2.3. What SEO Can (and Cannot) Do
SEO can drive more traffic to your web site. If you plan carefully, you can impact the kind of traffic driven to your site. This means that you need to consider SEO as part of your general market research and business plan. Sure, most businesses want traffic. But not just any traffic. Just as the goal of a brick-and-mortar business is to have qualified customersones with money in their pocket who are ready to buy when they walk in the door, an online business ideally wants qualified traffic.
Qualified traffic is not just any traffic. It is made up of people who are genuinely interested in your offering, who are ready to buy it, and have the means to buy it. This implies that to successfully create an SEO campaign you need to plan: this means understanding your ideal prospect, their habits and who they are, and creating a step-by-step scheme to "lure" this prospect to your site where he or she can be converted to a customer.
In addition, SEO cannot spin gold from straw, or make a purse out of a sow's ear. Garbage sitesor sites that exist as scamswill not draw huge amounts of traffic. Or if they do, these sites won't draw traffic for long. Google and other search engines will pull the plug as soon as they see what is going on.
Note: In case you haven't noticed, there's a web content arms race going on. For Googleand other search enginesto stay in business, the results they deliver have to be meaningful to users. This means that there's only so much content spam that Google will put up with.Just as email spammers keep trying to outwit email filters, and filters keep getting better in response, content spammers and Google are involved in an arms race.Your goal with SEO should not involve content spam, sometimes referred to as black hat SEO. Instead, be one of the good guys, a white hat SEO practitioner. SEO skills are SEO skills whether the hat is black or white. But use your white hat SEO skills to draw even more traffic to sites that are already good and useful. In other words, SEO should be used in an ethical and legitimate fashion as a branch of market research and business promotion for products and services that are genuineand not as part of a scam to rip people off.
As time goes by, SEO needs to be regarded as an adjunct to the first law of the web: good content draws heavy traffic. There is no substitute for content people really want to find.
While best practices SEO should always be observed, there needs to be a sense of proportion in how SEO is used. It may not make sense to create a "Potemkin Village" using SEO to draw traffic to a site if the fundamental site doesn't yield high returns. In other words, SEO that is costly to implement is becoming regarded as one more aspect of advertising campaign managementand subject to the same discipline of cost-benefit analysis applied to all other well-managed advertising campaigns.