Launching a successful business these days is no easy task. Consumers seek
services in many different ways. Undeniably, search engines are a major player
when driving traffic to your storefront or website. Whether or not you are ranking
for profitable keyword phrases can be the deciding factor in your businesses
The act of taking steps to make your website relevant to specific search terms
is called search engine optimization (SEO). Tackling your businesses SEO is
no easy task and takes some level of expertise to know what search engines
are looking. The set of rules, or algorithm, search engine companies use is ever
changing and very complex.
It is because of the inherent difficulty in ‘do it yourself’ SEO that many businesses
are hiring companies to take on the responsibility for them. Literally thousands
of companies are ready to tell you how quickly they can make your site appear
at the top of Google, Yahoo! and Bing – for a fee, of course. SEO firms regularly
charge hundreds of dollars per hour or long term contracts keeping you locked
in for thousands every month only to break their promises. The worst SEO
companies use what are called ‘Black Hat’ tactics that could generate zero traffic,
irrelevant traffic or even get you blacklisted from search engines.
Finding a quality SEO firm is no easy task. Business owners are usually not
experts in computer language. You should know exactly what they are doing with
your money, how much it should cost, projected results and where to draw the
line and fire them for not delivering. When evaluating an SEO company, knowing
what qualities to look for is vital to successfully launching a new business. This is
the most critical time for a website to get help from an SEO company.
Figuring out what keyword phrases or search terms that will make you the most
money is a process. It requires analysis of the services your website provides
and the use of tools provided by search engines to evaluate search engine traffic.
After compiling a list of relevant search terms, content should be added to your
website in relation to these terms.
Blogs are a great way to generate new content and gain more clout in the search
engine universe. Blogs that pertain to every facet of your product or service will
naturally require the use of relevant keywords. Use choice phrases you want to
rank for in posts multiple times in a single post and have a wide range of topics each with a narrow focus. As search engines begin to notice this fresh content
they realize the value your page has to consumers and as such move your
rankings even higher over time.
For websites that pertain to a particular geographic location, honing in on a
certain area is the best practice. Include the locale in blog posts about your
business. If you have multiple storefronts, it is a good idea to make a separate
post for each location. Remember, keeping a pages theme focused is important
for the search engine spider to decipher relevancy.
Having a solid plan specifying exactly what keyword phrases are of concern is
essential. Keyword quality can be checked using a service like Google’s
AdWords Keyword Tool. Use the Keyword Tool like a thesaurus to find additional
search terms that are more focused; these are the ‘money keywords’. Track your
SEO success over time by basing expected results with your chosen keyword
phrases upon monthly global and local search data compared to competition
data provided by Google.
Metadata for a webpage refers to page titles, content descriptions and keyword
tags found in the first section of source code. Metadata can be utilized to
describe your webpage’s content. Major search engines use this data when
adding pages to their search index or search results. Metadata can be created
either by automated information processing or by manual work. In order to
maximize the benefits of metadata, each unique page of your website needs to
have custom tailored metadata. Recently, Google’s Webspam boss announced
they do not account for keyword meta tags in their new algorithm which combats
Page Titles are now thought to be the most important piece of metadata. This is
the line of text at the top of your browser and is displayed as the big bold blue
line of text search engines display on their results. Not only is the quality and
relevancy of this information imperative for the search engines, it is also
important to consumers when deciding which link to click. Having good content
is essential to improve the Clickthrough Rate (CTR) to your website.
The next piece to the metadata puzzle is the page description field. This is the
text that appears below the Page Title on the search engines. The text and
keywords used here should be thought out very carefully because the first 120 characters appear between the Page Title and your web address in the search
Compiling thorough metadata for each page of your website is very time
consuming, but not something that requires advanced knowledge in computer
languages. SEO companies offer services to complete these tasks so business
owners do not have to. This is a service that should be a one-time cost when
launching or updating a website.
HITTING THE LINKS
Google and the other major search engines use an algorithm that now analyzes
about two hundred pieces of your website when the spiders crawl through your
site. If you are ready to hire an SEO company, make sure you are paying for
link generation. The task of linking your website to other reputable websites is
tedious but worth the results.
Link generation can be extremely difficult because of the necessary hours
put in sending emails to webmasters and bloggers. The sheer time between
correspondences with every different website you contact can seem endless.
This is indeed the hardest part of SEO. There is a company, CaliStyle
Technologies from the San Diego area that uses robotic software that automates
link generation. Working from a network of nearly 30,000 businesses, the
CaliStyle robot chooses which websites are most relevant to your page giving
you the links you need to make a well known presence in the World Wide Web.
If you prefer to do this on your own, take these simple steps: search for blogs
that pertain to your industry and write a polite email asking to be included on any
link lists on their site. Offering a reciprocal link or some type or barter certainly
does not hurt the cause. Each link to your website that is created then helps your
page rank higher due to these other sites vouching for you.
Whatever company you decide to go with, be cautious and make sure to ask lots
of questions. Do not sign a long term contract. A 90 day period is a comfortable
term. It usually allows enough time to see results and decide if you are satisfied.
Good SEO firms realize once the results they provide their clients are proven
they will keep coming back after the 90 day contract is over.
SEO firms should proudly display references on their site. Data such as ranking
reports with a timeline should be provided for the different industries they have worked with. If you are unable to check multiple references with a particular
company, be wary of working with them. It is always promising to hear a great
referral from several business owners.
Of all the things to make sure your SEO company does, make certain they
do not partake in any ‘black hat’ tactics that are frowned upon by Google and
the like. Keyword spamming, erroneous content, invisible text, cloning content
from popular sites, or redirecting traffic from one place to another can all get
you banned by Google and others. Even if it works, these tactics can bring you
irrelevant traffic that is not looking for your services to begin with.
If you are up to the task, or looking for a reputable SEO firm to optimize your
website be sure you are delivering the kind of content your clientele are looking
for. Be thorough and concise when performing or paying for SEO. Your business
depends on it.