Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Your business can have the best products or services on the Web, but it doesn’t mean a thing if potential customers can’t find your site.
The best way to get your Web site noticed is by ranking high in the results when users ask search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN and others to scan the Internet for your kind of offerings.
We cover what you need to know for a great start with:

  1. What is SEO?
  2. Some Cautions
  3. How SEO Works
  4. How Search Engines Rank Web Sites
  5. SEO Best Practices
  6. Who and What to Avoid
  7. SEO Maintenance

It’s one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding tasks you’ll face in maintaining a commercial Web site, and absolutely essential for success.

What is SEO?

A word about SEO
You may be the best plumber in 10 states and have a fine looking Web site. But if no one can find it, it’s not bringing in any business. It’s like putting your business listing in the phone book – with no phone number.
Search engine optimization or SEO is just a way of marketing your Web site that helps bring the right people to you.
Primary goals of SEO include:

  • Making sure your Web site includes the same words (keywords) your desired audience is typing into search engines.
  • Making sure your Web site is built in a way that allows search engines to find it and read the text on every page.
  • Building content on your Web site that other Web sites – especially those that speak to your target audience – will point links to.
  • In some cases, using pay-per-click advertising to augment your SEO efforts can be an effective way to pay for search engine visibility.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your Web site as easy to find as possible for search engines and, through them, your clients and customers.
For that to happen, your Web pages have to contain the keywords and phrases most likely to be used when a customer enters search requests in an engine, and your pages must be organized in way that’s most “friendly” to those high-tech seek-and-find services.
There are two dominant types of search engines:

  • Crawler-Based – Google, Yahoo, MSN, Live.com and other top search engines operate automatically, coming up with their rankings by sending “spiders” out to “crawl” Web sites, analyze their contents and rank them according to how likely they are to have what users want.
  • Human-Powered Directories – These depend on Web site owners or someone working on their behalf to manually enter their listings, or enough information for directory editors to look over the site and write their own reviews. If you don’t submit your site to these directories, it won’t show up when they’re searched.

How SEO Works

Most crawler-based search engines have three key ingredients:

  • The spider or crawler that seeks out a Web page, reads it and follows links to other pages on the site. These powerful little tech-mites return every few weeks to look for changes and adjust results.
  • An indexed archive where all content uncovered by the spiders is stored. Also known as the catalog, it contains a copy of every Web page found, and is updated as a Web site changes or grows – for example, when you add new products.
  • Software that zips through the index database to “match” search requests and rank them by relevance. Because most crawler-based search engines use their own technology, search results vary between them

How Search Engines Rank Web Sites

Unlike a human archivist or librarian, Internet search engines don’t interact with users and ask for more details, or use judgment and past experience to rank Web pages.
Instead, they rely on mathematic formulas called “algorithms.” Despite what you may hear, nobody but the search engine owner knows exactly how their algorithm works.

But they do follow a universal practice known as the keyword location/frequency method. Search engines look over your Web site to see if the search keywords show up at the top your pages, in the headlines or the first few lines of text content.
They assume that any page relevant to a given search topic will mention those magic words right from the start. “Frequency” is how often keywords appear in relation to other words on a Web page. Those with higher frequency are given more relevance, and higher rankings.

Some Cautions

Nobody, repeat, nobody can guarantee you top rankings – much less the top slots – on Google or other major search engines. Some providers claim to have “unique” relationships with them, or an “inside” source that will get your Web site to prime time. Don’t believe it.
The simple truth is that you can’t “buy” your way to the top, because position is never sold. One scam promises top placement, but gets your site only in lists of paid ads, not overall search results, where you need to be.
Note: Rigging the system like making white text (repeating the same keyword on a white background) can actually hurt your placement.
Just as you went shopping for storefront software in Step 6, take your time and look around for quality SEO software packages:

  • Check in with SEO discussion boards or online forums to see what current users are saying and draw on their advice.
  • Ask the SEO provider if it reports any violations of search engine guidelines it finds to Google’s anti-spam project.
  • To gauge SEO specialists’ trustworthiness, ask for a money-back guarantee or some other refund if you’re not happy with their work – and get it in writing.

