This is a guest post by my friend Louisa Nardini. I hope you find it as interesting as I have.
Since the introduction of search engines SEO – or search engine optimisation – has been seen as one of internet marketing’s dark arts.
The skill of optimising a website or webpage in such a way that it can easily be found by the search engines and listed in their search results has been a complete mystery to most people. This fact explains why so many small business owners are willing to pay extortionate prices to anyone promising to get their website on the first page of Google.
But if we step back a little and consider what being on the first page of Google (or Yahoo etc) actually means we can see that on its own it hardly ever justifies the money some poor business owners has spent on getting their site there.
And, perhaps even more shocking is the fact that with a little bit of effort most people could do their own SEO quite adequately.
As I will go on to explain in this blog, the approach I adopted for my business – www.supanovatraining.com – is to make internet marketing as transparent as possible and to share my knowledge of SEO, organic search optimisation and social media marketing for free via my blogs and training videos.
What is SEO?
Contrary to what many so-called internet marketing gurus would have us believe, SEO is both simple and straight-forward and to understand it all we need is a little bit of knowledge about what a search engine actually is.
A search engine – Google and Yahoo being the most well known, is a free service that exists to help internet users find what they are looking for. Or, to get a little bit more technical, their job is to find the most relevant content based on what words someone enters into the search bar.
So, if I type in ‘internet marketing’ into Google the system will use its own mathematical algorithms to list every site or webpage on which the phrase ‘internet marketing’ appears. A very competitive phrase such as ‘internet marketing’ will return millions of results.
Therefore, as a way of making the experience of using a search engine even better these algorithms not only list the search results but also rank them in the order that makes most sense to the system.
Here we must bear in mind the fact that the whole process is based purely on a mathematical formula which is often changes so as to discourage a small number of companies from permanently dominating the highest rankings.
What does all this mean to me?
Having a business website is a complete waste of time unless your potential customers can find it. And once they have found it the site needs to capture and then convert these visitors into customers.
Having been a professional internet marketer for a few years I have seen so many companies pay an SEO expert to get their site to the first page of the search engines only to completely fail to convert any traffic their ranking generates.
A website may look stunning, have the latest flash installed and have the best layout, photos and graphics available. But without the correct range of key marketing features such as data capture, call to action and multiple points of conversion any traffic to the site is completely worthless.
That is one reason why simply getting ranked at the top of the major search engines has little or no value on its own. The other reason is that, contrary to popular myth, it is incredibly easy to get to the top spot with what is called a ‘long tail keyword’.
This is the technique most frequently used by unscrupulous so-called SEO experts. Sure, they call their customer the minute their site appears on Google’s 1st page and often the customer is delighted and sits back waiting for their sales to start flooding in.
However, if nobody is actually entering this particular ‘long tail keyword’ then the site may sit at the number one spot indefinitely without generating a single unique visitor or sale.
One of my customers came to me after paying someone to get his site to the number 3 spot of both Google and Yahoo. His site had stayed there for 4 months without even a tiny increase in the unique visitors to his website. People searching for ‘dog walkers’ in his area sadly did not use the long tail keyword ‘daily canine exercise person’ to find what they wanted!
And what should I do?
The reason that blog sites have become so popular recently is because they provide the perfect method of using a range of keywords naturally.
Being an internet marketer, see my site at www.supanovatraining.com for more free information and training, I naturally write blogs with words such as ‘SEO’, ‘pay per click advertising’ and ‘social media marketing’ in.
As I am doing this genuinely and those keywords form a natural (as opposed to artificial) part of the text they are picked up by the search engine’s spider bots – automated search robots) Other things are picked up too such as the number of subscribers to my website, the length of time each visitor stays, the number of page views I get and the variety of media used (ie videos, images etc.)
So, the more I work to produce a good site with excellent content and good value for anyone interested in internet marketing, the higher my site will be ranked as the search engines will see my site as being increasingly relevant for anyone searching the keywords that I use regularly.
To attract potential customers to your own website look at the content that you currently have on there and ask the following questions:
1. Is it current and up to date?
2. It is interesting?
3. Are you using keywords that relate to your products and services?
4. Does your site provide good value and use a variety of media
5. Would you choose to re-visit your own site often?
If you are not able to manage the content of your own website I strongly advise you to consider investing in a WordPress site which gives you total control of the content so that you can update it daily or weekly depending upon the nature of your business.
For more free internet marketing tips and to learn how small businesses are using social media platforms such as blogs, videos and Twitter subscribe to my website at www.supanovatraining.com and follow me at www.twitter.com/supanovatrainer