SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a process for improving the visibility of a web page to the search engines. When SEO is done properly you will find your web site, on a related search, closer to or even at the top of the search engine results. When you do a search on Google, for example, you usually wind up with at least 50,000,000 results. If your web site shows up as the 900,000th in the list there will be no person on the face of the earth that will scroll through that many listing just to find your business. While Google was used in the example it is important to remember that this is for all search engines, not just Google. The search engines have certain features and some of them are offered at a price. There are Local Listings, Mobile Search and mobile advertising, and Pay per click advertising. Selecting and using keywords is a much more complex process than it was in the earlier days of the web. In fact although search engines give clues as to what they are looking for the actual formula is kept as a secret. Because SEO has become such a specialized field in a very complex market, the process of SEO is constantly changing and what worked last month may not work today. SEO is a moving target and it takes a professional to be able to stay on top of the ins and the outs of it.
SEO can also be an acronym for Search Engine Optimizers. These are the specialists who offer their services as a consultant. If you truly want the best possible results for your web site then you need to strongly consider finding the right professional. You want to stay away from consultants that use, what is referred to as, “black hat” methods. These consultants use techniques that the search engines do not like and while they may give your web site an immediate push to the top of the rankings, they usually end up being penalized by the search engines making you worse off than when you started. So it is important for you to be clear on the fact that there are good and bad consultants in the world of SEO. You want to find someone that understands how the system works and that explains to you what exactly they intend to do for you. Some of the typical services that a SEO Consultant will provide are:
• Review of your site content or structure
• Technical advice on website development
• Content development
• Online business development campaign management
• Research of Keywords
• Training in SEO
• Expertise in specific market areas
Every business would like to be on the top page of the search engine ranking results but only a few will make it there. The rewards of being near the top of the Search Engine results are more visibility for you web site and more sales. In this highly competitive market the only way to achieve a first or second page ranking result is to have the SEO work done professionally. This is for all search engines, not just Google. From analysis of keywords to local listings, pay per click, and mobile search and mobile advertising, there is a good deal of work that needs to be done to make your web presence a success.
SEO is the science and the art of getting the best possible search engine ranking results. One of the first steps is to analyze your web site. Search engines use programs that are called spiders to go through the massive amount of web sites that are on the Internet and to complete a ranking of them. For SEO techniques to be effective you must have a site that has been optimized for not only your visitors but for the search engine spiders. A site that is not optimized properly will hide important information from the search engine spiders and your rankings will be affected accordingly. The next step would be to analyze the keywords that you are using and the ones that your competitors are also using. From this process a complete list of keywords is put together and they are distributed properly throughout your web site. SEO specialists can put a special set of instructions to search engines in a special text file that only the search engines will be seeing as well as in the META tags.
There is no good “cookie cutter” type of approach to good SEO. There are specific opportunities and challenges in different business and geographical markets and it takes a professional that does this type of work all of the time to be able to stay on top of all of these ins and outs. For example in certain industries properly displayed video content can have an effect on your rankings. As with many facets of SEO, used improperly the video content can have a negative impact on your rankings while used properly the impact can be quite positive. The same is true with the inclusion of PDF documents and other types of engagement content.
Backlinks are incoming links to a web page or website. The number of backlinks to your website or web page is a major factor in the formula used by the top search engines. Whenever any one factor becomes as prominent as backlinks have become there will always be people that try to find a way to exploit this area. For a period of time many had success by creating “farms” of links. These were basically sites that had no other purpose than to include these links. However whenever people try to exploit an area of SEO, the search engines usually come up with a method of compensation for this. There are a number of areas in SEO where the results can be achieved in ways that are not acceptable to the search engines. Using these “black hat” types of techniques very often give you great immediate results, but will almost always end up with a long term negative impact, as the search engines will and often do penalize the offenders. This is true in several other areas including keyword stuffing and landing pages.
The purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to a website. This is done through keywords and content, optimized site architecture, optimized web design, and proper link development. There are tools that will analyze and report the results that you are getting and these results will be used in a second phase of SEO to further improve the sites optimization. There are two types of ways to generate traffic to your web site. There is un-paid, referred to as “organic” and paid, which is referred to as un-organic. Some of the paid methods of driving traffic to your website are Local Listings, Mobile Search and Mobile Advertising, and Pay Per Click (PPC).
The immediate benefit of Search Engine Optimization is to improve the ranking that your website or web page has with the major search engines. When the big search engines, like Google, produce over one hundred million results in a fraction of a second, it will do your web site very little good to be ranked anywhere beyond the first few pages or results. The goal of SEO is to get you in to the top few ranking results and to keep you there.
