Panelists Offer Tips for Effective Search Engine

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NEW YORK -- A panel of industry experts gathered at New York's Jacob Javits Center yesterday to discuss "Search Engine Marketing: Basic and Beyond" and to offer advice on how Web sites can attract more traffic.

It is important to know exactly what level the site is at in order to improve. Is the site indexed? How does it rank? These are the types of questions to consider.

"Once you know how much search traffic you already get, that will allow you to project your missed opportunities," said Mike Moran of IBM Corp.

What are visitors doing on your site? Knowing this helps outline what type of information should be presented on the site to appeal to potential consumers.

"You must be present to win," said Amanda Watlington, CEO of Searching for Profits. "If your site is not visible to search engines, they cannot and will not list it."

Ms. Watlington noted the importance of complying with what search engines mandate. Ignorance is not bliss, as engines clearly post exactly what they consider inappropriate behavior. Learning the best practices and how to detect deceit like keyword stuffing, hidden links, doorway passages and link spamming is important as well.

By looking at search results and using the clues, companies can optimize better. The titles, for example, are crucial. Seventy-nine percent of users scan a site rather than read it word for word. If users don't find what they need, they will move on. Therefore, meaningful headlines help keep a user on the site.

"The page title should be purposeful and should clearly state key information that indicates what the site is about," said Matt Bailey, CEO of SiteLogic.

Meaningful subheadings, bulleted lists, one-idea headers and less of a word count are ways to help users find exactly what they are looking for and improve the customer experience.

Lastly, rechecking results and tuning the search program by reviewing the keyword list are crucial to improve the next search campaign

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