Does your company regard Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a key marketing strategy?

Clients have long coveted the highest rankings for their keywords but have not regarded the cost to achieve those rankings as worth the effort.   Clients have looked for shortcuts to achieve high rankings.  You’ve seen the ads in your inbox, your WordPress comments, and at the top of search engine results.  Companies that are promising top 10 search engine results for modest fees.  Companies which deliver shortlived results.  These are companies that utilize techniques designed to fool search engines into providing high rankings for certain keywords.  You might think that shortlived high rankings are better than low rankings.  Unfortunately shortlived high rankings come at a price and that price can be lower or non existent rankings for the long term.

Search engines return ranked results for keywords based on what their search results algorithm determines as the most valuable pages of content for those keywords.  It has taken time for these algorithms to mature to the point where search results are less affected by short term black magic, and are more influenced by long term marketing strategies.  Low cost black magic techniques don’t produce valuable content for the end user.  Sound marketing strategies do.  It’s pretty simple – search engines just want to return the right answer to a user’s search.

How do you help the search engines do this?  It begins by considering your keywords before you even develop content and site structure for your website.  Write content based on these keywords.  Next, structure your website pages so that they can be best interpreted by the search engines.  If your pages are built with semantic or hierarchically proper HTML code, search engines will understand what is important on the page versus what is not.  Search engines will then reflect how you have structured the value of keywords on your pages in their search results.  Lastly, with a clear picture of how you value the content on your website, search engines will also look at how the rest of the internet values your content.  Links from high value websites to pages on your website will enhance the value of your website in the eyes of the search engines.  Anchor text from those links will enhance the value of that text in regards to the page that it links to.  In general, the more people talk about your content, and the higher regarded the people are that are talking about your content, the higher your content will rank.  This strategy is no different than what successful companies have been doing for years – products and services have the greatest value based on their reputation in the community.

So the mantra for a successful SEO strategy is to just do Real Company Stuff,  a term coined by Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive.  Write content that people will talk about.  Write content that has value to your community.  Just do Real Company Stuff.  The search engines will thank you.  And more importantly, your clients will thank you.

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