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SEO done with careful thinking

November 19, 2003

It used to be that for some people, when the subject of search engine optimization was discussed, there was a good chance that doorway pages, gateway pages or some general information pages probably came to their minds.

Since about 1995 or 1996, these have been the main techniques used by some web marketers. If you even happen to be a search engine optimization (SEO) professional, you probably have some clients that still request these types of pages for the optimization of their web sites.

These people seem to think they need to use doorway and gateway pages because they have read or heard a number of things like "every search engine has a different algorithm" or secret formula to carefully determine the exact ranking of a web site, and according to them, not one specific page will rank high in all of the engines at any given time. Their thinking is to create totally different pages for each individual search engine.

For others, they will tell you keyword and key phrase rich text that the search engines will crave on is not copy they can visibly put on their website where actual people will see it, especially not on their homepage! Others will say: "Our web site needs to be on the leading edge and must use Flash animation and lots of fancy animated graphics". Their reasoning is, since the search engines cannot properly index these sites efficiently, they need to use doorway and gateway pages.

There is a small, albeit debatable part of the truth to these various statements, but at the same time there are many good reasons why doorway and gateway pages are not a good idea at all and certainly not the right way in getting high ranking results. Most major search engines today prohibit any use of doorway or gateway pages to begin with.

The issue of dealing with so many algorithms
It is absolutely true that most major search engine algorithms change a lot and they are mostly all different from one to the other. One perfect example to this is certainly Google. Today, the industry is confronted with a new wave of search engine optimization "experts" who define their jobs as "search engine algorithm analysers".

These people typically work many hours looking over search engine results after search engine results, and then analysing various statistics and numbers, in the end trying to decipher each search engine's current algorithm for high ranking results.

After they have "successfully identified the magic formula" they turn around and create different, unique doorway and gateway pages for each and every single search engine. Using similar techniques, when a new algorithm is put in place, these carefully rigged doorway pages will often drop out completely in the rankings!

After that, all new algorithms must be written and analysed all over again. Additionally, new doorway and gateway pages must again be developed. If you think this is a lot of hard work, well it is.

What it all boils down to is this: even though most major search engines do have varying algorithms that certainly change at times, basically all search engines want to see the very same things in a website: carefully worded, keyword-rich text that clearly states the benefits right up front, a web design that is simple and well inspired and easy navigation elements throughout the site. We will even tell you that this is probably what your real actual visitors expect too.

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This is what we call search engine optimization done with careful SEO thinking & engineering. Commercial or any other web sites with the above features usually don't need to analyse or "tinker" with various search engine algorithms in any way. Such websites have the great potential to yield high rankings for many keywords and key phrases in the most important search engines for many years, regardless of algorithms that change or not. It all boils down to strategy and goal.

Writing keyword and key phrase-rich text
The people described above in creating doorway and gateway pages often say it is "rudimentary" that you can write search engine friendly copy on your actual web site's pages. They really think there's a subtle difference between good text for search engines and good marketing text for actual visitors to their web site. So in their minds, there is no other option left other than using doorway and gateway pages.

If you ask us our professional opinion, we will tell you this is not true at all. Powerful marketing text can be written that reads well, makes strong use of important keyword and key phrases and has calls to action placed on many pages, the most important one being your homepage.

Always remember that professional search engine optimization is a science as well as an art. To be the most successful, one also needs to be a good copywriter. If such is not the case, we strongly advise in hiring a good copy writer that has lots of experience in writing for the search engines.

The case of Flash graphics and animation
In November of 2003, Marketing Sherpa came out with a new survey that confirms that more than 80% of consumers today HATE any form of Flash animation or so-called "movies". As a search engine optimization professional firm, we often come across companies and organizations of all sizes that want good priority positioning in all the search engines, but at the same time will refuse to remove their fancy, "expensive" Flash graphics and animation, in lieu of adding carefully optimized text for higher rankings.

This complex (but at the same time very simple) issue is rapidly becoming one of the largest obstacles we see for not being able to properly optimize actual pages of certain web sites.

Major corporations and businesses invest large sums of money designing animated web sites and presentations using Flash technology, and yet are totally reluctant to remove these barriers, effectively replacing them with keyword and key phrase-rich marketing text that will really drive those online visitors.

Remember that highly targeted visitors will become qualified buyers and, in the end, repeat customers. Isn't that what search engine optimization is all about?

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Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2003

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