Sunday, January 28, 2007

What is SEO?

I was asked in the previous post what SEO is and I thought that it was a great question that I should answer here, intead of the answer getting lost in the comment section.

So thanks for the question!

SEO - or Search Engine Optimization is the process by which a site is "tuned" so that it appears at the top of the search engines. Since there are so many sites on the Web now, it is easy for your site to be lost--never to appear when someone is looking for your product or service.

There are several basic ways to tune your website - and one is to increase its page rank. Page Rank is a 1-10 ranking that Google employes determing what sites are of the highest "quality." Quality in this case is based on how many sites link to it, and what their Page Rank is. I like to think of this like the high school cafeteria... the "cool" kids all sit together. If these kids invite a "regular" kid to sit with them, that kid's "coolness" increases. Same with the Web. You are judged by the company you keep.

So - you can go around and ask all your friends to link to you, and you can even pay for links, but the most qualified links will be the similar ones. Now there is a long and complicated algorithm that explains this -- but essentially if you sell Blue Widgets, you want sites about widgets, especially blue widgets to link to you.

--and sometimes this is difficult. Perhaps there aren't too many "history of the blue widget" sites around.

This is where blogging comes in. Blogging is cheap or free as long as you have the time to do it. You can create a blog on Blogger for example (Google's blog creator) in a matter of minutes and start posting. You can post every scrap of information about blue widgets that there is. You can post things that you might not include in a corporate site (generally people want you to get to the point as quickly as possible on a corporate/retail site), and eventually this blog will become a resource - people will link to it, and through that you can link to your corporate blog. This whole process takes 6 months to see decent results - so it isn't for the over-extended, or the easily distracted. But even then, there are people who will manage these blogs for you. This is a very effective method for increasing web traffic. I have found that most companies have the information already - it is just a matter or re-purposing it in a FAQ format, or an Ask the Expert format... or even a "day in the life of the blue widget manager" format. Be creative and link to the corporate site when appropriate. And just a tip... link to the inside pages too!



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