The Importance of Being Online
Did You Know? Right now, over 81% of people first search online before making a purchase vs using yellow pages, newspapers, traditional “offline” methods.
Did You Also Know? – 60% of traffic that comes to the websites is from searches-From people typing in what they are looking for in Google, Yahoo & MSN/Bing. Now, if your website is not on the first page of the search engine results, then unfortunately you are nowhere. So knowing that, I am sure you would like to know how to achieve first page search results…and it begins with proper SEO strategies.
Let’s get started!
First things first!
“A little bit of information is a dangerous thing”
Well the same holds true for too much information when it comes to SEO or Search Engine Optimization. When you are taught how to drive, was it necessary for you to have an understanding of the combustion engine, correct valve timing or be able to rebuild a transmission?
Of course not!
You simply needed the facts of getting your car going safely and smoothly down the road to your destination. Otherwise you will never get out of the driveway or be too overwhelmed and never learn to drive…never achieving your desired results.
Marketing Lesson #1 “You cannot steer a parked car!”
Unfortunately there is a lot of miss information that seems to be right in line with what people are trying to sell you online today. Imagine that?
The three reasons for this are simple:
1. SEO Companies, Gurus and Consultants want you to believe that only their big brains, experience and magic wands can make your site optimized and that little old you has NO chance, so do not bother and pay us lots of money.
2. Pretend Gurus and Consultants learn a few tricks and sell their wares unscrupulously all over the web for cheap leaving you with a crappy e-book and no results.
3. Lastly, there are the true webmasters out there who take On-Page optimization well beyond where it needs to go. (in my humble & profitable opinion) If you don’t believe me, go ahead and buy one of those 200 page e-books that expect you to have degree from M.I.T. and a full working knowledge of website coding. I would rather eat glass…I know this because I have read not one of these, but dozens before seeing the light.
In other words, they tend to try and paint the Mona Lisa within every site but forget to invite anyone to the museum. I.E. All tech and no marketing. Remember, we did talk about the importance of getting the car moving didn’t we?
Dispelling the Myths of Search Engine Optimization
- PPC or paid advertising is much cheaper and faster. WRONG. Paid advertising is only as good as long as you are paying for it, where On-Page optimization is a onetime set up. Natural Search Traffic is still 60% of all traffic & you will pay more per click in advertising if your site is NOT optimized.
- SEO results take months, if not years, to achieve. WRONG. In fact, you can expect immediate results within a few days. Nobody has the time or patience to wait these days…
- Optimal SEO results can only be achieved by an SEO expert. WRONG. No technical knowledge or SEO expertise is needed to achieve major success when you use the right SEO Strategies.
- Hundreds of links are needed before I can start to see significant results. WRONG. Have you ever heard the saying, “Work smarter, not harder”? You can maximize your results with very little linking.
- The Google algorithm is complicated and takes over 100 factors into consideration. It’s impossible to achieve maximum SEO results without targeting them all. WRONG. There are key areas that have the greatest bearing and weighting over search engine results. In fact, these key areas make up the majority of the search algorithm.
- SEO software yields the best results. WRONG. Simply put, if you know the key areas to target, you’ll outperform any SEO program EVERY time. It’s not a complicated process if you know what you’re doing. (famous last words)
What is SEO All About Then?
All right, you’ve been patient. Here are the essentials of what you need to know about WHAT Search Engine Optimization is all about and then I’ll get to the “HOW TO’s” in just a minute. Let’s walk before sprinting into uncharted territory.
OK so here’s you first curve ball… there are two kinds of Search Engine Optimization! What? Who knew? Well I did and now so do you.
There is “ON PAGE” SEO and “OFF PAGE” SEO.
On-Page SEO is the method of configuring your website’s size, layout, text, photos and videos so that they are easy to find by the search engines when someone is searching for them online.
Off-Page SEO happens outside of the website. It is the method of distributing valuable and relevant content about your products and services onto the internet in the form of blog posts, videos, articles, forums, podcasts etc. that all point back to your website to help raise its rank in the search engines as well as drive traffic.
Now there is a middle man (more like a Judge) in the process and that is the search engines themselves like Google, Yahoo & Bing/MSN. They go around creeping and crawling around the internet and index or rank your website based on their own formulas known as algorithms.
No one knows the exact formulas (except those web geeks at Google, but they’re not talking) but we have established some definite Do’s & Don’ts when it comes to optimizing your website. The other thing to understand is that the Google’s & Yahoo’s use both On-Page & Off-Page optimization when ranking your website. For now, we’ll concentrate on the On-site SEO which is the foundation for all other web marketing anyway.
Even paid web traffic from ads will cost you less with an optimized website because the search engines will reward you for playing by their rules…And simply the one theme that governs the rules of the search engines is to protect the consumer.
The Search Engines primary job is to bring the most RELEVANT results (websites, videos, articles etc.) to the consumer or person doing the search based on the search term they type in. For example: If you were to Search for “Snake Poison Antidote” on Google, you would be less than pleased and understandably angry if it pulled up websites on snakeskin handbags and boots. You get the idea.
Getting Started with SEO Strategies
1. KEYWORDS: Prior to the SEO (or the process of correctly placing the right search engine friendly elements on your site) Optimization really begins with understanding the search terms people are using to look for products and services in the first place. These search terms are commonly known as “Keywords”. Proper Keyword research is where most people (even seasoned marketers) fail before they even get started. Fortunately there are plenty of free and paid tools you can be using in no time to pick out the best terms to optimize your site with.
2. PLACEMENT: After you have thoroughly done your keyword research, it is time to strategically place them in all the elements* of your site (Header, Title, Description, Meta Tags, Navigation Links, Images, H1, H2, H3 tags, Alt Tags, Body etc.) to effectively have Google and the others to index or take account of all of them to be able to rank your site’s relevance for those keywords.
*Note: All of these “elements” are simply fields easily accessible to fill in on most commonly used website platforms.
Ok, that’s it!
It can’t be.
Yes it can! Sort of…
Like I said there are much geekier aspects of on-page optimization which includes things like which type of site structures to use, frames, types of scripts etc. However, with the advancement of template driven and WYSIWYG* sites, many of these aspects are already pre-coded for optimization or ease of readability for those Search Engines out there doing their creeping and crawling thing…also known as indexing.
*WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)- An interface that provides the user with the ability to point and click to insert objects, images & text into most sites today.
So with Keyword Research and proper Placement in your site are the broad strokes of On-Page Search Engine Optimization. However, “How” to do the right and profitable Keyword Research for your niche and “How” to place them properly in all the elements of your sites is where you earn your stripes.
Your SEO Strategies Next Step
Fortunately I have put together a step by step guide that will not only walk you through on-page optimization but also how to drive FREE traffic through off-page optimization as well.
Remember that Search Engine Optimization is an Investment, not an Expense. Unlike paid ads, the efforts you put in to truly optimize your site today will continue to pay off well into the future.