Many people think that Search Engine Optimization involves some sort of magic formula.
Sadly, quite a few SEO firms perpetuate this myth by shrouding their work in secrecy and mythology, spouting ten-dollar words like "algorithm" when they talk to potential clients. They make it seem like their SEO work is similar to driving the space shuttle and mere mortals can never do it.
Note to regular readers: I have written about this subject several times, but it is worth a re-visit based on how many people ask me about it.
Almost inevitably, I find that the sites people want optimized (and that the SEO firms work on) are crap filled. They're poorly written. They ramble on and on in an egotistical way about what the companies' products do. They're filled with industry jargon and corporate gobbledygook.
I tell people that they need to understand their buyers and create great content that buyers will want to consume. That way, their pages will attain high rankings as the search engines gradually reward the great content.
Usually I get pushback. People say they just want an agency to "tweak our existing Web pages." And, of course, many SEO firms are happy to take their money to do this.
Sorry, this doesn't work. The only way to create high search engine results is to create great content that people want to link to.
Performing search engine optimization on a crap-filled site just makes it slightly less crappy.
I'm amazed by how a piece of interesting content (a blog post, an e-book, a Web page) can generate high rankings for a tiny company, rankings way above those of the big, famous organizations.
Your challenge: Go to Google and do a search for the important phrases that your buyers are using to find organizations like yours, and look at where you fall in the search results. Consider what great content you can publish to trigger a World Wide Rave that will get people linking to your content and send your site to the top of the search results.
An aside: There are many excellent SEO firms that understand content. I am not picking on the entire industry here. I am pointing out that there is no easy way to "get high rankings" that matter.
Image courtesy of Pulled Over