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Website Promotion – The stakes are rising and so is the cost

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Over the past couple of months it has been quite noticeable that the amount of time and effort that is going into website promotion is rapidly rising and therefore so is the associated cost of keeping ahead of the competition.

More and more people are devoting more and more time to website promotion and it is becoming a feature of nearly all website promotion campaigns that they are embracing all known search engine promotion techniques instead of exclusively relying on one or two methods.

What we are seeing at the moment is a landshift change in promotion techniques. Only a year or so ago it was thought enough for a search engine optimisation company to optimise the pages (on page optimisation) and submit the website.

However now that the competition is becoming ever fiercer off page optimisation is becoming a necessary requirement of any respectable website promotion campaign.

Let’s examine these two terms and see what we mean my “on page optimisation” and “off page optimisation”.

On page optimisation is the process of tuning the page for a search engine or more usually trying to make it rank highly on a selection of search engines. It’s no wonder that many search engine optimisation engineers focus on google exclusively as it certainly produces the most traffic of all engines, but will that always be the case? Things can change quickly in internet land.

Page optimisation strategies generally consist of using your keyword or keyword phrases in all of the pages known “hotspots”. The page title, meta keyword, meta description, alt tags, first heading and the body text. Subsequent “tweaks” can include bolding the keyword phrase, using the keyword phrase in a hyperlink and more.

To a point there is only so much that you can do to search engineer a page before it starts to look spammy, repeating the keyword phrase over and over. Of course some “optimisers” still do this but it’s quickly becoming a frowned upon practice as it detracts sharply from a website wanting to produce a professional image, not to mention your chances of being banned from the search engine altogether.

This is where “off page optimisation” takes over.

Both Google and Yahoo use a system of “ranking” websites dependent on several factors – one of which is how relevant the content appears to be to the keyphrase searched for (on page optimisation).

The second important criteria that your pages are judged on is how “popular” those pages are in comparison with your competition. Broken down into it’s basest form it means that the more quality votes (links) that your page has then the more popular it must be and so is promoted higher up the search engine results.

In google parlance this feature is known as “pagerank” and pagerank is a vitally important part of your website promotion campaign. If you don’t have any then you are standing naked in front of everybody and that’s not a nice feeling!

Google pagerank is based on a scale of 1-10 where 10 has the most influence. The algorithm is configured on a sliding scale so that you only ever gain pagerank as a percentage of the full amount. As those with the highest pagerank are constantly adding more “votes” for their pages it makes sense that those at the bottom end of the scale are going to have to work ever harder to play “catch up” and that is where the extra cost is being factored in to website promotion campaigns.

However it becomes more complicated.

Not all links are equal.

Blindly rushing off and trying to get as many links as possible is not going to help you much. In fact it’s one of the reasons why people are spending so much time and effort in their link exchange campaigns and finding they are getting nowhere.

Savvy online marketers have established that links from pages with a low pagerank are not as valuable as links from those with a higher pagerank. But also in paradox to this it is possible to get more value from linking to a page with lower pagerank than the higher one!

Confused! No wonder “off page optimisation” is becoming such a sought after area of expertise.

The paradox occurs because built into the pagerank algorithm is a method of transferring the amount of pagerank “boost” a page gets by dividing up the total pagerank of a page by the number of links present. So a high pagerank page with 100 links on it is not going to give as much “voting power” as a low pagerank page with only one or two links on it.

Trying to make sense of this is at the heart of any “off page optimisation” campaign. Sifting through links, setting up reciprocal link campaigns (the site you link to links back to you) getting links from directories and so on is a time consuming task, even when using some of the more advanced tools that take a lot of the manual drudgery out of the job.

Link exchanges are springing up all over the place offering to bring together people willing to exchange links and the humble text link is becoming one of the most valuable pieces of internet property. Costs for placing text links on higher ranked sites are escalating and it’s becoming ever more important to network closely with other sites offering useful services to your visitors.

Throwing up a links page and asking all and sundry to link to it is not going to work – all that’s going to do is give you an administrative headache and make your visitors wonder if they are making the right choice. Choosing quality link partners is a time consuming and therefore expensive business.

What this all means is that the cost of website promotion is constantly going up. And those companies with well networked sites and strategically placed links are in a much better position to help their customers than those who rely solely on pay per click campaigns and other expensive forms of advertising.

A website promotion campaign is still the best value for money form of advertising that there is in my opinion, it’s just that the costs are rising and will continue to rise. But the rewards for those that get it right are greater in comparison.

To sum up, search engine optimisation is becoming a more and more labour intensive exercise. There are more pages to be made search engine friendly and to gain top spots each page has to be tuned for a particular search engine. Gone are the days of “one size fits all”.

In addition there is a large amount of work involved in linking strategies and building the “popularity” of a website so that it has a chance of making it into the top 10 results.

It’s this combination of work required that is forcing up the costs of a search engine optimisation campaign.

Tony Cooper is the Internet Marketing Manager at http://www.keywordmarketing.com Building web sites that achieve tangible and accountable results.

Website Promotion – The stakes are rising and so is the cost
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