Zen and the Art of Search Engine Optimization

The perfect Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign is completely at one with the needs of the web searcher.

Just remember this simple mantra:

“What’s good for site searchers is good for site search rankings.”

A great web site is like any great product – it will be used because customers like what it offers.

Your goal as a web site owner isn’t only to drive traffic to your website. Web site traffic is just a means to an end. The end – your true goal – is to persuade the people who come to your site to buy what you are selling or to take whatever other action your web site is promoting.

Like any whole, however, this goal is composed of many complementary parts.

These include:

● Conversion testing
● Usability
● Back-end sales
● Social networking
● User-generated copy
● List building
● Branding
● Residual income
● New income streams
● Affiliate programs

Strategy vs. tactics
SEO is one means for improving Web site profitability. It’s a long-term strategy that calls upon short-term tactics that can be implemented quickly for quick results. The sooner these parts are in place, the more data will be available to be used toward the larger SEO strategic goals.

SEO tactics include:

● Keyword research
● Google Analytics and WebMaster Tools
● Adwords
Title and Meta tags
● Schema
● Link Bait
● Link Building

The Art of SEO
Good SEO work has the grace and simplicity of art. And, like any art, it requires patient, persistent attention to detail. An expert at SEO tweaks the web site gradually, sits back and observes the results. Such gradual tweaking allows the web site’s surfers to remain comfortable on familiar turf.

Website components that deserve attention include:

● Information (Is it current? Is it valuable?)
● Links
● Site structure
● Ease of use (Is it easy to find information?)

Be good to Google, and Google will be good to you.
If you want a good Google position, make Google happy. And, in Google’s own words, “[We] return the results we believe are the relevant to the user. Relevancy is determined by over 200 factors… [Google] understands exactly what you [the web surfer] mean and gives you back exactly what you want.” (1)

Use only “white hat” SEO tactics. “Tricks” that you think will “outsmart” Google only take you down the path to the dark side.

Google pays thousands of smart people all over the world lots of money to provide extremely specialized feedback on the quality of search results. Within days after some SEO “black hat” trick begins to show up in Google results, Google responds by fixing it. It might take a while, but they will fix it.

And the offenders could be banned from the Google search database.

The power and complexity of Google’s search algorithm make it virtually impossible to trick. It changes too fast to be reverse engineered. It’s way too complicated for one person to figure out. And it’s not smart to try to fool Google.

Taking the first steps toward SEO Zen mastery
Among the first steps to SEO Zen mastery are prioritizing keywords, optimizing your site, setting up Adwords and measuring conversion rates.

These are the basics:

● Each page should have a unique title containing high-priority keywords.
● Keywords should appear the right number of times on each page.
● Keywords should appear both in groups and on their own.
● Keywords should appear in image ‘alt’ tags.
● Related search terms also should appear on each page.
● Keywords should be emphasized with larger fonts, bolding, color, etc.

Your site should have useful, valuable and current information organized around your high-priority keywords.

The Art of Science and the Science of Art
The achievement of this balance truly is an art. It does, however, help to have analytical mind.

Here are a few quotes from Google to illustrate the point.

● “We use more than 200 signals, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, to examine the entire link structure of the web and determine which pages are most important. We then conduct hypertext-matching analysis to determine which pages are relevant to the specific search being conducted. By combining overall importance and query-specific relevance, we’re able to put the most relevant and reliable results first.” (2)

● ”PageRank™ reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms.” (2)

● ”… our technology analyzes the full content of a page and factors in fonts, subdivisions and the precise location of each word. We also analyze the content of neighboring web pages to ensure the results returned are the most relevant to the user’s query.”

That last sentence is very important. Once must understand that the content of a page isn’t the only thing that determines search rank. Incoming and outgoing links are both very important factors. Some “SEO experts” will try to fool Google by getting easy links using “black hat” methods. They always get caught. Links should be placed in a way that makes most helpful for surfers seeking useful, relevant information.

Remember: What’s good for site surfers is good for site search rankings!

Profitably yours,

Craig Griffiths

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