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Can Search Engine Optimization Help Me?

Search Engine Optimization Realities

Search engine optimization can help your business in a number of ways.  There are a good many myths about what it takes to place well on a search engine and even more myths about what being number one can mean for a business.  The most important way that search engine optimization can help your business is by making your website more available to search engines and therefore to the web browsing public and potential customers.  Optimization ALONE is not enough, think of it this way: if you optimize your car to be a race car does that mean that you will win every race?  Of course not, but it does give you a better chance to win any race that you enter, search engine optimization is no different.

What Can Search Engine Optimization Do?

An optimized web site is one that is designed to be highly visible to search engines.  This means that when a search engine's robot agent, commonly called a "spider" visits your site, it can easily move through the site from page to page and pick up all the text you can possibly offer it.  Spiders are not very intelligent, they don't know how to read pictures or animation and they think that any word near the top of a page is more important than words at the bottom of the page.  If you wanted your web site to pop up on when someone searches for the word "widget" but the word "widget" was not the first word on your home page... then the spider is going to think, this company must not feel that widgets are very important. 

To further complicate things, what you see when you look at a web page is not at all what a spider sees.  A spider sees the page in code, and just because something APPEARS on a page to be at the top does not mean that in the code that created the page that the word is at the top. 

Here is a quick example, take a look at the following sample page layout:




We sell so many widgets it would just make you sick if you could possibly imagine the number of widgets that we sell in a single day!  Buy your widgets from us!!!!

What do you think is the first thing that the spider will see?  It isn't WIDGETS.. it's "SITE MENU" and then it sees "-Home" and then it would be anything in the red area that came after home and then finally... WIDGETS.  The reason is that the code that created what you see above looks like this:

<table><tr><td style="vertical-align:top; background-color:red">SITE MENU<p>-Home</p></td><td style="vertical-align:top; font-weight:bold; background-color:white>WIDGETS WE SELL EM!<p>We sell so many widgets it would just make you sick if you could possibly imagine the number of widgets that we sell in a single day!  Buy your widgets from us!!!!</p></td></tr></table>

Ugly isn't it?  To make a long story short, search engine optimization would call for re-arranging that code into something that makes a lot more sense to a search engine, so that it sees the content the way that a human being would see it when they come to your website.  This is the very first thing that one does when performing search engine optimization on a website. 

Another thing that search engine optimization can do is to make sure that you are making good use of the words on your pages.  An simple example is a sentence like this one:

"When you buy one of our products you can expect to get the best widget that money can buy"

Compare that sentence to this one

"When you buy a widget from us, you will get the best widget that your widget dollar can buy"

Both sentences make sense to a human being but to a spider the second sentence is worth a whole lot more, because it is very speciffic, there is not doubt whatsoever to the spider that we are talking about widgets and that we think that they are very important.  By engineering the words on your site and using special software tools, a search engine optimizer can make sure that the content on each page is as finely tuned as possible for both human and spider eyes.

What Can Search Engine Optimization Not Do?

One thing that search engine optimization cannot do is make your website sky rocket to the top of the charts.  There are many companies out there that promise to make your website #1 in weeks or some even promise days, the sad thing is that this is possible... kinda.  Search engines, just like people can be duped and taken advantage of and while it is getting more difficult all the time, it is still possible.  The trouble is that you may make it to number 1 by using this type of service, but then when the search engine discovers what's going on, your domain will be black listed from their database and once that happens, it's time to buy a new domain name if you ever want to have any hope of getting on a search engine again... ever.  Another way that these services move your site to number 1 is by including your site in link farms.  This method is practically useless and generally never leads to hits on your site but helps increase the value of domain names that the link farmer will later sell.  Finally, another method that will make you number 1 for sure is for the optimizer to use unpopular key words on your site.  Your site will perform very well when someone enters one of these key words, because the key word will be one that is rarely used. 

How Will Optimizing My Site Help Me Get Customers?

As we said earlier, search engine optimization alone will not help you do much.  Search engine optimization is a piece of a larger puzzle that can be called search engine marketing.  A good search engine marketing program comprised of: search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click and content management will help!  Combining all of these elements helps your business by making your website a more useful tool for your customers and a more attractive data morsel for the search engine spiders.  A good campaign will present products and services as  specifically and completely as one of your sales people would.  Rather than try to list all of your products and services on one page, we break them down into seperate pages, 1 page per product or service, we link related products and services together... all of these things make your site more useful to your customers and help drive them directly to the information that you want them to see and convert that viewer into a customer.

More Information On Search Engines and SEO

There is a lot of information and details that go into understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing.  It can be a lot to take in and can seem hopeless, we're here for you.  If you would like to learn more about how search engines can help your business give Fox Development a call or send us an email today!