With all of the Search Engine Optimization information out on the web, there tends to be a lot of chaff needing to seperated from the wheat. Time and time again there is a key point which needs to be retold to clients it seems endlessly in the “quick-fix” world we’re in. So then, here it is, one more time for (hopefully) everyone to see!
When your SEO campaign is underway, don’t become impatient with the results! Truly organic SEO takes time, it can be as long as 3-6 months before any significant gain is noticed in your traffic. It’s like planting a garden, when all of the SEO has been finished on your pages (those are the seeds by the way), it’s then time to get to work on the linking strategy (water!). This is where the patience comes in. You wouldn’t pick corn or potatoes which haven’t fully grown, and the same needs to be said of SEO. By changing your pages, altering code, or uploading pages which haven’t been properly worked over, you tear at all of the work that’s been done (the roots).
With this simple SEO tip in mind, happy gardening!
There are several SEO myths which abound about what works and what doesn’t and these myths can be daunting as a potential client. We thought a handy guide to a few of the SEO myths would be useful, as it could help make a more informed decision.
One time SEO for long term ranking
SEO is a strategy, and as any marketing strategy it has to be continuously readjusted for optimal performance. SEO begins with two basic components: the primary site optimization carried out upon signing the contract – which constitutes a large part of the work involved – and the continual website tweaks that are required due to monthly or unexpected shifts in the search engine market. The basic site optimization is the part of SEO which should be carried out only once. Unlike any other medium, the online market is the most dynamic and fast changing for a business to evolve in. That is why month to month changes in search engine algorithms require continuous attention.
Performing in house SEO is more efficient
Initially it may appear, that performing SEO in house is more cost effective. You still have to take in consideration staff training, gaining access to essential SEO industry tools and information and that requires time, effort and money. Allowing untrained staff to perform SEO can be risky as search engines hand out penalties for breaking their guidelines. However, working closely with a SEO that provides consultancy and training can prove to be a solid long-term solution. In time, your staff will be properly prepared to take over some of your optimization needs.
Search Engine Optimization is cost prohibitive
SEO is not a cost, it’s an investment and like any investment it brings a measurable return. Think in terms of ROI, not in terms of cost.
Life is full of do’s and don’ts, and SEO is no exception. Out of all of the tactics available to companies to improve your visibility in the online world, some tactics are ideal, some are highly frowned upon, and some are disputed or on the edge. The industry has applied a lable, or buzz term to these methods, referred as White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO techniques.
White Hat tactics are considered 100% totally safe and they are most often directly recommended by the search engine companies themselves. They are centered around the ideas of sound website building strategies, and not on the flexible nature of any given search engine.
White Hat typically includes:
* Solid, regularly updated content
* Relevant metatags
* Friendly, interactive page design
* Honest linking strategies
In terms of time investment, White Hat techniques take the longest to implement, but all are held in high regard in the search engine optimization world.
Black Hat tactics are forbidden or deeply frowned on by the search engines. These can, and most certainly will, get your site, or your clients site, banned from the index if you are found to be using any of them. The philosophy behind Black Hat SEO revolves around trying to manipulate the search engines to direct traffic instead of earning it.
Black Hat SEO is generally used by people who sell illegal or immoral content. This on it’s own should be reason enough to steer clear, because your reputation WILL be forever tarnished if you associate yourself with these unethical practices.
Black Hat tactics include (but are not limited to):
* Buying links in huge numbers, ignoring relevance, for fast inbound links
* Invisible, or hidden text on your pages; ie the text is identical to your background
* Misleading meta tags
Using any of the above methods will more than likely flag your website within the search index and get the site banned!
Grey Hat SEO tends to fall in between the cracks of the search engines rules. some experts might deem them as highly controversial, while the next may be unconcerned. There is no clear rule set about Grey hat SEO strategies, because there is no clear indication about whether they do harm to your websites presence. You must study the information, and decide for yourself, which side you think is telling the truth.
Grey Hat techniques can include:
* Owning a number of sites and cross linking them back to each other
* Purchasing links on every page of a smaller, relevant site
* Working for links on a high quality site, that may not be relevant to your site
There are a lot of Grey Hat techniques, and you’ll find that usually they are highly debated in the search engine optimization world.
