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Google Optimization: Jump Starting an Online Marketing Campaign
By Eric Lander - April 29, 2002

Online marketing has gone from banner advertisements, to link exchanges, to pay per click, and beyond. One of the best ways to obtain traffic to a web site while avoiding the massive costs of other such avenues is to optimize your web site for the Google audience.

While no one will deny that PPC is an excellent tool of delivering targeted visitors to a web site, it also comes at a hefty price. And, a large percentage of some web sites' targeted audience is never even exposed to the PPC systems that retain the most attention. Whether your web site is 3 years old, or 3 days old - prominent listings can be obtained within the Google search engine in as little as two months time, and it can be done with no investment other than the time itself you need to optimize.

Let's take a look first, at what Google likes to promote based on their past...

First and foremost, is unique content. Google is not about to point everyone to your web site, if all you can offer is the same content as everyone else has. To excel within the Google engine, you need to think of everything you know, generate it for your web site, and organize it in a manner that is friendly to the engines as well as your targeted visitors.

Many think that optimizing for Google is truly a fine art. It is not at all. What it does take, is some time and effort to make a web site structurally sound (validated HTML, no broken links, etc.). If every page of your web site is linked to at least one another, and it has a consistent navigational structure - the page will be indexed in its entirety.

In order to secure prominent listings within the Google engine, you will need to achieve these three basic needs:

Abundance of Links
Google uses a system called PageRank, in which web sites pass on values to one another based on the prominence of links and context in which a link is displayed. While understanding PageRank would require hours of reading - in short, the more links coming into a site from legitimate sources pays off. By legitimate, I mean not from "link farms", "free for alls", or other seen-as-spam techniques.

Significant Unique Content
Again, Google wants to promote the most informative resources and they choose to do this by measuring the amount of information on a page and parenting site. If your competition has three pages of one topic, and you offer 6 out of the gates - expect to leap frog them in the search engine results if you play the game properly.

Ability to Update
Optimizing for Google is NOT a one-time process. It takes constant (read: monthly) modification of many variables including titles, headlines, and number of incoming links. Beyond that, and perhaps most important, is the ability to actually add more pages to a web site within that month's span. If your site has a total of 12 pages today, it should easily have 30+ by the end of the year. Bear in mind, Google promotes authority and knowledge. Offer more, gain more.