Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004
The majority of my income comes doing Search Engine Optimization, positioning, research and marketing for small business. I spec- ifically targeted this demographic, knowing that many small business owners cannot afford to play in the big leagues with major internet companies. Many large corporations spend $3,500 to $10,000 monthly to gain and then maintain good search engine positioning so that they rank well in key search phrases related to their products online.
Many major retailers spend those monthly amounts on multiple segments of their web site to maintain market share of comparable product sales, knowing that their competition is doing the same with their web copy.
But my customers are very often the one-person shop in which the owner does it all, including building and maintaining their web site! When they come across my articles discussing SEO techniques in small newsletters, they'll contact me asking what I can do for them within their marketing budget. That budget, more often than not, is less than what they spend monthly on their yellow page phone book ads or their (very small) office rent.
Faced with that level of spending, I knew that I would have to do high-volume of work in order to make a living. What I decided to do was to create an online tutorial that explains in detail how to go about achieving good search positions. That tutorial would rank well in the search engines for all the phrases relevant to Search Engine work and attract lots of customers seeking to improve their business online.
What I expected was harried business owners too pressed for time to do reading to find out how to improve their own search engine rank. They'd come seeking information on metatags, keyword density, linking campaigns, page architecture and when they arrived, they'd realize it would take them more time than they could afford to effectively learn and implement those ingredients into their sites. The idea was to offer lots of free information for them to read, then when they find out how complex the work is, they would say, "Ummm, I'm too busy this week, could you do it for me?"
What I got was harried business owners too pressed for time to read all that FREE information provided in hundreds of pages which I already offer FREE. Not surprisingly, they DO then ask me to do it for them, but being frugal and diligent, they ask me HOW I do it after they hire me - through voluminous email during my work for them. Sometimes they ask me how to do it before they hire me, at which point I tell them that it is all in my search engine tutorial and they can read it for them- selves. The address is . . .
But then they remember that they don't have the time to do it and agree to pay me for my services and let me begin the work. During the job, they will look at what I've done on their site and ask "Why does the change of the order and frequency of words on my page effect my search engine rank?" Then I refer them back to the tutorial.
Even though I provide a report at the conclusion of the job, clients ask the same questions repeatedly as I am working and I've decided to short-circuit that experience by providing a parody of a sales letter for all potential clients to read before they hire me. It's all meant in fun, but helps silence those who ask lots of questions as I work. A typical email:
"My main intent is to be able to get into the search engines. I want to be able to submit to Yahoo, pay the submission fee (UGH!) and get in for sure with a decent ranking. Will you explain how to do this when you write your report?"
I'll explain it right now and make the report shorter.
I want to be certain you understand that there's a big difference between search engines and directories. Yahoo is a human reviewed directory - nothing can be done to influence the reviewers short of quality content and submission to the proper category, that is
(That advice ALONE is worth $199.00!)
There are two other human reviewed directories that you might consider submitting to as well.
One is the Open Directory Project at (http://www.dmoz.org) where your proper category is:
and a second category you would submit to is
(That advice is worth $135.00!)
Submitting in the proper category is essential to getting listed at the Open Directory Project as it is staffed by volunteers and they will ignore your submission if you choose inappropriate category. Submission is free and this directory is critical because literally thousands of additional directories in specialized areas (including yours) rely on the ODP database to populate their own topical and theme-based directories.
(That advice is worth $250.00!)
The second additional directory you might consider costs as much as Yahoo does ($399) and is called LookSmart and they will have a human review your site and place it properly in their directory. They supply search results to thousands of sites, including several VERY big ones that you won't get listed in otherwise, simply because of their partnership arrangements with large portals.
(That advice is worth $150.00!)
"Crawler based search engines send software-based "robots" or "spiders" to analyze your site content, keyword density, metatags, page structure, link structure, link popularity and site theme - based on all publicly accessible pages. You might consider increasing your number of free pages by writing articles about specific projects, referring to additional resources available online and adding content to your site overall with information that you would not be able to sell otherwise. Increased CONTENT ALWAYS HELPS YOUR SITE TO RANK BETTER.
(That advice is worth $650.00!)
The key to ranking well with the crawler based search engines is combining all of those ingredients in appropriate measure and with good page structure, which is what I do for you.
I use techniques that are search engine friendly and gain top positions in the "crawler-based" search engines, then submit your site to those that accept free submissions within the top eight engines. Contrary to what many scamsters claim, it is entirely irrelevant to be listed in hundreds of search engines when only 4 or 5 are used by the vast majority of people on the web. The top 8 U.S. based (English) engines are:
Fast / All The Web
The other important web resources rely on the Open Directory Project index, LookSmart and Yahoo to populate their own directories, which then increase your link relevance, which then help to improve your crawler-based engine rankings. It is all very neatly tied together if you understand it thoroughly.
(That advice is worth $1500.00 all by itself!)
Using a traditional sales pitch, I would tell you that all of this advice and information is worth a total of $2884.00, BUT WAIT, if you hurry and place your order by today, we'll include all of this, PLUS be available for occassional questions and advice in the future!
You need to know how the search world is changing. WebSite101 subscribes to over a dozen industry publications on search engine methodology, mergers, partnerships and those ever changing search algorithms. This keeps us thoroughly informed and up-to-date with all the latest information needed to maintain your top ranking search positions. We also attend conferences around the country to maintain complete and thorough understanding of search industry standards and practices.
(That follow-up advice is worth $1050 by itself!)
This means you get $3934.00 in benefits for your investment of just $427.50!
About the Author
Mike Banks Valentine does Search Engine Optimization for Small Business and REALLY LOVES discussing SEO techniques for Free - When he's not working ;-) (http://www.website101.com/search.html) Over 25 Free Articles on Search Positioning and Marketing (http://website101.com/SEO_tutorial_index.html)