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Site Quality Enhancement
Search Engine Tinkering
And I beleve they are exclusive and here is why:
Working on the quality of your site is a full time job. It takes money, creativity and effort to have a site that is will have high stickiness and attract customers. Methods of traffic generation other than search engines must be found and exploited. On the other hand if your focusing on search engines it often excludes you from spending any time making your site a quality place to visit. Learning and researching and twiddling the engines, not to mention the cost of tools or services, takes alot of time and money. Sure you can spend very little in improving your search engine rankings and make your site great, but you'll be spending a lot of time in replacement of a lot of cash.
A site with focused content, and plenty of it will do well in the search engines. Making sure that your doing nothing to harm your ranking will be your biggest help. Don't try to twiddle your site if you don't know what your doing, focus on the basics and develop content. Spend time researching places where you can advertise with the best effect. Develop content for newsletters, an article there can advertise your site to hundreds of people at once. Look for quality opportunities for link exchange and banner ad's. Not a network of links or banners, but actually working with another webmaster to trade traffic in a constructive relationship. Local newspaper ad's can help, any way to get people to know and talk about your site. Focus on customer service and keeping up good customer relations, before the web there was mail and customer service. These methods and the time and money you don't spend on search engines may help your ranking anyway. Twiddler's will always have an edge, but they often get cut by it. Methods they work and research end up being caught or banned or just don't matter anymore. The engines really want to find quality sites and if you build it they eventually will find it. The thing is, since quality is what they want, they will develop technologies to get them closer to that. It's just a matter of time that all the search engine optimizing we talk about here will be worthless. Sure there will be more and more tricks and vulnerabilities found, but eventually they will also be fixed.
Quality will never go out of style.
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They are not mutually exclusive.
>It takes money, creativity and effort
Or creativity and *lots* of effort.
>Twiddler's will always have an edge
>Quality will never go out of style.
Let's hope so. However, if nobody ever visits your site how will they know it is quality?
Isn't it fun playing devils advocate ;)
Nope. Got tons of customers in this case with terrible rankings. the other methods you outline are great, though, and will help with traffic. SE's don't have a "good content" equation in their algorithm.
>The engines really want to find quality sites and if you build it they eventually will find it. The thing is, since quality is what they want, they will develop technologies to get them closer to that.
Maybe, maybe not. Quality is very subjective, subjective is hard to fit into an objective mathematical equation. Directories fit that bill somewhat but not SE robots.
>It's just a matter of time that all the search engine optimizing we talk about here will be worthless.
yes, but bring on the customers and build up a large client base in the meantime to prepare for it if and when it comes.
Real link trades (not link pages that no human ever sees)
Propagating Content (Giving/Selling your content to e-mail lists and news sites with your link on it)
TV - Radio - Newspaper, or other 'normal non-online' ways to advertise
Don't forget to put your site on your business card.
If your site makes you stand out from the crowd based on it's content then it will become well known as a site to get real useful information from. Word of mouth and customer satisfaction can really be a powerful form of advertising.
Someone finding your site in an engine is fine, your friend telling you about a kick-a55 site that sells something that he knows your interested in is much, much more powerful.
Work your site, and your e-commerce mojo and then focus on SE's.
Better yet hire a professional to worry about the SE's for you. Just make sure he/she is good.
Couldn't agree more. For some reason, lots of small to mid size businesses can be slow to realize that off-the-web promotion matters a whole lot.
Yes, business cards are one obvious place to plunk that URL. It's amazing that this can be overlooked when a company adds a web venture, but it happens. Every piece of paper that a business generates is a candidate for the URL. Certainly add it to letterhead, but there's so much more.
I advise every client, if you normally imprint anything, next batch add your web address. If you were going to pay for imprinting anyway, this is essentially free advertising. Return addresses. Mailing labels. Invoices, statements, receipts. Paint it on company vehicles!
Sometimes something really down-home ordinary can help a lot, like imprinted notepads, post-its or pens and pencils. Amazing how many hands one ballpoint pen can travel through in its life. How about imprinted packaging materials? A simple but useful give-away that's tied to your business. Amazon's bookmarks are a classic example.
A little ingenuity can go a long way.
The rule of thumb I've been using to advise small businesses: anywhere you print a phone number or zip code, the web address should be there and larger than either.
As for my own (web-related) business card, mine gives ONLY my name, email address, and primary website. It's a sign of the changing times that three years ago more than a few people commented negatively on these cards, almost taking offense that I didn't list a phone number. (This was EXACTLY the purpose --to screen the prospects.) Today, it raises an eyebrow or two, but that's about it --in fact, I'm now getting many more positive responses than negative ones.
But, to answer MB's initial post; Dollar-for-dollar, I can still produce more cost-effective, long-term results by devoting a day to tinkering with the SE's than I can with any other form of advertising.
In small, independent web publishers, MB's assertion that content development and tinkering are mutually exclusive is probably correct. But it's often due simply to the lack of time. I believe it's more of a lock-step process, each phase -SEO and content development- ratcheting up the other.
So many times a client has not been willing to share some vital piece of information, some big insight into the details of their business climate, for a long time into our collaboration.
When they finally are forthcoming, trusting enough to truly accept me as a partner and collaborate in depth, then they give up the tidbits that would have greatly helped from day one in targeting their site, their keywords, and even their overall business strategy.
I can't optimize a site well if I don't have a good grasp of the business ... and only the client is close enough to have the info that makes a real competitive difference. Heck, I can't even DESIGN a good page without that kind of knowledge.
The art of building confidence in clients. I'll bet there's a book or two about that!
Content Content and more content Will not get them there.I think that bigjohnt said it best... Twiddling will get them there. Someone once told me " Build it and they will come......" That is utter garbage. No build it and then make sure your url is every where to be seen. Letterheads,Bizcards, damn the best i ever did was a charity thing on the radio.. donated $100 and was able to get my site talked about (Well the url was shouted out on the air waves) Take out a ad in the local Newspaper. ANYthing to get your self known. I have still found the best is by word of mouth..
These are just my few cents on this Issue. I Still Twiddle everyday.....
I have recently run a webtrends and I have to admit, 80% of our traffic is SE traffic.
I - Optimizing for a year now - have hired someone else to do it for me.
I really hate the Engines.