So often people are looking for the big secret to SEO that will but them on the top of the search results. There are literally hundreds of people and firms that make claims they can land you in the top 10 or at #1 in a matter of hours, days or weeks. But let's get real for a moment and examine the biggest secret of all.
The Big Secret to SEO
The biggest secret relates to there being just a few top slots available, but hundreds or thousands of people that desire those top slots. Moreover, there are hundreds of people who would like you to believe that they hold the secret to getting you into those top positions. The big secret is there is a lot of money to be made in convincing you that if you spend money, you will get the top spots.
The Reality of True SEO
While there may be a few small tricks of the trade, and an occasional niche method to getting traffic or rankings, in the big picture a commonsense approach is going to give you the best results. This commonsense approach is something that you don't need a lot of technical know-how to understand, and something you can develop yourself without paying someone. Moreover, once you have the right approach, when you do decide to pay someone, it will be focused on common sense, not Hocus Pocus.
First, I will examine the approach, and then I will elaborate on some of the technical aspects behind the common sense.
When someone arrives on your page, will they find it useful or interesting?
If the answer is "no" then this is the first thing you need to change. If you are investing in marketing and link building, but the page does not bring about a response from the visitor like clicking for more info, or registering, or buying something, then you need to work on this first. Take the time to ask some people you know about a page. Email them or post in a forum. See if people think your page is worthwhile or interesting. Then figure out how you can improve.
Do you have repeat visitors?
If people are returning to your site, the chances of them making a purchase or registering is increased. The chances of them telling a friend about you is increased. The chances of them placing a link to your site is increased. It is your job to come up with a plan to bring about repeat visits. There are many strategies including regular updates to your content, announcement of events in the near future, and making participation advantageous.
Technical Aspects of SEO
You are dealing with a super computer that could beat you at chess 99.999% of the time. They have played against millions of opponents, and know every trick in the play book. Google's latest Caffeine Infrastructure allows them to examine literally hundreds of different values about a web page and links pointing to that web page, and then process that data rapidly. Additionally, Google is factoring in user data (ex. Chrome and Google Toolbar) so they know quite a bit about your webpage's activity levels.
There was a time when you could simply change your page title, or go get some links with the right anchor text, and then you could rank in a matter of days. Now, not only is google a much more powerful super computer, but there are literally trillions of web pages competing against yours. Simple SEO tricks are not going to give you the bang for the buck they once did.
Conclusion and Best Laid Plans
The above may seem depressing initially if you have been thinking about SEO the old way for a long time, but there is plenty of room to grow and prosper in 2011 and beyond. Focus on quality in the following areas:
-- Quality content that is worth reading, helpful or useful to many
-- Quality link building where you find ways to place links to your site or pages in front of people that would find your site useful
-- Quality user experience where people find your site easy use, and have good reasons to return to see what you will be doing next
When your site exudes quality, Google has the data to know that you are going about it the right way. It's not so much then about playing a game of chess against a super computer. Instead it is about that super computer recognizing you have a work of art worthy of appreciation by many. This involves using appropriate strategies of search engine optimisation depending upon the country targeted. As you are starting 2011, think about quality and how your website can be not just some SEO project but a work of art. And in doing so, you will likely find that your rankings and traffic increase.
Good Luck in 2011!
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