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Monday, November 28, 2005
By Yokota Fritz

Some of my readers wonder why I focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so much on Cyclelicious. I talk about it because I want the Local Bike Shop to do well. They invest -- at the least -- a few hundred dollars a year on a website, and I think the bike shop should expect a return on this marketing investment.

Imagine that you're Joan Mom looking for a place to buy a bike for little Timmy's Christmas gift. These days, Joan fires up the browser and might search for "mycity children bicycles." I've seen shopping sites with ads for $60 bikes from Target and Wal-Mart as the first link. In my city, you get the local motorcycle junkyard. You might get a link to your city's police department page giving bike theft statistics.

There are exceptions, of course, but what rarely filters to the top are links to the local bike shops. Try it: Search for "yourcity children bicycles." Tell me what you get.

If you want your bike shop to rise to the top of the search rankings, do not use software that automatically generates links to your website or otherwise practices spammy, shady, blackhat techniques. It's very easy to screw up and get eliminated entirely from the search results.

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I got nothing! Some suggested links followed the nothing results: Walmart and ShopLocal dot coms were at the top. The ShopLocal site took me to Walmart, Kmart, Sports Authority, Target, MC Sports, etc. but not my LBS's (granted, I did not look at all 150 results).
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