tree it belongs to. Point SCiO at an unidentified pill on your desk and you’ll see that it’s Ibuprophen. SCiO is a device that’s hand-held, eventually aiming to be small enough to fit on your keychain, made to help you identify objects in your world.
The creators of this project, SCiO, suggest that you’ll be able to walk up to an object and scan it – for about 2 seconds – and have an identification of said object 3 seconds later. SCiO is, at its base, a spectrometer.
A spectrometer is a device which analyzes infra-red energy bounced off of an object, analyzing energy waves to identify said object. This technology is not new, but it’s never really been small – or affordable – in the past.
Doctors will use NIR (near-infrared spectroscopy) spectrometers which can be as small as a football or larger than your laundry basket. Most spectrometers retain a relatively large size and work with relatively old technology to connect to computers for analyzation simply because there’s not a mass market – outside scientific environments – for such devices.
ABOVE: the next smallest comparative device we found this morning – made by i-Lab and coming in at $1500 USD. Not exactly consumer-friendly.
As such, the cost is high as well – the smallest spectrometer we were able to find with a swift search on eBay cost a cool $1,500 USD. SCiO aims to present a “seamless and fluent consumer experience,” will be small enough to fit in your pocket, and is aiming at a price point of $149 (for early adopters), later to be raised to $200+.
If this product can be delivered, it’ll be the first real tricorder – that analysis tool the doctor uses in Star Trek. It’ll be the search engine for the physical world – the one we don’t have yet.
This device also works with an app – you’ll find it connecting to iPhone and iPad devices as well as Android phones and tablets – just so long as they have Bluetooth 4.0 LE.
It’s suggested by the folks who make SCiO, Consumer Physics, Inc., that they aim for a December 2014 delivery date for KickStarter devices. At the moment, the project has $772,258 of its comparatively tiny $200,000 USD asking pledge funded – with 41 days to go.
ALSO: Yes, the device in preview images and videos that looks like it’s shining a light at fruit is, by all likelihood, an LED flashlight. It’s there as a visual stimulant while the real scanner has no lights at all.UPDATE: We’re getting a lot of feedback along the lines of “it looks to good to be true.” Until we get our hands on a model ourselves, we’ll continue to be skeptical as well, of course. Stay tuned – we’ll aim to have one for review before you know it!
As the CEO of his own search company, Ramaswamy is accountable to the users of his product who pay a monthly subscription to access Neeva.
Ramaswamy is currently on the conference circuit raising awareness about Neeva, and we managed to catch up with him at Collision last week in Toronto.
We profiled Neeva once before and welcomed Ramaswamy as a guest on the Search Engine Journal Show in December.
However, each time we only scratched the surface. Now, we want to dig deeper.
So, what makes Neeva different from the other companies — and what makes Neeva a viable alternative to Google and Bing?What Are Neeva’s Core Values?
Many companies enter the market making lofty claims of how they’ll do right by users. Even Google once had “don’t be evil” written into its code of conduct: a promise to which some critics argue it hasn’t lived up. Google has de-emphasized “Don’t be evil” in its code of conduct, though it was never removed.
In 2023, Google was sued by three former employees over its “Don’t be evil” motto. They allege that failure to live up to the motto is the equivalent of a breach of contract.
To better understand how Neeva will continue delivering a product that puts users’ needs first, I asked Ramaswamy what Neeva’s core values are.
“It’s not something we have published, but this is something I’ve talked about a lot with Vivek [Raghunathan, co-founder of Neeva], and I feel good about saying it,” Ramaswamy began. “At our core, we think that, as a company, we want to make technology serve people.”
“I think many other technology companies, especially in the last 25, have turned rather exploitative,” he continued. “I think the ad model exemplifies this. Basically, if I can convince you and get you hooked on my product, I can pretty much do anything.”“It’s Technology Serving People”
“Yes, companies are for-profit, but I think if you set up your values to be aligned with your user, to be aligned with your customer, you’ll always serve them,” he said. “To me, that part is important. If you had to say, ‘Hey, what exemplifies what you do?’ It’s technology serving people. This is why we do things like offer a flat price for the search utility you get from us.”“Technology At Scale Is Quite Inexpensive”
Many companies within the sector lead consumers to believe scaling technology is expensive, which is how some justify charging higher fees, for instance, as they grow.
It doesn’t have to be that way, Ramaswamy says, as he believes the cost of technology at scale is overblown.
“It’s our belief that technology at scale is actually quite inexpensive,” he noted. “That’s the magic of technology, but right now, the way all of these companies are structured — as they scale, they squeeze more money from you.”
