From the very beginning of the Internet, the number one challenge which all of us have faced is how to attract qualified visitors to our websites. Throughout the boom years, one of the most popular solutions was to get massive funding, relatively easy to get in those days, and "buy" traffic, by various means.
As an iconoclastic young developer, with ambitions of beating the "big boys" at their own game, more time than money or the connections to get it, I sought a less capital intensive methodology to achieve the same results. Years of study and rapt attention to the pertinent forums, trying everything that even seemed to make sense (making many mistakes along the way, and learning much from each one), then carefully monitoring the results, has lead to many highly workable tools in our SEO bag of tricks. The outcome of these trial and error methods, (lots of both) lays the foundation of our SEO services and the basis for the ongoing growth of traffic to your website and ours.
The simple fact of the matter is this: Expertise in any other form of writing in no way qualifies one for the type of writing required to optimize a website for the Internet. There are many sites which have less than correct punctuation, grammar, and even spelling which rank #1 in their optimized search phrases. This is not to say that I don't think these things are important, only that to be found in the search engines, they are not the most important consideration.
The flip side of this argument is equally true. Just because someone knows all the ins and outs of all of the search engines, can write algorithms in their sleep, has lunches with Dr. Eric Schmidt and is on a first name basis with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, does not, in any way, make them a writer. All of the writing on this site was done as a collaborative venture between Susan K. Thompson, a professional writer with strong academic credentials and real world experience, in both business and marketing, and myself. Was there a lot of editing and re-write? Yes. Were there disagreements? You bet! Was it worth it? Look at the record.
Emerald Coast Entrepreneur was launched on May 1, 2005 with most site optimization in place and submission to the directories just beginning. With a total monetary investment of less than $100.00, and a time investment, I'd rather not think about, but which approached 300 hours, the site was given a PR5 ranking by Google on its first update, less than 2 months after our launch.
Studies show that over 90% of all online users use search engines to find what they are looking for, whether products/services, or just plain old information.
The following twelve points will, I hope, summarize a philosophy, approach and methodology to the SEO question which is both sound and effective, along with giving some helpful insight into the industry itself.
1. Content. Content. Content.
Effective, professional, optimized Copywriting is the single, most important factor in any SEO campaign. Search engines index websites based on the content found on each page of the site. With a thorough understanding of the language and grammatical conventions combined with intensive research, to find and exploit the market focus, one can move a website to the upper echelon of the "SERP's" (Search Engine Results Page) in a methodical as well as ethical manner.
2. Analyze Web Logs.
Measure everything, at least twice, and then check again. While I would be the first to say that many of the procedures that make up website optimization are more art than science, one needs to take a very scientific approach to the results of the effort. This is done by methodically keeping a record of, and making an analysis of the sites web logs. There are a number of specialized software which make the job easier but at the bare minimum, one needs to keep a close eye on the site visitors and their activity while on the site. No matter how well planned the strategy, it is largely theoretical until proven by the results, which can only be measured by the logs, and a thorough analysis of their content.
3. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google, or any other search engine.
Those who promise such feats will either optimize for such vague search term phrases (such as, "green stunted widgets with purple Polka-dots and icing") that no one will ever likely look for, or they are making a false claim, which they have no intention of keeping, or they have an inside edge at Google, something which they will lose, quickly, when the honest folks at Google find out about it. The other option, that they will take the money and run, is worth mentioning here but I'll be polite.
4. Some things are just plain silly.
You don't need to submit your site to 50,000 search engines. Businesses which offer this service are suspect, at best. 85% of the search results on the Internet come from one search engine, which, if you have one link from an established website, or b...
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