Why Search Engine Optimization is Not Enough
OK. So you've created a nice website with lots of interesting products and information. Now all you need is visitors.
This is what online marketers call "getting traffic", and it definitely is a problem. In fact, probably much more of a problem than you realized when you got into this online selling stuff. You probably figured it was just a matter of creating a nice site and waiting for people to discover it. Get listed in a few directories; "submit" your site to a bunch of search engines, and you'll be on your way.
Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
Why it doesn't work that way
The reason is pretty simple. Most new internet entrepreneurs have no idea how important the big search engines are -- especially Google, MSN, and Yahoo. And they have no idea how these big search engines work. If they did, they would probably tear their beautiful websites apart and start over.
And guess what? That is exactly what most online entrepreneurs end up doing. If they are persistent enough, they eventually learn about the search engines, and they rebuild their sites the way they should have been built in the first place.
What they think they have learned
The reason they rebuild their sites is because they learn a little bit about something called "Search Engine Optimization" or "SEO". The mysterious art of SEO starts from the premise that search engines analyze websites in terms of content and subject matter. Their automatic "spiders" look over your pages and use hints within those pages to determine what they are about. If they see lots of words about "golden retrievers" on a particular page, then they assume that page is about "golden retrievers". These are known as "keywords" -- the words that indicate what your content is about.
SEO takes this fairly obvious fact and says, "Since the search engines are going to draw conclusions about the subject matter of your pages based on keywords, then you should make sure they see the correct ones." In fact, there are all kinds of little SEO techniques that try to exploit the way spiders draw conclusions about your pages.
Why this is not enough
Unfortunately, no matter how much SEO you do, it is still not enough to ensure you a high ranking in searches for your most important keywords. Especially if you are chasing popular keywords like most of us are. For instance, it really doesn't matter how much "optimization" you do for a keyword like "Real Estate", since you will be competing for search engine results with literally millions of other pages which are also optimized for that term. Why should they choose your humble little page?
The fact is, they don't choose yours. And the reason is pretty simple. Your page is just not important enough to rank a high position for a term like "Real Estate". You have to do something to give it some importance.
Making your pages "important"
The most effective way to make your pages "important" in the eyes of the search engines, is to get other sites to link to yours. When the search engines see a link pointing from an outside site to a page on your site, they assume this means your page is important enough to be considered a resource worth looking at. The more links you have pointing at your page, the more important your page is considered and the higher it will rank when people search for the type of content your page is about.
It is also important to understand that not all links are considered equally valuable by the search engines. The most valuable links come from other important sites that share your area of interest. For instance, if yours is a Real Estate site, then the most valuable links are from other real estate sites that have already achieved some importance in the eyes of the search engines.
To put this all in "link strategy" terms:
The best way to enhance the importance of your web pages in the eyes of the search engines, is by getting as many links as possible from relevant sites that are considered authoritative in your area of interest.
Rick Hendershot is an internet writer and publisher and is the creator of the Linknet Publishing Network. For information on products to enhance the exposure of your website and build traffic, go to Linknet Products.
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