Why bother with Search Engine Optimization?
While scanning the requests for experts yesterday on PR Leads [aff] I noticed a most interesting query: "For a top home improvement retailer's e-magazine/newsletter, I need to find experts/leaders/authors who can speak to the benefits of using search engine optimization. If possible, in your reply, please include a short synopsis detailing how a small business should use this technique and why it is an essential tool."
In my opinion, this question is a real core issue for any business in the 21st century. In a nutshell, more and more people are moving online to find just about every product and service imaginable. They do that primarily through search engines like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft Live (Nasdaq: MSFT).
What these three search engines have in common is that they analyze every page they find on the Web to automatically figure out both what the page is talking about and what some people call a "quality score", a quantitative measure of whether the content is unique, where the inbound links are coming from (a link from the NY Times is far more valuable than a link from some spam site, for example), the ratio of content to advertising, and so on.
If you have a site online and you aren't clear about how those sites work and what they're looking for, you are doubtless finding that you can't be found when people are searching for your own product or service. And if they can't find you, they can't hire you or buy your products.
The upshot? Your business is in serious trouble.
Fortunately you don't have to do anything shady or "black hat" to gain far better search results. You just have to understand the value of unique, quality content on your site and how to present it in a manner that helps the search engines figure out what's going on.
Key questions include: are you publishing fresh content with regularity? Are you writing about your products or about broader topics of interest to your marketplace? Are you participating in the discussion on other sites and blogs, or are you sitting waiting for others to contact you? Are you writing good titles for your articles, titles that both help the search engine figure out what you've written and help readers quickly determine if the article's for them or not.
I also have a book on this subject, Growing Your Business with Google, that explains in great detail how the search engines work and how you can customize your content to match and gain significant new traffic and customers with zero cost.
That's how I answered this reporter's query. What's your answer to this question?
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