Search Engine Marketing: Playing the Game

Search engines are faster than you can think. It changes within a blink of an eye. Yes, try writing a book on search engine optimization and it will be outdated even before it gets printed, that's just to give you an idea as to how fast the rules of the game called search engine marketing changes. So in this high acceleration of change, how do you stay tuned?

The hardest part of search engine marketing is to crack the Google algorithm. All the discussions, debates and research on content optimization, keyword selection, title creation, link exchange and more are all too familiar among the website owners now. And it does seem at times that the search engines elude you and your understanding because the moment you think you caught up with them, you find you are in the same abyss of yesterday, trying to grope the right way out.

The clever search engines keep moving forwards and with some very real reasons, beyond the otherwise "sadistic" ones. In a way, these come down to two simple yet mutually conflicting factors.

* Competition: online businesses are growing everyday, by the minute.

* Expectation: Web-users, today, visit websites with lofty expectations. As it is the search engines that drive them to visit sites, they expect the sites referred thus, to be extremely relevant to their searches.

In a nutshell, it can be safely said that since the online competition is high with so many websites trying to outdo one another and make their mark in the online arena, the search engines are somehow compelled to change their algorithms from time to time to serve its users better with more comprehensively. They, however, do not intend to make things hard for website owners or optimizers; they only change algorithms to provide more accurate and more helpful search results to the users, so that they get the best information even in this highly competitive online business market.

Evidently then, you can see that the search engines are overtly user-centric. And this does give webmasters and search engine marketers the most obvious clue as to what to do to get ahead in the game and stay there too. While it is of course important to keep track of the changing algorithms, you also need to focus on the users, your potential customers, analyze their needs and think of ways to fulfill those through your website. Compared to links and algorithms, you got to concentrate more on user-needs because that is one surefire way to take your search engine marketing at its helm.

Donning this coveted "marketing" label, there are five things that you need to consider now:

* Working with other sites: Much in keeping with the coffee-shop-in-the-bookstore concept, you can fill up the void in another website to benefit both ends. It is quite smart to work with other websites and set up individual businesses in each other's business space with one symbiotic approach.

* Deep links: It is always essential to take the visitors exactly to what they have been searching for. Using deep links comes in handy here. Therefore, keep deep links for both your organic and paid listings, so that viewers do not have to hunt for what they actually need.

* Publicity pieces: Well-written publicity pieces like articles and press releases allow you to accommodate the important and top search words for your website. But you must also make the piece a good, helpful, informative and interesting read, if you want it to be an effective marketing tool.

* Directories: While choosing business directories, you must go for those having the best custom. Instead of just another plain link, you should be in the look-out for good referrals.

* Anchor links: Anchor texts are links and information that you give out to other websites. Now, getting links is not the supreme objective, it is more important to draw the custom that gives more profit. So you may also spare a thought about using anchor texts that pertain to your users needs or to the topics in the page visited.