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What the heck is SEO, and does it actually work? - 2010-03-01

The short answer is that Search Engine Optimization of your website does work. The longer answer is that YOU have to work at it to make it work!

If you think that submitting your website's URL to Google or any of the other top search engines: Yahoo, Bing, AOL, etc. is going to make your site magically appear in their search results, guess what? It's not going to happen. I'm sure you have started to receive emails about SEO services that will submit your website to 500 search engines for $34.95... guess what? That's not going to make a difference either. In fact, rather than getting a top ranking on Google, you might just find your site getting blacklisted for spamming instead. So save your 35 bucks and we'll give you a couple of tips towards SEO that actually work. The catch? There is a little bit of work to be done.

The Google Algorithm is a pretty complex thing. I won't pretend to understanding it all. But one thing we do know is that Google likes link popularity - that is the more websites which have a link to yours increases your popularity and therefore (at least in theory), the quality of your site. So, start sending out your Christmas cards now! In other words, find out who your competition is, or better yet - your clients and fire off a polite email to the respective webmasters enquiring if they'd be interested in swapping links with you. More links to you means quality in the eyes of the infamous GoogleBot and that means a higher ranking on Google's results pages, and that means more potential customers to your site.

What else can you do? Well, content is King. Google likes fresh content. Update or add new information to your site on a regular basis. Once a day if you can. Show the GoogleBot that your business is alive and well and not some Internet artifact. Write new articles about your products or services, or update existing ones. Start a blog. Open a forum. There are all kinds of neat, easy-to-do things you can do which keep your site actual, both for the search engines and your potential clients.

Optimize your site for the keywords that you use in your content. And I don't mean, slapping a whole bunch of keywords into the keywords METATAG and hope for the best. Google hardly even looks at METATAGS anymore (except TITLE) - and you do more harm than good using METATAGs, so lose ‘em. Optimizing your keywords is using words and descriptions which properly describe your business, your products or your services within the content of your site. Good copy makes for good keywords. Don't write paragraphs and paragraphs of garbage that's just filler which says nothing useful about your products/services. Learn to write descriptive, snappy bits and bytes that reflect your goods and makes them appealing. Remember - visitors want instant, accurate information about your products and have very little time or inclination to waddle through a lot of garbage. So keep it short, simple and descriptive! And that's how you optimize your keywords in the process.

Not sure how to optimize your site? Can't even remember who your webmaster is? You can reach us at 1-877-247-1664 or anytime. We'll gladly assist you with your website and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics.

Kris Benson
Benson & Associates