Search engine optimization. Everybody wants it. Few people understand it. Yet, in order to get a better grasp on the topic, it's important to take a look at what SEO is not.
SEO is not a magical formula that you can add to a website. It's not simply a concoction of keywords and tags, and it certainly isn't something that can be done overnight. In fact, SEO is the broad topic of getting ranked higher on search engine results. While this is obviously important, much of this happens naturally if you focus on broadening your web presence. Here are some key areas, paralleled with a fictional restauranteur for comparison.
If a new restaurant opens, how do proprietors get noticed? For one, they tell their friends. The virtual equivalent of word-of-mouth is through social media. Leveraging the power of these free tools is incredibly powerful. The exposure you can create through these networks is without equal through the history of human communications. You are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, aren't you? If you aren't, now is the time. If you are, get active. Keep your portfolio and experiences up-to-date on LinkedIn, tell your friends about promotions through Facebook, and tweet often with industry professionals.
When people eat at a restaurant and enjoy the experience, they will recommend it to their friends. On the web, when others write content about your business or link to your site, your exposure can really explode when geared toward the right audience. Consider a blog. Consider hiring content strategists. Relevant, up-to-date, and well-written content will get noticed - especially when it spreads through social media. You can share the wealth by linking to resources or businesses that you believe in or partner with. The more strands you have on the web, the stronger your presence becomes.
A restauranteur may also advertise with fliers, coupons or print ads. The virtual equivalent could encompass a Google AdWords campaign, Groupon campaign or an email campaign. While it may cost money for these services, you can start with very small campaigns to see how people respond.
It would be foolish for someone to open a restaurant in an old, run-down building with poor lighting and ugly decor. It would be equally foolish to publish a web site on an unreliable server with non-standards compliant code and poor design. Sure, there are tons of cheap deals out there for hosting, coding and design, but when problems arise while you're trying to expand your web presence, these can prove to be big investment mistakes. A well-structured and designed site not only gets noticed by search engines, but it is easier to maintain, update, back-up and keep secure. It is also accessible for people using a variety of browsers.
There are many factors to consider when broadening a web presence. Thankfully, there are professionals like us who live for this stuff. We can provide the tools to manage your web presence and the design to make it sparkle.