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Your website is competing with over 8-billion (at last count) other pages on Internet. It will be "lost" by not having it visible to search engines - akin to putting up a flashing billboard on a deserted island! It can be greatest billboard ever designed, but because of its isolated location very few people will see or read it, and thus, it will be a poor source of revenue generation.
The fact is, there are lots of great websites on Internet. So what? What's use of having a great website if no one knows about it or can find it? And even if people do know about it, you are still not reaching largest Internet demographic: 85 to 90% of ALL Internet users who find what they are looking for by conducting searches on search engines!
The top-4 search engines are Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL (CyberAtlas, May 2003). How do they compare in terms of traffic? The info below shows top 5 results of Top-50 Internet Property Rankings for October 2003 (ComScore Media Metrix, Nov. 2003). Keep in mind that table shows total number of unique visitors, not total number of searches. So while MSN is tops in terms of traffic, Google is still king of search. Rank Property Unique Visitors (in thousands) 1 MSN-Microsoft sites 109,334 2 Yahoo! sites 108,673 3 AOL Time Warner Network 108,394 4 eBay 62,454 5 Google sites 58,209
The point of table is that four out of top five most-visited sites are search related sites. SEO is your mechanism for becoming visible to this group. SEO is critical to success of your online venture. Rebuilding is also important, but it can wait.
Other considerations -Ask yourself, what will deliver more results to my business: rebuilding or SEO? -What is purpose of your site? If you use it to bring in customers or sell products, then SEO is definitely one to do first. If visitors and sales aren't important, but having a beautiful, stylish site is, then by all means rebuild it. -To deliver maximum benefits your website has to be both people and search engine friendly. Will rebuilding accomplish this? -Some owners think they'll rebuild site first and then perform SEO, only to discover afterwards that their budgets won't allow for it. Ask yourself, do I want to be stuck with a nice looking site that delivers NO more traffic than its predecessor? -Your website should be an asset, not an expense. It should be generating you income or leads, or providing useful information about your company. If it isn't then why have it? -In US, 13% of traffic to a website comes from search engines, up from 8% for previous year. International figures were even more striking with some countries having search engine referral rates as high as 21%! (WebSideStory, Mar. 2003). SEO makes your site search engine friendly. Rebuilding it may or may not, depending on how skilled in SEO your webmaster is. There's far, far more to SEO than just inserting META tags (title, description, keyword tag).
SEO first, rebuild second It really is a much wiser choice to perform SEO first. Later if results indicate need to make improvements, then proceed with rebuilding your website. Involve your SEO in rebuilding process - their input/ advice will be invaluable!
Chris Genge is the President of 1st on the List Promotion Inc, a website promotion firm that specializes in search engine optimization and pay per click management. Chris writes on current and emerging search engine marketing theories and has been involved in the SEO industry since 1997. He and his team focus on researching and implementing the most effective search engine optimization techniques. To learn at http://www.1stonthelist.ca/