Having experienced the rise of Yahoo! to the mainly Google-dominated search engine era, I’ve seen how search engines can make or break your online marketing strategy.

Let’s face it, unless your mother-in-law is able to type your domain name right into her favorite browser, you are still going to rely pretty much on the search engines to get traffic to your site.

That being said, you should never start to design and write your web content to solely cater to search engine’s demand. The key here is to understand and keep yourself up to date what the search engines are up to so that you do not get penalized unnecessarily.

So, in my opinion, search engine optimization (SEO) should always be an after thought in your to do list. Why do I say that? Simply because if you focus on producing good content which is useful to your visitors, you will get much more genuine visitors who stick around. And because you write good content, search engines would also give you more brownie points in return. So, always start with good content, and the rest will take care of itself.

I’ve seen companies who offer SEO services on how they can rank your site to the first page of the keywords that you desire. I think this is great for any new websites who are struggling to get traffic, as long as you are not paying an arm and a leg for it. If you have started a website from zero traffic, you’ll understand how challenging building a healthy traffic with high returning visits is. But do not let this ‘traffic building’ objective sway you to the wrong side of the game. Ask yourself this before you pay these SEO companies for their services- “When the traffic comes to my website, am I able to convert it to a paying customer?”

If the answer is not a resounding yes, then you have a bigger issue at hand. You need to do some housekeeping and take stock of your existing landing pages. You have to study how your competitors who are already successful design their landing page. You have to experiment with various layouts and observe how they affect your overall conversion rate. In short, you need figure out what to do with the traffic once they start flowing in.

Think about it, if you spend money on buying traffic, either with Google AdWords or engage an SEO consultant but you neglected your website’s content management, do you think it will give a good impression to first time visitors? An advertisement of a lousy product will create a more damaging results than with no advertising at all. External consultants or ad agencies generally know nothing about your business nor would they bother since their KPI is not about how much money you make at the end of the project.

10,000 visitors a day with 1% conversion or 1,000 visitors with 50% conversion? I’ll pick the latter anytime of the day.

So, it’s always important to get down to the fundamentals. Technology is always changing, but only you know which are the ones that your business can take advantage of. Good luck!