When web masters were unaware of the search engine’s potential in web site promotions, search engine optimization (SEO) was limited to integrating some keywords in the meta tags. Then, those who knew even a little about the impact of search engine queries on page popularity enjoyed unrivaled success in search engine rankings. Those days, getting a good ranking in keyword searches was a breeze and did not require specialized SEO training.

However, the times have changed and search engines now have millions of pages in their indexes. A web master who knows precious little about SEO does not have any hope of competing with others who have SEO techniques down pat. The increasing competition for the top ranks and the proportional rise in experienced SEO professionals mean that any SEO efforts on your part would likely be in vain; unless, that is, you have considerable SEO expertise and a long-term comprehensive search engine optimization plan.

It is a good thing to know what keywords people usually search for and it is just good strategy to aspire to get the highest rank when these keywords are used for search engine queries. Nevertheless, business owners should look beyond rankings, and this awareness that there’s more to web promotion than getting the highest page rank is what is meant by true SEO expertise.

Long-term comprehensive planning is also necessary for optimized search engine results. These days, a web page that has the top spot in keyword searches cannot hope to retain this spot for long. Sooner or later, another page will have this honor. This transition from top ranking to mediocre can happen in one day.

SEO professionals, even the best in this field, cannot perform miracles. They may be able to increase a web page’s ranking for the moment but without a comprehensive plan and long-term business goals, a company will not be able to maximize its SEO gains. The best a short-sighted web master could hope for is perpetually fluctuating page ranking and full-time reliance on outside search engine optimization help.

— Search engine optimization in its proper context —

Search engine optimization should be placed in its proper context. Any business’ goal should be increased web sales rather than increased page rankings. It should be understood that high page rank is just a strategy to increase web traffic. That’s the whole extent of its usefulness. If no efforts are made to gain more sales, high page ranking doesn’t mean anything.

To generate more sales and increase conversion of web traffic into buyers, there are other areas that a web master should focus on. A web master’s priority should be the web site itself. After a visitor clicks on the web site, he or she must be persuaded to make a purchase or to avail of the services offered.

— Good web site content and SEO —

Keywords should be incorporated in the web content; this is just good SEO technique. But the keyword need not be the usual. There are more than a few keywords that users use to search for products, services or information. A good web master will be aware of these keywords and will put them into good use.

However, content should not be all about keywords. Good content is unique, informative and accurate content, not text that uses the same keywords again and again that the reader just has to give up in exasperation. Grammar and spelling rules should be observed and good taste should be prevalent all through out the page. A high page rank does not compensate for sales opportunities lost due to bad, unoriginal and repetitive content.