I know a business owner who spent thousands — many thousands — to have his website “search engine optimized” by stuffing it with keywords.

Problem was, there was nothing on his site written for real people, only for bots.

Furthermore, the site was disorganized, ugly and confusing.

Everything seemed so backward from what he was trying to do.

He wanted more customers.

What he got was page 1 ranking for an obscure term that real people would never search for, and, if they did, they would land on his horrendous site.

Here’s the brutal truth: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Sure, you can lure someone to your website, but it doesn’t mean they will be happy when they get there. Of course, you can pay thousands to keyword stuff your site with a bunch of useless terms and phrases because you can’t rank for the terms that would actually attract new customers.

Yes, of course, people successfully optimize their websites every day. But they do it as part of a deliberate strategy (more on that in future columns), and they work it constantly.

If you are just getting started and wondering why you’re not getting the traffic to your site you think you deserve, then you need to take a step back.

Is traffic what you really want?

How about more customers? Happy customers? Repeat customers? Highly profitable customers?

Depending on how you answer, you’ll follow very different strategies to attract people — real people — to your website.   

Don’t rush to employ trendy SEO practices. Defining goals and aligning pros will improve your website’s success.

Instead of spraying keywords all over the place, invest in a strategy where the folks working on your behalf — marketing, sales, SEO, advertising, PR — can work together and amplify your results. That way, you’ll reap the long term benefits of a website that’s designed to help you make money, not waste it.

Sandy Hubbard is Print Futurist for Print Media Centr. She also consults with businesses about their online and “on-land” marketing strategies. You can find her on Twitter at @sandyhubbard.



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