SEO Best Practices

Boosting your Web site’s visibility is a very competitive game, and you should assume that rival sites are playing it.
No worries. Here are some well-proven ways to optimize your Web site’s visibility:

Get the most from your URL
Be specific and creative with your domain name. Use one that uniquely identifies your company and your brand.
Create search-friendly page titles
Be sure to use relevant keywords first in your page titles, and keep them under 60 characters.
Don’t use “home page” in your title
Studies show it decreases your Google ranking.
Highlight your keywords
Be sure the individual words and phrases are in the meta tag description of your site, which you build into the code with your design or site-builder software. The description should be no more than 200 characters long.
Focus on density
Use multiple key words in a coherent, creative and compelling way on your pages. Be sure your keyword “density” is never more than 5 percent for pages with a lot of text, or 10 percent for pages with little copy, or your rankings could nosedive. SEOChat.com has a free keyword density tool.
Emphasize your text links
The wording of the links on each of your Web pages is one of the most important requirements of SEO, and will significantly affect your search engine ranking. They should always include relevant keywords.
Keyword stemming
Including all the possible variations of your keywords is called “stemming.” For example, variations of the keyword “optimization” include “optimal,” “optimize” and “optimum.” UsingEnglish.com has a free tool to find similar or stem words.
Page linking
Be sure every page on your site is linked to the other pages. Search spiders follow these trails to rank your Web site.
The 2-Click Rule
As we discussed in Step 4, navigating around your site should be as easy as possible for your customers. The same goes for search engines. Be sure that every page on your new business Web site is at most only two clicks away from the home page.
Avoid “spamalot” syndrome
Search engines will drop your site if they think you’re “spamming” – and using any of these things:

  • Meta refresh tags
  • Invisible text
  • Irrelevant keywords in the title and meta tags
  • Excessive repetition of keywords
  • Identical or nearly identical pages
  • Submitting to an inappropriate directory category
  • A dizzying slew of links that are of low value

Who and What to Avoid
Google’s Webmaster Help Center is a rich source of information not only for optimizing your new business Web site, but to learn the SEO practices and providers to avoid. Be sure to include it in your research. The Web isn’t just crawling with search spiders, but also with scam artists.

If you think you were deceived by an SEO provider, you can report it to Federal Trade Commission online, by calling 877-FTC-HELP, or write to:
Federal Trade Commission CRC-240 Washington, D.C. 20580

SEO Maintenance

The Web never stops buzzing with change, so search engine optimization has to be continually tended to keep up. Simply put, it can always be done better.
Here are some excellent sources of help:

  • The Search Agency
  • Google Webmaster Help Center
  • SEO Consultants.com
  • CafePress Tutorials
  • SEOChat.com
  • UsingEnglish.com
  • Web Workshop
  • HighRankings.com
  • Association of Search Engine Professionals

We can also give you a hand with SEO and we have a few special offers going on so why not give us a try – it’s free.

Just visit our website Carra Lucia Ltd for more information.

 

Google Check-ins

Some recent announcements from Google have put companies such as Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla on alert, while others including Facebook and Groupon are also watching very closely.

Google has been systematically maneuvering different pieces of its mobile, local and social strategies, and the way those pieces are lining up poses a significant threat to a number of Web businesses. One of the biggest and most
recent moves has been the addition of checkin capabilities to Latitude, the social and sharing feature of Google’s location-based service Places.
This seemingly simple feature may have an enormous effect
Check-ins have long been an immensely popular feature for location-based services (LBS) because users can share their locations with friends via mobile apps when they arrive at local businesses and establishments.
Companies like Foursquare, Gowalla and SCVNGR have built their check-in services around social rewards such as badges and stamps. Users check in to Facebook Places, Shopkick and Loopt to receive deals from participating businesses, and check-ins through apps from Yelp and others offer a platform for users to rate, recommend and review local restaurants and stores.
So despite being a latecomer to the checkins arena, Google can significantly alter the LBS space in a virtual heartbeat. According to a December 2010 Microsoft-sponsored study entitled Location Based Services Usages and
Perceptions Survey, Google Places is the most widely used LBS ahead of Facebook Places — and that was before the addition of checkins.
Also, Google’s new check-ins feature is unique in that it gives users the added options of setting notifications and checking out from a location.
In addition to the Web’s predominant search engine and the massive user base that goes with it, Google has something else that the other LBS do not — the rapidly growing Android mobile platform. Though an iPhone app for check-ins is said to be forthcoming, Google Places already has apps for the iPhone and Android devices that integrate with its other location-related services such as Google Maps and Navigation.
And Google also has its new HotPot local ratings and recommendations engine, for which it announced a global expansion shortly after the addition of check-ins. So, users can share their locations with friends, rate and review local businesses, all via Google’s services and across all mobile platforms. The only thing missing is a local deals component, right?
Wrong. That’s our guess, at least.
Shortly after its $6 billion acquisition attempt was spurned by Groupon, word spread that Google was preparing to launch its own entry into the daily deals space — Google Offers. The company addressed the rumors by saying that it was exploring several new ways of connecting local businesses with mobile customers, and that a daily deals model was, in fact, one of them. But there were others.
Which brings us to Offer Ads, another mobile initiative of Google’s in which advertisers send coupons to users through email or SMS to drive customers into their physical store locations. The combined synergy of all of these individual Google products is downright frightening, especially if your business relies on mobile apps
— particularly for Android — to provide competing services.

