SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION could benefit many businesses that are looking to increase their online presence and drive more targeted traffic to their websites. Unfortunately the SEO industry is just not known for its transparency and this can be complicated for businesses that are wondering exactly what exactly they will be getting in return for his or her investment.
The SEO industry has additionally attracted a lot of cowboys who employ “black-hat” techniques that go against the policies of Google and the other search engines. You should make sure that your SEO is going to be done using ethical “White Hat” techniques.
Businesses that unwittingly employ an SEO that uses these types of techniques may see short term results till Google discovers the footprints put aside by these techniques, at which stage they will see a negative effect on their own search engine rankings. The black hat SEO offers quick fixes and is usually long gone by this point!
What’s With the Hats?
The term “Black Hat” comes from the old western movies, the bad guys always wore black hats! The good guys wore white hats, you can hear ethical SEO referred to as “White Hat” SEO. Remember the bad guys always got their just deserts!
What Should your SEO be Carrying out for Your Business?
It is important to know exactly what your SEO will be doing for you personally and how they will provide you with measurable outcomes. Be wary of any SEO that offers a guaranteed ranking, it is impossible to guarantee a ranking with Search engines or any other search engine!
Any SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION who can guarantee results without actually knowing which keywords you want to focus on is using this as a marketing trick, how could they guarantee results if you wanted to compete for key phrases like “Apple”, “Google” or “Facebook”?!
Without conducting keyword research it really is impossible to tell how likely the achievements of an SEO campaign will be and how long it is likely to take. SEO is an ongoing process of research, testing plus analysis. It takes careful planning to determine the best keywords and to then place a solid strategy in place to rank for those keywords.
On-site and Away from Site SEO
SEO takes into account aspects that are both on-site and off-site. On-site SEO entails an analysis of your website. It involves looking at several factors including the site structure, utilization of keywords, the sites content, page loading times and the HTML and CSS that the site is built with. Good on-site SEO benefits the end user and also helps to avoid any technical “Gotchas” that search engines don’t like, like duplicate content.
A good SEO will start by analysing your site and producing recommendations to improve an optimise the website for both users and search engines. Off site SEO involves creating relevant backlinks from other sites in order to yours.
Each backlink is measured by the search engines as a vote for your site. Websites are given an expert score called Page Rank. Each time a site links to you it shares a small amount of its page rank with you, links from high authority sites share more of this page rank than lower power sites. Incoming links to a site are known as backlinks.
To Follow in order to Nofollow…
Some links carry simply no authority at all, many links carry a nofollow attribute that tell the search engines not to count that link as a vote. Webmasters and bloggers might add this attribute them selves if they don’t their link to be counted as a vote for the external site or it could be automatically added by the platform they are using to create their content, this is often the case each time a site offers its user to include comments or content and the webmaster has little control over what hyperlinks get created by the sites contributors.
Hyperlinks without the nofollow attribute are called “dofollow” and pass page rank from your page to the linked page. In HTML there is no actual dofollow feature, dofollow happens by default in the absence of a nofollow attribute. You should never and you get no internal links as this will cause any page rank that would have been passed to that particular link to just evaporate!
Where Did You Get Those Links?
You should request your SEO how they will make backlinks, a good SEO will try to develop a varied backlink portfolio to suit your needs. This portfolio should include high value hyperlinks that are found in bodies of text such as blog posts. These usually take the most page rank but also require one of the most work as the SEO will need to create connections with blog owners and often provide the content themselves.
Any good SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION will look for quality over amount, anyone promising a high number of hyperlinks is probably best avoided. The search engines like to see “Natural Links of Love”, a few high quality links will go a great deal further than many low quality links.
Other linking strategies include using quality business directories or commenting upon blogs and forums as well as using social media and social bookmarking sites.
Link exchanges are best avoided as these 2 way links don’t look like organic links. Search engines can see the Internet like a series of connected nodes and very easily detect unnatural patterns like this.
Your Business, Your Needs
Your SEO should talk to you about your business needs plus goals and also try to understand as much as they can about your target audience. If they don’t do this then they are not likely to pick keywords that will attract and convert the right audience for you business. They should conduct extensive keyword research and be able to identify the keywords which will bring in more of the right traffic. Visitors is useless if it doesn’t convert!
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Your SEO should also be able to research your competition and tell you what keywords they are targeting as well as how much time it is likely to take in order to compete for the same keywords. They should become able to come up with alternative strategies when those keywords are far too aggressive for your budget or to bring in traffic while you work towards competing for the major keywords.
SEO takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Your SEO must be able to provide you with a monthly report that displays how you are progressing through the search results for your keywords. They should also be in a position to run PPC campaigns on your behalf and also create content and copy for the site.
Many SEO’s will also be in a position to promote you via social media and advise you on other Internet marketing strategies such as building mailing lists for email promotions.
The Bottom Line
The rate for an SEO differs an awful lot. Some agencies will charge up to 1000 a month! A small business should be able to look for a decent SEO for around 300 per month, this depends on the level of service necessary but 300 should buy you a good campaign targeting 5 keywords.
The very first month is usually a bit more expensive because the month that the on-site SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION takes place as well as the keyword and competitor research.
Some SEO’s offer a very cheap service, you get what you pay for and keep in mind that SEO takes a large amount of time as it involves a lot of research, analysis and content creation.