Saturday, November 3, 2012

SEO: A Brief Thought on the Scientifics and Psychology of Website Broadcasting

This was a discussion assignment for one of my CG classes. I believe it pertains to a broader understanding of Propaganda and 'Image Broadcasting'...

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

"Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid ("organic") search results.[jargon] In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic."

So basically, it is a science, an 'art-form', like any other art-form, a sub-facet of its parent, in this case Webdesign or Webdesign in correlation to its 'opaqueness' in search engines; it can be mastered, to a degree. Its purpose: to enhance and optimize, to make more efficient, the field that brought it into existence, the field it is a sub-facet of. The closest analogy I can think of is like the scientific dynamics of the popularization of a hot dog stand in Chicago. The hot dog seller (website) wants to reach an audience, so he needs to know what newspapers (search engines), or corners of various streets in downtown will be most efficient in promoting his ad and attracting customers. SEO helps in the process of that. Meh, analogy could be better...

What are some ways of improving your page rank on search engines? 

1.) Meta tags.
Although some people's opinions doubt otherwise.

2.) "As many of you are probably already aware, Google ranks a page according to the number and quality of links leading to that page. For example, if your page has 100 quality links leading to it, it will rank higher than another page that has only 20 links pointing at it. Quality links come from pages that are themselves "important" (Google's own terminology)."

So basically, if somebody set up an account linking to the website trying to be broadcast on the top 10 rated / most traffic-ed websites, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Google, Blogger, YouTube, etc., it would be higher on the search engine list.

3.) SEO books / Bible.
Surprisingly, my past roommates from France, whom were staying in the U.S. for an internship in web development, left (something like) a 'Web Search Engine' Optimization Bible in their room. I had no idea what it was for. It's pretty huge. I might look at what's inside now...

4.) Web design and Popularity / Keywords and Psychology
It is arguable that design is an important factor that correlates with the popularity of a website. But, contrary to this, just suppose, based on #1 from above, (excuse my language) a 'shitty' designed website had links from the 129 most broadcast websites pointing to it. It would obviously show up higher on the search list than a site with more efficient and aesthetically pleasing design that has no 'good' links pointing to it.

However, we all learned earlier in our CG training that every part of a design has a purpose to it; To paraphrase one of my CG professor's lectures,

"An airplane's wings aren't just shaped the way they are for no particular reason. The same for its cockpit, its windows, the shape of its nose, etc. Hell, even the miniature symbols on the dashboard and the design of the emergency booklets are for a specific reason. Everything on an airplane is shaped the way it is or looks the way it does for a purpose systematic to the 'being' or existence of the airplane. Otherwise, they wouldn't be shaped that way..."  
- my take from an Anonymous Professor.

This is important to think about when designing a site, because the design, including the words used in the design, affect its 'image', and when a user looks for something in a search engine, the first thing that comes to mind is the 'image' of what they are searching for.

What is the purpose of the site...? I would guess that it is important to think like a user who is searching for your site. What keywords would they put into a search engine such as Google...? For a site that targets a more secluded audience, obviously the keywords would be less 'open-ended' and more tailored to the 'image' trying to be broadcast. A site name would probably also factor into this. For example, if a potential client is looking for a new, alternative to desktop, online Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that runs on HTML5 or Ajax, a site with an ambiguous name and/or unrelated keywords such as "Visual Basic" would not be appropriate.

A lot of this has to do with the psychology of naming conventions. I think, coming up with a great name for any product or website is as important as the design of it and is probably one of the most important factors that facilitates the 'broadcasting' of the image of the product as a whole, ultimately, bringing forth or acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy of its success. For example, if "" would have been named "", the result of its success, in my opinion, would have been a lot different than what it was. If "" was named "", obviously, you get what I mean.

Coming up with a name or keywords to a site is like coming up with a subliminal design technique for SEO. When a person sees the word, "Green", what do they subliminally think of...? A website designer should think about what subliminal qualities are 'broadcast' through the image of their site. If the website's name is "", it would emanate psychological imagery pertaining to red. What do you think of when you see the word, "Red"...? Blood, perhaps...? Life, love, energy, war, hate...? It should also be noted that certain colors and words or word combinations are immune to cross-cultural interpretation. And other word combinations, such as "Red, White, and Blue" have universal / ideological meanings that could affect the SEO or popularity of the website.

The gist is, any name or word has a meaning or underlying meaning to it that, when part of your image, will direct or attract a user to it. Understanding the psychology of the 'image' is imperative to reaching the targeted audience and relies heavily on the psychology and scientific implementation of SEO. Although, it can be argued, that a lot of this is common sense.

Really, I have only touched the 'psychological' surface of SEO. And there are way more mathematical / scientific explanations of it. Of course, whole books could be devoted to this type of stuff.

Just my thoughts.


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