I’ve spent a lot of time reading and studying the esoteric arts of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the voodoo that seems to make some web sites come up at the top of the lists at Google or Yahoo when people search on certain combinations of words. I long ago came to the conclusion that the real secret is actually rather simple: have good content and get a lot of incoming links to your site. But some folks like to make it a mysterious and complicated process. Mainly, I think, so they can charge a ton of money for not doing much. I’ve written before trying to make the process simple and fairly straightforward. But  this cartoon sums it up really well.

Not long ago a client whose site we had built called and asked if we could get them to come up on the first page in Google for a certain phrase. Seems they’d attended a workshop and the workshop leader had typed in the phrase, which, on the surface sounded like an obvious term for someone looking for this kind of a company. It included the word Eureka so they were localizing the search. None of the local companies in this industry came up on the first page. I looked at this client’s site and sure enough, the word Eureka was not mentioned. In ten minutes I added the word Eureka to the title tag and built a header on the home page that included the phrase. The change didn’t appreciably alter the content of the page and wouldn’t confuse or distract a human user. Within a week, the company’s web site came up number one on Google for that phrase. It’s still there. Oooh! Magic!

Now, of course, no work was done to see if this was a phrase that people actually use to find insurance brokers in Eureka. Nor was any follow up done to see if incorporating this phrase actually increased traffic to their site, and if so, did they sell more insurance as a result. These things, too, are not that hard to discover. Perhaps another day…

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