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Is Search Engine Optimization The Best Bang For Your Buck?

Computing : E Business

With millions of searches being done through search engines, going after top ranking in search engines seems to make sense. You know the traffic is there, so why not go after it? Unfortunately many people spend a lot of time and money on search engine optimization without getting the results they desire.

Here are some potential pitfalls to search engine optimization (SEO).

1. Competition is fierce! Every web designer, Internet marketer, search engine optimization company and web site owner in the world wants their web site or their client's web site to be on top, so there is a lot of talent and money being focused here. Competing here is expensive, especially as more and more large companies with huge budgets start to muscle in.

2. You are spending money with no guarantee of traffic. SEO companies don't control how search engines rank sites, they just test and try to reverse engineer the "recipe" search engines use to rank results and then change your site, hoping for different results. So, all the money you spend isn't going to building traffic, it is going subtle changes to your web site to try to guess the recipe.

3. Any effect can take months. Any changes to your site may not be indexed for months. In the case of new links to your site, Google actually waits to give you an improved ranking based on more new links to your site to make sure they are still there 3 months later. This is because some unethical SEO companies were building link farms to artificially make their client's sites rank higher in the short term.

4. Search engine ranking recipes change without warning. You can drop from #1 to #5,000 with no warning when the search engines change their recipes. So, if this was your primary source of traffic, your business is toast! I recommend people get traffic from a wide range of sources that they track. This way, if any one dries up, you still have most of your traffic.

5. SEO has nothing to do with conversion. Huge amounts of traffic alone won't make your site successful. You need to drive the traffic to a page that successfully turns visitors into customers.

6. There are many lower cost ways of getting traffic. Spend $600 on SEO and you hope for traffic. Spend $600 on Google Adwords and EVERY penny brings you visitors. Thousands of visitors, in fact. One free service I use, Instant Buzz, sends me people very month for free.

Some of the elements used by search engines to rank a site might include:

  • text on the site
  • domain name
  • links to the site
  • how many people click on the site listing when it shows up in the search engines
  • quality of sites that link to the site
  • format of the site (html, frames or flash)
  • title and meta tags
  • text navigation

The two main ones outside of the optimizing company's control are the number of quality sites linking to you and how many people click on your listing when it shows up in the search engines.

If you have a very limited Internet marketing budget, Search Engine Optimization is probably not the best bang for your buck, but it can be an effective part of an overall Internet marketing strategy that includes lots of other techniques.

If you have a minimal budget, and still want to use SEO as a marketing technique, you can:

1. Use software like NicheFinder to find high traffic key words others have missed.

2. Optimize your web site yourself using search engine optimization software like Web Position Gold.

Garland Coulson, "The E-Business Tutor" is an acclaimed speaker, author and coach in the field of Internet marketing for small business and home business. For more information, visit The E-Business Tutor web site at www.ebusinesstutor.com or call toll-free in North America at 1-866-413-0951.

By: Zzz on Wed, Aug 10th 2005

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