SEO…what, why, how?

    Search engine optimization, search engine marketing, search engine management and then we have all the acronyms that go with them. But, what is Search Engine Optimization and how can it help us in marketing our Web sites or helping our businesses?

    Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of creating Web pages that will rank high in search engine returns. SEO is accomplished by optimizing certain sections or "elements" in the HTML coding of each page of your Web site. These sections are specifically read by search engines and, depending on the level of optimization, can create a greater likelihood of free referral traffic.

    You can have the most elaborate Web site that may have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but if no one knows it’s there, then your investment will reap you zero return. The only way your Web site will work for you is when it is seen by your potential customers. About 98% of Internet users never go past the first page on Google.  On top of that, the top three spots in Google get 80% of all clicks with the other 20% are spread throughout the rest of the page. So, it’s critical to find a way to get on that coveted front page of Google.

    SEO relies heavily on the proper use of keywords and key phrases that describe the sites content. There are several methods and opinions about how a Web page should be optimized and much will depend on the type of site, its content, purpose and competition. SEO usually involves on-site element (such as keyword usage and placement) and external factors such as link popularity.

    SEO can be a difficult, time-consuming and ever-changing process. It can take a significant time investment in keyword management and competition research to create an effective strategy. You have to know exactly what are your goals, understand the ranking factors of Web sites that ranked higher than yours, and how to implement a strategy that builds the relevance your Web site to compete in search results.

    Ultimately, doing this on your own can be a daunting task and so hiring an expert can be beneficial. Although this can be the easiest way to go, it does have its downside budgeting constraints. 

    An alternative is a company I came across and am now using regularly for my clients called AdzZoo. The firm has been around for almost two years now and has been in beta-testing mode through early 2010. It refined the process of helping companies get a complete online presence, which includes page ranking on Google’s search engine.  

    AdzZoo is a aearch engine marketing company that specializes in search marketing campaigns. It is one of only 160 Google AdWords Qualified Companies in the United States. In addition, on September 27th, AdzZoo was designated as a Google AdWords Certified Partner. You can read about what that means here. CBS News recently aired a story about how this company can help small businesses compete online. 

    Although I personally will recommend using AdzZoo to drive traffic to your Web site, this is not the only means to get on page one of Google. AdzZoo focuses on sponsored links which will get you in the "paid" portion (top of the page) on Google and in the Google maps section.

    Another way to get to the front page is "organically" and that can be accomplished by several means, social media being the more popular option since it is necessary to be active on the more popular social platforms. Here is a link to a site that features the most popular SEO blogs out there that can provide more information on SEO.

    As I have mentioned in previous blogs, it is important to have a strategy for a successful Web site. Most strategies are multi-faceted, in which components can be implemented over a period of time. It is not necessary or practical in my opinion to launch everything at the same time. There is so much that can be done and the tools to make things happen online are readily available. Some are free and they can get you moving forward and some are paid services that can save you time. Regardless of what you decide to do, the point is to do something, start somewhere and start now.

    Frank Guzzo is a speaker/trainer and coach at Emerging Sales Success, a sales and marketing consulting company specializing in social media marketing and focused on building solutions for regional, national and international businesses alike. He is also an independent campaign director at AdzZoo. The firm keeps up with trends, filters the noise and help companies and individuals put social media to work. To learn more about how you can use social media marketing or to hire Frank as a speaker for your next event, call  (858)633-7177.

    Posted online December 28, 2010.