As in fishing the search engine optimization is done before you see any results. Whatever you use to catch your fish you do need to make your gear wet before you will catch a single fish. In SEO you need to write your copy (bait), publish it to the search engines (sink it). If your bait is good (interesting content represented in the search engine with a interesting title and a sentence below it), and you place it where there are a lot of fishes (top of the rankings for your relevant search phrases) you will catch a lot (of visitors to your web site).
So what is your bait stinks?
In the SEO worlds your bait is the representation of your web site in the search engine.
The page TITLE tag is the most important since it is printed in the top line of your sites listing and is also a link to your site. This needs to be catchy, and inviting.
The META is the place to write your tag lines and marketing messages, since this text displays often as a next two lines of the site listing in the search engine results page.
URL is the bottom line of your sites listing and if your domain name, or the further directory and or filenames have sense your site listing will attract more visitors. People will simply click more on your link in the search engines.
Note that the search engines, and Google does this as well, prints the words a visitor have used in the search phrase bold on the search result page. How to use this feature to your advantage? Use the keywords you want visitors for in your Title META and on your text on the page. Google will do the rest for you. It will bold each instance of the each keyword searched for in the search results page, highlighting those searched keywords wherever those are found in the results. It is a nice usability feature, and Google obviously uses it. Remember they have Jakub Nielsen in the Board!
What if your fishing gear stinks?
You created your page with a relevant, interesting and inviting page TITLE. Your META description is beautiful and sounds like a most expensive marketing message and you made your URLs readable like a text. Great! Fishes are biting! Visitors are clicking on your listings in the search results pages like crazy. You have lots of visitors and all of them are flowing to your site free from the search engines. Then again, your sales (if you are selling directly on the site) are absolutely flat. The fish are biting but you don’t bring anything home!?
Your fishing gear is your landing page. You have the fish here, and you need to get it out of the water. If your gear is not mach for the fish, you will lose it. The same is with our web site visitors. If they do not find exactly what they have been looking for on your site they will leave.
So what exactly are your visitors that came from the search engines looking for?
Remember that you have actually brought those visitors to our site. Google cannot send you the visitors by itself. You need to write, publish, and link to your site so that the Google can find your content and bring you the fish. Oops no. The visitors. Right.
Your bait worked. Your site listing in the search results page was relevant to the search phrase the visitor used and your TITLE meta and the URL invited the visitor to visit your site. What is he looking for? He is looking for EXACTLY what you wrote in your TITLE, META (or the snippet of your page text copy) and the URL. To make the visitor stay on the page you need to have the content on that page that the visitor is looking for. It sounds simple but isn’t always so in the real life. What this tells you actually is the old SEO rule that says that every page of the web site should have a unique TITLE. And the next step, if you want to convert that visitor – make sure he does not leave immediately (bounce), you need to have the exact match of the page TITEL and META description with the content of each page. Yes it means the unique META Description, just in case you have been wondering (or the fish is gone!).