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Monday, November 02, 2009

NET-TECH REPORT: SEO for CEOs – Search Engine Optimization Revealed!

Net-Tech Report with Chris Kauza

If you’re like most other business owners, the term “search engine optimization” will mean very little to you. Either that or it means “an expense item”! But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you feel like you’re standing in a dark room handing money to strangers to get you in the search engines, then you need to read this.

I was inspired to publish this article after a recent client meeting. By the time a business meets with me, they likely have been frustrated by their own attempts at SEO, or they have been sold "a bill of goods" that promised them very aggressive and near-instant results.

I'm hear to tell you that there is no magic bullet, no "quick fix" to make this happen in any kind of a sustaining fashion. I'm a business owner writing this for other business owners and CEOs. I can't use this article to make you an “SEO Expert”, but I will give you some insight into what you are spending your money on, what you should be spending your money on and what you shouldn’t be spending your money on.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is really a process of helping people get to know you and your business. If it's done well, you will gain visibility and new, productive relationships. Done poorly, and you could have your site "de-indexed" (i.e. - no longer searched) by the search engines.

About 75%-80% of website traffic comes through search engines, and research indicates that most people don’t look beyond the first 2 pages of search results. This means if your website doesn’t rank in the first 2 pages of the major search engines, it’s only receiving 20% of its rightful traffic… and revenue.

(And remember, being ranked number 1 when you search for your company name or web address doesn’t count. You need to rank highly for the words your customers use type into search engines to find your products or services.)

The biggest concern for search engine companies like Google, Yahoo, etc., is finding content that will bring them more traffic (and thus more advertising revenue). They do this by using complex algorithms to determine whether a site is useful and should be included in their search results.

This is where SEO comes in.

SEO is the art of achieving a desired rank position in the search engines. Nothing more, nothing less.

SEO means creating your site such that the search engines consider it useful. The two main weapons in your arsenal are:

* Keywords
* Links to your site


Figure out what words your customers are looking for at search engines, and use those words in your web pages that are relevant for these words. By appropriately using keywords that are important to your customers, you tell the search engines what that web page is about. The easier it is for a search engine to understand what your web page is about, the more likely it will get highly ranked for a relevant search on those keywords. Use these keywords in your website copy and in the .html code for the page.

It's easy to understand how to use keywords in your copy, but it’s not always easy to do. You can’t just inundate your site with a meaningless array of words. You have to balance keyword usage in your copy for both the search engine algorithms and the human reader. The trick is using the most important keywords in the right amount without compromising the readability of your copy. It’s a balance between writing for the search engines and writing for your reader.

TIP: If you find this too time consuming, a website copywriter can take care of it for you. And if you know your keywords already, it should cost you no more than normal web copy.

The next part of using keywords in your .html code is a little harder to understand, but it’s easier to do. There are four main places these keywords are used:

  • Keywords
  • Description
  • Alt
  • Title

TIP (NOTE: this is a useful exercise to use on your competitors, when performing competitive research): When you hear people talking about meta tags, this is what they’re talking about. To see how meta tags are used in practice, go to Google and pretend you’re a customer. Search for something your customers would search for. If you’re in car audio, search for “car audio”. Click on the first couple of results to bring up their website. Right-click on the home page, and select “View Source”. You’ll see a whole lot of code. You can ignore most of it. What you’re looking for are the following…

meta name="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="keyword 1,keyword 2,keyword 3"

meta name="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Meaningful description of page using the main keywords"

img src="filename.gif" alt="Meaningful description of picture using the main keywords"

[title]The title of the page using the main keywords[/title] *see Editor's note
* This should really read "<" and ">" instead of "[" and "]" - but Blogger refuses to allow it.

Take a look at the way the creators of the site have used keywords in these areas, and follow their lead. You already know they’re ranked highly, so chances are they’ve done a good job. Alternatively, you can take a look at one of my sites ( to see how we’ve done ours.

LINKS – The Art of Link Building and Getting Others To Link To Your Site

Now that you know how to tell the search engines what you do, let’s talk about how to convince them you’re important.

Links to your site (or “inbound links”) are the most important factor in ranking. Think of them as a “vote” of how good or relevant your site is – the more votes (links) a website has, the more important it is, and the higher its ranking. The more links you have to your site from other sites, the better your ranking (related sites with high Page Rank will tend to generate better rankings for your web page(s)).

There are many possible ways to generate links. Some are dubious (like auto-generation software or vendors who promise “hundreds” (or more) links to your site in a very short period of time). Others are legitimate, but offer limited results (like asking customers and suppliers to list you on their sites, and adding your site to various business directories). You can experiment with these methods, but I’ve always found the best way to generate inbound links is to share information.

If you want to rank well in the search engines, share good, high quality information. The search engines like it because it will help them understand your relevance more easily / quickly, thus placing you higher in search engine results pages (A.K.A. - SERPs). Your customers will like it because it will help them understand how you can best solve their problems, much more easily / quickly as well. A great way to do this is to write helpful articles and let publishers of newsletters and e-zines use them for free – and ask them to link back to your site.

People who publish e-Zines and newsletters are always hungry for quality content. And there are websites out there dedicated to giving them just that. One of the best places to start looking for these sources are online publications in your industry. If you submit a well written, relevant, helpful article to one of those sites, you can have many newsletter publishers ready to publish you content on your behalf.

Not only will this help you build links to your website, but it will serve to build and enhance your credibility in your field. Readers of your article will see that you know what you’re talking about, and because you’re published, they’ll see you as an authority.

Link Building (done the right way) is a very time consuming task; it’s impossible to say how much time you’ll need to spend generating links. You just have to keep at it until you have achieved a high ranking. Even then, you’ll still need to dedicate some ongoing time to the task, otherwise your ranking will drop.

Bottom Line: if you have a lot of the right keyword phrases, used in real sentences, distributed realistically throughout your site, and a lot of links from other relevant sites, you stand a good chance of being ranked highly.

That’s what you’re paying a good SEO provider for, and that’s what SEO is all about.

What do you think? Have you tried these tactics and strategies before? What have your results been? What do you recommend people try? Please share your thoughts below – thank you!

For more information, please visit Chris' TNNW Bio.

Published by THE NATIONAL NETWORKER Newsletter. All rights reserved. Subscribe Free For Your TNNW Newsletter and THE BLUE MONDAY REPORT! - Click HERE.
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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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