Optimize your Search-engine Traffic

By: Ron Porter

I can't remember the last time I surfed the net, keyed in a specific search term, and got only one page of results. Now I get dozens of pages and hundreds, even thousands of hits. Ok, so what am I supposed to do with all these hits? One of the reasons I shop on line is to save time. And what with a gazillion sites entering the online universe every millisecond I'm gonna get beat up with all those hits! The fact is I seldom go beyond the first page and rarely dig deeper than 2 or 3 pages. So what about all those great nuggets buried deeper than the first or second page?

Research indicates that 62% of users "...click on a search result within the first page of results." An amazing 90% of users click on result within the first 3 pages. Let's see, about 10 results per page = 30 results for 3 pages. Hmmm, that's a problem for the other 970 businesses that want your money. So, how do those other 970 sites get eyeballs? Enter the magic and science of Search Engine Optimization.

Getting your website to rise through all the clutter and appear at the top, or near the top, of a search requires is a combination of sponsored and organic search. To be truly effective and cost efficient for either technique, your site needs to be optimized.

A whopping $643 million was spent on search-engine optimization in the U.S. and Canada in 2005, according to Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, an industry group with more than 600 members. Sound like a lot of money? That's because it is. But it represents only about 11 percent of the $5.75 billion spent on all forms of search-engine marketing. By 2010, total search-engine marketing is estimated to be an $11.1 billion industry! This stuff is real.

Search-engine optimization is complex and it requires staying up-to-date on all the changes within the various search-engine algorithms. If you've got time to do that, cool. If not, go hire an expert to get it right for you. Your expert will likely focus on three key areas to ensure your site is search engine friendly; Architecture, Links, and Content.

Architecture refers to the way a site is structured. In any given Internet search, a site that is built search engine friendly will invariably appear above a site that is not.

Links are defined as websites linking to other website. The more relevant sites that link to it, the more search engines will consider it to be a trusted and valuable site, putting it higher on the list.

Content is comprised of all the text, keywords, headlines, image names, and etc on a given site. The over all theme of the site must be relevant and consistent from a content point of view in order for the search engines to make the most of it. The best rule of thumb here is: if the content helps your users get where and what they want, it will have the same effect for search engines. What I'm saying here is don't sacrifice your users experience for the search engine. You can have your web cake and eat it too!

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