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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Traffic: SEO vs Content

    At my "real job" (the one where I'm not the president), I was recently contacted by an SEO firm looking to pick us up as a client. I'm new to the whole concept of SEO, so I listened to the schpeil, and read the proposal report they sent me. I know that there are a lot of things I need to work on to improve the site (and there will *always* be things to work on to improve the site), but in reading about SEO, and seeing the recommendations, I have one nagging question:

    Which is better: SEO or just "having good content"?

    Let me expand on this: The site in question is a marine dealership. We sell & service boats, accessories, etc. It's built on WordPress, and utilizes the pages feature for it's structure. The homepage, however, is continually updated (2-3 times a week) with special deals, tips, and other news. I'm using the regular updating and relevance of topics to try to bring people back. If I start writing the homepage content with keywords and links in mind, I'm pretty sure that it will be to the detriment of the actual content.

    Because of the way this business operates (small-town, 3rd generation family-owned, owners are doing the work, etc) and the nature of our customers, the content throughout the site is written in a rather casual, friendly tone. Loading the pages up with keywords is likely to make them stand out in a bad way.

    In a sweeping generalization kind of way, what's the balance point? Or is there one?


    (On a side note: based on the site stats, most people are coming to the site by searching our name, not our products).
    M Blaze Miskulin
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    Which is better: SEO or just "having good content"?
    They aren't mutually exclusive. You can easily write good content that is optimised for the SE palate, without alienating your readers.

  3. #3
    Original Gangster silver trophy Thing's Avatar
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    Exactly. Good content is SEO!

  4. #4
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    In this case, your content.

    For 1... most cold calling SEO companies are 90% sales, and 10% work/knowledge. I would never use such a company. I've gotten calls before and have had fun with them. I'll ask the guy on the phone what techniques they'll use, they always say meta tags. I'll say they don't do much, he'll say they do. I'll say "Okay, lets search google for your company name and "SEO" and for my name and "SEO" and see who has been mentioned more in regards to the topic?"

    Anyways...

    2.... You're a local business well known in the area. What exactly would be your goal with SEO? SEO is most beneficial for global or national businesses, you have no interest in serving a boat 4000 miles away. So the question is, then, are there are customers in your geographic area who do not already know about your business? If there is, what is the best way to reach them? SEO? Maybe. Advertising? Maybe.

    But, if it is SEO, how much do you really need to do.

    You don't need to rank #1 for "boats. You need to rank #1 for "hodunk missouri boats" (or wherever you are). Geographically based keywords (other than those for major cities like new york) are significantly easier to rank well on than their more generic cousins.

    I'm willing to bet you likely already rank decently for such terms, and a few fundamental SEO techniques, easily learned, easily applied, and found for free, could help you with the rest. For the others, launching a 5 cpc campaign on adwords to cover those keywords would probably be easiest (consequently, it'd also help you get listed when people do a google maps/local search for a business).

    So, should you hire this company for what is probably a 4 figure sum? Nope, but maybe do a little SEO yourself.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru rockit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen View Post
    In this case, your content.

    For 1... most cold calling SEO companies are 90% sales, and 10% work/knowledge. I would never use such a company. I've gotten calls before and have had fun with them. I'll ask the guy on the phone what techniques they'll use, they always say meta tags. I'll say they don't do much, he'll say they do. I'll say "Okay, lets search google for your company name and "SEO" and for my name and "SEO" and see who has been mentioned more in regards to the topic?"

    Anyways...

    2.... You're a local business well known in the area. What exactly would be your goal with SEO? SEO is most beneficial for global or national businesses, you have no interest in serving a boat 4000 miles away. So the question is, then, are there are customers in your geographic area who do not already know about your business? If there is, what is the best way to reach them? SEO? Maybe. Advertising? Maybe.

    But, if it is SEO, how much do you really need to do.

    You don't need to rank #1 for "boats. You need to rank #1 for "hodunk missouri boats" (or wherever you are). Geographically based keywords (other than those for major cities like new york) are significantly easier to rank well on than their more generic cousins.

