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TomSavic
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Hey Jim,

I’m just as ignorant as you are about ‘what an SEO is’ … and everything I have read seems to imply it is a field of narrow and dedicated expertise where people with a good feel for how Google sorts through all of the worlds billions and billions of web content pages to find the best way to present you with the best match to what you are looking for.

The most appropriate results … in order of relevance … and popularity.

Most SEO experts will not be able to explain to you how it really works … and can at best take an educated guess at why it works … and that’s because Google keeps changing the algorithms it uses constantly … and can be pretty secretive about them too because a lot of money can be made by being the top ranked listing in an industry … and because sneaky marketers are continually trying to find ways (both legitimate … and illegitimate) to get their client’s name on the first page of Googles search results.

I have found SEO to be a highly specific art-form wrapped in science and maths.

The experts … are experts because of their accumulated knowledge and experience … and their trial and error derived knowledge of what works … and what does not.

Sure they can explain the rationale and logic fine enough … but I raise my hat to anyone who can make sense of keywords, links, backlinks, search algorithms, page relevance, differing content values and the weighting factors applied to specific styles of pages, words, content and link it all back to search criteria relevance … then explain it to a lay person so that they can do it themselves.

It is truly a dedicated area of expertise which rightfully attracts passionate and intelligent talents to make it all work properly.

Marketers will have you believe that if you are not on the first page of Google search results … in your nominated keyword niche (meaning what people type in the search field when using Google) then you are either wasting your time … or that you are not a very good marketer.

I don’t believe in such nonsense. We all have goals, budgets, objectives and not every tool is appropriate for every problem. There will come a time where the effort of being number on in a search ranking is an imperative goal for your business … and I wish you get there quickly.

But I see your question as one of priorities.

Where to first … and is SEO so important … that I just can’t do without it in my business.

A truthful answer would be yes … and no.

SEO is not for everybody. If you are going to rely solely on Google to bring you business opportunities … in a competitive field like online education… you better have deep pockets … a dedicated marketer … and proactive campaigns designed to attract people to what you have to offer …

And that also means … have a very well defined brand … that is easy to understand, trustworthy and likeable … and have benefits that are more relevant to your intended customers … than your competitors.

Because most times there is a mere nanosecond window of opportunity to get your message across to your intended prospects.

Me ….I like to keep thing simple.

I liken Google to the Yellow Pages. You have free listings, highlighted listings and display ads.

The more you pay … the more visible you will be.

Payment in Google is either in dollars if you don’t have the SEO expertise and need to pay for it … and payment for ads to attract people to your site … or payment in time … if you have to learn the art of SEO and continually work to keep it fresh, current and abreast of Google’s changing search algorithms … and what the competition is doing.

From what I can see of your comments … SEO will become more important as the awareness amasses around your business… sure put in the relevant keywords so people can find you … but consider it a free Yellow Pages listing … for now. As you learn what works in differentiating your business, your brand and your products … you can always revisit SEO later … armed with a relevant information to define a SEO strategy.

In the mean time I would be using the internet as a way of raising awareness for your offering … by forming relationships with potential customers… one at a time … or in relevant communities, forums and discussions … by providing free value … and in return … you will be learning about what problems your potential customers are trying to solve … what they think is important when deciding on a purchase of your style of product … and if you can … help them find a path to that solution.

Be it your solution offering ….or someone else’s … because people always remember when someone helped them.

The Yellow Pages is not for everyone … nor should it be … same with Google … it’s just become a lot smarter in how can get to place an ad in someone’s face when they are search for anything remotely relevant to the search term you entered.

Marketing today is about building trusting relationships with customers and prospective customer …and that takes effort and time.

So I would be concentrating my time on finding relevant people to tell your story to … and why it is … that what you have to offer is truly great.

Hope this kind of thinking helps.
Cheers
Tom