By Chris | August 25, 2008
This past weekend I attended a conference on online marketing. My brother sells cb radios online for a living and he invited me along to learn more about e-marketing. It was a lot of fun and really informative. Many of the speakers talked about search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re not already familiar with SEO, it is the process of creating a website that Google and other search engines will index and display when users search for certain keywords. A site that is well optimized will receive more traffic and therefore earn more money from products and advertisements. One way to increase your SEO is by using automatic tools to create links to your content in social media sites like Digg, Facebook, and Stumbleupon. Other tips include using lots of keywords on your web page and getting links from other related sites. It is phenomenal the amount of time and money that is spent to rank highly on Google. To a large degree, SEO is a zero-sum game. If my site gets listed on the first page of Google for “economics blog” (maybe one day!) it means that someone else’s site has been relegated to the second page. SEO creates value to the extent that it makes it easier for people to find what interests them. Imagine if webmasters didn’t think about the search terms users might use to try and find them; it would be a lot more difficult to find relevant content. It would be like using a phone book that didn’t tell you to go to the “Attorneys” section when you looked up “Lawyers”. An internet business is not like a physical store, no one will drive past and stop by out of curiosity. SEO is necessary, but at the current level it saps up a lot of resources. The internet would be better off if everyone spent a little less time trying to beat their competitors at SEO and a little more time improving their product, content or customer service. But, needless to say, that won’t be happening anytime soon.