Being in the top rankings with a major search engine is the best possible advertising that your company can possibly obtain. The people that will find your site through a search engine are qualified and targeted prospects. If you take out a full page newspaper or magazine advertisement or rent a large bill board, then you will expose your company to a limited number of random people that may or may not even notice that your advertisement is even there. The results that you get from search engines is qualified in that the people that find your site were expressly interested in and looking for the goods and services that you provide. Some of the major search engines use the geographic origination of the users IP address to add geo-targeting to the mix. This makes the results that you get from SEO targeted ones.
In March of 2009 there were 143 billion web searches done in the United States. Google held the lead with a 63.7 percent market share. Yahoo was in 2nd place with 20.5 percent, MSN Live was 3rd with 8.3 percent, Ask.com was 4th with 3.8 percent and AOL was in 5th with a 3.7 percent market share. Looking at this data you can see that Google is the biggest player but that this is for all search engines, not just Google, because there was still 36.3 percent, of the 143 billion web searches done in the United States in March, 2009. That works out to be 51,909,000,000 non Google web searches in the month of March, 2009. There is no television, radio station, newspaper or magazine with anywhere near that kind of a market. When you had to a market the size of the Internet the fact that you can qualify and target your prospects, you can see why Internet marketing and SEO are as important as they are.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, in 2008 there was 3.704 billion dollars spent in e-commerce. And 2008 showed a 12.1 percent increase over 2007. By 2011 the already staggering amount of commerce will be considerably more. And not only was $3,704,000,000,000.00 spent in 2008 over the Internet but a lot of business was conducted on site from traffic that was initiated on the Internet. This is an amazing market that is the biggest area for growth that most companies have. Some markets are already more competitive, on the Internet, than others. The first step is to get your site a top search engine ranking. This will guarantee a large volume of visitors to your site. Then you have to develop and optimize the web site for the maximum conversion rate of visitors to sales.
The World Wide Web is less than 20 years old and has grown at an explosive rate that will rival any other new, technology inspired, boom. The specialty of a Search Engine optimization consultant is a relatively newer area of expertise. The field that these SEO Specialists navigate through is an ever changing environment where out dated mapping information will lead you to nowhere. And in the area of run away growth that is the World Wide Web, this information is changing at all times.
SEO is not for the hobbyist or part time efforts of an individual involved in a different area of responsibility. The prizes are so large and that makes the competition so very aggressive and that means that if you want to have a chance of getting a slice of the big Internet pie you need the services of the right professional. When it comes to Search Engine Optimization the results of selecting the wrong consultant are worse than just not helping. If the SEO consultant that you hire engages with “black hat” methods and techniques, then although you may see some initial signs of positive results, your site will be punished by the search engines and your results would be worse than if you did absolutely no SEO at all. Your web site can be excluded from all search engine inquiries.
• We were professional even before the World Wide Web existed and we brought that professionalism with us to this field. This means that we will deal with you in a professional and upright manner. We will not make outlandish promises that can not be achieved. We will give you a detailed business plan at the onset of our business relationship and regular status updates.
• We are not a fly by night operation. We are in business for the long haul. We conduct business in the right way, even though that sometimes requires a bit of extra effort on our part. Over 90 % of our new business comes from repeat and referral sources. That is a testament to the fact that we know how to treat our customers and that we also know how to get lasting results. Although the bulk of our work is usually done in the initial phases of SEO, we provide services that last for the lifetime of your web site.
• Every SEO project that we get involved with is custom designed. We do not have a “cookie cutter” approach. Every web site has particular challenges and opportunities inherent to their industry and geographic market. In the initial phases of our project we will build a blueprint for the SEO campaign. We will meet with you after our initial survey and study and discuss the possible SEO initiatives that are available to your web site. Once we have agreed upon the work plan we will keep you constantly updated as to the progress and results.
• We have the experience and provide our SEO services as a complete Internet Marketing effort. We will work with you to develop the optimal balance of free and paid search engine marketing methods. We will help you to develop the optimal keywords for your purposes. We can also provide you assistance to improve your visitor to sale conversion percentages.
• There are no special relationships that any consultant can have with a search engine. These special relationships simply do not exist. What we have and what we offer to you is a superior and current knowledge of how the search engines operate and determine their rankings. We also have a proven process that when adapted to your industry and geographic segments gives the optimum results.
We know that you are an expert in your field and that you are hiring us to provide services in an area outside of your specialty. We do not try to make ourselves appear important by blinding you with industry jargon. We give you clear and concise information and options. We work with you to create the plan that will work the best and be within your budget. Our business plan is to grow through repeat and referral business so our future growth is dependent upon you being an extremely satisfied customer. Let us help you to achieve your Internet Marketing Strategy goals. Contact us for a free initial evaluation.