WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is defined as “The process of finding out the best keywords for a web site and by the use of optimizing the web site along with other off-page work making that website attain a higher position in the search engine result pages (SERPs) for those selected words.”
It could be said to be a branch of online marketing. In general terms you can say that it means to make a website more visible and make it look important in the eyes of search engines. Being unfamiliar with SEO procedures and not utilizing them can make a huge difference in terms of visitors to your web site.
IS THERE A “SIMPLE” SOLUTION TO INTERNET MARKETING?
There is no simple solution to attaining high search engine rankings. Search engine optimization is difficult work and requires a strong knowledge of how the Internet functions and how search engines operate.
Each search tool has its own unique characteristics. As businesses, each search tool has found ways to make its service slightly different from other search tools.
Search Engine rankings fluctuate frequently, however, if your site is properly maintained by search engine specialists month to month then it is likely that the movement will be confined to within the top 10 positions.
MY WEBSITE IS PRETTY NEW. WHY DIDN’T IT JUST GO UP TO THE TOP OF THE SEARCH ENGINES ON ITS OWN?
Virtually all website designers haven’t learned the importance of search engine friendly design. In almost every caseI’ve ever encountered, the site designer is a highly skilled and creative artistic person whose job is to put your ideas on the web. More often than not, the designers have not received any training in search engine optimization and don’t think about it while pursuing a cool looking design. It’s just not their job, which is to visually impress you and your potential customers. Traditionally, it initially impresses YOU, but the potential customers just never are impressed because they never come there. See my “Six Stages of a Website”.
Search engines are also constantly changing their ranking criteria. They do this to prevent gross manipulation of their search tools. Often, website designers are not fully up to date with changes at search engines. Web Site Design is a full time profession, and Search Engine Optimization is a full time profession. I have done both in my lifetime, and I would never attempt to do both at the same time. I would never be able to be an effective Search Engine Optimizer if I went back to designing web sites. But if I ever DID design a new website, it would be incredibly Search Engine friendly, having been in the business of SEO these last seven years.
HOW DO I FIND THE BEST KEYWORDS FOR MY SITE?
The “best” keyword depends on the following main factors:
1.) The amount of traffic it will generate.
2.) The difficulty of attaining a top ranking.
3.) The profitability of that keyword.
WHAT TECHNIQUES ARE CONSIDERED UNETHICAL OR “ BLACK HAT” TECHNIQUES?
Page cloaking is a BIG one, which basically consists of using server side scripts to determine whether the visitor is a search engine or a human and serving up different pages depending. The script would serve up a keyword rich, totally souped up page to search robots, while giving humans an entirely different page.
Linkfarms are considered black hat. Linkfarms are basically sites which consist of masses of links, for the purpose of getting rankings in search engines and turning a profit (often from affiliate program advertisements on the website).
Duplicate content can keep a page from getting indexed, and some people have even reported trouble with entire websites being duplicated by unethical webmasters, causing problems with their rankings.
Spamming keywords, in meta tags, title tags, or in your page’s content is a black hat SEO trick that used to work well back in the 90’s. It’s long since been basically exterminated as a useful trick.
Linking to “bad neighborhoods“, or sites that have been banned from search engines for using the above tricks, while not particularly black hat is definitely unhealthy for your own sites rankings.
IN THE LONG RUN, HOW DO I GO ENOUGH (OR MORE) VISITORS?
Entire Books have been written on this subject, so a short answer is really a disservice, however, here are the essential features that will make a SecondEffort successful:
Good content, and lots of it updated regularly over a period of months/years.
On page optimization (static URLs, proper title and meta tags, use of H1, H2 tags, etc). Off page optimization (link popularity, building up inbound links). Community building tools (forums, article comments, whatever applies). Viral marketing (release something people want for free with some tag to your site on it). Promotion and Advertising (promote your site wherever you go, & however you can). Use email as the valuable tool that it is.
WHY DON’T I JUST DO IT MYSELF AND SAVE MONEY?
You can do the work yourself. You will need to continuously update your knowledge of how the various search engines work and any changes made in the way they rank sites. For a detailed overview of each and every aspect of Search Engine Optimization, please visit my tutorial “how to” website at www.SEO-Trix.com. Take your time and take one step at a time. But a word of caution. Be aware that if you make a mistake in optimization and submission, it can take months to find the mistake and fix it, resubmit the site and obtain the search engine ranking you desire. SEO is hardly a fast moving, racetrack atmosphere. It requires patience doing it, and patience waiting to see the results.
HOW CAN I BE CERTAIN ABOUT THE COMPANY OR PERSON I HIRE TO PERFORM MY SEO, WHEN EVERYONE CLAIMS TO BE AN EXPERT?
I would suggest you visit the WayBack Machine at www.archive.org. From there you can type in the web site address of the company you are considering (.e. www,secondeffort.com if you were to be checking on me!). You can then check how long the company has been around, and what it has been doing over the years. Those of us who have been doing this for years are proud of our track record. Remember, it’s not how good you are, it’s how long you are good. The Wayback Machine shows that the vast majority of the “SEO Experts’” weren’t even around a couple of years ago!.
And of course, check references. Do not be someone else’s learning curve. And make sure you have accountability access to the person who will be doing the work. Large SEO companies have Salesmen, Account Managers, Project Managers, SEO Content Writers, Design Analysts, Link Analysts, subcontractors, and others who might be involved in your account. In my humble opinion, this “Team Approach” to SEO causes leakage, finger pointing, and a non-accountable attitude to the simple & single goal of sending visitors to your site through Search Engine Optimization.