Thinking About Search Engine Optimization
A couple of days ago I was painting and I got to thinking about how similar it can be to doing search engine optimization on a website. I wanted to share a few parallels I identified.
First, whether you are painting or doing SEO, don’t lay it on too thick. With paint, if you put too much in one spot it will drip, it will look unsightly, and you’ll have to go back and correct it. This is just as true of SEO. One of the things that search engines dislike is when you cram too many keywords into your website. For a long time, some SEO professionals would put as many keywords on the page as they could manage in an effort to rank high in the searches. After a while Google began to penalize websites that were keyword cramming. Your keywords should not represent more than about 3% of your total content on any particular page. You will have more readable content that way, and you won’t have to deal with drips.
Another area that is like painting is that you usually have to do more than one coat. After the first coat of paint dries, you almost always you have to go back and either repaint the entire surface or sometimes just touch up some areas. You have to do the same thing with search engine optimization. While Google and the other search engines don’t tell us what is in the formulas, or algorithms, they use to determine rankings, there are hints usually. Sometimes there are even more specific announcements when the algorithm is updated.
What that means for the business owner is that your website has to be reviewed on a regular basis to be sure that there aren’t any changes required for SEO purposes. I recommend reading as much as you can if you are interested in maintaining your own SEO, and Search Engine Land is a great online resource. I recommend looking at it at least once a week and are you also can subscribe for updates.
What Color Is Your SEO?
Using the right tool when you are painting makes the difference between putting it on too thick or too thin. If you use a brush when you should use a roller, you might get streaks. If you use a roller and you’re not careful, you can get paint on places you didn’t plan to, so it’s important to use the right tool. It is also important when you when you are doing SEO. I have used a number of tools that help me identify the right keywords to optimize for. One of the most common is the Google keyword planner, a free tool. If you have a Google Ad Words account (also free) you can use the keyword planner. It will help you identify good keywords for your website or your online advertising campaign. One thing to keep in mind when using a keyword tool is to identify unique keywords that apply to your business, but that aren’t heavily competed for among your competitors. In other words, look for an opening or a niche that you can exploit on your website and to attract viewers to your website.
The last piece of advice I have is when in doubt, hire a professional. If you don’t know how to paint or you’re not very good at it, you would hire a professional painter. The investment insures that the outcome will be professional and you will get the results you expect. The same is true with search engine optimization. Hiring a search engine optimization professional will help you achieve your goals. A good search engine optimization professional will not make promises about getting getting you on page 1 of Google in a few days time. Generally speaking, that’s a promise that can’t be fulfilled and it indicates that this individual or company may not really know what it’s doing. Be careful when you choose someone to do your SEO. Just as you would check the references of a painter, you should also check the references of a search engine optimization professional.
SEO – A Combination of Art & Science
Search engine optimization is not magic, but it does require knowledge and skill. It is part art and part science. Just as a paintbrush in the hands of an amateur can create a big mess, so too can putting a paintbrush in the hands of a skilled artist create a masterpiece.
I won’t promise you that your search engine optimization process will be the next Picasso, but I can tell you that if you engage a professional, or you spend time doing the research for yourself and learning how to do it properly, you will reap benefits. Those benefits will be more traffic to your website and ultimately, the most important thing, more sales.