I’m often asked about search engine optimization (SEO) as if there’s some secret technological solution to climbing the search engine ladder and driving hordes of viewers to a website. Sure, using the right keywords, building backlinks, and doing all the other technical tricks SEO gurus recommend will give your site a boost – at least temporarily. But if you don’t have useful or interesting content, viewers won’t hang around for long and they certainly won’t return.

So when folks ask me about SEO, my first suggestion is to take a good, hard look at their content. Does it give web users a reason to visit the site and stay a while, or to make repeat visits? Is it useful, attractive, logically organized? Are there any snarls in the user experience that discourage visitors from proceeding. In a world of ever shorter attention spans, even a momentary hiccup is enough to send web users clicking away to the next shiny object.

Before hiring an SEO firm, make an honest assessment of your site’s content. There’s no point attracting visitors to a website that’s not worth visiting. You may get more bang for the buck hiring a good designer and copywriter.