    I'm willing to bet you likely already rank decently for such terms, and a few fundamental SEO techniques, easily learned, easily applied, and found for free, could help you with the rest. For the others, launching a 5 cpc campaign on adwords to cover those keywords would probably be easiest (consequently, it'd also help you get listed when people do a google maps/local search for a business).

    So, should you hire this company for what is probably a 4 figure sum? Nope, but maybe do a little SEO yourself.
    Excellent Point. To me, it sounds like the business is in probably enough of a nice all you really have to do is ensure that you're in many of the regional directory listings, your address is located on a convenient location of the website template, and a few simple keywords and that's probably all you would need to secure a listing for a regional search.

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen View Post
    In this case, your content.

    For 1... most cold calling SEO companies are 90% sales, and 10% work/knowledge. I would never use such a company. I've gotten calls before and have had fun with them. I'll ask the guy on the phone what techniques they'll use, they always say meta tags. I'll say they don't do much, he'll say they do. I'll say "Okay, lets search google for your company name and "SEO" and for my name and "SEO" and see who has been mentioned more in regards to the topic?"
    Off Topic:

    I would love to be a "fly on the wall" of the moron who is dense enough to call and try to sell you SEO services.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  7. #7
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    cold calling SEO companies are 90% sales, and 10% work/knowledge.
    Absolutely.

    No, I mean *absolutely*.

  8. #8
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Are you sure that is the right ratio for cold calling SEO companies?


    that 10% looks way too high!
    Stephen J Chapman

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  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen View Post
    In this case, your content.

    For 1... most cold calling SEO companies are 90% sales, and 10% work/knowledge. I would never use such a company.
    Oh, I never had any intent of using them. I just wanted to see what information I could glean from them during the call. And I did get a few tidbits of information that will come in handy.

    2.... You're a local business well known in the area. What exactly would be your goal with SEO? SEO is most beneficial for global or national businesses, you have no interest in serving a boat 4000 miles away. So the question is, then, are there are customers in your geographic area who do not already know about your business? If there is, what is the best way to reach them? SEO? Maybe. Advertising? Maybe.
    The Marine industry is fairly competitive, and 100% luxury. While word of mouth and traditional advertising techniques are the foundation for our marketing, a strong online presence helps to set us above the competition. A significant portion of our customers are weekenders from 300-400 miles away. And they're the wealthy big-city types that are willing to buy the fancy boats.

    I'm willing to bet you likely already rank decently for such terms, and a few fundamental SEO techniques, easily learned, easily applied, and found for free, could help you with the rest. For the others, launching a 5 cpc campaign on adwords to cover those keywords would probably be easiest (consequently, it'd also help you get listed when people do a google maps/local search for a business).
    We have both a (very very small) AdWords campaign and a Google Maps listing.

    So, should you hire this company for what is probably a 4 figure sum? Nope, but maybe do a little SEO yourself.
    As I said above, hiring them wasn't being considered. But as I've been looking at the types of SEO I can do myself, several of the main points just seemed.... "an imperfect fit". Your reply has basically confirmed my feeling, as well as the idea that I'm on the right track in what I've been thinking:
    • Regionally-targeted AdWords
    • Google Maps
    • Rewrite links to be more SEO (and people) friendly
    • Offer good content that keeps people coming back.



    Thanks for the info.
    M Blaze Miskulin
    President
    Geek Niche Web Hosting

  10. #10
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    In my opanion content is king but you also need to do SEO. If your site have a unique content, a lot of internet user will come to your site. But a part of this SEO also become important and necessary. My site also still need to do SEO. I am also beginner

    Somchai Naamphai

  11. #11
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Decent content should only need minor changes for SEO since the search engines goal is to find the best content for a particular search. As they get better at finding the appropriate content the need to tweak the content for the search engines should gradually reduce.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Decent content should only need minor changes for SEO since the search engines goal is to find the best content for a particular search.
    "Best content". That's one of those subjective terms that make these things so challenging.

    I'm a writer. Not a copy writer, just a writer; fiction, poetry, editorials, really bad puns. Turning those skills towards writing copy for several businesses has been "interesting". This is what spawned the original question. What I write is (I have been told) fun and interesting. But it's likely that any particular piece of content will have little in the way of keywords that an SE will pick up on and cite as "appropriate content".

