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Lesson 1 - Introduction & Search Engines

The Learning the Basics course is a collection of written and recorded training intended for the absolute beginner. If you just put up a website and really need to figure out what to do, and what search engine optimization, and search engine marketing is all about, then this course is for you. A lot of topics will be covered and perhaps the information here will be beneficial for people who already have gotten started and just really need to fill in all the gaps between what they have learned.

Search engine optimization and search engine marketing is a very tedious task. It's not difficult, it just takes a while to learn all the steps and important procedures in what to do and what not to do.

Once you learn all the basics of search engine optimization it will be rather surprising how easy it is to elevate your website in the search engine ranking. Perhaps your ranking is down in the Google Abyss right now, but with basic optimization techniques you can swiftly elevate to the first five, first two, perhaps even the first page.

The sad truth is that most people don’t know the basics, and even worse, some so called professionals haven't a real clue. It is especially distressing when we hear search engine optimization proposals from large companies like Network Solutions and Yellow Pages. Invariably if you ask them details of their service they'll provide you a canned description of the optimization techniques without any real understanding of what the process is all about. "All this for only $149 per month," they will say.

What's even worse is that large corporate optimization firms will sell their service without ever once asking you to edit your website.

Next time you get an offer for website optimization, ask for details of their service. Unless they are an absolute wiz, there's no way someone can properly achieve search engine ranking in the jewelry trade without direct access to edit the website.

As member of the Advisory Group you have the benefit of not just our unique experience working in the jewelry trade, but more importantly we have the black and white research data that supports everything we teach.

We don't want to do the optimization on your website for you. We want you to learn how to do it yourself.

Our goal is to provide you with easy to understand information. The Learning the Basics course will use jewelry examples so you can directly relate to the training. But there's nothing special about the "Basics" that we teach compared to basic search engine seminars or paid lessons you may find elsewhere. Indeed there are hundreds of firms and training companies that teach what we call generic search engine techniques.

The Jeweler Website Advisory Group was formed to teach the specifics of optimization, internet marketing and direct response marketing for the jewelry trade. We want you to benefit from our jewelry trade research, and explain what you already intuitively know: that a retail jeweler is different than a clothing store, or an electronics store, or a pet store.

Except, up until right now as you are reading this, you probably never realized that there's also a big difference between internet advertising for your retail jewelry store vs. all those other businesses.

Unfortunately you've got to be up to speed with the basics before we can share the really unique findings from our jewelry website research. There's no use trying to teach you about AdWords Embedded Matching of keywords if you don't even understand the subtle differences between the word "ring" and "rings."

Since Learning the Basics is geared towards the absolute beginner let's assume you have no idea on how the internet works and you really are just getting started.

Over the past years many of my customers have been exactly that. They don’t own a computer; they don’t own a computer to run there store; they don’t even own a fax machine. But yet they recognize the importance of having a website.

Training has been a challenge that we happily tackle. We are always willing to teach our customers how to bring themselves into, well I suppose the 21st Century.

So, assuming that you only have basic knowledge of the internet and basic experience let's cover some topics that you probably know about, but have not either understood or maybe just need to learn from scratch.
Let's get started.

Our first topic is search engines. There are several different search engines Google being the most popular Yahoo! the second most popular, then there is Bing formally known as MSN. There is also, but their presence in our data is as low as, so let's just pretend they don't exist.

When people talk about doing the search online they usually say expressions like "Well hey! Let's just go Google that."

Even though Google is a proper name of a website is also commonly used as a verb. So if I wanted to find a jewelry store my local area and I might just type in "jewelry store." But since I live in Totowa, New Jersey I might just type in "jewelry stores Totowa" and Google would return back all of what it assumes are correct results. Let's talk about how these results come about.

Each search engine has it own methodology for generating results. When searching for something, you go to the engine, type in your keywords and click the search button. The resulting page they present you is referred to as the "search results page" or "search engine results page."

Within the industry of search engine optimization we refer to this page as a SERP, which is just the first letter of each word Search Engine Results Page.

Through the recordings and through all of our videos and commonly in our writings when you see the capitalization of S E R P you know what it is referring to. The search engine results page is the page you get after you type in your keyword into Google and your press the search button.

