Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004
SEO or search engine optimization strategy now becomes widely popular among online business operators. Nothing strange about it as it allows to substantially increase your gross income, as a result of growing traffic or visitors flow.
That is why one point should be stressed out - your business return on SEO is directly proportional to the results your business have now. It means that SEO strategy, unlike marketing optimization, directed to boost quantity, not quality. If your business enjoys 1% response rate for any action you demand, whether it is sale, subscription, feedback or other it keeps on having similar response rate after SEO will be accomplished, although the response will grow in absolute numbers as a result of increasing traffic flow.
As you see SEO is not a panacea. The highest and the most efficient return on your SEO campaign as well as business investment may be reached upon one condition. Only when your current business model and marketing campaign has already been optimized and reached high level or response rate and efficiency, it is smart to grow your business "in quantity".
The reason for such attitude lies within the next speculation as well. Having inefficient business model under conducting web-site SEO will force growing number of visitors to turn your online business down for good. The obvious reason is that too few people actually return to the site once they left it for any reason, so having low response rate will substantially decrease your SEO result!
Let's draw an example. With previously mentioned 1% response rate from every 100 visitors you get, would mean that 1 visitor only takes desired action. Suppose SEO campaign increased the flow of targeted traffic to 1000. Using children's math we can easily come up with 9 new people, who would start to express their interest in your offer every month.
Now what if your, as some marketers say, "conversion" rate is 10% (10 visitors from every 100) and the SEO helped to bring the same 1000 targeted traffic. You now have 100 “desired actions” per month! In other words, your net SEO achievement is 90 new people. Compare this to 9 people with 1% conversion rate and it all becomes clear. That is why SEO is mainly about quantity, while response rate is mainly about quality.
I haven't intentionally mentioned about high quality of traffic search engines generate. Many experts would probably be skeptical by now for my evening-out the quality of traffic and focusing on quantity only. The explanation is simple - the quality of SE traffic is an Individual parameter.
Unlike many marketing and SE experts I cannot tell you how "quality" visitors coming from SE will be for your particular business as I don't know your present promotion methods. That is why the quality of traffic SEO campaign brings may be neutral, slightly positive or even negative. Yes, it may be negative.
I anticipate a small shock among online marketers, who were taught for their whole internet business career that search engine traffic is the most quality traffic they may have. It is not true under some conditions. If banner or classified ads were the only ways of generating traffic for you, then SEO will surely bring a quality improvement to your business response, on the other hand, imagine, that your present visitors are interested readers of your books, ebooks, reports, articles and other publications. Do you really think that "response quality" of people coming from "Description tag" of your search engine listing will be higher? Hardly, you can surely expect a slight decrease in response rate of SEO campaign, despite the unquestionable quantity growth in accordance with our previous example.
Next vital point is to understand that before anything we, firstly, should have those web-pages, otherwise there would be nothing to optimize. That basic logic will lead to another obvious conclusion. The more theme-based web-pages you have the better SEO result you can achieve. If your online business represented by 3 web-pages (main sales letter, about the author and contacts), your initial SEO "resources" are too weak to reach any substantial goal. SEs look for information, that is why, content rich web-sites may truly enjoy advantages of SEO.
Secondly, your pages should have already been listed in SEs. If you haven't submitted your web-site to SEs yet, no point to optimize the SE listing position you don't have.
An important dilemma every business operator faces is the extent s/he allows to reach in desire to get outstanding SEO results. Here is what I mean. As we all know the basic rule of successful web-site optimization is focusing on keywords with low or very low competition. In other words, the less supply of internet resources for some particular keyword or phrase is, the more chances are for your web-page of being "noticed" and ranked high.
Here is the problem, if you want to get a maximum for your web-site SE position you should be prepared not just to rewrite or edit your web-pages, but to completely change the theme structure and priority of informational content!
There would undoubtedly be web-site sections or pages with extremely high competition that would stress the popularity and importance of that topic, so if you decide to keep it "as is", optimization will raise your listing, but somewhere from 796,021 place to 545,932. Does it help you?
The extent of your "flexibility" and how far you can go to look "pretty" from SE viewpoint is what should be decided beforehand, because there are always 3 parts: you/your business, target market/consumers and search engines/directories, between which about 90% of informational preferences are common, but the rest 10% differ and it is up to you to decide what themes you should focus on. Whenever you are implementing any of the SEO tactics mentioned in this publication, keep in mind your business and consumers' needs.
Having understood these fundamental features of SEO, could we make a step further into a complete web-site search engine optimization, expanding your business to the new markets.
Note that SEO, despite all mentioned above, is all about "asking for high ranking" and there cannot be any results guarantee as no one except for SE developers themselves control ranking algorithm and determine "who is where". More than that, SEO takes much time before effecting your listing positions and this timeframe may range somewhere from week to several months, so don't panic if your optimization efforts haven't resulted in Google #1 position by tomorrow morning.
Let's start from drawing a scheme of your web-site link structure very similar to one every web-developer draws before designing a web-site. Under other equal conditions, we will speak about later, it is also clear that the more theme based web-pages or even web-site sections you create, the more chances of being ranked high you have, no matter how optimized your competitor's single web-page is.
Each web-page of web-site section should represent a particular theme or topic. This way you can diversify your "keywords market", increasing chances of high rankings. Despite obvious visitors advantage your site is more likely to win market recognition.
For now try to have "horizontal" as well as standard "vertical" link connections between pages. If one of your pages got a high ranking position (Google Page rank) it may help to improve the rankings of web-pages connected to it as well.
Next step is to determine keywords, mainly, phrases that we would like to target. Talking about mentioned dilemma, I would like to point to the other approach you should know about, that is suggested by some experts. Let's call it SE-oriented approach.
According to this approach, before creating a web-site your first step implies searching for the best key phrases via competitive analysis on main SE and then starting to develop content around these keywords. It means that your web-site will get highest SE ranking, but the informational richness will be dictated by neither you nor your consumers. Under such conditions it is SE or, to be more specific, your compe tition will determine what kind of content you will have at your web-site. As you see, according to SE-oriented approach, the more competitive some key phrase and based on it topic is, the less attention you should pay to developing that theme at your own site.
My attitude is slightly different. I offer at first to create and evaluate your current web-site content based on your business preferences and your niche-market needs and then optimize those web-pages according to keywords taken from your existed web-pages, no matter how tough the competition may be. Of course, you are free to create new pages around keywords with low competition just for traffic building purposes, but the primary accent should be focused on your business development and marketing needs.
As for the keywords, the basic rule is to choose the most targeted phrases rather than single words for two reasons:
* Phrases could describe your web-page theme usually more precisely than a word;
* Phrases usually have substantially less competition in comparison with one-word.
Write down 3-5 the most targeted key phrases for each web-page or section we are going to optimize. Then by evaluating supply/demand ratio find the easiest keywords for SE positioning.
Standard procedure of determining your key phrase competition or, as i said "evaluating supply/demand ratio" is to look at their supply and demand at popular SEs. Supply is determined by results of searching them on SEs while demand can be found through query on PPC programs at Overture.com or Google.com's AdWords that have tool for discovering how many time keywords or phrase have been searched on them.
By doing so we are searching for the most prospective and promising for optimization key phrases. Having them allow us to go further and start optimizing the web-pages themselves.
(to be continued)
About The Author
Pavel Lenshin is a devoted Internet entrepreneur and founder of the entrepreneurship portal, where you can find discounted Internet services, FREE ebooks (http://ASBONE.com/ebooks/), FREE reports (http://ASBONE.com/reports/), and finally uncover innovative strategies through FREE "NET Business Magazine"