Getting an advantage in the competitive online marketplace can be quite challenging. Once online marketers start to see some success, some have a tendency to put their head down and focus solely on the business at hand. This can lead to missing some of the other opportunities to gain business, like using SEO. The top webmasters have an understanding of SEO and how it affects their sites. There are many myths about SEO and what it is, but even if you have never heard the term it can be easy to apply and benefit from SEO.
SEO is the process of making technical and stylistic changes to optimize your site. Technical SEO uses Meta Tags, Alt Image Tags and some off-page techniques. the style changes are made to make the content more friendly to the search engines, bold, title, highlighting keywords help the search engines deliver more accurate results. The natural outcome of optimizing a site is increased traffic from search engines, and ranking higher in the results that are delivered to their users.
SEO won't necessarily change the look of your site. However, it is sometimes a good idea to make a few structural changes to the site so it is easier for the search engines to read. Many times some subtle changes in your headings, focusing on your keywords in text, adding content can make a big difference in your overall SEO. Depending on how competitive your chosen keywords are, you can expect to see results from your SEO efforts fairly quickly, sometimes in just a few days. However, when you are starting your SEO effort you should start with some broader, less competitive keyword terms and work up to more competitive ones. This way you can get the momentum going and gain PageRank to compete in the more competitive terms as you move up in the search results.
Tracking your website statistics is the best way to track your SEO and know if your SEO efforts are bringing the desired results. Basic statistics are included in most hosting packages, or you can check out GoogleAnalytics. When you are analyzing this data, pay attention to where your traffic is coming from.
When you start to see increasing referrals from the major search engines you know you efforts are working. Then, watch where your traffic is coming from on a geographic area. If you only ship to The US, you wouldn't want to attract visitors from Australia.
If you sell globally, then you will be able to determine where you product is hot. If you are using other advertising methods like pay per click, or Banner Ads, direct them to special landing pages so you don't skew your results with traffic from paid advertising. SEO is far and away the best way to attract free, highly targeted traffic to your site.
The increased traffic and sales that come from incorporating SEO into your marketing and advertising make it well worth the effort.
Rob Emmerson is a leading expert in SEO and has written extensivly on the subject in articles and eBooks. He offers a free step-by-step SEO Course. In addition he writes a daily SEO Blog where he shares tips and tricks to improve your SEO.