For those who still don't know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It was the number one topic of conversation among marketers, designers and developers before social media. It is still a hot topic, and very important to the success of your online marketing. Why? Because 25-75% of the traffic to your web site is going to come from search engines. And SEO determines the size of that number. It determines whether your site comes up on the first page of a keyword search or on the 100th page. To have any presence at all, your site needs to appear in the top 100 listings, which means the first ten pages of a search; but to be effective, it needs to come up in the top ten listings, or on the first page; and, ideally, in the number one spot. Improving your SEO can change your position and, yes, the number one spot is attainable.
Personally, I don't like to pay for something I can get for free. I see very little value in paid (i.e., PPC, or pay-per-click) advertising when a good SEO program can get you the same results and for the long term. Traffic from search engines that is not paid for is called "organic." Creative Sharks specializes in the organic. We were doing SEO long before marketers were talking about Google's algorithms and making a mystery out of something that is really very simple and straight-forward. Because, you know what? The heart of strong SEO is having relevant content, and we've been doing that since Day One.
Working your keywords (i.e., search terms) into your content, titles, meta tags, etc. is still important. But what you have to keep asking yourself is, "What is best for my readers (or visitors)?" Not, "What are the search engines looking for?" Because search engine algorithms are constantly changing. If you become too reactive to their whims, you will spend your time spinning your wheels. Like the stock market, you invest for the long term. And in the long term, what is best for the search engines is going to be what is best for your visitors.
There has been a lot of talk about links. I believe links are important; but I don't believe you need to go out looking for sites to backlink to yours. If you have relevant content with good SEO, people will find your site and they will want to link to it. Most things on the Internet happen naturally. If you're doing things right, you will be successful. If you try to force things, it may look like you're doing things right "by the book;" but you will not have the traffic, and certainly not the conversions, to prove it. I believe it is more important to create good cross-linking within your site than to worry about who is linking to you outside your site. "Backlinking," as outside linking is called, will happen if you're doing things right on your end.
There is a lot more involved than what I've described here. But for now, let me say this: SEO is easy to track on Google Analytics, and we include that with all our SEO efforts. It is easy to tell what is working and what is not. But unlike some things, there are no formulas. You try something, and if it works, you stick with it until it stops working; and if it isn't working, you try something else. Because the Internet is constantly changing, so is SEO. It really is an art. But if someone tells you they have the "secret" or the "formula" to SEO, run the other way. There's no such thing. Like science, it's trial and error. You're piecing together a strategy for a website that is not like any other.
But one thing is certain: it all comes back to content, and what is best for your visitors.
Let me say one thing more: the goal of SEO, as with all Internet marketing, is not traffic, it's conversions. Anyone can show you how to increase traffic; at least anyone that knows what he's doing. It takes a real pro to show you how to convert that traffic into whatever your goals are: sales, comments, subscribers, etc. That takes experience. Again, there are no formulas. There's intuition involved, also savy; but a lot of it is intelligent trial and error. That means trying what makes sense and seeing if it works; and if not, changing directions quickly. We have the experience and the intelligence to do that. Give us a try. Call me, Waitsel Smith, at 770.623.9763. Or, if you prefer, you can email me. I look forward to talking with you soon.
Creative Director, Creative Sharks
Atlanta, GA, USA