Like anything, SEO is a tool that has it’s place in the grand scheme of things, sometimes you need a hammer, other times you need a screwdriver. So, essentially knowing how and when to employ SEO, can be more pertinent than that the defining motive of why.
In order to keep the reading time brief, we will use a problem / solution summary to expedite the quandary and then move on to the next component.
Site Structure 2008 or 1998?
The Problem – WYSIWYG Editors If you created your site using a program that for lack of better terms does all the work for you, like Microsoft Front Page, Dreamweaver, or other types of WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get), chances are there is an abundance of code that is preventing user agents from crawling your pages. If spiders cannot reach the content and are pressed by rampant renegade CSS, more often than naught they will simply move on to the next site and omit your chances of ranking since your pages fail to qualify (as a result of clunky code).
The Solution: If you really have content that is worthy of sharing, hire a developer or spend some time studying to build a search engine friendly/compatible XHTML, .Asp, or PHP site using an optimized content management system. WordPress works just fine for blogging and you can easily customize it by recreating an XHTML template version of your site that is W3C compliant (in other words squeaky clean with bells on it) to flag the spiders that you are ready to play ball.
This reluctance to relinquish the past with the “I built the site myself at Angelfire mentality” is what prevents a vast yet silent majority of websites from achieving their top 10 aspirations. This becomes painfully apparent when you see examples of crusty content from 2 years ago cluttering up the pages, cobwebs on their ftp program or lack of fresh content whatsoever. Add a stint of questionable code with a poorly optimized site structure and your page is just asking for the boot.
Not to say that you can’t use a WSYWG editor and still achieve high rankings (after removing the bloated in-line elements) such as tables or outdated HTML formatting, but let’s just say that the internet is EVOLVING and it you do not, then those methods you clung to could be anchors dragging you down in the search engine result pages.
Content, is your Content Cutting-Edge? or Dull as a Butter Knife?
If you are a business seeking to make an impact with your marketing message, what good is traffic if it does not convert?
Granted, not all businesses are streamlined enough to shine in the spotlight online, but why just have a placeholder (as a website) when it could essentially replace all of your combined forms of advertising at a mere fraction of the cost per sale vs. print, radio, or television advertising?
The Problem – When asked about content creation, most small business owners reply by stating “they don’t have anything to write about or they don’t have the time to invest in developing new content for their website/brand”.
The Solution simply hire someone who does. If you are that pressed for time or are quite frankly stumped to devise content that can serve as a bridge between you and your potential prospects, then pay attention to intrinsic opportunities, share your white papers, describe something about your industry in detail, parlay press from exciting trends, products or services that you can integrate from perusing RSS feed from news sources, Ezines and the like. All of these things serve to provide your visitors with a satisfying reason to frequent your website or your blog again and again.
It’ all about value, if your pages lack it, then your just another bump on the road until they click the back button or browser to find one of your competitors that does offer what your pages lack. Strangers have no loyalty to your pages, unless you can convince them otherwise, this also applies to search engines as well. Search engine spiders are a tough lot to sell, they have been there, done that, seen that already and the uniqueness of your content is what they reward (by way of relevant highly qualified traffic that they can funnel to your pages) if you appease them.
Realistically there is a distinct formula for creating top 10 rankings, not that SEO’s devised it that way, but rather the search engine engineers did by creating quality guidelines as the gatekeepers of the top 10.
For example, we know as a result of trial and error that search engines like;
Fresh well written content Organized Site Architecture Traffic & Link Popularity
If you are not prepared to facilitate the 3 basic fundamentals of optimization outlined above, then save yourself the money on organic SEO, it simply may not be your cup of tea. Public relations and custom content creation may very well be more along the lines of a notable strategy to jump-start your internet marketing campaign.
In closing, What is SEO? Search engine optimization, much like a finely tuned piece of machinery, works best when pristine fundamentals are intact. SEO in a nutshell, is a synchronized collaboration of themed on-page content, frequent engagement from search engine spiders, impeccable keyword selection to integrate relevance and a healthy portion of off-page link popularity to balance to the equation. So there you have it, the search engine algorithm simplified.