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The internet is still very young and new technologies and developments in existing technologies are appearing at an extraordinarily quick rate.  As these technologies change, so do the terminologies that are used to describe them.

If you asked a dozen people to define the term "webmaster",   you would get a lot of different answers.  A webmaster may be the leader of a large team, including developers, writers, marketers, designers, usability experts, technical support people, and of course, search engine optimizers.  A webmaster may perform some of these duties or even all of these duties alone.

The same is true for Search Engine Optimization.  For many people, the term is a new one, and they may have no idea what SEO means.  To others, SEO is synonymous with SEM -- Search Engine Marketing.  To us, however, there is a huge difference between the two.  The business of optimizing websites for the search engines is an immensely difficult task.  It requires a massive amount of knowledge, time and effort to keep up with the fastest moving industry on the planet.  It also requires incredible amounts of testing and analytics.  Here are just a few reasons that this job should be left to the professionals:

  • Search Engine Guidelines
    Search engines are constantly refining their parameters for inclusion, acceptable practices and even display properties. In the past couple of years, we have seen major events like nofollow, the introduction of Webmaster Central, new guidelines on paid links, policies related to supplemental results at Google, the launch of Yahoo! Site Explorer, the Sitemaps program and dozens more.
  • Crawling & Accessibility
    Dynamic parameters, frames, non-HTML content ( PDFs are indexable, so are Word documents, however,  Flash does not always allow access and a lot of Java and AJAX do not allow crawler access at all ).  Factors determining crawl depth ( inlinks, backlinks, subfolders, fresh content, duplicate meta data ) - these all change regularly and require constant attention.
  • Duplicate Content
    Penalties, page exclusion, supplemental results - all of these await the site that does not carefully monitor its content. Not only do you have to pay attention to copies of the content on your site, you must also be wary of others who might re-publish your work, licensing systems, content sharing, as well as your spider instructions.
  • Changing Algorithms
    There are shifts and advancements in the algorithmic rankings constantly. Five years ago, it was all about keeping one step ahead of those changes. Now, it is more about predicting how advanced the engines might be 3-5 years from now and perfecting your site to fit those sweet spots.
  • Controlling Spiders & Sourcing
    301 and 302 re-direct rules and interpretation, meta robots, tags, robots.txt and directives that perform "legal" forms of cloaking ( showing different content to engines -vs- users ) all demand careful attention and proper discretion.
  • Web Design
    The issue of professional design is critical. Search marketers must put a critical eye to the layout of a site, the organization of the elements on the page and the sites visual appeal or you risk losing visitors, links and credibility.
  • Content Creation
    Creativity is required, as are writing skills and experience in building compelling web content. You have to know your users, your niche and target your sites content appropriately. It starts with great brainstorming and ends with great execution of language, images, video, audio and interactive content.
  • Link Building
    Link requests, natural link acquisition, Organic SEO, partnership networks and paid links, the adept search marketer requires them all to make the link building campaign consistently successful.
  • Keyword Research
    With more than a dozen different tools providing search keyword data, which do you trust? How accurate are the estimates? How do you run successful test campaigns? What keywords show the right intent, focus, relevance? 
  • Keyword Usage
    Advanced search engines have made density formulas and keyword stuffing obsolete, but usage remains an issue for sites large and small. Using keywords in the proper places - titles, headlines, URLs and anchor text has a big impact, but care must be taken to avoid repetition and prevent the search engines from interpreting your optimization as spam.
  • International & Multiple Language Issues
    The search engines currently do an horrible job with many International issues, particularly when targeting multiple languages on a site or when offering multiple sites in different countries with content in the same language ( see duplicate content above ). Navigating this minefield is daunting, to say the least, and worst of all is that moving from country to country can often mean targeting different engines or traffic sources based on what's popular in that region.
  • Localization & Geo-Targeting
    Even if you are just optimizing in one country, local search results, local engines, yellow page style directories and geotargeting for ads or content can make for trying work. The experts in these areas apply their own specialized knowledge of how to get the most for businesses seeking regional clientel.
  • Appealing to Linkers
    Every website that requires SEO must appeal to two groups of users, those who will buy/read/interact, and those who have the power or ability to link. 
  • Web Analytics
    What actions do you track? How do you measure success? Is A/B or multivariate testing required to get the most out of your campaign? What can the hundreds of trends and data points tell you about how your site could be improved and what changes you should make?
  • PPC Ads
    Buying ads on Google, Yahoo! or MSN...Pay per Click is not as easy as it looks!
  • Banner Advertising
    Are banner ads right for your site? Are they a good way to monetize short-term traffic? Can they help to bring you qualified leads or find the right demographic to buy from you later?
  • Contextual Ads
    Will AdSense earn you revenue? Is YPN a better deal? Will choosing contextual ads lower your relevance or hurt your chances to gain inbound links?
  • Search Results Pages
    These change all the time - If you are aware of all the possibilities early, you can often take advantage of the modifications for ranking benefits, if not, it can be a struggle to gain traffic even if you were a top result.
  • Monetization Strategies
    Advertising? Paid content? E-commerce? Consulting? Paid reviews? Not only do search marketers need experience with how to monetize a site, they also need to be able to identify the best choices and weigh the value of certain tactics with long and short-term goals.
  • Blogging
    How do you leverage the power of blog traffic, links and reputation to build your brand?  
  • Viral Marketing
    This is a hot topic, and requires serious effort. It takes a lot of trial and error, proper targeting, recognition of the various social audiences and a strong dose of content creativity and the ability to execute.
  • Emerging Traffic Sources
    Blogs, Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon, video sites and new forms of ads (like paid reviews)now drive huge quantities of traffic. You can not afford to ignore these sources in the future.  
  • Social Media
    Social media can not be ignored. Sites like MySpace, FaceBook, Flickr and Twitter  all have traffic, leads, networking opportunities and links that can benefit your business.

No one person is an expert in all of this...The amount of expertise required to provide great results is immense.  That is why we are here... we have a well trained and experienced staff that is ready to help you attain what you need to make your web site all you want it to be.

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