SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. SEO or search engine optimization is the act of optimizing your website for the search engines using the keywords related to your product or service so people searching online using those keywords can find your website.
Not too long ago you needed to have an ad in the yellow pages so potential clients, customers or patients could find your business. Today the yellow pages are almost obsolete due to the popularity of search engines and the internet. I say "almost", because occasionally I get calls from business owners who are still advertising in the yellow pages but are frustrated because they’re not getting a return on their advertising investment. The reason of course is that more than 90% of searches for products and services are happening online.
Although today most people search on the internet, there’s a slim chance potential clients will find your website if you haven’t optimized it for the search engines. Not only do you have to do search engine optimization to get traffic (visitors) to your website, but you also need to understand what makes a website effective once your visitors land on it.
To define “effective” in website terms, it is safe to say that an effective website is one that motivates your visitors to take an action - whatever that action may be – that you have determined you want them to take. This could be to download a report, sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase. This is where many SEO firms and almost all website designers drop the ball. If you take away anything from this message here it is...
Pretty websites don’t sell. Neither do websites packed with fluff describing how great you or your company is. On the other hand, websites that sell are those that engage the visitor by providing useful content that will educate them in helping them make the best buying decision. These are the websites that set the stage for transactions to take place, either on the spot or in the near future. Unfortunately this is widely misunderstood by most business owners and entrepreneurs. I find most people go to a graphic/web designer first to get a “pretty” website designed, and only after the website is done do they start thinking about marketing.
This is like putting the horse before the carriage and a sure way to pay in excess of 30% to 50% more. Do yourself a favor and consider the marketing and search engine optimization before designing your website. You'll save yourself a whole lot of money and avoid unpleasant surprises.