How to use search engine optimization to be found (rescued) on the Web.
A few years ago, my good friend Bill B. bought his first sailboat.
He called and told me: “Jon, today – I bought a new sailboat, and it’s the happiest day of my life”!
I grinned and told him: “I also understand that selling it will be your happiest day of your life”.
(Turned out I was right)…
What does sailing have to do with SEO and this article?
The story continues: My buddy Bill did end up selling it a few years later (you’ll see why).
I taught him how his boat could be found and sold via web search traffic to his website,
which we set up together.
Today – he has a thriving web business, and he has bought and sold many boats and
accessories since those early years. He went full-time into the web business,
and he understands the power of SEO and ranking high for key search terms.
What is the definition of SEO, and why is it important to your business?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, or as defined by Google: Search Engine Optimizer.
SEO is a subset of the umbrella term Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Properly applied search engine optimization allows your site to be not only seen by the
search engines, but when a search term (keywords, phrases) is entered, you can rank very high
in the search engine results pages (SERPS). The results pages are typically a combination of natural
(sometimes called organic) results, paid inclusions (directories) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
The holy grail for online marketers centers around being found on the first page of Google,
currently owning well over half of the market of all searches.
If you further optimize in such a way that it brings *quality* traffic, that can be the
ultimate return on investment (ROI), assuming you have a solid back office process.
If you have optimized well for Google, you will rank good in the other majors (MSN, Yahoo) also.
Interestingly enough, Search Engine Optimization is not optimizing the search engines themselves,
(SEO-ers can only make experienced and industry guesses) but rather optimizing the websites,
content and related parts (links) so the users can find you easily. It’s all about relevancy.
Many folks hire professional consultants to perform SEO, and some attempt to do it themselves,
which I will help you with during the months to come.
My sailing buddy was lost at sea.
That third weekend of his boat saga, he told his wife that a trip outside of the safe harbor
and into somewhat un-chartered waters would be a fun and challenging experience,
and he brought a friend along to assist.
Normally, he would have reviewed the weather forecast, map (lat/long), trip log, flares,
emergency contact info and courses outlined, including both physical and radio contact points
to coast guards and ports, but he neglected all this by making a stupid mistake:
he did not fully prepare and made some bad assumptions.
It was a poor weekend to go out as well. A tranquil beginning, they were relaxing and enjoying the sea.
However, the weather turned quickly into one of the fiercest storms and many hours later,
they were missing at sea.
The coast guard and others were looking for them (SEO: visitors), his boat and crew had not
prepared a strategy (SEO: competitive analysis, know your audience, know where you are
(your value proposition), and what keywords to use) and this was a different route than
anytime before (SEO: know who your link partners are that can help you get ranking/visibility/
popularity via relevant links in your topical, themed community).
The next 24 hours at sea were not good, to say the least. Here they were, way off course,
nobody could find them, and they had run out of options. By stroke of luck,
one ship happened to cross their path almost 100 nautical miles off course.
(SEO: Was this a random ‘visitor’?)
My friend and his associate were rescued, and what a big lesson it was.
They learned that careful preparation, planning and execution, as well as adjusting for bad weather
(SEO: competitive analysis, thoughtful planning) are cornerstones to a successful trip.
This also means never giving up, (SEO: keep content fresh, adust,
and monitor changes in the search engine algorithms), you can survive!
SEO done right can enable you to be found (in the sea of billions of web pages), and ranked well.
You should always provide relevant information that the users are looking for, and you’ll have
a steady stream of visitors, 24x7x365.
Make sure to include solid search engine optimization strategy, tactics and operational context
for a safer (relevant) trip on the World Wide Web.
SEO is one of the most powerful online marketing mediums there is, and the display of
those query results are completely free, and doing it right will elevate your positions.