“It’s not like you’re getting more value, though obviously there are exceptions,” Ramaswamy continued. “But it’s really back to the basics of how you create products that delight people. And to me, that’s an honorable living.”What Does Neeva Do To ‘Serve People’?
Neeva’s definition of ‘technology serving people’ is exemplified by its feedback system.
Roughly 20% of the Neeva team is tasked solely with listening to customer feedback and using it to shape the product experience.
On the other hand, many criticize Google for not giving users what they want out of a search experience.
I asked Ramaswamy if he could give examples of specific customer feedback that helped shape Neeva into what it is today.
“But then,” Ramaswamy said, “I realized a larger truth about how people think about the internet.”
Neeva was initially against going the Google route of delivering content directly in the SERPs, but has had to make some concessions.
Another perk offered to Neeva subscribers is access to a Slack channel where customers can engage in group discussions with developers.
“A lot of people said, ‘We want to be able to offer feedback to [improve] your search results,’” Ramaswamy said. “So we built a community feedback feature that’s released to some people; it’s not released to everybody.”
The way it works, he explained, is users “can say, ‘Hey, this result is not relevant.’ Or, ‘This result is the top result for this query.’”
“This list sort of goes on and on,” Ramaswamy said. “Customers are really a source of lots of ideas.”Neeva Is A Customer-Guided Product
At Collision, Ramaswamy described what he eventually aims to accomplish with Neeva, and how it differs from the goals of larger search engines like Google.
After speaking with him, I asked if he could clarify what he meant by wanting to “let society figure out” what to do with Neeva.
“I spoke about it more in the spirit of: Google spends a billion, makes a hundred billion. My thing was more: We want to make a couple of billion and let society figure out what it wants to do with the service,” Ramaswamy explained. “It’s more of a general argument around not captive capitalism, but competitive capitalism.”
“The beautiful thing about technology is creating a product for 100 million people is not wildly different from creating a product for a billion people,” he continued. “That’s the magic of scale and technology.”
Being paid for by the people who use it gives Neeva unique flexibility regarding future growth.
Users don’t have as much influence over a product like Google Search, considering they typically don’t pay to use it.
Although even for a free product, Ramasamy argues that Google could be doing much more to give users value.
“My point was a customer-paid product makes it much easier for us to release the product to the whole world [and] still run a profitable company, but not at the kind of obscene scale that I see Facebook or Google operating,” he said. “People always say … ‘Well, Google gives me free Gmail. Will they stop giving it?’ And my rough answer is: Well, I’m sure, with 100 billion dollars, a bunch of us are going to make really good decisions about how to use that money.”
Ramaswamy said that users “don’t need a monopolist to make that decision and decide they want to give you free Gmail. We don’t need charity from rich companies in order to do this; we need competition, so more of the money that is being spent on this comes to us.”Will Neeva Keep Its Privacy Promises?
DuckDuckGo, another search engine that touts privacy as its key selling point, was recently a source of controversy after it was discovered to be passing along a minor amount of data to Microsoft.
That stemmed from the deal DuckDuckGo has to use Bing’s search index.
I asked Ramasamy what measures Neeva has in place to keep its zero data collection promises.
“We truly want to create a differentiated product,” Ramasamy emphasized. “We started with using the Bing API for search [but] in many ways, I think we would have been better off investing in search from day one. We are a product company, and we want to become a much better search engine. That’s the big differentiator.”“We’re Making Foundational Investments In Search”
In addition to keeping Neeva ad-free, it will be able to maintain its zero-data promise by building its own search index.
DuckDuckGo, for example, ran into trouble because it’s wholly dependent on Microsoft for search results. Ramasamy says Neeva is the only company outside Google and Bing crawling and indexing the web.
That claim is backed up by an October 2023 report on digital competition by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust. The report states:
“The high cost of maintaining a fresh index, and the decision by many large webpages to block most crawlers, significantly limits new search engine entrants. Today, the only English-language search engines that maintain their own comprehensive webpage index are Google and Bing.”
He acknowledged that, in response, many ask, “What’s the big deal? What difference does it make?”
“It lets us do things like creating a much better shopping experience,” Ramasamy explained, noting that, for instance, Neeva “launched Reddit links in search results … because we work with Reddit to get their index. So we have an index of all the web pages they’re serving.”
Ramasamy said that users can receive better-quality results for such queries as, “What are the most interesting Reddit posts that correspond to this query?”
Neeva can “launch features like that, because we’re making foundational investments in search; pretty much the only company outside of Google and Microsoft to be doing this.”
