Web Article Writing : The What, Why and How of SEO?
We have all read articles on websites, and there are more and more websites devoted to the sole purpose of providing a place for the publication of articles.
Why? This is a commonly asked question, and the answer is fairly simple – marketing.
The internet is fast becoming the first choice among many people when they are looking for any news or information. This has grown to such an extent that most major newspapers, from every country, now offer their newspapers, or at least their major news stories, in an online version. Not only can they get the story out faster, as there is no need to wait for the next edition of the paper to roll off the presses, but the publication costs are lower, and their readers will get the news elsewhere first if they do not provide it.
As a result, more and more major advertisers are looking to split their advertising budgets, and advertise more and more on the internet. While there is still a major place for conventional newspaper advertising, the effectiveness of it fast being caught (although not yet overtaken) by electronic advertising on the internet.
The major draw cards of advertising on the internet are measurability and cost. On the internet it is easy to measure how many people have seen the advert as well as the response (the number of people clicking on the advert to follow the link to the page/site/product being advertised) which is termed the CTR or Click Through Rate.
As with newspapers, the more people view the advert (or at least the page on which it appears) the more the site owner can charge for an advert to appear on that site.
As a result, site owners o longer just put a site up, and hope that people interested in their product or service find it in their favorite search engine and pay a visit. They do everything in their power to “drive” traffic to their website.
Gone are the days where the indiscriminate use of keywords was enough to get your site shown on the search engine results page. There are now so many sites vying for attention that it has become an art getting your site noticed.
To a large extent Google has taken over the search engine world, to the extent that the word “Google” has become interchangeable with the word “search”. However, Google does not work exactly like the search engines of old, and there are a lot of methods employed to get your site onto the first page of results. This is important, because the further down the list of results it appears, the less likely people are to follow the link to your site.
Whether or not your site is selling advertising, if you are selling a product or service you want as many people as possible to see your site.
Getting your site listed as near as possible to the top of the results by a search engine is the result largely of a technique known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
This takes a lot of work, and requires that you have the skills to employ various techniques. For example, with modern search engines, such as Google, the more “popular” the search engine sees the site as being, the higher towards the top it ranks it in the search. The search engine will determine this “popularity” by both the number of unique links pointing to it, and the number of people who have “clicked through” and followed these links. So, short of paying to put links to your site on thousands of other pages, how do you create links to your site? It is no good just posting a page full of links somewhere – not only will people not visit that page, but the search engine will ignore it anyway.
The easiest, cheapest, and most effective is to have an article elsewhere, which not only raises an interest and awareness of your product or service, but has links in it leading back to your site. If you are able to offer this document as content to another popular site, then the chances are it will get read. It is a “numbers game”, in that the more people who read it the more chance that some will follow the links. This all adds to your sites popularity, and therefore to its search engine ranking.
This has become such big business in itself, that sites have been created simply to host these types of articles. These sites themselves become extremely popular, as a source of information, and have a large number of visitors due to the wide range of subjects covered. This in turn increases their popularity, gets them a high search engine ranking, and allows them to charge for (and sell easily) advertising on their site.
In general, these sites allow you to post your articles for free, while some even pay you to post an article there!
So, writing articles on various subjects has become a huge marketing tool in attracting people to your website. This is, however, not as simple as it sounds. The article must be interesting enough, and accurate enough, to attract visitors. It must have some information available on your site, with link backs to your site, so that once you have the interest of the reader, that reader will follow the link back to your site.
The more people who read the article, and the more that actually follow the link back to your site, the more site traffic you will have, and the higher your ranking in the search engine will be.
So, optimizing both your site, and the marketing of your site, is important. Not only will it generate visitors to your site, hopefully increasing your product sales, but it will also improve your chances of selling advertising on your site, thus providing an additional revenue stream.
This is why SEO techniques have become big business – big business enough for companies to make money solely from offering this service!
SEO really began in earnest in the mid 1990’s, when web designers began stuffing irrelevant keywords into the titles and meta-tags of their pages to improve the search engine ranking. Internet users became frustrated, as search engine results became almost irrelevant. In 1998 Google was founded, and by using different techniques and algorithms, they produced more accurate search results. However, this lead to the indiscriminate swapping and hosting of links by website owners and their developers, with some pages consisting of nothing but lists of irrelevant links.
Once again the search engine companies changed their ranking techniques, and these link farms, as they were known, became almost irrelevant themselves.
As of 2007 the new ranking techniques were in full operation, and used by the biggest search engines such as Google and Yahoo. This lead to a new range of techniques, in order to optimize search engine rankings. As a result of the new search engine algorithms and ranking techniques, content is once again “becoming king”. So, while website article marketing may seem to be “fooling the system”, the truth is that these articles have to be rich in content, rather than rich in keyword stuffing, in order to be successful. It is, at this stage, the closest we are likely to come to a “win-win” situation – one where the internet user finds useful information, an at the same time the website owner gets the visitors and the search engine ranking he would like.
It is, however, an ongoing process, as other website owners will constantly be after your ranking position – so keep providing the meaningful content, and nobody will mind the realistic and accurate links back to your site.