How Search Engine Optimization Works
There’s no doubt that Search Engine Optimization is important for any website. It’s no longer something only a few people are interested in but it’s something everyone is interested in. We hear it from clients and it makes sense. There are so many websites out there now that it’s really hard to get found unless you work at it.Gone are the days where you launch a site, submit it to Google and you’re done. And we do get some clients that think if they just make a great website, it’ll instantly get lots of traffic… I can think of a call last week talking with a guy for a half hour. You’re either going to have to put in the work yourself or pay someone to do it (more about that later).
SEO In a Nutshell
This is the example I often give to new clients or when we have an SEO training class here at Webstix. Go to Google and type this in:
Before you do that, what do you think will come up? It’s an odd search, right?
The first (or second) result that you get should be for the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Think about it… there are thousands or probably millions of websites out there with PDF files on them, right? After they list the files, there’s usually a link to go and download the Acrobat Reader so that people can open them, right? So there are essentially millions of websites linking to this Acrobat download page with the link text “click here.” That makes it rank high. When other websites link to yours, that’s a vote for it. What they’re voting on is the text being used. This is how SEO works in a nutshell.
SEO Perceptions and Reality
So the perception of SEO is that it’s this mystical thing that’s a secret and only a few people know about. We don’t think that’s true. The information about how to do SEO is out there. To prove that, here’s a pretty well known SEO formula that we and others have seen work really well:
- Build the website right with SEO in mind.
- Valid HTML
- CSS Design
- Good use of HTML header tags
- Good keyword research (important!)
- Good content based on those keywords / key phrases that both the website visitor and search engine spiders will like.
- Internal keyword linking
- Get at least 25 directory listings (see my post about where to get directory listings).
- Get at least 5 text links on other reputable, related websites (which may include starting a blog).
If I were creating a website about a keyword like “contact lenses,” I would first set up a good website and do my keyword research. I’d then write up content based on the best keywords that I researched… meaning, keywords (key phrases) that people are typing in enough but ones that have low competition. I might find that a phrase like “non prescription colored contacts” is much easier to rank for than simply “contact lenses.”
From there, I would get links to the content. After a month or so of that content being up on the website, I would do the optimization using tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Those tools say which articles are ranking for which keywords naturally and then you simply optimize each article for those keywords.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Pretty simple, right? Well, if you know what you’re doing it is.
The thing is, who has time to learn all of this? Most business owners I know barely have enough time to run their own business. Like I said above, you can either do the work yourself or pay someone to do it. So what’s the best plan?
Do it Yourself?
When I need work done on my car, yeah I could learn how to do the work myself and I’d save some money – or would I? Did I do the work right? If I had experience doing that work, then yes, I would have the confidence in knowing that the work was done correctly – and if I didn’t have leftover parts, that would help too. How much time did it take? Well, probably about 10 times more than someone who knows what they’re doing. And if I took time off of work, how much money did I lose?
So, for me (and most other people) it’s a better decision to take the car to the dealer so that I do not waste my time and instead concentrate on what I do best. The same is true with website SEO. Anyone can try to do it. They’ll make mistakes and spend a lot of their time, but if they have the time, then no worries. One big difference between fixing your car and doing SEO on your website is that with your car, you know right away if it’s fixed or not. With SEO, you have to wait and see the results. Time is money. While you wait, your website could have been ranking much better and you could be getting new sales, which would pay for what you put into having SEO done right.
Know That Your Audience is Online
People are looking online now. They’re not using the phone book as much. Other marketing does help, there’s no denying that and you should not put all your eggs in one basket. All other marketing that’s out there – even business cards and email signatures should point to your website because you can say much more on a website and online space is cheap. But because people are searching online, that is where you need to be found. Think of Coca-Cola (“Coke”). They market everywhere. Their brand is strong. Who doesn’t market much? RC Cola. And plus it doesn’t taste as good (ok, bad example) but my point is that you could have the best product or service but if nobody knows or if nobody can find it, then what’s the point?
Get out there and get found today!