Questions to Ask Your Potential Search Engine Optimization Company – Part 2

Last month, I went over questions that you should ask your potential search engine optimization company regarding its tactics. That set of questions is critical, as before moving forward with any of the myriad of search engine optimization companies out there, you should always determine whether or not they will put your site at risk of penalization in the major search engines (leaving your website worse off than when your campaign started).

However, many people researching search engine optimization companies are unaware that potential penalization is even an issue – they are primarily interested in the results that the search engine optimization company can achieve. This installment of the three-part series will focus on questions to determine the competence of any search engine optimization company that you are considering. To find out whether any particular company is worthy of your trust in terms of results, consider asking the following:

“Do you require that I make changes to my website content?”

Any search engine optimization companies that answer “no” to this question are either using shady tactics or are only scratching the surface of true search engine optimization. Certainly, there are some elements that can be changed on a website that are largely transparent to the user, including title tags, meta tags, and alt tags. While making changes to these elements can create a boost in rankings, it will not give you the search engine dominance over your competitors that you desire. Remember, search engines are interested in matching content (what appears on your web pages) with search queries (the phrases that people are typing into search engines).

The problem with a search engine optimization company only manipulating the largely unseen elements is that search engines recognize that these elements are determined by the owner of the website and may not actually reflect the real content that appears on the pages. In order to perform well across the most popular engines, you must make certain that your search engine optimization company accurately addresses popular search queries within your pages. And this almost always requires changes to your content.

“Will you be adding additional pages to my website?”

If a search engine optimization company answers “no” to this question but answers “yes” to the question above, it likely means that it will be employing what I call the “shoehorn” approach to optimization. This means that the firm will try to shoehorn keyphrases into existing pages on your website, rather than expanding your website to include new content.

The trouble with this approach is that your existing pages are unlikely to directly address the search query. When search engine optimization companies shoehorn in keyphrases, they may achieve high rankings for you, but you probably won’t have many long-term visitors. For example, assume that your company makes widgets and you have an “about us” page on your site that gives a brief history of your company, as well as contact information and driving directions. If your search engine optimization company optimizes this page for “custom widget pricing,” and you subsequently achieve high rankings for the phrase, it does not necessarily mean that you will see much benefit. One can deduce from the query that people are looking for actual pricing information, not information on where your company is located or when it was founded. Another web page that directly addresses their search query is just a click of the back button away.

Adding new, informational pages to your website is a standard approach for the inclusion of quality search engine optimization phrases. Think of it this way – your search engine optimization company should not be thinking, “Where can we shoehorn this phrase in?” Search engine optimization companies should instead always be thinking, “How can we best address this query with a new page?” The difference in results can be dramatic.

“What will you be doing besides working on my site directly?”

If a prospective search engine optimization company tells you that it will only be making changes to your site itself, this means that it will not be spending any time working on your site’s link popularity. Link popularity plays a tremendous role in determining rankings in every major search engine. Simply put, sites that have a good number of quality and relevant incoming links are held in a higher regard than sites that do not. This is because a link from another site is considered a “vote” for your site – but all votes are not equal.

Quality search engine optimization companies will spend a great deal of time looking for industry-specific directories and portals where a link to your site can be added. They will also review all of your existing incoming links and make certain that the website owner has configured them in such a way as to give your site the highest chance for high search engine rankings.

“Will you be adding additional pages and targeting additional keyphrases over time?”

This is a very important question. Even search engine optimization companies that have a reputation for providing quality initial results can fall short on this, but it is one of the most important aspects involved in improving your optimization results over time.

When your campaign is kicked off, your search engine optimization company will target an initial list of phrases. Although good search engine optimization companies will rely on readily available software to determine which phrases are being searched on most often, and common sense to determine which of those phrases will bring buyers and not “tire-kickers,” it is in all honesty an educated guess.

Forward-looking search engine optimization companies treat the initial keyphrases as the “testing” phase of the campaign. They track these individual phrases and find which ones are working (bringing in the people that actually buy something or take the point of action on your site that leads to a sale). Armed with this knowledge, such search engine optimization companies will regularly expand your campaign to include phrases similar to the ones that are working the best. Without such expansions based on real data, you are merely relying on the best educated guesses from the initial campaign, and not the hard data that comes from true metrics as the campaign progresses.

“Can you give me references and case studies?”

This one seems obvious, but there are search engine optimization companies out there who claim that their clients all wish to remain anonymous, so that it is impossible to provide any specifics. This is usually a smokescreen designed to defer proof of concept. Certainly, there are businesses that hire a search engine optimization company that wish to keep it a secret, but these are generally in the minority. Forward-thinking companies generally enjoy showing off their success stories, so you should insist on seeing some real (not anonymous) case studies and talking with some references.

