Keeping your website profitable and generating new traffic can be a daunting task, especially with all the buzz words floating these days. One term I often hear clients asking about is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a fast growing industry despite the fact that most people have very little knowledge of what it is or how it works.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Google, Yahoo, or MSN have become the starting point for finding anything these days. It's just easy to go to the search engine of choice, type what you're looking for and in many cases find what you need within the top 3 results. The search engines use your search phrase and complex algorithms to provide you with a list of what they see as the most relevant results. The key to SEO is to determine which phrases you want your site to be shown under. You want to use the phrases people interested in your products or services would be searching with.
It's a common misconception that updating the keyword and description meta tags will magically return impressive results. Search engine optimization involves much more planning, site wide structuring and ongoing analysis for an impressive return on investment. The most important elements include:
- Keyword Phraseology: Determining which keywords or key phrase will result to the highest possible return on investment. These are often quite different from what you think people may be searching with.
- Website Structuring: Building or enhancing the structure of a website to be "Google Friendly." This allows search engines to easily navigate and associate the appropriate search phrases with your entire website.
- Ongoing Optimization: Analytical reviews of website traffic to effectively monitor the current optimization efforts and fine tune them. This is how you obtain the highest possible results.
Each of these techniques and steps goes into much greater detail, far beyond the scope of this article. There are many companies who provide both good and bad SEO services. If a company offers you a guaranteed top spot on Google, be wary. SEO professionals will tell you the truth, getting a high search ranking for a competitive key phrase can take months of thorough work and planning. Remember that your competitors will improve their efforts as well in competition for the elusive top spot. Starting a good SEO campaign will give you a better return on investment than any conventional advertising.