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SEO – focusing on what’s important

By Rob Drummond on Wed 01 September 2010 in Web & eCommerce

I frequently hear to lot of small talk and voodoo about SEO, things like “hyphenated domain are better for high rankings”, or “getting high rankings on Bing is easier than Google”. There may be an element of truth in these statements, but they lead people to forget what’s important.

They might have worked for a particular site (or group of sites) at a particular time, but they aren’t universal principles.

At ProspectSoft we think there are only two universal principles – traffic and  conversion.

Traffic is the search optimisation part: getting more targeted visitors to your website in the first place. Aside from the voodoo and small talk, this basically comes down to having good, fresh, relevant content; having a good number and range of backlinks pointing to your website; and having a clean website optimised for both visitors and spiders.

*By the way if you were wondering what SEO is all about, I suggest printing out the above paragraph and taping it to your desk.*

Conversion is all about what happens when a visitor gets to your website – do they then either buy from you or take some kind of action which may lead to a sale? Many free tools are available to help improve your conversion rates; however you need a reasonable amount of traffic in the first place in order to test different ideas.

Beyond these two core principles, everything else isn’t necessarily a universal principle – i.e. it isn’t always going to hold true. I came across an excellent argument on this by Perry Marshall, who calls it the ‘tactical triangle’. The third addition then (or third side of the triangle) is economics, and this really comes down to making sure you have solid business processes behind your website.

In the middle of the triangle is the 80/20 rule – a constant reminder that there are hundreds of things we could do to increase traffic and improve conversion, however most of your results will come from a small handful of activities.

Perry goes into far more depth on his post than I intend to here, so if you’re interested in reading more I suggest heading here.