Have you ever wondered how a search engine spider sees your website? You may be surprised to find that they see things very differently than we do. In order to be more efficient and to glean only the most important content from a webpage, the spiders strip out some design and functionality elements, resulting in a very different view of a webpage than a human sees. There are several free web-based utilities that will give you an idea of how a spider sees a webpage.
Search Engine Rankings
Because the majority of web traffic goes to the first page of results that a search engine returns for any given search term, most website owners aspire for their site to rank on the first page of the search results for their most important keyword phrases. If you're serious about monitoring your rankings, then you'll want to look into the variety of paid software options available. Ranking software can be pricey, but it is a valuable tool for anyone who is serious about search engine optimization. SiteReportCard created a free utility that is helpful for those who want to get an overview of thier current rankings.
Understanding your audience, and which keyword phrases they are likely to enter into a search engine to find your business, products, or services is a key component of any successful online marketing campaign. All the search engine optimization and pay per click campaigns in the world won't help your site become successful if you're targeting the wrong keyword phrases. Keyword research allows you to determine which keyword phrases are most likely to drive the right kind of traffic to your website. There are many free and paid tools available that will assist you in evaluating keyword phrases. Here are a few free tools:
Link popularity is an important ranking factor in the algorithms of the major search engines. The web can be viewed as a network of connected neighborhoods which are grouped according to theme. Establishing links from important sites in your neighborhood can give your site a boost in the search engine rankings. Touchgraph has created a nice little tool that will show you what your site's network looks like according to Google's database of related sites:
The search engine spiders are constantly seeking new content as they crawl the web. When they come across a webpage that has the exact same content as another webpage, they have a dilemma. They have to make a decision as to which page has the original content, and which is a duplicate. Once they make that decision they often choose to filter out the duplicate page from their primary index. This isn't for copyright reasons, this action is a necessary part of maintaining a search engine index. If the search engines didn't filter out duplicate content, their indexes would become bloated with a bunch of pages that offer the same content.
For this reason it's critical that the content on your website is original and not copied from other sites. It's also advisable to occasionally scan the web to see if others are copying your content, because the search engines are not 100% accurate in identifying who is the rightful (original) owner of web page content. Copyscape offers a free duplicate content tool that will allow you to see which other pages on the web may have content that is the same as yours.
SEO and SEM Learning
Confused with all of this online marketing terminology or just want to learn more? SEMPO offers a nice glossary as well as some online marketing learning resources.