Research has shown that 74% of search engine users perform local searches, with 43% of search engine users seeking a local business or service to make a purchase offline.
This is great news for local businesses and service providers, but only if they have a web presence that has been search engine optimized. The following ten points will, hopefully, give some helpful insight into the SEO industry as well as what to look for in an SEO provider.
1. Content is King
Quality, search engine optimized content is the crucial element in every SEO campaign. Basically search engines index websites depending on the content they find on each page of the site. Comprehensive keyword research, to find and make the most of the targeted market, combined with a thorough understanding of language and grammatical standards, can allow a website to move to the top of the “SERP’s” (Search Engine Results Page) in an ethical and efficient manner.
2. Beware the “#1 Ranking” Guarantee.
People who promise a #1 ranking will either optimize for obscure keyword phrases (like, “purple and orange striped rubber baby buggy bumper”) that only 5 people in the world will ever likely look for, or they are simply making a claim that they hope will come true and know probably won’t. They may tell you they have an inside secret (think “against Google policy”) for ranking #1 on Google, a position you will quickly loose, when the good folks at Google discover it.
3. Overkill is Never a Good Thing.
Submitting your website to every search engine on the planet is unnecessary. Companies offering this type of service are only accomplishing two things, wasting their time and wasting your money. About 85% of all searches on the Internet come from one search engine. If you have just one link from an established website, or even better, a directory, the Big G will find your site just fine, on it’s own. Four (4) search engines account for over 90% of all traffic on the web. As for any assumed benefits from being listed in some unknown search engine in Pango Pango specializing in shrunken lizard heads that receives a whopping 3 hits per day; well, the result is obvious.
4. SEO and PPC are Different Acronyms.
Under the right circumstances, a well planned PPC (pay-per-click) campaign can be an effective way of getting more traffic and increased sales. But the fact is that PPC conversion rates are likely to be low, and more importantly, the potential “clicks” cease the moment the “pay” stops. Results utilizing a properly planned and executed SEO campaign may take a little more time, but they will continue to produce, and in fact grow, even after the work is done and paid for. In many cases after an in depth optimization of a website, only minimal modifications are required on a recurring basis, primarily pertaining to new content.
5. SEO is Not Magic.
No “top-secret handshakes”, “sacrifices of virgins” or “magic formulas” are involved in Search Engine Optimization. Any SEO specialist that can not tell his practices to you, their client, or a judge, or even his mother, may have something to hide. The very structure of the Internet has long been one of cooperation. With enough time, want and money, SEO techniques can be learned by anyone. A legitimate SEO firm will provide you with an item by item description of where your money goes. Be wary if you sense an unwillingness to answer any of your questions. While some technical factors might require some background to fully understand, a substantial summary of the general strategy, should be an easy task for your SEO company to explain.
6. SEO DIY.
It is entirely possible for you to execute your own SEO campaign and find a reputable SEO firm to help plan and organize it. To save money, you can do some of the work yourself, or have your in-house staff do it. This can be accomplished after a discussion of the goals of the website, a complete website analysis, comprehensive keyword phrase research, and focused instruction on the methods for achieving high search engine rankings. This is followed up with a detailed program of recommendations and procedures that the client can put into action themselves or hire others to perform.
7. All incoming Links Are Not Created Equal.
The value of inbound links to your site is determined by the relation of your field of business and website subject matter to the relevance and PR (Page Rank) value of the incoming link. The days of snagging all the incoming links you can find, in any way possible, are gone. Not only will low ranked and/or irrelevant incoming links not help, they will, in fact, cause a penalty. Link farms, automated link building software, or any other gimmick that does not carefully screen the links and the websites they come from will, ultimately, do more harm than good.
8. If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is.
This is especially valuable advice in the world of SEO. By its very nature, the Internet is a competitive marketplace and we all want to be #1. Tangible and measurable results can only come from a well planned and implemented optimization strategy. Over time, a reliable upward trend will place you far ahead of a speedy lift-off followed by a “crash and burn”.
9. Knowledge is Bliss…Or At Least A Good Idea
Above all remember, in the battle for the top, the very survival of your website, your business, and most likely your reputation is at stake. Watch out for any “shortcuts” or unethical tactics that anyone might suggest to further your business goals. In the end you, as the business owner, bear the responsibility for any company or individual you hire. Be adamant on knowing what the exact strategy is and the steps that are being performed to put it into practice. Ask for clarification if anything seems the least bit suspicious. In this situation ignorance is not bliss, it could be a huge stumbling block for your online business presence.
10. It’s More Than Just SEO.
The business relationship between an SEO provider and his client should be one of trust and openness. To be effective, an SEO provider must not only know the facts and figures pertaining to the project, but he must also know something of the desires and aspirations of the business owner. Sometimes, the things which don’t normally come out in an SEO evaluation are often the most valuable when searching for the “right solution” in the complex world of search engine optimization. The SEO provider’s ultimate goal should be to help the client achieve their goals in an ethical and comprehensive manner.
TAP Marketing provides local businesses in the Huntsville and Madison, AL area internet marketing services. Give us a call at 256-513-9736 or Contact Us for a Free consultation today!