OK, lets see a show of hands: How many of you are reading this because you want a #1 rank in Google? Yeah, i thought so. As an SEO consultant, i know how good it feels when your website makes it to the top of the heap. Listen, i sincerely hope you get your #1 Google rank, but it wont help you if its bringing in the wrong audience or pointing them to a dead-end website. So dont think of SEO as just a way to improve your sites ranking.
The term Search Engine Optimization describes a diverse set of activities that you
can perform to increase the amount of targeted traffic that comes to your website from search engines (you may also have heard these activities called Search Engine Marketing or Search Marketing). This includes things you do to your site itself, such as making changes to your text and HTML code. It also includes communicating directly with the search engines, or pursuing other sources of traffic by making requests for listings or links. Tracking, research, and competitive review are also part of the SEO package.
SEO is not advertising, although it may include an advertising component. It is not public relations, although it includes communication tasks similar to PR. As a continually evolving area of online marketing, SEO may sound complicated, but it is very simple in its fundamental goal: gaining targeted visitors.
Do I Need to Perform SEO for My Website?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but actually, the answer is not necessarily Yes. If any of the following examples apply to you, you may not be in need of an SEO campaign right now:
You have a website that you really dont want strangers to find, such as a training tool for your employees or a classroom tool for your students.
Your site is already ranking ill, youre satisfied with your sales, and you dont want to rock the boat.
Youre in a big hurrysay, youll go out of business without a major upswing in revenue in the next couple of months. This is not to say that SEO cant help you, but good SEO takes time. You may need to focus your energies elsewhere right now.
Your site is going to be completely rebuilt or redesigned in the next couple of months. If thats the case, read Shari Thurows book Search Engine Visibility (New Riders, 2002) about how to build a search-friendly site from the ground up. If this is you, youll want to keep updated, though, as soon as your new site is launched. If this list doesnt apply to you, i think youre ready to begin your SEO adventure!
It is a rare site indeed that couldnt use a little improvement in the SEO department. And, with the importance of SEO on the rise, if you dont need it today, its a good bet youll need to brush up your SEO smarts for tomorrow.