SEO, or How to Get a Date with Google

When it comes to SEO and being found on the web, appropriate content is the secret for website visibility, defined as "content being especially suitable to what the searcher wants to find." It is the foundation of search engine optimization, or what I refer to as "getting a date with Google."

If you want people to be able to find your content on the web, read on for a crash course in common-sense search engine strategy.

In a nutshell, Google makes every attempt to identify content that is "especially suitable" for the search terms you use because their revenue depends on you using Google. If you want to be at the top of Google, then your content simply needs to be "especially suitable."

That's easy to say, but harder to put your finger on. Google uses more than 200 criteria for determining the suitability of a web page when a search is conducted. But, while marketing considerations are more important than technical, everything helps... or hurts.

You wouldn't want to read a book in which each chapter had the same name would you? So don't have the same title for all your web pages. It is common sense to ask yourself if you would find things attractive the way you have them.

This is important: People searching tend to use "problem" words that correlate with symptoms in medicine. But when people create websites, they tend to describe their business using "solution" words. Often the solution pages will not contain a single problem word and therefore, never be found. So be sure to describe your solution using the problem terms people might search with. In other words, use "pain" if you are selling headache remedies.

If you think in terms of dating, you can get closer to the truth about search engines and how they work. It is all about being attractive in every sense of the word. Just as when writing a dating profile, you need to empathize with the reader and present your site as attractive, make them a bit curious, and get them to take action.

Let's say your major interest is dancing. Do you write something that gently weaves the word "dancing" into the copy or do you hit them over the head with it? "I love dancing and want to go dancing. I hope you like dancing, too, so we can go dancing." That would put me off, and it puts off the search engines, too.

You probably have masses of other features you want to talk about to find a date. Do you list all 20 or 30 you can think of, or do you concentrate on four or five with the most importance to prospective dates? People think in topics, so you will seem more appropriate if you don't spread yourself so thin no one knows what you actually are like.

Do you use keywords that the date matching engine might take into consideration, such as "loves sports," "enjoys the symphony," or "skier"? How do you emphasis the more important features? Do you use bold or italic? Search engines notice these things, just the way men and women benefit from attractive clothing and good manners.

If you think of SEO as putting on makeup, you may recognize that too much makeup is a disaster.

Do you use a short ultra-elevator pitch that will come up when the group is presented, like "attractive skier loves to dance," or do you write something less specific, like "I want someone who dances"?

Do you get the picture? It is about content and relevance. Apply the same approach to a website or web page about any topic. Be a good conversationalist. Provide value to your visitors.

You can bring your content into sharper focus for the search engines by highlighting it in more technical ways, similar to using cosmetics.

This includes the file structure and file naming scheme for the website, and even the domain name. Balance the number of keywords to match the way you might speak or write. Sound too technical? Ignore it. Just use the right keywords the way you would in normal conversation. That's what Google is trying so hard to detect, normalcy.

Search engine strategies can be straight forward if you use common sense and a bit of imagination. Think about the content that you would find important and incorporate it into your site in an organized way.

Think Readers Digest. That's the way Google thinks and that's the kind of date they are looking for.

Disclaimer: While this article is a bit tongue in cheek, I use the techniques described for all my clients and they are all at the top of Google, so something must be right. My specialty is helping high-end professionals and businesses in specific geographic areas be easily found on Google.