This article is the second in a series of Spider Food / Search Engine Optimization / SEO articles. Your website should promote your business and your business should promote your website.
Have you heard the story of what Wal-Mart did to Rubbermaid? It is a very good illustration of why you should not put all of your eggs in one web basket. A few years ago, when Rubbermaid needed to raise prices because the cost of a a key raw material had gone up, Wal-Mart refused. Wal-Mart had the attitude that “You might be Rubbermaid, and you might have a great name, but you’re not going to tell us what to do, we’re not going to take your price increase, and we really don’t care what it does to you.” Since then, Rubbermaid has shut down many of its US facilities, and laid off more than 10,000 workers, there could be more than twice as many more laid off over the next few years as Rubbermaid is forced to move much of its production overseas in order to remain viable while satisfying Wal-Mart’s hunger for low prices.
I know that you want to jump right to all of the magic tricks that will put your website on the first page of Google, Yahoo and MSN; we will get down to that soon, but there are some other very important principles that you must learn first. These preliminary foundational principles are where the real website promotion magic is secretly hidden. Don’t try to skip over learning and applying these very important first steps, cheating and skipping many of these steps is what most everyone else does, and you are reading this because you want to do it better. If you learn and apply these principles fully, you will automatically have success in what you now see as that elusive pot of gold at the end of the SEO rainbow. If you learn and apply these very important first steps you will have success that is so far beyond those coveted first page rankings that, while they are important and very desirable, by the time you get there I promise you that you will no longer care about them as much as you do right now.
Try a search for any of the phrases that you want your website to be found by. How many pages show up for that search? For one of mine there are 319,000,000, I happen to have a top listing on many of these, but I don’t want to fight with 319,000,000 people to try and keep it! For just about any phrase that you come up with there will be thousands, or more likely millions, of other sites that are vying for that top ten position. Why devote all of your website promotion time and budget on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with those kinds of odds? If you think that is a good idea then I bet you play the lottery too, and actually expect to win someday soon. Let me clue you in on that one – the lottery is just a tax on people who are bad at statistics and math. Spending excessive amounts of time, money and energy on search engine optimization is for webmasters that are too dim-witted to realize that there are lots of other ways to get people to visit their websites. It is for people that do not know what you have already learned, and what you are about to learn.
Think beyond being listed on the first page of Google, Yahoo and MSN to WHY you want to be listed on the first page of Google, Yahoo and MSN. WHY do you even care about this? I can sum up why for you in one word – TRAFFIC! You want these top search engine positions because they will generate traffic to your website. What you really want is traffic, NOT a first page ranking for your website. It should be obvious to you that the success of any website is in direct proportion to the amount of visitors it receives. If success is about visitors, then why on earth would any reasonably intelligent human being devote 95% of their website promotion efforts to a single method of advertising their website? Here’s something even more obvious that you may not have thought of. Google is not the only way that your site can be found on the web. Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the only way to be found either, there are directories, there are banner exchanges, and there are hundreds of millions of other websites and even other search engines. How many of those list your site?
If you really want to build steady, long-term traffic to your website then advertise it in every legal way that you can think of. This will require time, effort and cash. You can spend a lot of time and effort and a little money, or you can spend a lot of money and a little time and effort. If it was easy and inexpensive then everybody, including you, would have already done it and you wouldn’t be reading this. If you are looking for the easy way to get visitors to your website then you bought the wrong book, if you want the best way then read on.
Here are some other web baskets for you to put your eggs in:
- List your site in at least fifty to a couple of hundred directories
- Exchange quality visible links with at least 100 (preferably 300 – 500) sites
- Exchange banners with other sites in your genre
- Start a small Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising campaign with Google, Yahoo and a couple of the smaller PPC engines
- Write some articles related to the genre of your site and have them posted to other sites or included in their newsletters
- Have your site reviewed by an independent review site; if you are lucky enough to win any kind of award, post it on your site
- Donate products or services to non-profit sites or to commercial site contests in return for advertising and exposure
Add your own ideas to this list and try them as well. Contact Us if you have any ideas that you think should be added to this list. This is advertising and promotion that will not be undone in the blink of an eye by a Google or Yahoo algorithm change. These ideas, and the ones mentioned in Spider Food (1), will provide a solid foundation for steady traffic to your website and to your business.
Later sections of Spider Food will get into how to increase traffic by having those top rankings, but these introductory, foundational principles will focus on traffic and success for your website WITH or WITHOUT all of those Googley Yahoos! The moral of this section is to diversify your website and business promotion beyond Google, beyond search engines and even beyond the internet. Don’t become dependent on any one source of traffic and leads, diversify, diversify, diversify… And remember, your website should promote your business and your business should promote your website.