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SEO is an organic art, not a science

Stefan Hammond (Computerworld HK) | Nov. 8, 2013
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy that can benefit an enterprise greatly. But it must be managed.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy that can benefit an enterprise greatly. But it must be managed.

Its Webopedia definition spells this out: "Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a Web site by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP)...SEO helps ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine."

It's a methodology. But at enterprise level, it's more art than science.

SEO for Hong Kong firms
"Our clients tend to be established brands who want to work with experts, targeting searchers in Hong Kong and the US," said Doug Pierce, head of Search & Analytics at Hong Kong-based SEO agency Cogney.

The agency has consulted on SEO for firms in Hong Kong and China including Shanghai Tang and Swire Properties. Pierce says luxury fashion brands are his most common clients.

What Pierce considers most valuable is organic search traffic, as opposed to paid results. "Organic results are the links that make up the body of a SERP—determined algorithmically to be the most relevant and authoritative Web pages that satisfy queries," he said. "SEO is the process of improving a Web site's traffic from organic results, which require no direct payment to search engines, unlike SEM (Search Engine Marketing). To appear in the best positions of organic results for the widest selection of relevant queries, you must influence the signals that the search engine algorithm looks for when it matches pages to a searcher's query and determines the order of those pages."

"A Web site benefits from SEO in three ways: (1) more visitors, (2) who are more likely to buy, and (3) even if they don't, they will still remember your site." Pierce points to studies by research firms HubSpot and Custora that highlight organic search traffic as a new tool for branding.

But it's not always an easy sell. "Going after the organic search opportunity is not an easy challenge and is likely the reason why a majority of major brands are barely reaching their potential," wrote Seth Besmertnik in his blog on "Unlike other channels such as paid search, SEO requires a holistic approach to marketing where people must collaborate and work together—something that becomes increasingly difficult the larger you are, especially across departments."

SEO best practices
"People use search engines to find things online, so it make sense to ensure that your products and services are properly included and well ranked on search engines, so conforming to SEO best practices is essential," said Maneck Mohan, founder and CEO, "In the case of we want to ensure that our job listings feature prominently when people search for jobs online."


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