Search engine optimization, or SEO, tends to be one of the most misunderstood – and misrepresented – subjects in the world of online marketing. What it means is making your website look better to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., so that your site will be listed whenever people type in a particular subject to look for.
The optimization part is about the various methods used to get your site closer to the top of the list for a particular word (keyword) or phrase. The theory is fairly simple.
How it’s done is another matter. There is so much contradictory and inaccurate information out there that it can be difficult to separate fact from myth from opinion.
There are two related reasons for this confusion.
First, the programs and algorhythms that search engines use to determine placement are kept secret by design. The search engine companies don’t want anyone to know exactly how they determine the rankings. That is also the explanation behind the second reason; they periodically change those methods and generally don’t publicize what the changes are or when they occur.
This is why I don’t completely trust anyone who claims to be an “SEO expert” or who says that they can guarantee a top spot. The fact is that the only true experts are the people who work for the search engine companies.
There are only two ways to guarantee a first page listing:
One is to choose a keyword or phrase that has little or no competition. For example, they may say they can make sure you are at the top of the page for www.yourdomain.com. But what would be the point of paying someone for that? Unless you’ve done something terribly wrong you’ll already get the top spot for your own complete url. And that doesn’t help you grow, because the only people who find you that way are folks who already know about you.
The other is by paying for them. There is a lot of debate about whether paid listings hurt or help your organic (unpaid) ranking and about which is better for business, but I don’t think it really matters.
What does matter is getting the results you need to reach your goals. In the next few issues we’ll discuss some of the ways you can achieve those results.
There are resources available if you need help. Contact me today and we’ll find them.