In the end, the only “unknown” is the search engine algorithms (the code that helps the search engine decide what is legit and what is not), are not predictable, and they are constantly changing, so a technique that works one day may not work the next and vice versa.
In the end, the only real answer is, research all available information, and then make a decision based on how much risk you are willing to assume.
However, if you don’t have the time to put into the deluge of online resources available about SEO and the proper way to implement it, that’s where we comes in.
SEO is everywhere, and there’s millions of pages out there telling you how to meta tag this and hyperlink that, and you’ve slowly found yourself drowning a sea of technical jargon. What about SEO made easy? Take a moment, and think about how magazines are put together.
The Table Of Contents tells you story titles, often times gives a brief description, and provides the page number telling you where you can find any particular story. In relation to SEO, the table of contents could be considered the sitemap.
Now flipping over to a story page, the titles will be printed in big, bold font. Occasionally, there will be a brief synopsis about the story, in an italicized font that is a bit bigger than the rest of the story. This in relation to Search Engine Optimization could be considered the title tags.
Pictures throughout the story are found with captions that tend to further develop the story, by describing the picture. When it comes to optimization, this could be considered providing a tag for all of your pictures.
In a longer story there will typically be subheadings, in either a larger, or italicized font. The primary body of the story will be a in regular plain text, with the occasional bolded or italicized word or phrase. Keywords!!
A person who is flipping through the pages can by analyzing the title and other large text on the page, can quickly assess the content and make the decision as to whether they want to read the full story. People are GoogleBots?
When all of the fancy words, and technical jargon are stripped away, the above pattern is a portion of what tickles Googles fancy. Sadly, the rest is that stuff I told you to forget in the first place.
You might have heard of SEO on the net, or in an email or from a business partner. Often, you hear that SEO and SEM are about getting your site in the top 10 in major search engines for a set of keywords.
SEO is partly about that, but getting your site at the top of the SERPs is the means to a goal and not an objective in itself. SEO is about getting qualified traffic to your website and converting as much of it as possible into sales.
Some SEOs only offer top rankings, this is their sales pitch. They qualify achieving that as wild success. However, your site can rank #1 for targeted keywords and fail to make a single sale. This can be a a result of poor communication with your audience or technical and usability website errors. Therefore, an accurate measurement of whether the SEO campaign was a success or a failure is necessary.
It’s best to stick to a SEO that has a good understanding of what success means and can actually measure it for you. However, it’s useful to know some things yourself to give you a chance to determine whether your investment was profitable or not.
Correlating Rankings with Traffic
The first thing to do is to correlate rankings with traffic. Monitor the positions your site holds in search engines for keywords and the corresponding traffic. Compare traffic on a week to week basis. On some keywords your web site might drop and lose traffic but it may gain positions for other keywords and compensate as a result. It’s normal in a search engine optimization campaign to have fluctuations.
Your site can target and rank on a variety of keywords in various search engines. Your traffic will be made up of several streams from various sources. Some of the keywords will be “money keywords”, meaning keywords that people use when they’re ready to make a purchase or make an inquiry.
Another type of keywords are “information keywords”. Each of these are used by people just looking for information on a certain product or service but are not ready or informed enough to make a purchase or an inquiry. More often than not this traffic helps promote your site through viral marketing (mouth to mouth marketing) but will not bring any immediate revenue.
Another type of keywords are “incidental keywords”. These are keywords that are hardly relevant to your content, off topic or mentioned as a comparison term etc. Some of these keywords bring useless traffic. Most users will probably leave as soon as they get to your site because they realize that what they are looking for is not there. Some of these keywords, however, are an excellent chance to widen the set of keywords to target. These keywords will be used by the SEO to attract more targeted traffic.
The next step in your success assessment is to analyze traffic. This should be broken down into sources of traffic: by search engines, by keywords and by third party sites. Success at this stage means an increase in quality traffic. Targeted traffic are visitors who arrive at your website and find what they are looking for, be it information on products or making a purchase or inquiry.
You should not guide yourself purely by numbers as that might include traffic from irrelevant keywords or sources. For example clicks from ad networks may bring in a lot of traffic but if your site doesn’t provide what they are looking for, then the traffic is useless.
Traffic That Converts
In this phase you’re only interested in the traffic that converts, e.g. turns into customers or potential customers. Your SEO should be able to give you a monitoring program that allows to see how many visitors have made a purchase or an inquiry or and which keywords they’ve used to get to your site.