Assuming for the moment that Facebook and Groupon can withstand the competition, what about Foursquare and Yelp? Gowalla and SCVNGR? Shopkick and Loopt? Or the dozens of other lesser-known services?
For businesses that use Google Places to build awareness for their products and services, the convergence of these services creates the perfect storm of mobile, local and social marketing. Between check-ins, coupons, ratings and reviews, merchants have everything they need right on the Google homepage — not to mention Google Analytics
to gauge the individual performances of each service.
All that’s going to be hard to beat

Keeping up to date with the newest news? Don’t forget to follow our blog and check out our website: http://www.carra-lucia-ltd.co.uk

About Google Relevance vs Speed Algorithm

Hypothetically, the most relevant search engine would have a team of experts on every subject in the entire world—a staff large enough to read, study, and evaluate every document published on the web so they could return the most accurate results for each query submitted by users. The fastest search engine, on the other hand, would crawl a new URL the very second it’s published and introduce it into the general index immediately,
available to appear in query results only seconds after it goes live.

The challenge for Google and all other engines is to find the balance between those two scenarios: To combine rapid crawling and indexing with a relevance algorithm that can be instantly applied to new content. In other words, they’re trying to build scalable relevance. With very few exceptions, Google is uninterested in hand-removing (or hand-promoting) specific content Instead, its model is built around identifying characteristics in web content that indicate the content is especially relevant or irrelevant, so that content all across the web with those same characteristics can be similarly promoted or demoted.

To some hardcore SEOs, Google’s “think about the user” mantra is corny; they’d much prefer to know a secret line of code or server technique that bypasses the intent of creating engaging content. While it may be corny, Google’s focus on creating relevant, user-focused content really is the key to its algorithm of scalable relevance. Google is constantly trying to find ways to reward content that truly answers users’ questions and ways to minimize or filter out content built for content’s sake. While this book discusses
techniques for making your content visible and accessible to engines, remember that means talking about content constructed with users in mind, designed to be innovative, helpful, and to serve the query intent of human users.

It might be corny, but it’s effective.

Want to know more about SEO? http://www.carra-lucia-ltd.co.uk/E-Marketing.aspx

We Are Google – by Google

Google Inc.

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Our innovations in web search and advertising have made our web site a top Internet destination and our brand one of the most recognized in the world. We maintain the world’s largest online index of web sites and other content, and we make this information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. Our automated search technology helps people obtain nearly instant access to relevant information from our vast online index.

We generate revenue by delivering relevant, cost-effective online advertising. Businesses use our AdWords program to promote their products and services with targeted advertising. In addition, the thousands of third-party web sites that comprise our Google Network use our Google AdSense program to deliver relevant ads that generate revenue and enhance the user experience. Advertisers in our AdWords program pay us a fee each time a user clicks on one of their ads displayed either on our web sites or on the web sites of Google Network members that participate in our AdSense program. When a user clicks on an ad displayed on a web site of a Google Network member, we retain only a small portion of the advertiser fee, while most of the fee is paid to the Google Network member.

Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. We believe that the most effective, and ultimately the most profitable, way to accomplish our mission is to put the needs of our users first. We have found that offering a high-quality user experience leads to increased traffic and strong word-of-mouth promotion. Our dedication to putting users first is reflected in three key commitments we have made to our users:

•       We will do our best to provide the most relevant and useful search results possible, independent of financial incentives. Our search results will be objective and we will not accept payment for inclusion or ranking in them.

•       We will do our best to provide the most relevant and useful advertising. Whenever someone pays for something, we will make it clear to our users. Advertisements should not be an annoying interruption.

•       We will never stop working to improve our user experience, our search technology and other important areas of information organization.

We believe that our user focus is the foundation of our success to date. We also believe that this focus is critical for the creation of long-term value. We do not intend to compromise our user focus for short-term economic gain.

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in California in September 1998. In August 2003, we reincorporated in Delaware. Our principal executive offices are located at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California 94043, and our telephone number is (650) 623-4000. We maintain a number of web sites including www.google.com. The information on our web sites is not part of this prospectus.

