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*Well, sort of!

My last post posed the question, "for search engine optimization content writing: how much is enough?" But it's kind of a trick question: There are certain SEO challenges that pretty much defy an easy answer. Sure, if you are asked to answer the question, "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" you could respond "as many as will fit," but how useful is that?

So it is with SEO. The best you can come up with for a lot of 'best practices' questions is to provide some general guidelines. And I'll at least try to do that with this post.

The Labyrinth of Search Engine Optimization

There's something about a website that makes even the most experienced and insightful business people suddenly unsure of exactly what they need to be doing to bring in new visitors (and then turn them into new prospects). A big part of that is the fact that Google and the other search engines are quite secretive about the exact methods they use to determine which sites get ranked highly for any particular keyword. This is perfectly understandable; Google and the others don't want website operators to fashion their site content for the purpose of ranking rather than providing valuable content to Google's search users.

Here is the problem, though: In the absence of concrete guidelines for how to get your website ranked, a legion of 'SEO experts,' ranging from the honorable to the highly unscrupulous, ultimately emerged onto the scene. Each of these individuals and companies have generally claimed that they have perfected the "secret formula to get you on the first page of Google." (And that ubiquitous claim deserves a post of its own.) The problem is, there are too many websites, too many areas of focus, too many different kinds of businesses for there to be a single formula for Search Engine Optimization success. But many people seeking a solution to their SEO needs just didn't want to accept that as the truth.

Many business owners raced down this rabbit hole of secret snake oil formula sellers -- something they've come to regret post Panda and Penguin. And even those that resisted these come-ons couldn't help but end up being confused as to what the best approach to Effective, Ethical Search Engine Optimization should be. How do you find your way out of the Labyrinth before the Minotaur gets you?

How Much Content, and How Often to Update?

So, it's no wonder that business website owners have had a hard time figuring out the balance between adding new content or updating existing content to bring in new visitors versus how much content is necessary to address what would logically be the appropriate amount of information needed to effectively address the questions and concerns potential customers might have regarding their company's products or services.

So, what is the answer, then? Well, in my last post, I posed the Search Engine Optimization volume question this way: "Is the number of SEO keywords I can afford to optimize on an ongoing basis enough to meet my goals for increased site traffic?" And the answer is actually a simple one: It has to be.

So now, you're thinking, "Wait Robert. What kind of answer is that?" And to that, I respond, "You have model your site's goals to fit within your budget, so focus its' structure to maximize the return you will get from the investment." A better way of putting it might be, focus your site on meeting the needs of your primary customer, or on those customers whose needs you can best address. Be true to what the heart of your business is about. You can't be all things to every potential prospect, no matter how tangential they may be to your core business.

Optimizing What You Do Best!

What does this all mean in a practical sense? Well, say you run a sporting goods store, but you happen to be particularly accomplished at fly fishing. If that's the case, perhaps you website's blog should focus on that as a subject, at least primarily. Sure, you might not be hitting every potential customer with blog on fly fishing (of course, you should have already made sure your general-purpose topic pages on your site are properly optimized for organic search first!), but you will begin to draw a steady stream of customers for at least this one important income stream. And, since you also run a general sporting goods store, it won't be too hard to tie in some of the other important keywords you want to keep optimized. Eventually, you'll find the time or resources (perhaps other staff members of your business who are expert in other areas) to expand your optimization.

By staying true to the area you can really meet the needs of people searching for information on Google, you may be surprised to find that you're spending less to succeed more in both the short and long term. And perhaps even more critically, because of the changes that Panda and Penguin have brought to the practice of Search Engine Optimization, you'll find that your Search Engine Optimization efforts are succeeding while many of your competitors' efforts are crashing and burning. I'll explain why that is in my next post.


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