    From grade school on up, it's been stressed that variation is the key to keeping the reader interested; don't use the same words or phrases over and over. So, it's not a dessert, it's a "made-from-scratch butterscotch pie", a "confectionery delight" and a "seductive sweetness, rich with the memories of small-town America".

    So, someone who goes looking for "desserts" isn't likely to find the page. But someone who does find the page is far more likely to come down to the restaurant and have a piece of this pie than the person who finds the page that says "Come down and try our desserts. We have lots of desserts that are really good. Everyone loves our desserts."



    (Grrr... Now I'm hungry for piece of that butterscotch pie!)
    M Blaze Miskulin
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    Geek Niche Web Hosting

  13. #13
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    SEO has broad meaning. If you want success on your site you have to know good SEO technique. If your a good SEO you can create good content. Content is one factor considered by search engine in ranking a site.

  14. #14
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    All your efforts will go in vain if your site is not well optimized for search engine. Visibility requires you to be search engine optimized and you can easily do so with keyword rich content and adding a sitemap. Of course there are a lot many other techniques that you can research and are not at all difficult to follow.

  15. #15
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    SEO and good content go hand in hand. SEO is all about putting the Content in a pattern that suits the Search Engines. No doubt good content is the king.

    Parikshat
    Vinove - Your WebScape Partner

  16. #16
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssomaxp View Post
    In my opanion content is king but you also need to do SEO. If your site have a unique content, a lot of internet user will come to your site. But a part of this SEO also become important and necessary. My site also still need to do SEO. I am also beginner

    Somchai Naamphai
    I would agree a with that. Having good content but no SEO is like having a good punch but not being a trained fighter. That SEO training just focusses the power of your punch better.

  17. #17
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parikshat@vinove View Post
    SEO and good content go hand in hand. SEO is all about putting the Content in a pattern that suits the Search Engines. No doubt good content is the king.
    Actually good content is not for the search engines. It's for the humans. The humans then (hopefully) link to your content which is what makes the search engines happy.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Well written and plentiful content is definitely look upon favorable, also properly written and focused meta-tags are the other half the the onsite SEO equation...
    Evan, CEO
    Experience Advertising, Inc. Affiliate Program Management

  19. #19
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    Actually good content is not for the search engines. It's for the humans. The humans then (hopefully) link to your content which is what makes the search engines happy.
    Did you get my PM? I'd really like to know if I've got it or not.

  20. #20
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webvicious View Post
    Well written and plentiful content is definitely look upon favorable
    It is not. They don't know if content is any good without incoming links.

    Quote Originally Posted by webvicious View Post
    also properly written and focused meta-tags are the other half the the onsite SEO equation...
    100% untrue. Meta tags have no SEO benefits.

  21. #21
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Did you get my PM? I'd really like to know if I've got it or not.
    I got it. I'm still answering threads and should get to it soon.

  22. #22
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    I got it. I'm still answering threads and should get to it soon.
    Thanks Stymiee, just replied to your reply, still not quite clear on one thing...

    I'll post it here in case anyone else wants to chip in.

    You describe PR as "the quality score of the links pointing to that page" which has thrown me a bit because I had convinced myself that the score links have that gives you PR and the score links had for being relevent to a search are not the same thing.

    PR shows that you are linked to by quality sites but a page that has a high PR can still be less relevant to a search than a page with a lower PR but more relevant links or content. ?

    So PR is not important in search relevance, right?

    If I'm right I'm starting to wonder what the point of PR is.

  23. #23
    O Rly?? JakeJeck's Avatar
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    Back to the OP.

    There's a lot more to SEO than just content. Site architecture can play a big role. The CMS we use at work is old and horrible for SEO - I can't even modify page title tags! Not to mention that our most important pages use URL parameters AND cookies - without cookies you get pages with much less information. Since google cannot accept cookies they see our pages with much less content than what the users see once they have selected their location.

    Since you use wordpress for the most part it does an excellent job on site architecture. But to say SEO is only about content is foolish.

  24. #24
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeJeck View Post
    Site architecture can play a big role. But to say SEO is only about content is foolish.
    We may not agree about keyword density but I'd agree with what you've said there 100%.


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