Picture this scene, an adolescent boy walks into a barber shop and says to the barber, “Don’t touch me, I’m only here because my mom forced me.” Search engine optimizers are sometimes put into the position of the barber. They are knowledgeable and willing to work on their client’s site, but the client doesn’t want any modifications done to the text that is visible on her web pages. This kind of dilemma occurs due to general misconceptions about search engine optimization. Let’s look at these misconceptions.
1. SEO only involves writing meta tags and working on “invisible” code
Many people want to get a high ranking for various keywords or keyword phrases, but if you look at the text on their web pages you can hardly find these vital words. They come to a search engine optimizer and think that he or she will sprinkle these words into the meta tags and it will work like magic. This is a major misunderstanding.
It is true that your main keywords and key phrases should be in your title tag and your description meta tag, and even in the keywords meta tag, but they must also appear on the page itself and they must appear in some strategic places on that page. Some clients say, “But I like the way it looks now.” You may like the way it looks, but the search engines will not recognize that your page is truly about Electronic Widgets unless these words appear in headlines on the page, in the opening paragraph, in the file or domain name in link text and in the body text of your page.
So, by all means if you already have copy that works, that can convert visitors into buyers or otherwise accomplish the purposes of your site, keep it. But you should also be ready to listen to what the optimizer has to say about modifications that will enable search engines to select your site when a potential buyer makes a query for your key words or phrases.
2. Search Engine Optimization is Tricking the Search Engines
Some clients say, “Don’t touch the visible copy but put in the modifications invisibly.” Using invisible text is something that can get you banned from a search engine. The main purpose of search engine optimization is to give your website the best possible chance to come up in good positions when someone makes a query for your keywords or key phrases. The key to doing this is to design web pages and write copy that is intelligible to search engines, without sacrificing the experience and understanding of your end-users, the people who visit your site. So, don’t ask your SEO professional to try to trick the search engines, but work with him or her to present your website in the best possible way.
3. Search Engine Optimization deals mainly with onsite modifications
Even if your website is well designed, has proper meta tags and has keyword-rich text, this alone does not guarantee that your site will rank high in competitive queries. All of these factors, design, meta tags, and copy, are on-site factors. Search engines certainly take them into consideration, but they also value off-site factors such as how many high quality or authoritative websites link to you. This means that hand-in-hand with your on-site optimization you and your promotion team will have to embark on a campaign to get links to your websites coming from websites that are already highly regarded by the search engines and by the public in general.
4. Search Engine Optimization works instantly
Don’t expect to get a flood of traffic right after your site has been optimized. Some search engines work in a fairly rapid manner, but the main search engine at the present moment, Google, is believed to have deliberately put an aging delay into its algorithm. This means that it may take several months before your site makes it into the top results for your particular category, especially if it is a newly created site. During this initial period you will also have to consider using other promotional methods such as pay per click advertising, article marketing, joint ventures, paid advertising in ezines and offline advertising.
So, the next time you work with a search engine optimizer, let him or her go about the task of making your website both user friendly and search engine friendly.