Basic SEO Wisdom
This is a story about a poor guy with an inept domain that wanted to build a site geared for a very competitive keyword and his long, agonizing journey toward the true light of SEO wisdom.
Here's a little foundation for what I'm about to cover here. A while back I bought a stupid domain name. It was one of those fairly useless domain names that might have been good for maybe selling cellphones or something. The thing is, though, I'm a poor guy. I don't have time to taylor a site for cellphones with the pitiful amount of money I have. This was my thinking not long ago at least.
After sitting on this domain name forever I decided to put a site up there and give myself to the study of SEO or search engine optimization. It seemed like an interesting subject and I knew to those that managed to learn SEO, marketing, and some web design would fall infinite riches. It really sounded good to me.
So I went for the throat so to speak. More precisely I picked out some search terms that I will probably never be able to get traffic for in my lifetime. Smart I know. This had the grand side effect of having the site sandboxed by Yahoo and Google until pigs flew.
Recently they flew, however, and I've come out of the sandbox altogether and hit face to face with a few SEO surprises. I did manage to get a tiny trickle of traffic but not from the terms I tried to get it from. After trying to optimize those pages for the key terms I received traffic from I got more traffic. This of course started me down a long road of speculation and hair pulling.
After many a night of such I've come up with a few things that I believe will give anyone the power to eventually pull traffic off the net and covert it into a good decent living. I'll probably write an ebook and make millions one of these days.
Optimize by the page
Don't fall into the trap of focusing totally on building this far flung and far reaching site that will rule the world or make you millions instantly. Unless you have lots of money you're going to need to work for your traffic. Plan your site out carefully and make sure each page is a precision crafted piece of art.
I love serverside scripting and dynamic websites but I've come to realize there is a danger that people will overuse it. I know I have. If your site is dynamically generted, make sure every page isn't a total cookie cutter image of every other page. It's good to have the same navigation and same general layout but each page also needs to be special. Each page should have careful, proven SEO techniques applied to maybe a single key phrase.
Don't try to optimize one page for a handful of phrases. Just focus on one phrase. Do your keyword research and, whatever you do, don't haul off and pick a key phrase with 2 billion wealthy competitors in Google. Pick something that can be attained and can get you some traffic relatively fast. Select a phrase that is as specific as possible to your particlar niche and still gets a couple thousand or so searches per month from Yahoo.
Whatever you do, make sure that one web page has good, solid, desirable content that is keyword rich and one of a kind. This will help make it special. At the same time your content obviously needs to lead the customer toward your intented goal for monetizing your traffic.
Keep it simple
I've found to my dismay that building a complex web site with all the content management stuff and all the database thrills isn't exactly what really gets the attention of search engines. Weirdly enough this can be true for internet surfers too. A nice, clean layout with very accessible content and intuitive navigation will be recognized by both search engines and surfers alike. If you can figure that part out you've just pinned down about 90% of SEO in my opinion.
Engineer your site for your traffic
When you start getting search engine traffic to your site take a very close look at what they are searching for. I assume you have some kind of statistics program and can mostly see what search terms people are using to get to your site. When someone comes in on a keyword or phrase you haven't optimized for do a little research. Does the page they are coming to need touched up to include the search term or would this search term merit its own search engine optimized page to handle the traffic.
With every page you add you are gaining another potentially valuable piece of internet real estate. If you're doing your job right then eventaully each page should get its own traffic and you should begin to attain your goals. Patience and learning are the name of the SEO game.
About the Author: Adam Sullivan is a full time web design/programmer and work at home guy.
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