Holistic Ethical Search Engine Optimisation™ (HESEO™)
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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.