Image via Wikipedia
Getting your site listed in Google is one thing, getting traffic to your site is another.
What's the difference?
Well basically Google pretty much lists every single webpage on the planet, so getting listed or included isn't really that big a deal.
What you really want is people to go to your site and buy your product or service (or take whatever action you want / need).
Now this is where it gets interesting and complicated.
If someone does a search in Google for my name they'll probably end up here pretty quickly. This has very little to do with SEO. It's basically because I have an odd first name and a rather uncommon surname, so most of the results in Google will refer to me.
With me so far?
Ok, so that shows that searching for something very specific is probably going to take you to it. It might not, but it's more likely.
But what if you are running an online business?
Are people going to look for your business by name?
While that might happen eventually it's highly unlikely that it's going to happen when your site first goes live, or even after that.
What's a lot more likely to happen is that people are going to look for a solution to a problem.
For example, if I want to read a review of the Babylon AD (a film released this week) I have a couple of options.
I could go to a site such as entertainment.ie, filmreviews.ie or movies.ie to see if they've got any reviews OR I could simply do a search on Google for "babylon ad". Since I'm interested in a review of the film I might append that to my search query, so it becomes "babylon ad review".
This isn't rocket science.
However if you deal with small business owners on a regular basis you soon realise one thing. A lot of them don't really understand how to use search engines.
They don't understand the difference between their browser's navigation bar and Google.
What this means in practical terms is that people can get duped by promises of "rapid inclusion" or "top ranking" etc., etc.
If someone promises you "free traffic" how are you meant to understand that?
Will you know that the only traffic you can possibly get from Google from a new site is going to be a spider ie. a bit of computer software that isn't going to buy anything
The devil is in the details, though anyone dealing with small business should be very clear about what exactly they are offering.
Damien wrote up a nice piece covering some of this based on what was being discussed on the Enterprise Ireland Ebusiness mailing list. It's worth reading the comments by the way!
It all gets quite inane yet amusing, doesn't it?