Build it and they will come?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Christina Throndson of VGM Forbin uses this analogy to explain why search engine optimization and marketing are the keys to a successful Internet presence: “If you don’t do anything with your Web site, in terms of trying to be found, it’s like having a phone number that you want everyone to call, but you don’t put it in the phone book.” Here’s what else Throndson, a search engine specialist who became Google and Yahoo certified last year, had to say when HME News caught up with her in January.

HME News: I hear becoming certified, with Google in particular, is a grueling process. What was it like?

Christina Throndson: It took several months. They provide you with everything you need to know to pass the certification, so there’s a lot of reading. When I printed out the materials, I put it all in a three-ring binder. It was two to three inches thick.

hme: What did you learn?

Throndson: All the ins and outs of how to improve your site through things like paid and sponsored listings, and all the rules and regulations surrounding those listings. Google can actually reject your Web site if you don’t follow the rules.

HME: So what’s search engine optimization all about?

Throndson: When you go online to look for, say, where to buy flowers, Google and Yahoo need to be able to read your Web site. Search engine optimization means developing a site that’s as noticeable and recognizable to them as possible. But that’s only the first step.

HME: What’s the second step?

Throndson: There’s also search engine marketing. Normally, that’s what you pay for to get recognition for your site. Paid listings help to remind Google and Yahoo that you’re out there. Optimization and marketing - you pretty much can’t do one without the other.

HME: Is it difficult to convince providers that this is important, since a lot of it can seem intangible?

Throndson: We had one company - their site was optimized and they were doing paid listings. The owner said, “You know what; we’re done; I don’t see anything happening.” So we turned off the paid listings. It had been turned off for, maybe, two to three months when he called back and said, “It was working; we were getting orders that we weren’t paying attention to; we want it back up.”