Search Engine Optimization is the process of getting your site or specific pages of your site to the top of search engine results for the targeted words and phrases people use when searching online for what you sell and do.
SEO may involve focusing on a few essential keywords or phrases or may involve an entire strategy consisting of complex on-site and off-site factors.
The complexity depends upon your marketing objectives and the level of competition that may exist.
Why Is SEO Important?
Studies show that 87% of businesses use the internet before selecting new vendors. And according to the US Department of Commerce, by the year 2012, 43% of consumers will make purchases influenced by the internet if not directly transacted online. This means businesses not properly positioned online will be left behind.
Having A Site Online Isn’t Enough
There’s a myth in online marketing that says if you build it they will come. That is untrue.
Creating a great looking website that no one can find is like building a major superstore and placing it in the middle of the desert or Amazon forest — and just waiting for people to find the store without knowing the store is there.
With over six billion competing pages listed in Google alone, there’s slim chance many people will find your site. Sure, just like a lost traveler might once in while come upon a store hidden in the middle of the jungle, you may occasionally get visitors to your site. But it won’t be in substantial numbers. Most people looking for what you do will never find your site ‘hidden’ among the six billion competing pages online.
More is required than building the site. You must attract visitors without spending money to get them. That’s where SEO comes in.
So How Does SEO Work?
There are no hard and fast rules to guarantee top search engine placement. The search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and methods of ranking and scoring sites and pages.
Search Engine Optimization is a long-term process. It has never been nor never will be a case of ‘once ranked always ranked’. But over the years there have been a few consistent methods for improving search ranking results.
The Recipe For Success
There is no one right way to rank high in the search engines.
If you asked five people how to cook a meatloaf or a family stew, you’d get five different approaches. All with the same goal in mind. If you asked ten carpenters how to build the perfect house you’d get varied responses on what materials to use, how to lay a foundation based on the particular terrain, how to design the house and each room for long-term stability and beauty, and so on.
Just as there are literally hundreds of ways to design a house, there are hundreds of ways to approach Search Engine Optimization. The approach that works best for you varies according to your circumstances and overall marketing objectives.
Still, there are common ‘materials’ and ‘tools’ that are essential for building your Search Engine Optimization strategy just as there are common approaches for building a literal structure.
Successful SEO Principles
When it comes to SEO practices, content is king.
The words and phrases on your site are critical in two areas. The first is for gaining 3rd-party endorsement. When you present quality content through your site, 3rd party sites are more apt to link to you and endorse you to their visitors. This boost your SEO rank as well as sends you more visitors. All for free.
Another area content is effective is marketing in less competitive ‘waters’. Getting to the top of search engine listings using nothing more than the words on your site is easy when competition is low.
Gain An Almost Unfair Advantage Online
The easiest area of SEO marketing right now is local or regional ‘organic’ listings. This is putting your site at the top of search engines listings for your local area.
Few businesses make a conscious effort to compete in the local SEO arena. Because most people erroneously think they only need to market their local companies from global perspective, they completely overlook the need to market to online local clients and local customers.
Their “Blindness” Is Your Gain
That’s good news for you though.
For the most part gaining a competitive online advantage in local listings requires a few basic SEO approaches. That’s why on-page factors contribute to such high positioning; simply because fewer competitors exist at the local and regional levels.
This is changing as more local companies are realizing most of their clients and customers are generated within a 50 mile radius. Lone local SEO competition is heating up. And the first to position themselves are being entrenched as the local online leader.
Where competition is fierce, especially on national and international levels, off-page factors carry a greater weight in gaining high position.
Think about it. Google and other search engines value links from Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, and other valued sources more so than from a site that is nothing more than a ‘link farm’. Gain an endorsement from an authority site and your site instantly increases in value in Google’s eyes.
The greater number, relevance, and quality of authority links, the higher your site is positioned in the search engines.
Of course this explanation of the SEO process is simplified to make the process easier to understand. The algorithms change constantly. And authority values constantly change too. This is why SEO is an ongoing process.
SEO Isn’t The End-All, Be-All Of Online Marketing
Despite the emphasis and hype people place on SEO, SEO should be just one part of your online strategy.
An even greater source of traffic are social media networks. As much as 76% of all traffic is generated by social media sites. That’s more than from Google and Yahoo – combined!
The two traffic methods support one another. The search engines value the recommendations made by the internet community as a whole, and the community thrives on results found in the search engines.
Trying to participate in all major social networking forums daily is impossible. Yes there are third-party companies dedicated to searching for specific keywords in online forums, so they can post messages in your behalf (posing as you). Some companies even post fictitious reviews, claiming to be independent of you and your company.
Does this work? Sure. But you’d better watch out…
Watch Out For “Dirty” SEO Tactics
All it takes to bring you down is one disgruntled employee or vendor to report you. Your site will get blacklisted not just by the social media groups, but by the search engines who watch the going ons too. Might as well shoot yourself in the foot because now your site is blacklisted.
A better approach is to operate with full integrity. Never mislead. It is entirely possible to participate in relevant discussions without resorting to lying. And without dedicating your life to searching and posting follow up messages.
So when you are searching for an SEO pro, be on the watch for these types of unethical ‘techniques’. Allowing yourself to be persuaded into believing lying is a valid SEO approach can kill all chances of ever getting top search engine placement. Or worse, end up getting your site permanently banned. Want to see ethical SEO tactics?
The Only SEO Approach That Makes Real Sense
Our focus is helping businesses grow using a variety of marketing approaches that attract and convert high quality prospects into sales both online and offline. Choose any combination of our services to create your own unique marketing plan – or select one of our strategy ‘packages’ from the link below to learn more about how you can grow your business.
Is Your Site Optimized
For The Search Engines?
If your site is not optimized for achieving highest rankings possible, you’re missing opportunities to gain greater levels of traffic through search engines’ the organic listings.
Here are the on-site steps to begin optimizing your site for the search engines:
- Research And Determine Relevant Keyword Selection For Your Target Market
- Review Your Site To Determine If You Are Providing Visitors and Search Engines With Optimal On-Page Elements
- Evaluate Main Content For Possible Changes Or Additions To Match Target Market Expectations
- Publish Relevant Offsite SEO Content To Attract Traffic From Social Media Portals And Boost SEO Positioning
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Andre strives to help marketers discover the near-immediate impact of honest ethical marketing practices. He has advised hundreds of business owners on how to keep their dignity as they implement direct response marketing methods that work. Andre is one of only a handful of remaining professionals who can boast having become an online marketer a decade before the World Wide Web came into existence. And as a serial entrepreneur Andre launched his first direct mail business around the age of 12-years old. He has been building and advising ever since.