Google® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and several other countries. Our unregistered trademarks include: AdSense, AdWords, Blogger, Froogle, Gmail, I’m Feeling Lucky and PageRank. All other trademarks, trade names and service marks appearing in this prospectus are the property of their respective holders.

RISK FACTORS

An investment in Google involves significant risks. You should read these risk factors carefully before deciding whether to invest in our company. The following is a description of what we consider our key challenges and risks.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We face significant competition from Microsoft and Yahoo.

We face formidable competition in every aspect of our business, and particularly from other companies that seek to connect people with information on the web and provide them with relevant advertising. Currently, we consider our primary competitors to be Microsoft and Yahoo. Microsoft has announced plans to develop a new web search technology that may make web search a more integrated part of the Windows operating system. We expect that Microsoft will increasingly use its financial and engineering resources to compete with us. Yahoo has become an increasingly significant competitor, having acquired Overture Services, which offers Internet advertising solutions that compete with our AdWords and AdSense programs, as well as the Inktomi, AltaVista and AllTheWeb search engines. Since June 2000, Yahoo has used, to varying degrees, our web search technology on its web site to provide web search services to its users. We have notified Yahoo of our election to terminate our agreement effective July 2004. This agreement with Yahoo accounted for less than 3% of our revenues for the year ended December 31, 2003 and less than 2% of our revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2004.

Both Microsoft and Yahoo have more employees than we do (in Microsoft’s case, currently more than 20 times as many). Microsoft also has significantly more cash resources than we do. Both of these companies also have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers. They can use their experience and resources against us in a variety of competitive ways, including by making acquisitions, investing more aggressively in research and development and competing more aggressively for advertisers and web sites. Microsoft and Yahoo also may have a greater ability to attract and retain users than we do because they operate Internet portals with a broad range of products and services. If Microsoft or Yahoo are successful in providing similar or better web search results compared to ours or leverage their platforms to make their web search services easier to access than ours, we could experience a significant decline in user traffic. Any such decline in traffic could negatively affect our revenues.

We face competition from other Internet companies, including web search providers, Internet advertising companies and destination web sites that may also bundle their services with Internet access.

In addition to Microsoft and Yahoo, we face competition from other web search providers, including companies that are not yet known to us. We compete with Internet advertising companies, particularly in the areas of pay-for-performance and keyword-targeted Internet advertising. Also, we may compete with companies that sell products and services online because these companies, like us, are trying to attract users to their web sites to search for information about products and services.

We also compete with destination web sites that seek to increase their search-related traffic. These destination web sites may include those operated by Internet access providers, such as cable and DSL service providers. Because our users need to access our services through Internet access providers, they have direct relationships with these providers. If an access provider or a computer or computing device manufacturer offers online services that compete with ours, the user may find it more convenient to use the services of the access provider or manufacturer. In addition, the access provider or manufacturer may make it hard to access our services by not listing them in the access provider’s or manufacturer’s own menu of offerings. Also, because the access provider gathers information from the user in connection with the establishment of a billing relationship, the access provider may be more effective than we are in tailoring services and advertisements to the specific tastes of the user.

There has been a trend toward industry consolidation among our competitors, and so smaller competitors today may become larger competitors in the future. If our competitors are more successful than we are at generating traffic, our revenues may decline.

We face competition from traditional media companies, and we may not be included in the advertising budgets of large advertisers, which could harm our operating results.

In addition to Internet companies, we face competition from companies that offer traditional media advertising opportunities. Most large advertisers have set advertising budgets, a very small portion of which is allocated to Internet advertising. We expect that large advertisers will continue to focus most of their advertising efforts on traditional media. If we fail to convince these companies to spend a portion of their advertising budgets with us, or if our existing advertisers reduce the amount they spend on our programs, our operating results would be harmed.

We expect our growth rates to decline and anticipate downward pressure on our operating margin in the future.

We expect that in the future our revenue growth rate will decline and anticipate that there will be downward pressure on our operating margin. We believe our revenue growth rate will decline as a result of increasing competition and the inevitable decline in growth rates as our revenues increase to higher levels. We believe our operating margin will decline as a result of increasing competition and increased expenditures for all aspects of our business as a percentage of our revenues, including product development and sales and marketing expenses. Our operating margin may decline to the extent the proportion of our revenues generated from our Google Network members increases. The margin on revenue we generate from our Google Network members is generally significantly less than the margin on revenue we generate from advertising on our web sites. Additionally, the margin we earn on revenue generated from our Google Network could decrease in the future if our Google Network members require a greater portion of the advertising fees.

