15 Apr Why Search Engine Optimization is backwards

Almost every new or potential website owner asks the question: Can you get me to be number one on Google? This has led to an entire industry known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Unfortunately, many individuals saw this as an opportunity and this activity has basically become a scam. There are some inherent problems with SEO:

1. The Internet is dynamic. Even if it were possible to get your site listed as number 1 for a particular keyword, the addition of just one new competing website, or another site changing, would affect your ranking.
2. Google is dynamic. The criteria Google uses to determine your page rank this month might differ than what it uses next month.
3. A higher page rank, and even higher traffic to your site, does not guarantee that you are getting quality visitors who can purchase from you.
4. The most popular search term for almost every website is the name of the company – in other words, the person already knows who he or she is looking for. If the name of your company is “WebStoresLtd” and you are not number 1 on Google for that word, you have a problem. Just make your domain name and title tags be your keywords and prove it to yourself (That’s a hint if you are looking for additional domain names to point to your site).
5. It is not Google’s responsibility to make you successful. Google displays results of websites that are already successful. This is the most important thing to remember – don’t get caught up in the “backwards” thinking of SEO.

Google Page Rank (named after founder Larry Page) is an attempt to measure how popular your website is for a given search term. All of the SEO tricks in the book cannot improve your site’s popularity. The ONLY way to improve your sites popularity is by increasing the number of incoming links to your site and having people actually click on those links. The more popular your site becomes, the higher it will appear in the Google results. Large companies sometimes mandate that their employees default home page is the company website specifically to increase the number of “visitors” to their sites, thus increasing their popularity.

Here is a quote directly from the Google Webmaster Guidelines:

“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages…Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users…Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?…Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”

Bottom line: build a quality content-rich site for your users. Then market your site using techniques that will get others to “talk” about you. This can be in the form of creating a YouTube video that everyone wants to see, or writing blogs about you that include a link to your site. Send emails to potential customers with an incentive to get them to view your site. Register your site with industry-specific directories. In other words, work on becoming the most popular site on the internet for your particular niche (lots of incoming links and lots of visitors), and then Google and the other search engines will rank you higher. Popularity may take time, but getting to be number one on Google is a result of being popular – you don’t get to be popular by being number one.

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