If you have a website these days you’ve likely already been hit by numerous phone calls and emails guaranteeing you unbelievable results from the amazing mystical powers of the “SEO”.
About once a week we have a client contact us to ask “is this something I need to be worried about?” or receive the offer of page one placement in the spam folder ourselves. Some of these emails will be obvious scams, others will use scare tactics to make you think your digital existence is in imminent danger of disappearing forever…but don’t worry for a low low budget of several hundred dollars a month you can have all those problems “fixed” and receive reports full of charts and stats that you’ll likely never be able to comprehend.
It’s a sad state of affairs really, but over the last several years Search Engine Optimization has devolved from a respected technically challenging and analytical data based service into a means for smoke blowing snake oil salespeople to hock their wares. Because every business is desperate to find that silver bullet for success – that doesn’t exist – they’re willing to throw money at most anything they think will work, and that makes them vulnerable to people who would seek to exploit their need.
So how do you know who to trust?
Business owners don’t always have the time or technical knowledge to divine what they need to from hard to understand charts and metrics, and those who profit from their ignorance aren’t quick to offer assistance.
1 – Make sure you take your time to find the right person for the job, ask friends who they’ve used, and examine the previous work of the provider.
2 – Don’t hire someone just because they found you.
3 – Ask questions, even if they feel dumb.
4 – Foremost: be honest about your expectations, this is how to avoid disappointment.
How do you know what actually works?
If none of the meta-tag mumbo jumbo the SEO salesman pushed isn’t the real answer, what is? The truth is there is a lot more that goes into truly effective website optimization and there is a lot more to it than just the tags you stuff into your website code.
Search engines look at a few key factors when ranking a website and some of them are easier to control than others. No single one of these things will make or break your site, but when combined together with a consistent content strategy they can lead to increased visibility and in turn improved lead creation.
Here’s some of the main things every site needs to focus on for overall optimal organic placement:
1 – Age of domain. You can’t do much about this one.
2 – Incoming links. Search engines use the number and relevancy of links from other websites as a signal that your site is pertinent to the keywords it contains.
3 – Content. This is where your keywords come in, the same actual STUFF of your website that tells humans what you’re all about is the same stuff that communicates that to search engines.
4 – Frequency of updates. It’s not enough to set it and forget it. Search engines and humans both prefer fresh content on a regular basis (this is why blogging can be powerful).
5 – Traffic. Believe it or not a site that is already getting traffic gets more traffic. If search engines see a trail of traffic going to your site they want to know why and can give you a small boost if they find it to be relevant.
What about Pay Per Click?
Yes! You can pay to play on the information superhighway. Take the toll road to the fast lane. You will see immediate results; it can get you up on that top place on page one. It’s great, it has purpose and potential but a paid advertising plan of this sort should be considered only if there is budget available because once you stop paying that placement vanishes.
While pay per click gets results fast it’s ultimately a bidding game against your competition and the results only lasts as long as you pay top dollar. That’s one of the main reasons we encourage clients to take the route of more organic optimization. While it does take more time to produce results they are more lasting and not dependent upon who puts in the highest bid for the ad placement.
As you can see search engine optimization is much more than just “adding some seo words” to your website. It involves consistent ongoing efforts to create and disseminate content that not only your human visitors will care about but that search engines will find useful as well. These efforts then need to be monitored and analyzed to insure that they are focused and effective. There is no one silver bullet for online success. SEO is just one part of what should be an overall digital marketing strategy.
Don’t feel stressed if this all seems a little overwhelming! You’re not alone. Geeks Worldwide is here to help you roadmap your path to success and avoid potential pitfalls along the way. We provide much more than just web design; have the experience to help you see optimal results from your online efforts.