SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION could benefit many businesses that are looking to increase their online presence and drive more targeted traffic to their internet sites. Unfortunately the SEO industry is not really known for its transparency and this can be complicated for businesses that are wondering precisely what exactly they will be getting in return for his or her investment.
The SEO industry has additionally attracted a lot of cowboys who utilize “black-hat” techniques that go against the particular policies of Google and the various 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 left out by these techniques, at which point they will see a negative effect on their particular search engine rankings. The black hat SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION offers quick fixes and is generally 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 great 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 Doing for Your Business?
It is important to know precisely what your SEO will be doing to suit your needs and how they will provide you with measurable results. 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 SEO who can guarantee results without actually knowing which keywords you want to target is using this as a marketing scheme, 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 exactly how long it is likely to take. SEO is an ongoing process of research, testing and analysis. It takes careful planning to identify the best keywords and to then put a solid strategy in place to rank for those keywords.
On-site and Away from Site SEO
SEO takes into account elements that are both on-site and off-site. On-site SEO entails an evaluation of your website. It involves looking at a lot of factors including the site structure, usage of keywords, the sites content, page launching times and the HTML and CSS that the site is built with. Good on-site SEO benefits the end consumer and also helps to avoid any technical “Gotchas” that search engines don’t like, for example duplicate content.
A good SEO will start by analysing your site and producing recommendations to improve an optimise the site for both users and search engines. Off site SEO involves creating relevant backlinks from other sites to yours.
Each backlink is counted by the search engines as a vote for your site. Websites are given an authority 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 authority sites. Incoming links to a site are known as backlinks.
To Follow in order to Nofollow…
Some links carry no authority at all, many links bring a nofollow attribute that inform the search engines not to count that link as a vote. Webmasters and writers might add this attribute on their own if they don’t their link to end up being counted as a vote for the external site or it could be automatically added by the platform they are using to publish their content, this is often the case when a site offers its user to include comments or content and the website owner has little control over what hyperlinks get created by the sites contributors.
Links without the nofollow attribute are termed “dofollow” and pass page rank from your page to the linked page. Within HTML there is no actual dofollow feature, dofollow happens by default in the lack of a nofollow attribute. You should never nofollow internal links as this will cause any kind of 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 generate 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 textual content 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 sometimes provide the content themselves.
Any good SEO will look for quality over volume, anyone promising a high number of links is probably best avoided. The search engines prefer 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 high quality business directories or commenting on 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 as a series of connected nodes and very easily detect unnatural patterns like this.
Your company, Your Needs
Your SEO should talk with you about your business needs and goals and also try to understand as much as they can about your target audience. When they don’t do this then they are not likely to pick keywords that will attract and convert the right audience for you business.
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They should conduct extensive keyword study and be able to identify the keywords which will bring in more of the right traffic. Visitors is useless if it doesn’t convert!
Your SEO also needs to 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 to compete for the same keywords. They should also be able to come up with alternative strategies if those keywords are far too competing for your budget or to bring in visitors while you work towards competing for the major keywords.
SEO takes time, it shouldn’t happen overnight. Your SEO must be able to provide you with a monthly report that shows how you are progressing through the search engine results for your keywords. They should also be capable to run PPC campaigns on your behalf as well as create content and copy for your site.
Many SEO’s will also be capable to promote you via social media and advise you on other Internet marketing methods such as building mailing lists for email campaigns.
The Bottom Line
The rate for an SEO differs an awful lot. Some agencies will charge upwards of 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 needed but 300 should buy you a good campaign targeting 5 keywords.
The very first month is usually a bit more expensive as this is the month that the on-site SEO takes place as well as the keyword and competitor research.