Our operating results may fluctuate, which makes our results difficult to predict and could cause our results to fall short of expectations.
Our operating results may fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control. For these reasons, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful, and you should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance. Our quarterly and annual expenses as a percentage of our revenues may be significantly different from our historical or projected rates. Our operating results in future quarters may fall below expectations. Any of these events could cause our stock price to fall. Each of the risk factors listed in this “Risk Factors” section, and the following factors, may affect our operating results:

  • Our ability to continue to attract users to our web sites.
  • Our ability to attract advertisers to our AdWords program.
  • Our ability to attract web sites to our AdSense program.
  • The mix in our revenues between those generated on our web sites and those generated through our Google Network.
  • The amount and timing of operating costs and capital expenditures related to the maintenance and expansion of our businesses, operations and infrastructure.
  • Our focus on long term goals over short term results.
  • The results of our investments in risky projects.
  • General economic conditions and those economic conditions specific to the Internet and Internet advertising.
  • Our ability to keep our web sites operational at a reasonable cost and without service interruptions
  • Our ability to forecast revenue from agreements under which we guarantee minimum payments.
  • Geopolitical events such as war, threat of war or terrorist actions

Because our business is changing and evolving, our historical operating results may not be useful to you in predicting our future operating results. In addition, advertising spending has historically been cyclical in nature, reflecting overall economic conditions as well as budgeting and buying patterns. For example, in 1999, advertisers spent heavily on Internet advertising. This was followed by a lengthy downturn in ad spending on the web. Also, user traffic tends to be seasonal. Our rapid growth has masked the cyclicality and seasonality of our business. As our growth slows, we expect that the cyclicality and seasonality in our business may become more pronounced and may in the future cause our operating results to fluctuate.

If we do not continue to innovate and provide products and services that are useful to users, we may not remain competitive, and our revenues and operating results could suffer.
Our success depends on providing products and services that people use for a high quality Internet experience. Our competitors are constantly developing innovations in web search, online advertising and providing information to people. As a result, we must continue to invest significant resources in research and development in order to enhance our web search technology and our existing products and services and introduce new high-quality products and services that people will use. If we are unable to predict user preferences or industry changes, or if we are unable to modify our products and services on a timely basis, we may lose users, advertisers and Google Network members. Our operating results would also suffer if our innovations are not responsive to the needs of our users, advertisers and Google Network members, are not appropriately timed with market opportunity or are not effectively brought to market. As search technology continues to develop, our competitors may be able to offer search results that are, or that are perceived to be, substantially similar or better than those generated by our search services. This may force us to compete on bases in addition to quality of search results and to expend significant resources in order to remain competitive.

We generate our revenue almost entirely from advertising, and the reduction in spending by or loss of advertisers could seriously harm our business.

We generated approximately 97% of our revenues in 2003 and 98% of our revenues in the six months ended June 30, 2004 from our advertisers. Our advertisers can generally terminate their contracts with us at any time. Advertisers will not continue to do business with us if their investment in advertising with us does not generate sales leads, and ultimately customers, or if we do not deliver their advertisements in an appropriate and effective manner. If we are unable to remain competitive and provide value to our advertisers, they may stop placing ads with us, which would negatively affect our revenues and business.

We rely on our Google Network members for a significant portion of our revenues, and otherwise benefit from our association with them. The loss of these members could prevent us from receiving the benefits we receive from our association with these Google Network members, which could adversely affect our business.

We provide advertising, web search and other services to members of our Google Network. The revenues generated from the fees advertisers pay us when users click on ads that we have delivered to our Google Network members’ web sites represented approximately 43% of our revenues in 2003, and approximately 50% of our revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2004. We consider this network to be critical to the future growth of our revenues. However, some of the participants in this network may compete with us in one or more areas. Therefore, they may decide in the future to terminate their agreements with us. If our Google Network members decide to use a competitor’s or their own web search or advertising services, our revenues would decline.
Our agreements with a few of the largest Google Network members account for a significant portion of revenues derived from our AdSense program. In addition, advertising and other fees generated from one Google Network member, America Online, Inc., primarily through our AdSense program accounted for approximately 15%, 16% and 13% of our revenues in 2002, 2003 and in the six months ended June 30, 2004. Also, certain of our key network members operate high-profile web sites, and we derive tangible and intangible benefits from this affiliation. If one or more of these key relationships is terminated or not renewed, and is not replaced with a comparable relationship, our business would be adversely affected.

Source: As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 18, 2004
Registration No. 333-114984
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
AMENDMENT NO. 9 TO FORM S-1 REGISTRATION STATEMENT Under The Securities Act of 1933