“We increasingly use Bing as a fallback when we cannot answer queries,” Ramasamy acknowledged. However, he said, “Over time, our aspiration is to be able to do more and more of the search results ourselves.”Neeva’s Sole Focus Is Traditional Web Content (For Now)
With people’s search behavior turning more toward short videos, I asked Ramaswamy if Neeva has any plans to index content like Web Stories or TikTok videos.
For now, Neeva’s sole focus is to solve search for text-based web content.
“Solving for search, especially things like spoken search, is enough of a large problem that we have not quite gone there,” Ramaswamy said. “We have working arrangements. We have partnerships with companies like Twitter and companies like Reddit to better surface their content.
Twitter, he pointed out, “Has a lot of real-time information. So we’re focused on things like that right now and less on video. That would be a fun project to do.”Neeva’s Greatest Challenge Is Awareness
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Ramaswamy: What’s the most significant hurdle for Neeva to overcome on its journey toward mass adoption?
Ramaswamy’s answer: “It really is about competition.”
The product, he said, is not the issue.
“We have a great product. Compared to ad-supported options … the free Neeva search engine is infinitely better,” Ramaswamy explained. “The place where we struggle is getting the word out, getting people to know us as an option, and getting people to set us as the default search in Safari, which is impossible.“Demand More Choice”
As Ramaswamy explained, there’s no incentive for a company like Google to innovate if it doesn’t have any challengers.
Companies tend to improve their products when faced with more robust competition. But the only way for more competitors to enter the search market is for consumers to demand more options.
“To me, this is the biggest ask that I would have,” Ramaswamy said, “is to demand more choice, because competition produces better products.”
In turn, he said, “That competition creates better products for us. An incumbent that is doing very well has no incentive to innovate [or] to disrupt.”
Conversely, over at Neeva, “We have nothing to lose,” Ramaswamy told me. “We’re going to swing for the fences [and make it] easier for people to switch, for them to try Neeva, for them to decide for themselves if they want it or not.”What’s Next For Neeva?
Before parting ways, I had to ask what we could expect next from Neeva.
“There’s a lot I’ve learned from Google My Business in terms of local businesses – even in terms of Search Console – that I feel confident we can do better,” Ramaswamy said, adding that “GMB, as you know, is a real problem for lots of people. Especially agencies that want to update information for a bunch of companies that they work with.”
The hope, Ramaswamy said, is that “we’ll have better tools. But not yet.”
We love search engines because they are the window to the web, as most would say. And that’s very much the truth, to be honest. There are many things on the web today that are difficult to find without a search engine, and some of those things are faces. Chances are, there might come a time in your life when you feel the need to search for a face. We are not sure why you’d want to do something like that, but to make sure you have the right tools for when the time comes, we’ve decided to come up with the best Face Search Engines for finding faces.Facial recognition search engines How to search for a face on the web
You can use any one of these free Face Search Engines for finding faces on the Internet:
Google Images.1] PimEyes
Having the ability to search for faces from over 10 million websites is an awesome superpower, and that is what PimEyes will deliver to the table. Yes, it’s very similar to Google Search in how it operates, but if you’re not a fan of the guys in Silicon Valley, then PimEyes is a great alternative.
Interestingly enough, users can search with four different photos at the same time to narrow down results.
TIP: Take a look at some of these Google search engine alternatives like Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.2] PicTriev
We find PicTriev quite different from the others because it focuses on look-alike celebrities. If you want to determine which celebrity you might resemble, then PicTriev is your best bet. Just upload your photo, or add it via a URL and go.
Bear in mind that it only supports the JPEG image format, and the size must be up to 200 KB. If your picture is larger, please make it smaller via an image editor before moving forward with your plan.3] BetaFace
What we have here in BetaFace is a program that is similar to PicTriev in how it identifies photos. Simply upload the image, or use an active URL, and from there, the search engine will come up with similar or the same faces in a jiffy.
If needed, the user can go one step further by comparing faces from BetaFace with other search engines such as Wikipedia and others. It’s the perfect online tool for those who want to compare photos in bulk, though we doubt many will use it for that.
In terms of speed, well, it all depends on the setting you’ve selected. Choose the Best Face Only option for better quality, but expect processing to take a little longer than usual.
Read: Best People Search Engines to Find Anyone easily.4] Google Images
By now, we should all have heard of Google Search seeing as it is the number one search engine platform on the planet. Now, we suspect you must have heard of Google Images, but did you know the ability is there to search with an image instead of text? Yep, it is possible.
There are other ways to improve your search results. After searching for an image, please add “&imgtype=face” to the URL then hit the Enter key on your keyboard, and voila, magic.
Read next: How to find Similar Images Online using Reverse Image Search.
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