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Search Engine Optimization & Search Engine Marketing Facts
What You Should Know Before Choosing SEO Services For Your Web Site
Let's qualify what you are about to read by establishing the situation. Let's assume that you want your web site to rank better in the main search engines organic (natural) results* and you?re considering purchasing or subscribing to SEO services from an SEO firm or web design firm.
*Not the sponsored links (pay-per-click) at the top, in the margins, or at the bottom of the search engine's pages, but the listings or rankings by number right down the middle of the page; the "organic search results."
First, you should be prepared to hear a variety of opinions, theories and strategies. Since there is no one definitive authority or regulating body of any kind on SEO other than very experienced individuals who are generally hard to locate and very expensive to contract-with, you will find yourself speaking with various individuals and firms who will explain to you how their particular program or approach to Search Engine Optimization will improve your search engine rankings. As someone who knows little if anything about this particular industry, you will most likely find making a decision on which firm to use a little bit difficult and end up basing your decision on things like report with the representative or costs, which is not necessarily the best criteria to use in a decision of this nature. For this reason, we believe it will be helpful for you to understand some of the fundamental aspects of SEO before you begin the interviewing process.
Here are a few basic aspects of SEO that should be understood:
"We'll make you site appear #1 in Google"
Without at least 30 minutes of explaining exactly how they will do this, if you hear this, put your sneakers on and run. This is a wild claim that you hear all the time from so-called SEO firms who cannot even begin to achieve such results without a serious examination of your current web site and a carefully planned strategy to get you there. There is no one thing any Search Engine Optimization firm can do to quickly make your web site rank #1, especially without reviewing your current web site and a well-thought-out plan.
Understanding the use of Keywords/Key Phrases: Another point about the claim of "Making your site rank #1 in Google" is that it is an unqualified statement. For example, if we optimized your web site for the key phrase "Purple Pigs", it would not be difficult to achieve top rankings in all of the major search engines. Why? Because next to no one is optimizing their web site for that key phrase. On the other hand, if we optimized your web site for "Home Builders", it would be considerably more challenging to achieve top rankings in any market because of the competition and use of that phrase. Rankings are largely dependent on keywords and key phrases, how they are used, and a great many other SEO techniques to reinforce their proper use. A reliable firm will address this in depth with you.
Choosing Keywords and Key Phrases That Will Work: Any Search Engine Optimization firm worth their salt will help you select the best keywords and key phrases for your web site and your target market. They should ask you about your goals, the areas of your web site that are the most important for you to promote, etc. Then perform the research necessary to advise you on which keywords and key phrases are actually being used the most by searchers who are seeking your product or service. They should also advise you of the competition level for each of the words and phrases they recommend. This information combined with your goals will allow you and your SEO firm to select the best keywords and key phrases to use in their optimization efforts. If a firm says to you "Tell us what key phrases you want us to optimize with." again, put your sneakers on and run.
Meat: A bit of an odd way to describe a web site, never the less appropriate for my next point. It is not reasonable to expect to achieve high rankings with a small web site that has two to four pages in an industry where you are competing with web sites that are loaded with product information, industry information, and interactive informative features, "Meat". No SEO firm will be able to help, in spite of what they suggest. Web site value and thus rankings are generally achieved the old fashioned way. By starting with an attractive web site that is constructed and coded properly, that is very informative and helpful to individuals who are interested in your site?s subject matter, and that is properly optimized with the keywords and key phrases that searchers who are interested in your subject matter are using. Your site must be equal or greater in "Meat" than your competitors in these areas in order to be competitive in the organic rankings and have the foundation to begin an effective optimization effort.
More on Your Competition: In terms of geographically targeted SEO, companies with web sites that are targeting customers in their local market, it is imperative to consider and understand the web sites you will be competing with. Your firm should also be able to give you a reasonable explanation of the competitive environment you face and what will be needed and necessary to compete and beat the web sites of your competitors.
Quick Case Study Example: We recently took-on a web site construction and SEO program for a small start-up sign company. They were facing competition from all of the major national chains and many local competitors so on the surface it would seem that their 10 page web site might have a difficult time competing. However, their competitors' web sites had not optimized their brochure/directory style web sites. By identifying the key phrases that searchers we using in their market, and correctly optimizing their web site with those phrases, we were able to launch a brand new web site that within two to three weeks dominated the top rankings for their key words. For more than a year now, their small sign company web site continues to beat their local and national franchises competitors sites.
When You Will Start Seeing Rankings?: Everyone wants to be #1 as fast as possible but you will need to exercise some patience and be prepared to invest in an ongoing program if you want your web site to achieve and maintain good rankings, especially if your industry is one of the more competitive and marketing oriented industries. If your firm has complete control of your web site and can effect any change or adjustment that they feel is needed, this is what you should expect:
? If your web site is more than a few years old and has not been touched for some time, the search engines know this. Your web site has a reputation as a stale web site and the search engines are not ?Caching? and ranking your pages in some cases for months at a time. When your SEO firm begins to make changes to your site, it will take a number of weeks to retrain the search engines to the point where they will start caching, evaluating and re-ranking your pages. This can be frustrating but be patient, if your firm is properly optimizing your site, you will see a noticeable jump all of a sudden for a few key phrases. Then over the next two to three weeks rankings for all of the other key phrases will jump as the search engines realize that fresh content exists throughout your web site. You should wait no longer than 90 days at the most for this noticeable improvement to take place.
? If you or your web design firm have been keeping your web site?s content fresh and up to date, and your pages are regularly being visited, cached and ranked by the search engines, you should see a noticeable bump in your rankings within two to three weeks after your new firm begins to optimize your site.
? If your web site is constructed with ?Frames? or is a large ?Framework? site or is constructed with Flash, your SEO firm will need to discuss the possibility of rebuilding your web site, or explain how these factors will hamper and delay their ability to achieve good results.
Generally speaking, any effort to make adjustments and thereby improve the rankings of your web site for specific key words or key phrases should not take longer four weeks from the time that the search engine caches the pages where those phrases have been used to optimize. In other words, once Google (specifically) cached a page where a given key phrase has been used to optimize that page, and this can be seen by performing a search in Google for that specific URL, and looking at the last "Cache" date, the page?s rankings for that key phrase should improve in less than 30 days if optimization is being performed properly for that key phrase on that page.
How to view "Cached Date" in Google:
Select a page in your web site and note one of the Keywords or Key Phrases that are being used to optimize that page, Then perform a search in Google using that key phrase to see if that page is ranked within the first ten pages of Google. Once you find the page in the rankings, click on the Cached link. The page you are taken to will tell you.
As you begin to make your desicion about your Search Engine Optimization firm, consider this: SEO is part science, part skill and part gut. What we mean is that a true SEO specialist will employ knowledge, analytical skills, and intuitiveness weighing and deciding on what action to take based on all conditions and factors. This takes time, careful analysis and text composition, among many other things. Often as we've mentioned, you will see an overall improvement in the rankings of all your keywords and key phrases, but when you start getting up into competing with the sites that are optimizing as much as you are, an increase of two or three positions for a couple of your key phrases could take hours of work.
We encourage you to explore the rest of our web site and our web design services or call us 904-482-0246 if you have any questions about what we do at BoomClient. We will be more than happy to help you and your team! Contact BoomClient today and find out how we can help grow your business!
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