Search Engine Optimization (SEO) The Myth?
Search Engine Optimization. Big words. Sounds Important. What is it? If you do a search in google for the web definition of search engine optimization, you get a lot of different results. Some simply say that search engine optimization is the generic term for making sure your site is optimized to appear as one of the top ranking web sites on a search. Others get more detailed with their definition and say search engine optimization is the term used to describe the marketing technique of preparing a web site to enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine once a relevant search is undertaken. A number of factors are important when optimizing a web site, including the content and structure of the web site's copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags and the submission process. Is it important? That also depends on which definition you believe and who you ask that question to. If you ask someone who runs a business and charges for search engine optimization, they will tell you it is the most important thing you will ever do for your website. At each SEO website, they will tell you they are the number 1 SEO company on the web, even though each of them has a completely different method of optimizing your website. If you ask many self-appointed webmaster gurus in some of the webmaster forums, they will tell you the same thing, then each one will tell you a different way to do it and they will all disagree on the most important aspects of search engine optimization. So the confusion continues for the average user and the SEO companies love it that way. If the consumer doesn’t understand what you are doing, you don’t really have to do very much and just say you are doing a lot. Most of them would never work on your website on a contingency payment plan, one based on actual results and performance. Some say money back guaranteed, but read the fine print. A lot of these businesses are based on the fact that people who are new to the web and even some of those who have been online for awhile do not know what search engine optimization is. They know that with more and more people coming onto the web for the first time, their business is secure. They can continue to tell people that without their service the website will fail. I’m not saying all search engine optimization companies are rip-offs. Some of them really do their best to get good rankings for their clients and know what they are doing. A lot of them still really believe that search engine optimization is the key to success on the web. It isn’t. How’s that for a statement? I know a lot of web designers will disagree. I know a lot of SEO companies will disagree. But simply put, search engine optimization of your WebPages is not the most important thing you need to do to succeed on the web. Let’s break down some of the things that are included in the phrase search engine optimization. Metatags are one of the things these gurus tell you is important. Metatags are all but dead. Search engines, especially google, ignore metatags for the most part. Having them in does not hurt you, but go do a search on any topic besides web design or search engine optimization, etc. and you’ll find that IF the websites at the top of the search results have metatags at all, they usually only have the description and keywords metatags. Well they also have the title tag, which is sometimes referred to as a metatag, but it is actually the only metatag you need to have. Keyword Optimization is something the gurus will tell you is very important. Some will tell you they know the exact percentage of text that should be your keywords. Yes, keywords are very important. Do they know what percentage the search engines will want to read for the best results? No. When writing copy for your website, you must be conscious of the keywords you wish to promote. Don’t pick too many keywords and try to optimize each page of your website for twenty different things. If you do, it will not be relevant for any of them. That isn’t guru talk, that’s just plain old fashioned common sense. Remember that search engines crawl web pages, not web sites. If you choose just one or two keywords per webpage that you wish that page to be optimized for, then you can optimize the page easily and write text the user will want to actually read. Write your sales text the way you would with only the user in mind and with making sales in mind. Then go back and reread the page. Find places where you can add in your keyword without destroying the flow you created when you wrote the text in the first place. Now, do you need to hire an SEO company to do that? Do you know your product? Do you know how to sell your product? Then you need to write the text. If you do not wish to write the text, then hire a writer. You still don’t need a search engine optimization guru. Some search engine optimization experts will tell you they can increase your link popularity. They use a variety of methods. They create websites where they put all of their clients website links so you will have links to your website. The search engines call these link farms and discount any value they may have had in the past. Those methods, along with many others, are simply tricks that temporarily work. Alot of search engine optimization companies all keep up with the latest tricks and shortcuts. They may even get you some good results in the short-term. But what happens when the search engines catch onto the trick? I’m glad you asked. They stop letting that trick or shortcut work. They may even penalize the websites that used it. They penalize you, the customer, not the search engine optimization guru who used the trick and charged you for it. Whenever one of these companies tells you it has “inside information”, “ex-search engine company employees”, “guaranteed search engine placement”, guaranteed top 10 placement”, or “secret methods”, a red flag should go up in your mind right away. If you start a business offline, like a restaurant or a store, you know that besides the money you will have to put up, you will also have to work to make it a success. It is no different when you start a business online. You have to work at it, if you want to be successful. If search engine optimization is not the most important thing you can do to become successful, what is? Again, I’m glad you asked. Promotion. Do not depend solely on being found by the search engines. Search engines are fickle creatures and what is today’s #1 can be tomorrow’s #100 just because they decided to change the way they give relevance to websites. Continually chasing this dream is a total waste of time. There are other sources of traffic out there. Would you rather have 1000 hits from a search engine for one of your minor keywords or have 100 hits from someone who read an article you wrote and came to your website because they liked what you had to say? If you chose the thousand hits, you don’t get it yet. Out of that 1000 hits you might convert 2 of them into sales. Out of the 100, you may get as many as 20-25 people who want to buy from you. Conversion rate is more important than how many hits you get to your website. Write articles about your website, about your products, about relevant topics to your products or services you wish to sell. Distribute or submit those articles to article submission websites that provide free content to webmasters. You may write one article like the one I am writing now and have 100 webmasters want to use it as content for their website. That would mean there is suddenly 100 other websites on topics related to your product that now contain a link to your website. (see the footer below contains links to my website and is to be included when this article is reprinted.) That increases your link popularity without the need for a company to optimize you. Just by submitting your article to several article submission websites, you increase your link popularity, but when those webmasters start to republish your articles, you will see a huge increase in your page rank and the quality of your traffic. Some people write one article per month and others write one or more per day. It depends on you. How fast do you want your website to grow? How much time do you have to invest? If you are not good at writing articles or do not have the time, hire a writer to ghost-write them for you with your byline and your links in the footer. So that we are clear. Search engine optimization is necessary, but by no means the most important thing you can do for your website to make it successful. I would not pay a lot of money for this service. Promoting your website IS the most important thing you can do. Articles are just one of the methods you can use to promote your website. Advertising, buying links on relevant websites, posting in forums and blogs with related topics, putting your link in your signature line, are some of the other ways you can promote your website. My Checklist:
1. Be conscious of the keywords you wish to target with each webpage you build. Write your text for the reader, then go back and add your keywords without destroying the flow of your text.
2. Make sure the website is easy to navigate and user-friendly. Don’t assume the customer knows the web site as well as you do. Make it simple. Make it easy to find the buy button!
3. Once the website is built, quit worrying about the newest search engine trick or optimization technique as some like to call it.
4. Search for blogs and forums with related topics and sign up for them and participate in discussions with your link in your signature line.
5. Write articles about related topics and submit them everywhere or buy a service like isnare.com that will do the submissions for you. If you cannot write the articles, hire someone to do it for you.
6. Don’t do link trades with websites that have less traffic than you do. Buy links on websites that have more traffic than you and are on a topic related to your products or services. This article in no way claims to have listed all the ways you can use to promote your website. What I have done here is tried to explain to you what is or is not important to creating and maintaining a successful website. I hope this helps you.
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