Search Engines: A Framework for Understanding

Do you struggle with getting your arms around how search engines work?  You’re not alone.  With this diagram and a few pointers, we’re hopeful that you might be in a better position to succeed with search marketing.  Keep in mind that while this is a framework and a methodology for understanding, it is not intended to be exhaustive or definitive.

For starters, think of search engine marketing as an ongoing process, not a one-shot deal.  You may wish to refer to our earlier post which casts search engine optimization as a journey–not a day trip.  Note that the diagram below is a continual process, not a linear one.

Simple Search Engine Marketing Methodology

Simple Search Engine Marketing Methodology

With the image of a cycle in your mind, let’s briefly describe the steps, starting at the top.

  1. Keyword Analysis – Perform keyword research and analysis to be sure you’re targeting the right words.
  2. Web Site Optimization – Make sure your pages encompass the words you’ve selected both within the pages and the site itself; this also includes the idea of following some structural guidelines so that your site is “well-received” by search engines.
  3. Off-site Optimization – Perhaps the least understood step in the process, it’s perhaps the place where you can have the most impact on your results.  This involves making a concerted effort to build links to your site from other sites of relevance.  Google views these links as “votes” for your site and increases your rankings.
  4. Campaign Implementation – This involves the active implementation of tactics designed to increase visits; for most, this involves link exchange activity and/or pay-per-click execution.
  5. Performance Reporting & Analysis – Once you’re on your way, you need to periodically measure what is working and what is not.  Once complete, go back to Step 1.

This simple diagram should help you gain a better understanding of how you can improve your search engine rankings and performance.  Most marketers will look at this diagram through the lens of their own site and likely see one area (or more) that needs most immediate attention.