Sunday, September 16, 2007

The ultimate librarian

In ancient days of long ago, if you wanted to find out about something, you went to your local library and asked the librarian for help with your learning project. She or he would then point you in the direction you needed to go in order to quickly find the learning reference materials that would help you in your project.

Think of a search engine as the ultimate friendly librarian. A search engine is more than that, of course, but for the time being it is helpful to use the librarian metaphor.

When a person turns on the computer and connects to the internet, he is interested in one of three things. He wants to learn, he wants to shop, or he wants to be entertained. Your job as a proud website owner (internet store entrepreneur) is to provide all three of these things. You need to teach, you need to entertain, and, of course, you want to sell something along the way.

In order to begin his travels on the internet, the user will type in an address in his browser (or he will click on a button which types in an address for him.) If the address he types in is, or any other merchant's address, you as an internet store owner are out of luck. But if he types in the address of a search engine instead of a direct website address or one of his favorites, you still have a fighting chance. That is to say, the search engine might recommend your website to him.

Fat chance, you say. Fat chance indeed. But the truth is, there are truly several things you can do that might influence the gatekeeper librarian. Doing these things is what is known as Search Engine Optimization. SEO. For starters, it wouldn't hurt you to study up a little bit about how search engines work, how they rank websites, what they are looking for. Armed with that information, you can begin to rearrange and remodel your website accordingly. There will be more written about this later, of course.

Before we talk about how search engines work and how to optimize your website's profile with them, you should begin at once to do things which change your website from just a selling place to a delightful place which educates and entertains as well. Why restrict yourself to just selling? I do understand why you have a website--to sell things and therefore make money. But first you have to get the customer to walk into your store, right? In order to do that, you have to catch his--and the search engines'--interest. More to come.

Repeat after me: "Content is king. Content is king. Content is king..."

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