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Search Engine Optimization

(cont'd)

Firms promising to get me #1 rankings in 10,000 search engines for $99.95 can help. I alternate between tooth-grinding and hysterical laughter when I see these ads. First, there aren't 10,000 search engines. Actually, there are probably 10-20 you should really worry about. Getting listed in the other thousand or so is largely a waste of time. Second, no one can guarantee any ranking in any search engine for a specific keyword. Period. And finally, the price is less than half the cost to get an express submission in a single directory (Yahoo). Chances are anyone trying to get you to spend the $99.95 is operating a 'link farm' where they list dozens, or hundreds, of sites. While they won't hurt your ranking, they won't help, either. To learn more about how to choose an SEO firm, check out Google's article: http://www.google.com/intl/mr/webmasters/seo.html.

Firms charging me more money and guaranteeing a #1 ranking on Google can help. This is the latest SEO scam. I can get you a number one ranking on Google, too, as long as I get to pick the keyword or can get you ranked under a fairly unique company name. But no one, and I mean no one can guarantee a #1 rank under a specific keyword. Even Google says so.

Forget the myths -- if an offer seems too good to be true, it is. The truth is that search engines are now almost savvy enough to read your pages like a human being would, so anything that will drive away a typical site visitor will also probably reduce your ranking. Things that will increase your search engine ranking include:

  • Well-written content

  • Good, clean HTML code

  • Useful, relevant TITLE tags

  • Useful, relevant DESCRIPTION tags

  • Relevant, appropriate links from other web sites

There are some basic steps that, well executed, will do more to increase your page rank than an ocean of snake oil.


The SEO Campaign Process


A typical SEO campaign starts with keyword analysis, and then emphasizes insuring your site doesn't impede search engine bots and follows up with ongoing link and traffic analysis. If you like pretty pictures, here's one:


search engine optimization process diagram
 

What's a Bot?
A 'bot' is a program used by a search engine to read the content of your site into a directory. I mentioned this briefly in 'What is Search Engine Optimization?' above. Keep up, now....


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