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Holistic Ethical Search Engine Optimisation™ (HESEO™)

HESEO - Holistic Ethical Search Engine Optimisation

ivantage’s approach to SEO has to continually adapt as search engines improve and develop their technology to provide the most relevant natural search experience. Our particular methodology for SEO is branded HESEO™ (Holistic Ethical Search Engine Optimisation™). We consider every aspect of a website, its content, direct and indirect competitors, both online and offline together with the offline and online marketing campaigns that run from time to time to promote it.

SEO strategies that focus only on a restricted set of attributes have a limited effect on a website’s visibility and rankings amongst the crawling search engines.

Holistic strategy

As search engines become more sophisticated in their ability to identify high quality websites and promote them to the top of their rankings through techniques such as link popularity and relevance, SEO requires an increasingly comprehensive, holistic strategy that affects every area of a website including its architecture, design, usability, information architecture, accessibility and content.

In short, the only SEO strategy for long term success is one that focuses on a continuous improvement of the online user’s experience.

Ethical methods

Experience clearly demonstrates that the most effective, and only ethical (colloquially known as “White Hat”), way to optimise a website for search engines is to optimise all aspects of the site itself. Site publishers should always avoid agencies that guarantee positions, use spam or cloaking, use gateway pages, doorway pages or micro-sites for the purposes of SEO.

In February 2005, BMW, were famously banned from Google for cloaking their content – misrepresenting their content by sending one version of their site to a search engine and a different version to users. Over-optimising a site or engaging in practices against the terms of a search engine’s service is a real risk but can be avoided by being familiar with search engines' webmaster FAQs and Terms of Service.

When you engage with ivantage, we only ever advise changes to your website that would be considered ethical by search engines. We never use spamming or cloaking techniques or request that you install doorway pages or information pages. We do not use link farms for link-building, link triangles or reciprocal links, all of which can result in exclusion from some search engines. We focus on long term, strategic links that are difficult for your competitors to match.

Measuring your SEO Campaign

It is important for both you and ivantage to be able to measure the success of a Natural Search campaign. As part of our HESEO™ methodology we work in partnership with you and your key SEO campaign stakeholders to define specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and tangible (“SMART”) goals. These goals, objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measured with web analytics, either those already in use or installed by ivantage.

We also use ivantage Position Insight to measure the performance of your SEO campaign by monitoring the positions achieved in organic searches in response to specific key phrase queries.

ivantage Position Insight

Measuring the positions your SEO campaign achieves across the main four crawling search engines is another important metric to obtain in order to monitor progress. Position Insight is our tool that monitors your positions in response to your chosen keywords and key phrases. Progress is recorded weekly and results are plotted over time. Your reports are sent weekly and you have the option of logging in to access the reports for yourself.

Web Analytics

Web analytics are the techniques and metrics used to record and analyse the behaviour of visitors to web sites or web applications. For e-commerce companies, they assist the identification and analysis of the aspects of the website which contribute to its business objectives.Google Analytics dashboard

Site owners often use web analytics software to measure quantitative details such as how many people visited their site, how many of them were unique visitors, how they came to the site (e.g. if they followed a link, typed in the URL or were referred by a search engine), which keywords they entered on the site's search engine, how long they stayed on a given page or on the entire site, which links they clicked and when they left.

Web analytic software can also be used to monitor whether or not a site's pages are treating visitors properly. With this information, web site administrators can determine which areas of the site are popular and which do not get traffic. They can use the data to improve a site to create a better user experience and improve visitor outcomes.

Your Web Analytics Package

Measuring visitors, visits and keywords is most effectively performed by a commercial web analytics software tool. To distinguish between clicks sourced from an organic result and those which derive from a paid result (Google AdWords, for example), web analytics tools require that the links in paid results are individually identified with tracking URLs. Traffic coming from the same search source but not using tracking URLs are assumed to be organic. It is critical for the effective measurement of your SEO campaign that your own web analytics tool is able to differentiate paid search campaigns from organic search traffic.

Google Analytics and Urchin from Google

If you do not have a web analytics package we would recommend you install and use Urchin from Google or Google Analytics. ivantage is one of only a few Google Analytics Certified Partners (GACPs) in the UK so we are ideally placed to help you.

Monthly reporting

Using a combination of web analytics, ivantage Position Insight and/or any other backend website performance measurement tool you may have, we compile – every month or in-line with your specific financial periods – a report about how your website is performing from a traffic and conversion perspective and what the SEO campaign is achieving.

On-page and off-page SEO factors

SEO generally involves both changes to the physical website being optimised – the so called “on-page” or “on-site” SEO factors – and the process of building links to the site – the so called “off-page” or “off-site” SEO factors.

SEO and “on-page” factors

Although every website is different, on site changes usually include actions such as:

making URLs friendly

updating website code

improving the default page

editing Meta Tags

editing Title Tags

creating or updating sitemaps (both html and xml versions)

editing or creating a robots.txt file

enhancing content

All such changes should be made to enhance and develop your existing website’s content and functionality so as to appeal to human visitors – never to fool, spam or cloak search engines.

SEO and inbound (external) hyperlinks

Once a site can be found, read and correctly indexed by search engines, its ranking compared with other sites is very dependent on inbound hyperlinks. This is because search engines value the principle that a site with many high quality incoming links (from external sources rather than internal links) has gained recommendations from the sites linking to it. Search engines use these assumed endorsements as a technique for judging the quality and trustworthiness of the website.

Doing the right thing

Holistic and ethical may sound rather worthy descriptions for an approach that is intended to demolish the competition. But the reality is that the it satisfies the perspective the search engines adopt in deciding rankings.

It is essential that SEO techniques do not attempt to fool search engines by using cloaking or spamming methods. Search engines have evolved beyond the stage of being easily fooled and penalise attempts to do so.

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