What does that mean?
SEO is the popular acronym used for web marketing strategies employed to draw more visits to a particular website. I’ll break it down very simply and in plain English, and then provide additional resources for you to read further on the subject.
Back in the 90′s designing websites in FLASH became all the rage, because of the cool little tricks you could make your website do. The problem was that search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask (back then Lycos, AlltheWeb, and others) couldn’t read the text contained within the FLASH files in order to index / archive them. All the search engine could see was a FLASH file, and so it moved on, not able to share any information from that website with readers who might be interested in that topic.
Not all sites were built in FLASH, but those that did had the biggest challenge ahead of them. Webmasters faced the reality that an attractive looking website did not guarantee anyone could find it on the Web to benefit from it. The question then became HOW to help people find websites offering information that was relevant to their questions, wants, and needs. Search engines were doing what they could to help Internet users find information, but website owners had to take matters into their own hands in order to compete with other websites who might show up in search results ahead of them.
Through much speculation, testing, analysis, and discuss, SEO professionals emerged with an understanding of how to help any website earn better rankings from search engines. These professionals networked like crazy and began offering their services to business owners looking to get ahead of the curve.
If you have realized that your website isn’t getting enough visitors and ultimately sales/conversions, SEO is an ideal place to start. You already have a website in this hypothetical, so you need a professional consultant to review your site, your web analytics (data about where your visitors come from and their behavior on your site), and your competition, who will then make a list of initial recommendations for you to discuss and implement on your website to begin optimizing your site.
To compete in most industries, you will need monthly search engine optimization consulting and implementation. There is no one-time fix. There are dozens of strategies for increasing your bottom line via your website, and you owe it to your business to take this process seriously.
Redesigning and redeveloping your website may very well be necessary to reach your site’s potential. Your budget will obviously play a major role in the execution of this possibility, but PLEASE know that investing in a well-built and well-designed website is essential to online success. There is no way around that. You are competing with many other companies and individuals. The only way to win is to provide killer content in an attractive and easy-to-use format that people enjoy. If customers enjoy using your website, they will likely revisit again later.
As always, my virtual door is open to answer your questions or to help steer you in the right direction. I DO offer SEO services personally, but my schedule is very limited and I do not often accept new engagements. I CAN, however, recommend very reliable experts to you should you need SEO and I do not have the time available to handle it myself.
For more background reading on SEO, visit these two pages:
Why You Need to Know SEO Basics, Even if You Outsource, by Jessica Bowman
Beginner’s Guide to SEO, by SEOMoz
I will likely offer more SEO tips and explanations for beginners in the future. For now, your primary objectives are to educate yourself and hire a competent professional. All sites listed in the column to the right are excellent information resources as well.