Monday, April 09, 2007

Want Some Pie?


Search Engine Optimization, Back to Basics, Part 1

Getting your website ranking well on the search engines is a tough task. You try to research and learn the techniques, but who do you believe? Everybody seems to contradict each other. Rumors and innuendoes fly, stories and secrets dance from blogs and message boards, advertisements and promotions scream out, “Don’t waste your time with the others, we can help you!” It all seems a jumble of confusion.

As a beginner in the world of website entrepreneurship, how can you sort it all out? How can you know if this company or that company can really help you? Of all the information out there, what’s up to date, and what’s obsolete? Who can you trust, when you just don’t know?

Well, it’s that last part that’s the key. If you gather some real information, then you’ll be in a better position to know who to trust with the future of your website. Knowledge is power. With that kinda power, you can talk sensibly with potential ad companies and nail it down right the first time. With that kinda power, you could even learn how to do it yourself.

So, with that in mind, these next few articles are designed to introduce you to the world of search engines, and to help you understand how to fit them into your overall website marketing plan.

Before we get too deep into the technical aspects of SEO, we need to establish some core principles. If you understand these core principles, then the techniques we talk about in the future will make much, much more sense.

A Slice of the Pie

First of all, take a minute and imagine your favorite kind of pie. What is it? Pumpkin? Key Lime? Apple? Mine is Chocolate Cream. Go ahead, and let your mind run wild with it. Mine is a thick, mousse-y chocolate with a thick crust made of crumbled Oreos. It’s got at least an inch and a half of whipped Cream on top, with chocolate sprinkles and Hershey’s shavings on top.


Now I’m hungry…

So, have you got your picture in your mind? I want it to be tempting to you, because that’s going to help motivate you. Imagine that you’ve got a whole pie there in front of you, just waiting to be sliced up and served.

Now here’s the question:

Are you going to eat one slice of that pie and throw the rest of it away?


I didn’t think so. That’s actually a pretty silly question, isn’t it?

OK, here’s the analogy: This pie represents your total website traffic, or at least your site’s potential. It’s big and beautiful and delicious. Traffic in the beginning equals customers at the end, right?

You might also notice that your pie has several slices. That’s also true of your internet pie. You have a slice that represents your search engine efforts. Another slice represents link exchanging. Another is for blogging, and another is for forums and email efforts.

I’ve worked with people before who seem to think that all they have to do to have a successful internet business is to put it up on the net, submit it to the search engines, and then watch people pound a virtual path to their door. It’s true that the search engines are a vital part of your marketing strategy, one that you should put a lot of thought and effort toward. Search engines are possibly the biggest “slice” of your internet pie. But they are only one slice. There are many other ways to bring traffic to your site, and you should try all of them. Many of them actually enhance your search engine ranking, in addition to bringing you direct traffic.

Don’t just taste one slice of the pie. Eat it all!

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome.

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