Determining Search Engine Optimization Workload

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a complex process that requires both marketing smarts and technical verve. However, it is possible to discuss the topic if you know anything about search engines and web sites.

I talk to people every day who are thinking about optimizing their web sites to position better in the natural/organic search engine results. Today I want to share a few tips on how to figure out just how much work may be needed to get you closer to the top.

As you look for ways to optimize your site you’ll find everything from cheap twenty dollar do-it-yourself software solutions to robust outsourced enterprise solutions that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why the disparity? It all has to do with the scope of your needs. I doubt the do-it-yourself software solutions have ever worked for anyone, and yet not everyone needs (or can afford) the far reaching enterprise approach. So, where to begin?

I like to look at three major factors to get the conversation started:

  1. How many keywords would you like to target?
  2. How competitive are those keywords, or better said, how many sites that position well in search results for those keywords are heavily optimized?
  3. Where is your site currently positioning for your keywords?

Here’s how these three factors affect the amount of work you’ll be setting out to do if you want to catch the top ranking sites and position among them.

  1. The more keywords you want to target, the more work you’ll need to do.
  2. The more competitive the keywords are, the more work you’ll need to do.
  3. If you are currently thousands of results from the top, you’ll have more work to do than if you are currently positioning near the top.

The only way to sensibly tackle SEO is to take a best practices approach. Give the search engines what they want, rather than trying to trick them into believing your site belongs near the top. Neither the search engine owners and engineers, nor your potential audience will be happy if they find a site in the top listings that is obviously there because of trickery.

While today’s tips only scratch the surface, they always seem to help new people understand what may be ahead of them. No one should be fooled into thinking they can pay a small price and rocket to the top of search results. If it were that easy, every site would be a guaranteed number one listing. Impossible? Yes, impossible. There are no guarantees when it comes to SEO.