[lsb-discuss] Reasonable search engine optimization

LDN LSB Mailing List lsb-discuss at linuxfoundation.org
Sun Jan 17 14:52:03 PST 2010

There is one thing you really lack," my friend told me. I had just shown him a website project I'm working on. As the owner of a large cleaning firm, my friend took an intense interest in my business model.

"What is it?" I asked, sure he was going to say something about my overall site design or the logo that I realized suddenly, as I reexamined it, was a bit tacky.

"Relationships," he said. "If you want to grow this website business of yours, you need to get out there and build relationships with real people." He looked thoughtfully at the site for a moment. "This is really good," he said. "But in all my twenty years in business, one thing has never changed - real business is built on making connections with people." He went on to describe how he gets clients from his church, his exercise club, and - especially - from satisfied customers. "You need to make that happen here."

"That sounds great," I said, a bit confused. "But your business is in the real world. I mean, you clean buildings. Mine is in cyberspace. What's the connection?"

He smiled. "Now that I know you build websites, I will put a link to your website from mine. Then you put a link to mine from yours. I know you. I trust you. My friends will too, once they know I do."

In the Internet world, we hear a lot about  Search Engine Optimization  (SEO) and backlinks. If you want Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to notice your site, you must take steps to make them. Part of that process is getting links to your site from other sites. The more sites that mention yours and link into it, the higher it goes in the search engine rankings. And in the Internet, that is better than gold. Research proves that when most people are looking for product, they almost always buy from the first ten search engine results. So if you show up on page fifteen, you pretty much don't show at all.

So back to my friend's comment. How can you build relationships and get links to your site? As I discovered, many of my friends and associates have websites - and all of them have been glad to link me. Even my church did. 

Maybe you have a dynamic site. How about loosening the rules? Instead of forcing people to sign up to comment or vote in polls, put a CAPTCHA on the form. People appreciate website administrators trusting them, and they will respond by mentioning the site.

Always be on the lookout for ways to encourage community. Add other people's pages to your site links. The more backs you scratch, the more people will visit your site.

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