The search engine optimization, or SEO industry, is a huge online business, with a bucket load of books to be bought on the subject, and money to be spent on others providing the service for you. But is it all worth the hassle? Aren't the big boys always in control of the top rankings, so we should focus our time on other things? Let's take a look at the argument from both sides. There are plenty that are in what I call the 'paid traffic club'. They get all their traffic via paid methods, because they know that, for example, every single visitor is worth $1.50, which means they can spend $1 on every visitor, and make a huge amount of money by just repeating the process. That's all well and good for those that have reached that stage of sophistication, but for others, the paid traffic route can be a way of losing a lot of money.
This is the appeal of the SEO side of things, and it's not hard to see why - you do a good job of optimizing your site, Google gives you a good ranking, and lots of free traffic comes to your site. Of course it's not quite as simple as that, for 2 reasons. Firstly, because the theory sounds so good, and does indeed work if you can get good rankings, the savvy marketers spend a lot of time and money trying to work out how to get good rankings, so you'd better make sure you know what you are doing if you intend to compete. You will never be the first to discover any tricks, believe you me they will all have been tried and tested Secondly, Google in particular has a strong ethos about providing genuine results to their users, and does not want to see page after page of adverts. As a result, they frequently 'change the goalposts', using different criteria to rank sites, and not telling people what the criteria are! This means that the marketers at the cutting edge start all over again with their tweaking and testing to get the good rankings. Reading all that, you may think I'm in the 'paid traffic' club that SEO is too much hassle.
In fact, that's not true, not only is it *indeed* worth the hassle, it doesn't have to actually be that much hassle anyway! If you pick your keyword phrase properly, meaning there is a favorable balance between the number of competing pages and the number of people actually searching the phrase, and then design your site so that Google 'likes' it, you will get good ranking results as long as you are providing good content. Trying to cheat in SEO might work in the short term, but by providing the search engines with what they want, SEO is most certainly worth the effort in your traffic generation arsenal. It doesn't need a massive budget, it doesn't need a huge amount of knowledge, just pertinent knowledge, proven by others and applied properly. There are plenty of sites you can visit which will provide you up to date information about what is working at the moment and what isn't, so simply find out what is working, and get to work on it!.
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