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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Google's power -- Success at Search Engine Optimization

In the last few weeks, I've noticed a significant increase in the number of inquiries and requests for newsletter subscriptions. Today, I found out why -- this blog and related websites now occupy three spaces on the first page of Google with keywords Construction marketing.

Is a high search engine ranking important for your business? Yes, the Web and search engines are now the most powerful 'reach' resource in connecting people who may be interested in your services.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a significant business, and experts and pseudo-experts market their services (though the best real experts don't need to market themselves; they have far more business than they can handle, through referrals and references). As I have achieved SEO success within the construction industry marketing niche, these are the principals that have guided the process:

  • Content is king -- you need real, meaningful and useful information, without commercial and self-serving marketing. "Selling" with the immediate aim of getting money from clients will not work as well as sincere sharing.

  • Backlinks from credible sites are vital -- but you can't 'force' this issue. You earn the backlinks not by pushing yourself onto others; but, again, through your content. Higher rankings occur naturally this way.

  • Article and blog directories are helpful -- they won't put you to the top right away but make it easier for people to find you.

  • If you don't have a blog, start one. Blogs provide a dynamic and active way to interact and build interest and traffic. As well, if you update your blog frequently, you'll create more page files, more opportunities for backlinks, and more 'buzz'.

Remember, most importantly, that this is not a quick fix -- you won't find cash rolling in and serious inquiries right away -- in fact, the minute you try to 'force' interest in your business, prospective clients are likely to run away. You need patience, and most importantly, must put your own business interests behind those of your readers -- I probably won't track my first real business/client from the Internet initiatives for another year or two. But the efforts, as noted previously, are not wasted, even short-term I can recycle blog entries for articles in my newspapers, and have discovered real and immediate advantages in recruiting employees and providing better service to our current clients.

P.S. A note about copyright. Often I 'borrow' images from Google. What about the copyright of the image owners? Unless the image is explicitly public domain, we must assume that the image is copyrighted and should only be used with permission. However, providing an inbound link to the image owners provides real value in most cases for the copyright holders -- both in traffic to their site, and in their Search Engine rankings. Of course, if someone explicitly says "do not copy" or requests we remove the image/link, we will, immediately. A higher level of permission seeking is required for print use, simply because the printed work is permanent and cannot be deleted with a button click.

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