#1. "RE: Web Site Optimization. How Important is it, Really?!" In response to Reply # 0
There is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Your question is basically referring to the former, although they are forever intrinsically linked.
When you optimize your site, you are essentially marrying the seekers to the info. This isn't extraordinarily complex, but it is comprehensive.
When you do a search you typically see the blue-shaded sites at the top and right. These are paid-for sponsors that are there because they bid on the 'words' typed in the search. They higher the bid the closer to the top they are. If their listing is clicked on then, CHA CHING, they pay that bid through dogpile to google/yahoo/etc, and voila the visitors end up at their site. BTW...this is done geo-targeted, regionally, nationally, and globally. Choose your tactics wisely. This completely circumvents SEO.
The area below the blue-shaded listings are the 'organic' listings. To get ranked highly in this area is so much harder, because you can pay people to get you in the blue-shaded area. To get listed highly in the organic section requires complete SEO of your site. But that alone, depending upon size and content, will only get you so far, maybe page 8 or 9. To get on page 1, top listing, means your site is connected to thousands of other sites, with similar content, links, etc. This is the comprehensive part.
Small business owners 'want' to be there, but soon realize the HR to get them there is prohibitive. It's often better to hire the Pay Per Click companies to get them into the sponsored sections.
In summary...it's very important to get your site as optimized as possible because someone else in your space is doing it now, getting listed higher, and taking some of your potential revenue. Perhaps the last customer you lost may only be a few miles from you, but because of your site, called someone else.
Be careful and cautious of those who toss out success stories and promise the world, it isn't necessarily so. This area is for dedicated marketers/CEOs who realize that in the not-to-distant-future 50%+ of the company's revenue will come from internet activity.
BTW...I am NOT in the internet business, but I spend millions a year in that area marketing my locations.
Reply back if you have more questions & good luck. Joe P.
#4. "RE: Web Site Optimization. How Important is it, Really?!" In response to Reply # 2
John, It's Ok for you to name your recommendations -- In CyberSchmooz we're here to help each other get to good resources and avoid bad ones. Cyberhost at Idea Cafe The Fun Place for Serious Business(sm)
#5. "RE: Web Site Optimization. How Important is it, Really?!" In response to Reply # 0
John, Web optimization is hugely important and I can personally tell you first hand how much so based on my personal recent experience.
I am in the process of optimizing my site.
Prior to beginning this project, the top search words and phrases to bring people to my site were, the name of my company or specific brand names of my products. That was great 50% of my hits and if not my sales were by people who were specifically searching for us.
Since launching the optimized (well, starting to get there) site, the search words and phrases are for other things. So, now, not only are people who are looking for me finding me, people who weren't looking for me are finding me as well.
The difference, to me, is enormous.
So, the simple answer. Yes it is extremely important. The hard answer? It isn't simple.