Is Search Engine Optimization – SEO – Dead?

Try Search Engine Marketing – SEM – Instead
By Randy Zlobec

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization as a standalone methodology, is dead as a doornail. Trying to accomplish high search engine ranking using SEO alone is a losing proposition at best and web site suicide in most instances. You need to incorporate an entire SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaign which includes:

–Link Building
–Article Writing & Distribution
–Press Release Writing & Distribution
–Pay Per Click Advertising
–Social Networking

So, what’s a webmaster to do? The term “webmaster” means staying on top of what drives successful, targeted traffic to your web site. It means staying up later than the average guy, reading, discovering, and learning the cutting edge of what it takes to make your site successful.

In the beginning, you could throw up any kind of page and get people to visit. Quality web pages were few and far between, and it was just astounding that you could get type on a page that others could view. Then came the keyword, the meta tag, the phrase, the optimization, software considered downright primitive in today’s world that would tell you your page was a cut above the pack. These days are long gone.

In order to get around the dead horse of SEO standalone, you need to be ready to add links, backlinks, and quality backlinks. You need to be able to do more than string three words together. Today’s readers are savvy. They want real information; don’t deliver junky, slapped together, non-researched splats of content and expect to maintain traffic and credibility. Today it is all about quality content, unique and different — that delivers a message that is both interesting and informative.

For basic optimization, you need to add things like blogging, dynamic updating, and social networking. Use the checklist below to smarten up your pages and make them more than SEO optimized. Knowing what makes them hum, what spiders love, will make your pages more than just web-ready. They will become traffic magnets.

Let’s Talk Keywords
If you remember nothing else, remember to put your keyword or keyword phrase in the <title>PUT YOUR KEYWORD HERE</title>. Many folks overlook this and just like that the spider glides on by—uninformed. If you are adding things like social bookmarking and blogging to your site and you forget this, you might as well be holding up a sign in a sandstorm.

Keywords in the URL do help. Remember if you are just redirecting a keyword URL to your web site to use a 301 Redirect which is the most efficient and Search Engine Friendly method for webpage redirection. See the sidebar on this page regarding redirect codes.

Keywords in your anchor text from another site. Called an inbound link, this is like getting a vote from another site. Be sure and have your keyword or keyword phrase as part of that vote.

Keywords in your <H2> tags. Yes, it is your headline. It’s important. It’s rated by search engines, and if your keyword is part of it, it’s rated higher. But be sure that it’s also part of your body text or you will probably upset the spiders. Never upset the spiders or you’ll be on page 11 million for your keyword.

Keywords in the <alt> tags. Alt tags are what your page displays when the pictures can’t be found or someone browses your page with pictures turned off. Spiders also read the <alt> tags, so if you have your keyword in there then viola, more credit for your page.

Article Writing and Distribution
There are a number of article directories where you can distribute your articles with your resource box promoting your web site. You will want to write relevant, short quality articles that build curiosity for your web site. You do not want to write articles longer than 500–600 words for article directories.

Articles as Bait
On your web site, you will want to have longer, informative articles on a specific subject related to your web site’s topic. Called linkbait, these articles are designed to inform and educate your readership on relative topics. This is not what articles for article directories are all about. They are curiosity builders. You write 300–400 words on a topic to demonstrate your knowledge on that topic. You include a resource or author’s box back to your web site where you can present a long, in-depth version of your material.

One important thing to remember when writing articles for directories. Each must be different and unique from each other, and each one must be different than the one on your web site. If you duplicate articles for the various article directories and they all have inbound links to the same content on your main web site, you will kill your page rank and credibility. If you can remember that article directories get you quickly indexed and offer a curiosity booster that acts as a portal to your main web site, then you’ll write accordingly.

Through these directories, you’ll receive a ton of backlinks as other web sites use your content on their web site. However, none of it will match what’s on your own web site, so it won’t be considered duplicate content, just inbound links.

Press Releases Are An Overlooked, Great Process
If you can write news copy, you can write a decent press release which will get your web site a ton of exposure. You will want to put out a press release for the following reasons:

  • To announce your new web site and what it’s all about
  • To highlight new products and services that you add to your web site
  • To review various themed parts of your web site
  • To announce expansion of your web site

Using press releases in this fashion will always guarantee a steady stream of visitors in that a well-written press release will usually be picked up by other sites and be rewritten and added to their new repository which increases the number of incoming links you’ll receive.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Using pay-per-click advertising is another way to get almost instant traffic to your web site. Utilizing pay-per-click giants like Google and Yahoo, you can pay for visitors to your web site. You list small, contextually-based advertising which is published across their network of web sites, and interested people click on your advertising and arrive at your site. This is one of the quickest ways to get traffic to arrive, but it can be costly to get started. Pay-Per-Click lets you advertise to the whole of the online community.

There are also text link advertising, classified advertising, and pay-per-post advertising where you can get other bloggers to blog for money about your product or service on your web site. It is a variation of PPC in that bloggers will write and review your site or service for a small fee and list you for a set period of time on their web site. It adds content to their site and gives you more than just a link back to your site.

Social Networking and Social News Sites
Web 2.0 and social networking are the next fastest ways to get traffic rolling into your site. To get the ball rolling and to give you some ideas on where to start, let’s look at the basics of social news networking. We want to separate this from social bookmarking which is for personal use. Social news networking is for when you want to advertising your business, home business, or professional site. It’s about providing news to the world about who and what you are, the benefits you offer, and why they should stop by.

Some of the better news sites where you can post your short articles include: Netscape, Newsvine, StumbleUpon, Digg and OnlyWire to name a few. These sites are news-hungry, just waiting for information about your web site. Whatever your site is about will be quickly and effectively disseminated by posting on these web sites.

Considered the second generation in online marketing, social networking is all about building communities of like minded individuals who are looking for certain things. You web site is taken into a group, and depending on your service or product, people arrive at your web site because of the tags and text you provide to the online community. There are as many social news and networking sites as there are interests, but the main ones to start with are listed but by no means complete. HBM

For more information from search engine marketing specialist Randy Zlobec visit

Previously published in the April 2008 issue of HOME BUSINESS® Magazine, an international publication for the growing and dynamic home-based market. Available on newsstands, in bookstores and chain stores, and via subscriptions ($15.00 for 1 year, six issues). Visit

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