So let's jump into our primer with a deeper dive into SEO.
You may be surprised to discover that Search Engine Optimization is essentially comprised of only 3 things:
Your Keyword List — the list of phrases you'd like to be found under
Your Keyword Density — maximizing how often and where your keywords appear on your Web site
Your Incoming Links — getting other Web sites to link to your site
That doesn't sound so hard right?
Well theoretically it isn't. But what makes SEO difficult for most small businesses is what my friend calls "the blind spots" — those major roadblocks you suddenly hit but never even saw coming.
Let's redo that list now with the blind spots added in...
Your Keyword List — the list of phrases you'd like to be found under could have you chasing rank on the wrong keywords, also conveniently making your keyword density and link building efforts an exercise in futility
Your Keyword Density - maximizing how often and where your keywords appear on your Web site requires that you a) actually have enough text on your site to use your keywords in the right places repeatedly, and b) have access to the programming skills (or a Content Management Tool) to optimize the HTML code and programming of your site.
Your Incoming Links - getting other Web sites to link to your site is kind of like cold calling. It's always time consuming and can be pretty ineffective and very humbling if you don't have the right approach.
Now we're getting somewhere! So now that we've out-ed the blind spots, what's a business owner to do?
For starters, we can identify how to avoid each of these roadblocks. I'll start with keyword list creation next week.
But before all of that, there's really a much BIGGER question we haven't even talked about.
As you follow the tactics in my coming posts, and start to see the resources you'll need to invest in SEO, you want to ask yourself — is this really worth it? Does it actually make sense for me to spend time optimizing my site for search engines?
I know, given all the SEO hype this may seem like a shocking question (do I hear gasping?). But you really do need to find the right answer for your inidividual business.
Think of one of those old balances you used to have in chemistry class. On one side of the balance you'll have the cost - the time, money, and strategic focus you'll be spending on SEO that you could be spending on something else. After all, marketing decisions at some point boil down to "is this where I can invest my resources to generate the greatest profit?" SEO should not be immune to this filter.
So, on the other side of the balance is "what will I get out of it?" meaning how likely is it that you'll a) beat out your search competitors given the resources you can put towards SEO and b) get real, live, paying customers from all of this? If 80% of business in your industry is driven by high-touch sales and personal referrals, does it really make sense to spend your resources ranking on a few search engine results pages that frankly leave a lot to be desired in the personality department?
For many businesses the answer is somewhere between an emphatic yes and a mitigated yes. For some it turns out to be a resounding no.
As a business owner, I encourage you to be skeptical of any marketing technique until you understand the "cost" involved and the realistic payoff for your business - no matter how much hype surrounds the technique. By walking you through the "cost" involved with SEO and where the possible payoffs are, through this and the next posts I hope to help you decide if and what amount of SEO is right for you.