Now let's talk about the basic structure of a search engine results page or a SERP.

Typically the search engine results page is made up of ten results which show left justified along your page. The most important or the best ranked results are always at the top of the page going down through the bottom of the page.

On Google, typically at the bottom you usually see numbers 1, 2, 3 and so on which indicate approximately how many pages of results are available.

The coveted spot to be is always the first results page in position one. We would refer that to that spot as position one, or ranking of one, or first rank on first page. The terminology can be varied depending on which expert you speak to you but typically you are coveting the top position 1, 2, 3 and so down the page.

The SERPs don't only show matching web pages. The search engines provide a verity of information in hopes to help you pinpoint what you are looking for. On the SERP you can find articles that have been published, videos from YouTube, and when you do a product search you can even find shopping results with photos of the product.

For example if you are searching for a specific style number from a popular vendor like David Yurman then perhaps shopping results will be returned in position 3.

Additionally, on the SERP you can find a mixture of PDF documents. In other words, Google will give you whatever it found on the internet which matches, in some way, your keyword phrase. Search engines don't just want to return a collections of web pages, but rather a collection of multi media responses that may be of interest to you.

At the time of this recording, Google was just finalizing a new feature within its search. Content in what we would call the fourth dimension. A lot of people do criticize me when I mention things in the fourth dimension. They believe I am talking about some horrible sci-fi show or making a reference to Dr. Emmit Brown and time travel with a Dalorian. Indeed I have crazed some of my closest friends at cocktail parties with riddles involving the forth dimension.

The fourth dimension is, in case you don’t know, is time. After months of testing, Google is poised to implement its time sensitive search ability to integrate Facebook and Twitter and any news websites which are posting the latest information.

Google now has new capabilities to reach inside of these websites, which provide immediate information, and look for the current relevant topics. If a topic comes up that matches your search criteria, then Google is going to bring those to you right up at the top.

It's there way of saying the following:
"Hey these are results from MSN News or CNN."
"This is something that was just posted on a public Facebook site."
"Here is something that was posted on a very important BLOG and it was only posted 2 minutes ago."

It really is quite amazing that Google has the ability to tap into and deliver answers based on very critical time. From what we have observed so far in testing, results in the fourth dimension will supersede in any normal results that would have come up for the keyword phrase you searched.

As I said, this is still a new technology in development for most of 2009 and as we progress in 2010 it should be pretty exciting to see how it reshapes search as we know it.

In the past we've always said that updating your website was a very important thing. We had mechanisms and methods to measure how often Google would crawl your website and then include the latest changes from your website in the search results.

We’ve had ways to measure from 60 days down to 45 days down to 30 days down to 2 weeks and then down to as little as 2 or 3 days but, never before have we been able to measure changed website content that was indexed and available on a SERPs page within matter of minutes. This is exciting technology and it goes to prove that keeping your website updated is very very very important.

Of course updating your website every couple of minutes is not something very easy to do for most people. Perhaps you could train yourself to update your Facebook once a day, or update your BLOG once a day. It should be relatively easy to fit into your daily routine.
Lets back up and actually talk about the rest of the results that are on a Google search results page. Oh and by the way most of the conversation we always focus around Google because, let's face it, they have the market share for search engines. Most people when they are thinking of doing the search they simply go to Google. So that is where most of our focus will always be. Occasionally we will analyze Yahoo!. Bing was launched in 2009 as a replacement for Microsoft's MSN excuse for a search engine. Since Bing is still a relatively young system we haven’t spend much time analyzing it, but we do have tracking results which you will see occasionally through reports we provide.

So as I said, backing up a moment and talking about the other things you find on a search results page. In addition to regular websites, PDFs and product results, you will also see results for YouTube videos and images. When someone does a products search, Google will display photos if any are found. Sometimes the photos are not exact, but simply relevant to the keywords you searched.

If, for example, you are searching for an engagement ring or the designer Tacori, Google will return some photographs of Tacori rings and, if available, some product catalogs where you can directly buy some Tacori rings online.

