Why SEO Will Make or Break You, Part 1
Today's article is about the wonders of SEO. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. If you know anything about our world wide web, than you surely know that the sites bringing in the most monstrous traffic are search engines. In the world of traffic, search engines control almost all of the pieces. If you stop and think about it, if you want to find something on the web, what do you do? Odds are you hop on over to Yahoo, Google, MSN, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, Kanoodle, and the list just goes on and on. Almost every method of obtaining traffic, other than offline sources and direct, random domain visits, all of your traffic is coming through these engines. Pay Per Click advertising, sponsered search, directory submissions, all these play off the search engine.
But what if there was a way to outsmart the search engines, (and keep your wallet nice and fat!)to use their own patterns and logic against them? Before we get started, you should know that a search engine finds you (for the most part)by sending spiders to your site, to index your pages and collect info, such as meta tags. But how does a search engine find you, and keep coming back?
1. The internet is literally a web, and every new site created is basically below the web, in a gigantic sand box. Your new site is literally one of millions sitting in the box, and your only way out is to be found by a "spider" (a search engine "robot"). You can play the waiting game, and wait and wait until it randomly passes over you (this could take anywhere from 1 month to many years depending on your site itself), or you could do something to attract the spiders. No, not by putting dead flies on your homepage (yes that was lame, bear with me), but by getting links. As the internet is a web, if you are linked to site a, you potentially have all of their visitors connected to you. The bigger and more popular site a, the more often spiders will visit that site, and if they have you linked on it, the spiders will deem your site (site b) worth visiting based off of a few factors: The popularity of site a, and the content of site a in relation to b.
Any easy way to get a ton of links to your site is by creating "blogs". If you don't know what blogs are, you should try googling it. You can create a blog with Blogger.com, owned by Google, and post updates it in with links back to site b. Google will index the blog (they own it!), find the links, and follow them back to your site. On average, with 3-5 posts a day on your blog, google will find your site within about 3-5 days. You could also create multiple blogs and do this, but that may be more effort-to-effectiveness than you want. If you are focused on Yahoo, use MyYahoo.
2. Content. Search Engines love content, the more relevant content the better! Even more important than the amount of content, is the frequency. If you were to update site b every hour, the search engine spiders will feel curious to what your updates are all about, and will often come back to check them out.
Updating content too tedious? Don't do it yourself silly! Learn to harness the powers of RSS. Don't know what RSS is? No one really does, although what we have learned from the little green martian men inside our heads is this, it stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a means of using xml code to connect to "channels", where the channel operaters (the webmasters, etc) may add content to the channel, almost always in the form of articles and news related stories. The beauty of this RSS system, is that MANY sites let users borrow thier xml code, and insert it into their own sites. Big deal right? Wrong! Every time your rss source (where you got the code from) updates their site, or their feed, your's updates too! Search Engine spiders realize that, and think you updated your site too, when all you really did was kick back and watch the traffic flow! If you really want to step things up a notch, you can become a content alligator. Oops! Content Aggregator! This is simply the practice of adding more than one channel into your rss feed, creating a mixture of more than two seperate feeds. This could mean that in theory, the spiders are seeing your site being updated every few minutes!
If you have any unique, personal content being updated by you or your webmaster, consider making your own feed for that, and submitting it into rss directories, for even more links.
Those are two of the most important factors, and for the rest, stick around for part 2!
Chris Everson in partnership with Mark Shay
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