Many, if not most, security consultants and firms maintain Web sites, and those who don't--even one-man operations--should. Presumably, they do this for a purpose, although to look at some of them it's not very clear what they're trying to accomplish, except perhaps shouting "Me-too!" amidst the clamor of all their competitors.
There are basically three types of Web sites in terms of purpose:
- Partner-oriented (sometimes called "extranets")
- Employee-oriented (sometimes called "intranets")
(Sometimes intranets offer extranet functionality, usually by creating one restricted site that has certain features, content or functions that are further restricted to employees.)
For all of these types, usability is the core feature that must drive design, functions (applications) and content. What does the user or visitor to this site need or want to do?
Customer-oriented sites, however, have an additional important feature that must also be considered. We'll call this findability, and there are two kinds of findability:
- Can the site itself be found easily?
- Once found, can the first-time visitor find what they want easily?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is one aspect of Web site management that addresses the first issue--not only being seen by search engines, but ranking well in relevant search results, and this is of critical importance for the obvious reason that none of the other issues matter at all until someone visits your site.
Now, if you're into "Web marketing" at all, you'll know that there's a lot of "SEO snake oil" being peddled (so-called "secrets" and such), and you might be tempted to believe that SEO is nothing but snake oil, but this is definitively, emphatically, resoundingly not the case! Search engines like Google make the lion's share of their own income by providing users with highly-relevant search results, which are therefore tied to highly-relevant ads that people pay good money for, and as such they make every effort to produce a good match between search terms and search results.
Here, then, is the vital question for any Web site owner/manager: WHY should a search engine stake its own income and reputation by ranking my site above any others?...and if you can't answer that question, you must find the answer, and then implement the implications.
Sooner or later, you'll wind your weary way to this answer, so I'll save you some time. The key to high search engine ranking is authoritative, contemporary, unique content that makes good use of the search terms your prospects or customers use, or are likely to use, when they want to find someone who does the voodoo that you do so well.
Do search engines use secondary factors, like the number of other sites that link to your site, or the number of people who "tag" your site on Del.icio.us, or who mention your site in their blogs, to determine your ranking? Yes, they do, but the number of sites that link to your site or tag your site or mention your site in their blogs and forums will be determined almost entirely by the authoritative, contemporary, unique content your site provides...and there are many interesting, clever, and even fun ways to provide such content..and some of them are pretty easy, as well. Easy enough, anyway, that there's no excuse not to do this.
The Web itself will help you, in fact. I'll be talking more about information-trapping in a future post, but for now it's enough to point out that you can use free tools like "Google Alerts" and/or an RSS feed reader to make it dead easy to follow important developments in your field that will provide you with plenty of the ideas and material to keep infusing your Web site with (remember the triad) authoritative, contemporary, and unique content.
You've gone to the trouble and expense, however reasonable, to register a domain name, find a hosting company and slap together a Web site of some sort, but it's so far down in relevant search results that it might as well be invisible. What good is that? If the only time that people can find you is when they're searching on your name or your company name, your site is a BUST, frankly, and a waste of your money.
And, it's a bust if they can find you with the search term "security consultant Orlando" but not "security consultant Florida". Or, if they can't find you with "security systems Orlando" and "burglar alarms Orlando" and "security fences Orlando" (because you don't personally sell them), "security guards Orlando" (because you're not a guard firm), "security firms Orlando", "burglary alarms Orlando", etc., etc. Rethink your site content, particularly if the consulting service you provide ADDRESSES issues like security systems, locks, fences, and security guards.
With regard to your locale, you serve Orlando, but people might search on the county. You serve businesses, but a church might be looking for you. You sell and service a specific line of access systems, but you might want to "own" some space in competitives as well. For instance, you sell the WhizBang Lockdown Access System. Fine...put an article on your Web site that factually compares the WLAS to the False Hits R Us System (and others). I mean, there is some reason you sell the WLAS instead of FHRUS, no? Well you know about it, but no one else does. And wouldn't it be sweet if your site comes up when people search on either WLAS or FHRUS?
Content is the main key to "owning" search term space, providing you understand the space you need to occupy. (There are other things you can do too, of course.) Fortunately, there are tools available to help you analyze search terms, including the terms people might use to find you, terms that people have used to find you, and even terms that people use to find your competitors' Web sites. Some are free, although some carry a cost ranging from very small to TYHACP ("turn your head and cough, please"). You can get by without the latter and still do very well.
Here's a free Web publication to get you started on SEO:
It's written by SEOMoz, a pretty reputable source. The most critical part is Section E. If you visit, notice the full URL for this page in your browser address bar. What you're looking at is one of the principles of SEO by the way they included their full search terms in the URL itself (instead of calling it "BGTSEO", "Guide", "SEO", or something like that). This is done in the way the title is specified for this Web page. These little techniques are very easily implemented--it's just a matter of knowing about them.
This is a good jumping off point, but you can profitably make SEO something that's on your radar screen permanently and keep working to perfect. It takes some savvy and it takes some time, but it pays real dividends. The main thing to remember is that if you do nothing more in terms of SEO than to keep your site filled with authoritative, contemporary and unique content, you'll ALWAYS rank higher than your competitors will with a page or two of the type of stale, static, boring, irrelevant content that everyone else in your market domain is publishing.
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Thread: Can You SEO Me Now?
06-02-2008, 02:10 PM #1
Can You SEO Me Now?
Last edited by SecTrainer; 06-02-2008 at 02:41 PM.We live in a world where a pizza gets to your house quicker than the police. - Anonymous
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06-02-2008, 03:50 PM #2Member
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06-04-2008, 07:20 PM #3Senior Member
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Very informative and well written post.