You may never have realized how complex a SERPs page is, and how much calculations go into generating the results. Google has practically an artificial intelligence which is able to sense your actual search intent. Google wants to give you the results you are searching for so you will be happy.

Why does Google want you to be happy? Well that gets into the right hand column of a search results page which I haven’t mentioned yet.

The right hand column is called Sponsor Links. Most of Google's money is made through these Sponsored Links. Google sells other software, services and some hardware for enterprise level industries but most of there money every single day is made through paid advertising.

But the advertisers are not going to pay unless the ads appear on the correct SERP. Thus Google has to make sure that they understand users and what you might be searching for.

Through several years of compilation of data, Google tracked users and what they click. This prior tracking gives Google the ability to sense what your final goal is.

You might only type in one or two keywords for a search, but Google will analyze very fast, if you typed in "rings," that you might be actually looking for engagement rings. There tracking might indicate that 80% of previous searches for ring ended up on and engagement rings page, so 8 of 10 results on your SERP will include "Engagement Rings" results rather than topics relating to "Lord of the Rings movie." If you really did want to look up the "Lord of the Rings" movies then a quick search for "Rings movie" would completely remove all references to jewelry on the SERP.

Google does a massive amount of thinking to bring together all of the normal possibilities of where people end up, and to present it to you, assuming that it is actually where you want to go.

It's a game of averages or its mathematical combining of averages and Google just assumes that most people are looking for the same final results. As more people search, and ended up in the same place, Google becomes more intelligent.

Google's revenue increases from advertisers every time the Google search is improved. Advertisers are always willing to spend more money to show up in front of the exact target marketing they wish for.

Google will continually strive to be the best possible search engine so that the end advertisers have the benefit. It is my belief the Google will maintain its position as the primary web property to advertise online.

Over the years many people have asked what they actually have to do for search engine optimization. I wish I can say it was as simple as just a few years ago, even two years ago. The functionality of most of these search engines now, Yahoo! and Bing included, have search results page with images, videos, PDFs, press releases and traditional web pages. This is all multimedia content and complex SERPs like this are called "Universal Search" results.

Search engine optimization in the world of Universal Search is a nightmare. If the keyword phrase you want to optimize puts you on a Universal Search page, then you need to consider all of the aspects that are showing up on that SERP and not just the your competitor's web page you want to rank against.

If you want your web page to rank in Universal Search then you need to have a well defined internet marketing strategy and well structured website to compete with the other HTML pages. But this is Universal Search, and if you want to nuzzle your way in for starters you will have to produce your own YouTube videos, upload keyword specific images to your website, and you will have to learn how to get your product catalog inserted into the Google engine.

You need to use every available technique to get into Universal Search Results. You will need your own Flash files, your own PDF’s, photos and well written content published on your site. Only if you take your time to properly name and tag your files with appropriate keyword terms will you have the opportunity to what we call "dominate the page" of the search.

As I mentioned earlier, the abbreviation for Search Engine Results Page is S E R P, and pronounced "serp." Even though Universal Search was implemented in 2007 no one seems to have coined a shortened phrase for it. From here on out, if you are following my writings, I'm referring to it as a U S E R P, or "uSERP."

Let me now present a legitimate example for you to think about.

Imagine that someone searches Google for Mark Schneider. Google may return the official website for Mark Schneider Designs, but it will also return information about Mark L. Schneider from the International Crisis Group, and Ohio State Representative Mark A Schneider and even a blog about SharePoint Taxonomy. Do you even know what SharePoint is? Who cares, right? Your customer certainly does not care.

Okay, if you happen to be near a computer and want to try this right now you will notice that the SERP for Mark Schneider is a very loosely structured Universal Search Results page. There are videos from the Mark Schneider Designes YouTube account and from a different Mark Schneider flying a Trex RC helicopter. There are ring images at the bottom of the page.

Clearly Google does not yet have enough data to determine specific results for the name Mark Schneider. As of this writing, even the Sponsored Links have but a single ad, and that's for

A determined consumer would modify their search to "Mark Schneider rings" which would convert the loose uSERP page into an ordinary SERP page with 10 web page listings.