When dealing with references, find out how long they have been working with the search engine optimization company. If all references are less than a year old, it may mean that the company has been unable to demonstrate value over the long term, which is certainly something to consider. After all, long-term value is what you should be trying to achieve from a search engine optimization company, and search engine optimization is not a one-time endeavor.

Armed with these questions, you should be able to determine whether a certain search engine optimization company is worthy of both your time and your marketing money, or whether you instead will wind up with empty pockets and a useless site. Remember, high rankings don’t always mean good leads, and great keyphrases are not helpful unless they are used properly on your site.

In the third and final part of this series, I will discuss the assurances that search engine optimization companies offer – or fail to offer – from guarantees to exclusivity agreements.

Search Engine Optimization – SEO Explained

Search engine optimization, which is frequently referred to as SEO, is the process of increasing the amount and quality of traffic generated to a website or other Internet based property from search engines’ natural/organic ranking results for specific words called keywords. For this article, I will use the term website to refer to all Internet based properties.

The popularity and importance of search engine optimization is based primarily on the fact that statistical data has proven time and time again that the higher a website is ranked in search engine ranking results, the more likely the chance that individuals will click the website link and visit the website.

Moreover, marketing research has shown over the past decade that the quality of visitors that search engines deliver to websites traditionally ranks as the best or one of the best sources of traffic for websites in relation to website conversions for sales, signups or other marketing goals set for websites.

The term SEO in relation to search engine optimization is also used at times to refer to search engine optimizers, who are consultants that mange and facilitate the development and completion of search engine optimization projects for their clients. Also, these individuals can be employees who conduct SEO projects in-house for their employers.

Search engine optimizers may provide their services strictly for search engine optimization or as part of a package, which includes other marketing services.

In general, SEO was created as a method of improving websites’ search engine ranking results. Moreover, at the core of conducting search engine optimization, there are two general methods used to optimize websites, which are on-site and off-site optimization.

As the terms imply, on-site optimization involves using techniques that are focused directly on the website and off-site optimization involves aspects that effect a website that are not directly on the website.

The reason why search engine optimization has a noticeable effect of improving a website’s rankings is because all search engines have at the core of their existence a computer program, which is called an “algorithm”. This program manages to a large degree almost all the various operations of search engines.

Thus, SEO is used by individuals and businesses to optimize websites for search engine ranking results based on either perceived or actual knowledge pertaining to the functions, directions, retrieved website data and instructions utilized by search engine algorithms to determine a website’s search engine ranking for keywords or keyword phrases.

What makes search engine optimization very challenging is the fact that every search engine has an algorithm that was created specifically for its own search engine; so each algorithm is unique and ranks websites using different criteria and factors and/or places various levels of importance on the criteria and factors.

Moreover, search engines are very protective of their algorithms; so all aspects of the algorithms’ operations are tightly guarded. Therefore, the algorithms are always being changed from time to time to prevent anyone from trying to determine the exact or close to the exact factors and criteria used to rank websites in their ranking results.

The better an individual can evaluate how search engine algorithms determine their search engine ranking results and can utilize search engine optimization to optimize websites based on his or her evaluation findings, the better the likelihood of the individual being able to improve a website’s rankings through the use of search engine optimization.

Learn SEO.

10 Reasons Why Paying for Search Engine Optimization Makes Sense

SEO requires Time, Effort, & Persistence
It takes vast amounts of time, effort and persistence to successfully complete a campaign regarding search engine optimization. If you are attempting to optimize a website for a business that you own, I can assure you that your success rate will very drastically. Running a business in itself takes up large segments of your time. If you are not a seasoned professional you will spend a large portion of your time researching different search engine optimization methods and tactics. With the evolution of internet search engines the SEO industry has grown drastically. By this I mean that there are many different perspectives when it comes to optimization. With your website only being crawled every five to seven days to see if your changes had a positive or negative outcome regarding your search results. The biggest hurdle the do-it-yourself website optimizer faces is the fact results often take time to see results. The end result causes the novice optimizer to loose motivation and easier to get side tracked.

SEO Tools, Strategy & Experience
The available SEO weapons are ever-changing, but the most skilled search engine optimization experts have an effective and deadly arsenal. Some of the tools of a modern SEO include keyword research, keyword density reports, keyword competition reports, traffic reports and more. Like any other profession you are as only as good as your tools. The experienced use of SEO tools will have a mirror effect SEO campaigns. The search engine optimization expert will create SEO strategies and roadmaps to successfully market client websites. The roadmap outlines detail and milestones that need to be accomplished for a successful campaign. Having professionals on your side takes a lot of the guess work out of optimizing a site. There are many points to consider when you attempt to optimize a site alone. A few of the questions you should ask yourself is. Do I have a niche market? What does my product or service fall under? Should I optimize for local searches, national, or global? By having an experience SEO, your website can gain ranking within a short threshold. A successful campaign can result in a faster and higher Return on Investment (ROI).

