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Search Engine Optimization -- FREE!

Page 7 — Final Tips and Resources

If you're looking for more seach-optimization guidance, try these resources:

  • Since 1995, Danny Sullivan has been tracking and reporting on search engines at Search Engine Watch. He offers this advice: "Start by designing search-engine-friendly pages. Use good titles and good copy (i.e., text on the page) to match popular search terms and tap into natural traffic. People only use tricks to make up for the fact they don't have good copy."
  • Danny suggests you tap into email forums like I-Search and the Rank Write Roundtable, where Webmasters discuss what works and doesn't, and share news and tips.
  • For more advanced tech talk, Webmaster World has moderated forums populated by an international cadre of sharp-witted (and sometimes sharp-tongued) SEO hotshots, some from countries where they still spell optimisation correctly.
  • Try the search engines themselves — they offer all kinds of information about search engine optimization, rankings, relevancy, submission, keywords, META tags, and everything else. Or just look at the pages whose rankings you wish you had, and see if you can reverse-engineer what they've done.
  • Browse your local computer book store. There are many books on search engine optimization, but read them skeptically: I ordered one for $50, and it turned out to be a 500-page infomercial for products and services with suspicious ties to the author.
  • Check out Artloop's source code. Christina and company will continue to think up new ways to achieve search optimization, and our very latest strategies will be implemented in that site's pages.

Between this article and the other resources listed, you can get more traffic to your pages than most of the $5,000-plus consulting jobs we looked at while writing our spec for Artloop, and you'll wind up with a lot less cruft cluttering up your site. But it's easy to get obsessed with search engine optimization. Just like with the lottery or the ponies, people get sucked in, hoping to find that magic META tag that saves them from ever having to work again.

Don't Get Obsessed

Search engine optimization can do a lot for your traffic, just like a good retail location. But it's a game of rapidly diminishing returns. That's why the people who do it professionally are consultants who keep moving from client to client.

The best strategy is to design your site to be crawled and ranked well from the start, rather than tacking on keyword-laden gateway pages and shadow domains after the fact. And if you're looking to become a world-class business, quit nit-picking your search engine ranking and look at successful Web merchants, like my hometown favorite, L.L. Bean: Their success comes from being what people are searching for in the first place.

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