Has the SEO fairy visited you lately?
Photo by scottwills
I can’t think of too many other topics that generate the same level of confusion, controversy and frustration as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
From a business owner’s perspective, you really don’t want to mess with something like SEO. You’re trying to run a business, get a product (or service) out the door…and oh by the way, it would be great if you made some money and got some time off eventually!
However – you also probably realize how helpful it would be to have your website show up – ideally on the first page, when people searched on the right term. Having a top spot for the right search term is big!
Unfortunately the combination of being mysterious, complicated and potentially very important to the success of your business has led to a very profitable industry of people claiming to be able to sprinkle some fairy dust and drive lots of traffic to your website, all through the magic of SEO and Google ad-campaigns.
Although there are plenty of legitimate service providers, there are also a lot of schemers, many of them using tactics that either don’t work at all or using questionable tactics that could get you in trouble with the Search Engines.
The good news is that a lot of the complexity with SEO has been overstated or doesn’t really apply to the typical small business owner.
What’s the ‘Secret’ to Search Engine Optimization?
Great news…if you just think pure thoughts and imagine yourself higher on the search results…oh wait, that’s the other ‘Secret’!
So here’s the real secret:
Google is very, very successful. They got to be so very successful by following a simple principle of doing everything they can to give people what they want when they search.
What do people want? They want valid results that have meaningful, contextual content for whatever it is they searched for. They want to find the answer to their question.
If you type in the phrase ‘Square Watermelons’ , you expect to find information on the what, how, who, when and where Square Watermelons are all about. You don’t expect to find Joe’s House of Fun online store where Joe happened to add Square Watermelons to his Keywords tag to trick the system.
Although there’s always room for improvement, in general Google has pretty much delivered on this promise (which is why they are so successful). As long as you give Google what they want – quality information on the topic requested, you will rank well on the search engine.
How do I use the SEO Secret?
Here’s the good news. By making minor changes to your website and finding some creative ways to get some other sites to link to you, anyone can dramatically move up the Search Results. This ties directly back to the idea that you tell Google what your site is about, you have content to back that up and it’s high enough quality that other people are linking to it.
Depending on your competition (other websites targeting the same keyword / search term as you), you may very well be able to move up to the first page or even the first spot (cough…Kansas City Business Coach) by using this simple approach.
Now If you’re up against a lot of stiff competition (think big companies or really well established websites) for your preferred search term, then you either need to be creative and find other search terms or it may now be time to invest in a legitimate SEO professional – just make sure there’s a worthwhile Return on Investment because in a situation like that, they will justifiably cost a lot (and be earning their keep if they succeed).
Meanwhile, if you’d like to see how your site ranks against a particular search term, there’s a great free tool to check out your Search Engine Results. If you get a not found, that just means that your site isn’t showing up on the first 10 pages (100 positions) for that search engine for that search term.
If you’d like to learn more details on how to put this into play for your own site, I’m going to be covering this topic and some related things at my next Workshop on August 21st – How To Market Online. If you’re interested, give me a call or sign up on that page.
Have any SEO horror stories? Share them here.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach