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Search Engine Marketing Done Right Part 1: Order of Operations

By Steve Winkler
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2004

Having difficulty obtaining fair ranking in Yahoo? Are you puzzled by why you can't find your site through a search on AOL? Whether you're a newbie to marketing online or a seasoned veteran, these questions may perplex you. It may not be a lack of effort or intellect but a simple and easily corrected error in your marketing approach.
Proper SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not open to interpretation as fine art is, rather it is a function of the proper application of rules and features. Just as in the world of Mathematics, if you do not follow the rules to achieve an answer, the answer that you do get will be wrong.

Search Engine Marketing leaves little to be subjectively analyzed. The correct answers are available to you, if you seek them, so please read on and I’ll share with you the three crucial steps in properly executing your next SEM or SEO campaign.


The order in which optimization techniques are applied can be a crucial step in determining how quickly and how well your website obtains positioning. There is a logical process to applying such techniques and the following steps may prove beneficial for you:

A:Determine your Keywords
B:Incorporate Keywords into page titles
C:Apply Keywords to text
D:Apply pertinent supportive alt tags
E:Design supportive Meta Tags

The steps noted above are fairly universal, however, there are additions, exemptions and modifications that need to be considered when submitting to various engines. A good way to ensure general compatibility is to target specific pages to specific engines. While ultimately the content of your site will determine its ranking, Inktomi, AltaVista and Google do emphasize various criteria when indexing. By understanding these factors and optimizing accordingly, you can acheive great ranking on multiple search engines.


Here is a multiple-choice question to get you thinking.

To achieve a ranking in AOL which of the following should you do?

A:Send your site to AOL for review
B:Wait for a spider to visit your website
C:Submit to Google

Most already know that the answer is letter c) Submit to Google, since Google provides results to AOL. Though AOL claims their results are "enhanced by Google", the first 10 search results are virtually identical between AOL and Google Searches in almost all instances.

For many people, submitting to Google solved their previous ranking woes within AOL while for others with poor Google placement it was bad news. For the most part, inter-search relationships like the one between Google and AOL have been a a boon for most websites.

A number of great articles have been published on inter-search relationships so I will not comment on these relationships other than to recommend that you do some research on your own and then always begin your optimization process with the end in mind.

If your ultimate positioning goals include AOL, Iwon, Netscape and Yahoo, make sure that you closely adhere to Google's established optimization guidelines. Compliance with Google rules will ensure that your website is 99% compatible with Google's search partners.

Last, but certainly not least, there is the submission aspect of your SEO. Too often I have heard the frustration and confusion of those who say "Steve, I’ve already submitted to all of these major search engines and I’m still not listed. How is it that you can do this differently?" Clearly, the Order of Operations was not considered in their approach. Those who use submission as their first strategy have little or no success.

Submission prior to Optimization is much like entering a motorcycle race with a bicycle. With all due respect to web designers, most fall short as the first choice for your Internet Marketing. Naturally their main focus is to conceptualize and produce a website that meets the needs of their client. SEO and SEM typically base their work on websites that have already been built. Your SEO provider should be proactive by working as a liaison between your company and your web design firm to ensure that their design does properly incorporate all of the proper techniques. This works in a similar fashion to the relationship between the architect and the builder. Both have distinctly separate tasks but work in unison to create a pleasing result.

If at First You Don’t Succeed...

As the saying goes, "If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again." If you choose to venture into the world of SEM or SEO on your own, allow time and do not give up. Just exercise patience, make small changes and allow time for these changes to populate through the databases. And, if you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to hire a professional. A professional can help you avoid many pitfalls and common mistakes which are often inadvertent yet potentially dangerous.

About The Author
Steve Winkler is the Business Development Manager of the team of Search Engine and marketing professionals. Steve Winkler has experience in demographic based marketing, interactive marketing programs and business efficiency consultation. Click here for more information, a free ranking report or a free in depth consultation. He can also be reached via email:


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