Search Engine Optimization – what is it and why the heck do I need it? Part 1

I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Consulting Inc. Definitions of Search Engine Optimization on the Web: • The act of altering a web site so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. www.thewebdivision.com/glossary.html • the process of choosing targeted keyword phrases related to a site, and ensuring that the site places well when those keyword phrases are part of a Web search. www.tobysimkin.com/reference/Ref_Net_Glossary_Terms.asp • Optimizing a site to a search engines criteria. www.internetmarketingwebsites.com/search-engine-glossary.htm • The process of increasing the amount of visitors to a Web site by ranking high in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that site will be visited by a user. It is common practice for Internet users to not click through pages and pages of search results, so where a site ranks in a search is essential for directing more traffic toward the site. www.trendmx.com/help/website-promotion-glossary.aspx I like the last definition the best, but it’s still a confusing issue for a newbie marketer. Search Engines are by far the most valuable and effective way to get viewers to your site. So now that we have the definitions of what SEO is, how do we use it to our advantage in our business? First ask yourself this question – when you were searching for your business, what is the first thing you did? Right, hopped onto Google or whomever you use for a browser and typed in “home based business” or perhaps “easy business” or “work from home” or………….. The possibilities are endless, but you get my point. It’s not just YOU who has done it either; people search for an opportunity, product or solution every day. Now imagine if YOUR site is the first, or one of the first results that these people see when they type in their request? If you are near or at the top of the list, then you have an “optimized” site! But can you instantly achieve this just because you have a site to begin with? NO. If you are like me and prefer a “cookie cutter” business to one started from absolutely scratch (who has the time, money, ideas or energy to start from scratch anyways?) then you run into the dilemma of being able to “optimize” your site and have it rank higher than your competition in the search engines as you don’t have access to your sites HTML files to begin with. Solution? Create a doorway page, well written; with only the necessary content of your mother site in which you can attach your meta-tags and have it link to your mother site. Whoa. Huh?? I’ll break it down, but I’ll be quick as this could really take all day. I suggest that if the following doesn’t completely make sense to you, please contact me directly for further detail at imagineconsultinginc@telus.net. Definitions of doorway page on the Web: • A web page designed to draw in Internet traffic from search engines, and then direct this traffic to another website. www.patrickgavin.com/SEO-Glossary.htm • a web page created solely to achieve high ranking in search engines for particular keywords, and perhaps for a specific engine. Today's doorway pages should contain valuable and useful content related to your site, and be fully linked to the site, and so are often referred to as "information pages." www.accesstoebusiness.com/glossary.htm A doorway page is an actual web page that you create using Microsoft Front Page or whatever software you choose to make your site with. Some companies offer a template type service that includes hosting the site for rather reasonable prices. Generally, to have a site hosted, no matter how bit the site is, you’ll be looking at about $100 per year, usually broken into monthly payments of less than $20. Google “doorway page generator” or the like and shop around for what suits you. Personally, I use Microsoft Front Page and have a handy “for dummies” book to go along with it! You will require a domain name for your site, again, can be provided by your hosting provider. Definitions of domain name on the Web: • The "address" or URL of a particular Web site. This is also how you describe the name that is at the right of the @ sign in an Internet address. For example, netlingo.com is the domain name of this Internet dictionary. There is an organization called InterNIC that registers domain names for a small fee and keeps people from registering the same name. Most recently, more domain names will be allowed due to new suffixes coming out. These are: www.netsetgo.com/glossary.php You need to ensure that if you use a template type of program that you have the option of installing your own meta-tags. Definitions of meta-tags on the Web: • the part of html coding which allows the author to include text which describes the page mciunix.mciu.k12.pa.us/~spjvweb/glossary.html • HTML code intended to describe the contents of a website. www.boydslaw.co.uk/glossary/gloss_itip.html • keywords that help search engines index and rank your site. www.eastwebdesign.co.uk/glossary.htm When using a program like Front Page, you have the ability to “encode” your site with meta-tags. These are placed at the very top of your site, contains certain “key words” that are also found throughout your site and cannot be seen by the general public’s eye. Pretty sneaky eh? Again, ensure that if you use a template type program off the web, that you can add your own meta-tags to the template. Definitions of keywords on the Web: • To achieve a high search engine placement for a relevant search, a website must contain the appropriate positioning and density of keywords or phrases related to the search terms used. This is a critical part of the search engine optimization for any website. www.websearchworkshop.co.uk/glossary.htm Keywords can be extremely general (“home based business”) or very “niche” oriented (“low start up business”). There are a few ways to go about finding the right keywords, and all of them require research. For example, www.wordtracker.com is a good online program that breaks down a general keyword into a million other possibilities. Each possibility shows how many people use that key word or phrase per month, giving you a good idea of the value of that word. You generally don’t want to use a key word that has a million people searching that term PLUS a million people offering something relating to that term – that is WAY too much competition. Now that you have the site built, and optimized with your keywords, its time to submit, submit, submit! Definitions of search engine submission on the Web: • The act of supplying a URL to a search engine in an attempt to make a search engine aware of a site or page. www.tobysimkin.com/reference/Ref_Net_Glossary_Terms.asp • The act of submitting specific URLs to popular search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo! to ensure the web page gets spidered and indexed. www.anvilmediainc.com/search-engine-marketing-glossary.html • The process of submitting your Web site URL to a search engine or search directory with the intent of getting it listed on the search site. www.pro-seo.com/glossary.html Probably the most frustrating thing about all of this is the time frame. Building your doorway page is one thing, submitting it is another. You submit, and generally have to wait 2 weeks to 2 months before your site is even listed! Then you continually need to update your site and meta-tags as the competition dictates. I recommend starting with submissions to a few of the smaller search engines before hitting the big dogs like Google and Yahoo (there is a fee to submit to Yahoo, by the way). Any way you look at it, you pretty much have to have someone do this for you. Google “submit site to search engines”, sort through the reams of companies that provide a submission service and use your best judgment. Word of warning: don’t fall for the “submission software” that say they’ll submit to 100’s of 1000’s of sites for you for pennies – they’re not worth the effort. Expect t