There's an opportunity right here for you to completely dominate the SERP and uSERP for Mark Schneider. Let me completely outline it for you.
  1. Take photos of every Mark Schneider item you have in stock, publish it on your site. Don't use a photo gallery; create a single page per item.
  2. Write descriptions of every item and include them with each individual photo. Descriptions need to be at least 250 words.
  3. Create a video of you describing one item. The video must have a close-up of the item, and it should be interesting to watch. (More about making interesting videos in future lessons)
  4. Create a video of you and a customer talking about the Mark Schneider item. Don't know what to say? Reference the information about Mark Schneider himself and describe him to the customer. Above all, the video needs to portray the interest and enthusiasm of the person buying the ring.
  5. Post these videos on YouTube and Google Video
  6. Create a Google Local account and make sure to include Mark Schneider in your description.
  7. Create a Google Maps pointer with Mark Schneider as the name of the store.
  8. Get a Google review with the name Mark Schneider
  9. Upload an Excel spreadsheet into Google Base. Make sure to include photos.

Okay that's just the first nine steps in tackling the Universal Search. I didn't even mention PDF files, press releases, blogs, Facebook or Twitter. If you review that list of nine again, you will realize I only mentioned your website in the first two steps: Take photos of each item and create a single page for each on your site. All the other items were related to other ways to tell Google that searching for "Mark Schneider" should return jewelry, rather than SharePoint and helicopters.

I expect that each of you listening will actually do this. So please, as you build your pages, make sure to include your town name, zip code, store name and any other local information on the page. This will help to increase local business rather than national. No one is going to buy a Mark Schneider ring without first handling it in person, so please, play nice. Stay local.

Changes to the uSERP page will happen gradually depending on how often Google crawls your site. All I can say is that it will happen when it happens. It will happen faster if your site is already optimized and highly ranked for other terms. But I've seen changes take months to show in Google, so just be patient.

Now that I have briefly explained the uSERP page I hope you can appreciate how difficult it can be to get onto Page 1 of Google for a particular search phrase. Certainly it's easier if you are not competing in Universal Search, bet regardless, I want you to look in the mirror and commit to yourself that you will do the work it takes to get there, and not blame anyone else for poor ranking. Think of it this way, ranking in the search engines is more a result of how much work you put into it.

If you want to get ranked higher, then you need to work longer and harder. That's it.

This is a more generic list of items you need to do for better ranking. Each item will be covered in dept in future lessons.
  • Videos on your website
  • Videos on YouTube
  • HTML pages dedicated to that particular keyword phrase
  • One web page per keyword phrase with keyword specific information
  • Photographs properly named and uploaded
  • PDF "fliers" for specific topics
  • Twitter post
  • Blog post
  • Facebook fan pages
  • Google Local accounts
  • Google Maps pointers
  • On Page Search Engine Optimization
  • Link Building

The more things you do, the better chance that Google will lead customers to your door. Just like any other form of advertising, you have to cover a large audience, and since your audience comes from so many places, you basically need to put yourself everywhere.

You will be rewarded with customers that are ready to buy if you just take the time to provide accurate and detailed information online. If you provide Google with valuable information they will provide you with valuable customer leads.

Google does not want disorganized SERPs. They can't sell advertising on SERPs that are disorganized and worthless. If content you add to the web brings value to worthless SERPs, you will be rewarded with customer leads

The process of getting yourself highly ranked is truly a never ending circle. Requirements to get highly ranked are really just specific directions to create better content for the web. Better content brings advertising income for Google, and in tern Google will continue to rank your content, thus sending you website traffic.

Of course all the website traffic in the world is worthless if your website is unable to motivate the person to spend money with you. We're going to spend a lot of time talking about website conversions in a later lesson.

So, look in that mirror again. Do you think you have the time it takes to turn your website into a cash cow generator? It really is a full time job. The more man hours you put into it, the better your results will be. If you can't do it, then have one of your employees do it. You are welcomed to have one of the employees listen to or watch any of the information that we are publishing on the Jeweler Website Advisory Group and make use of it.

Confused and worried about your mobile website options? Click here to find out how to get your own website evaluation and a game plan to make it better.

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AT: 01/10/2010 04:53:42 AM   LINK TO THIS ARTICLE

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