SEO is Far from Easy
One of the terms greatly associated with search engine optimization is time consuming. There are a lot of hours that are invested into a successful campaign, not to mention keyword, competition research and also attempting to find a niche market. Persistence is king when it comes to optimizing any website. The great discouragements that come into play when undertaking certain SEO projects is the time it takes to see results. Sometimes weeks or even months to see the results of large efforts, it takes more than creating a website and throwing around hundreds or thousands of links. Those days of search engine optimization are gone. Today’s SEO battlefield is more about strategy, method and architecture. Search engine optimization is a form of modern day digital engineering. True optimizers stay up to date with search engine algorithm, marketing and trends which sometimes feels like a job in itself. Understanding the trends is important, although this does not compare to actual experience, skill, and best practices in order to have successful results.

Cost Effective SEO Services
Generally speaking full SEO campaigns are expensive, but affordable when compared to other traditional methods of advertising which include print advertising, broadcast advertising, etc. Compare SEO Services which come close to you initial marketing budget and needs. Do not settle for the first bidder, take a more subtle approach and compare and contrast the rates of other SEO companies and consultant’s rates. With such a competitive market for website optimization the price for service fluctuates drastically. Do your homework, and research an SEO company thoroughly before you commit, make sure to read reviews. Make sure to get free custom quotes, and negotiate the SEO rate and services until it fits your budget needs. Make sure to get a fair and honest deal, one that you are completely satisfied with.

Optimized Websites Increase Traffic
It is no business secret that having your site rank in the top 10 search results on any heavily queried search engine is very rewarding and can provide extensive traffic. The key is ranking for the right keywords, depending on the buzzwords that relate to the service or product that you are representing. Search engine optimization can excel your website for virtually any keyword of your choosing, depending on your budget. It is vital that the search optimization company that you select targets the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo, & Bing). By doing so you will increase your business websites traffic thus increasing the conversion rate and ultimately increasing profits.

Experience SEO Services is the Difference
Most businesses that reside online invest in professional and experienced SEO services. Why? Because it makes all the difference, a company would not advertise with a traditional company that did not get great results. So why would they follow any other module when it came to internet marketing? Take under consideration the top search results for popular keyword terms usually have professional and experienced SEO companies and consultants doing their online marketing campaigns. Having professional and experienced SEO’s working for you, your website will naturally outrank your competition using the do-it-yourself approach. It is imperative to stay ahead of the competition and it is more likely to do so with the assistance of an SEO expert.

Search Engine Optimization more Bang for your Buck
When comparing search engine optimization with other traditional methods of media advertising such as print advertising, television commercials, or radio broadcast search engine optimization is more effective for a few reasons. First and foremost optimized websites that are being displayed as search results are displayed due to a user query. This type of marketing is more effective and has a higher conversion rate because the customer is searching for the product or service. Unlike the traditional rate that bombards people with products and services and only getting a fraction of the people that actually see the advertisement. Second, Search engine optimization is considered target marketing. Unlike traditional marketing that advertises to a mass audience.

SEO Services Increases Revenue
Increasing business sales revenue has never been easier. If you have a traditional brick & mortar which sells goods, then it is highly advisable that you have an online store to promote your goods as well. By digitally putting up a store front online you can offer your product a larger customer base. Investing in professional and experienced SEO services would guarantee that you are generating the most sales through the internet as possible. Acquiring the right professional with the skill level you need can be quite rewarding, with piece of mind and monetarily.

Professional Search Engine Optimization Increases Search Ranking Quickly
A professional search engine optimization service can get your website ranked in a relatively short amount of time than attempting to go it alone. With the aid of professional and experienced search engine optimization experts, your website can rank with search engines within weeks, maybe even days.

Website should be treated like a Business
If the goal for your website is going to be part of your financial lifeblood then it is sensible to treat your website as a business and recruit professional employees to administer the optimization and other marketing methods to promote your website. Good business sense is to employ someone in your surrounding area that you can periodically meet face to face to review end result of the day to day task that will result in the first page ranking of your website. We prefer this approach because it embraces the method and uninterrupted continuation of overlooking the day to day operations of your business. Many business fail due to the do-it-yourself approach. Doing things yourself is ‘okay’ if the tasks you are performing is your profession or relates directly to your business service. Although trying to do things other than a hobby or interest such as attempting to save money can be damaging to your business. As you need to treat your website like you would treat your business and only seek professional and experienced assistance for your business needs.

In conclusion, if you website is going to be a part of a financial lively hood then it is sensible to treat your website as a business and recruit professional search engine optimization services. It makes more than sense it makes dollars to hire a surrounding SEO expert in the LA area or where ever your business resides. We strongly advise to avoid the temptation of outsourcing SEO work to overseas companies. Mostly in part because how can someone understand your objective of your campaign if the most important part is eluded, the human interaction of doing business.