o pay a decent sum for submitting your site and research the company you choose prior to using their services. One of the things you need to ask them is what ranking they can guarantee will result from their service; Definitions of search engine ranking on the Web: • is the ranking of a web page or website in the search engine results, for a given keyword phrase in the top 20. www.prowebster.com/R-S.htm The Ranking is simply the page and place on the page your site will be once the submission is complete. You must continually check your ranking and improve your optimization as the market dictates. After reading through the information provided here today, your head is likely hurting but I can offer a solution in a nice, neat little package. Hire a reliable marketing firm to start up and maintain this entire process for you! Google “Search engine optimization and submission services”. You’ll get a host of companies offering this service, the trick is to find the one you’re most comfortable with and one that is within your budget. Any company worth its weight will request your information and send you a quote for their services. Free or extremely inexpensive services are likely NOT going to provide you with good results. Many companies will “guarantee” top ten ranking within 60-90 days – this is good. It realistically can take that long for the engines to process and accept a submission. Any company that promises that you’ll be making XX amount of dollars in three months by using their service is lying. A reputable firm can make no such claims. What they can have however is a ‘warrantee” that if you don’t receive XX amount of TRAFFIC after XX amount of days, they will refund partial or full payment of their initial fees. I’ve recently (and quite happily) paid $3,000 to a company whom I found reliable, trustworthy, reputable and committed to my ranking. I especially appreciate the one on one service that I receive with this company ON THE PHONE (so basically in person). If you’re emailing for information and continually receive generic FAQ emails back, don’t use that service. You deserve personal attention, (and for the fee that I’m paying, I better receive it)! If you decide to hire someone – ensure that they are willing to work with you to achieve your desired result. And don’t be afraid to admit that you’re a newbie and need to ask, ask, ask as many questions as possible to fully understand the service they provide. Hopefully, by reading this you’ll have a better understanding of some of the “lingo” prior to talking to a real person!

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