You’re not interested in analyzing every visitor that made a purchase but you, as well as your SEO, should know what your most profitable keywords are. The most profitable keywords bring in the best ROI and this is, after all, the best measuring tool of any SEO campaign. Judging by how ROI rises or drops you can tell if the SEO are doing their job properly or not.
To summarize, targeted traffic and ROI are the two things to analyze in your success measurement process. If targeted traffic rises, then you’ve got a successful site. Targeted traffic is made up of users that recommend your site to their friends and of users that actually make a sale. Increasing ROI means turning more visitors into customers. If your ROI drops or is not very good, then it means that your site isn’t performing as well as it could and your SEO has failed in their task to bring you extra leads and revenue
Internet Marketing and SEO Guru, Jerry Booth has made a new home right here in Winnipeg.
His company Fresh Traffic has taken offices in the prestigious Can West building in the heart of Winnipeg’s business center. The Winnipeg location is the latest additional location which compliments others located in the US & UK.
In this new media age, if a company’s products or services can not be found within the first page of search engine results, they may be doomed to failure. Search engine optimization should be a major focus for any company that relies on attracting new customers.
“If your company does not have a solid search engine optimization strategy, your CEO may be looking for a new job,” warned John Spagnuolo, President of the New Media Institute. “Your organization needs to be found when potential customers are looking for information online.”
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of optimizing a web site or specific content to be found in search engines and placed higher in natural organic search results.
Companies are also using SEO when managing the reputations of brands, products and executives. When searching for a company, product or person, most people search online. Negative messaging could be at the top of search results. A good SEO strategy can boost a company’s web site and messaging to the top of those results.
IT or Communications Function?
Many companies are trying to figure out where the SEO should sit in the organization. Typically, the SEO position will exist within IT or communications. “Wherever the position is filed within an organization, a good SEO executive should have both a strong technical background and strong marketing/communications skills to be able to develop an effective SEO strategy.
While some would argue that the need for search engine optimization for a website can vary website to website, it is becoming more and clearer that search engine rankings can actually make or break a business. Every good businessman will agree that marketing is everything in a business, besides a quality product or service. Search engine optimization is high quality marketing for your website.
Let’s take a look at an example of how SEO can directly affect your business:
A freelance marketing copywriter set up a website to market herself and her services. She mainly used brochures and word of mouth, and while this worked in bringing in clients, she was not making a solid living off the clients that did make it to her website. Someone mentioned SEO to her and she researched and found an SEO company to optimize her website. Upon first analyzing her website, the SEO company had a hard time locating her website within search engine result pages. The SEO team began the optimization which resulted in the copywriter’s website ranking within the top 10 on most major search engine results under the major keyword searches intended. And while the search engine optimization company could happily step back and consider this story a success, the true measure of success after search engine optimization is how successful the website and/or business is after optimization has occurred. The SEO company contacts the copywriter with a follow up and discovers that not only has her traffic significantly increased, she is making a fairly decent living and has had to hire on an extra copywriter to help manage the incoming workload. Only now can the SEO company truly claim success on this search engine optimization project.
If more SEO companies took the time to send out a follow up email just to check in and see how optimization has affected their business clients, the revelations will be astonishing. These companies are spending twice as much on advertising campaigns and techniques, when, for half the cost, proper search engine optimization can actually provide bigger and better overall results. One of our recent clients, for example, is spending $70,000 a year on yellow pages advertising. This gives them a nice page ad in the LOCAL yellow pages. After we finish their new ecommerce website containing all of their parts and products they hope to do away with yellow pages and have little or no further investment while reaching a NATIONAL customer base. As more and more customers go online to search for products and services local advertising paper books are sure to struggle.
Having said this there still seems to be a large number of business owners who still rely on old methods of marketing using paper products. We feel that this is likely because it is hard for long-time business owners to give up on methods that used to work very well for them. There is a strong sense of fear when they consider giving up on paper and going digital. Some feel safer paying out a lot of money for something they know has worked for them in the past. Unfortunately it is not working as well for many of them any longer.
Other online business website owners are hurting because they chose the wrong firm to design their E-commerce website and perform SEO on the new website. Many thousands of dollars later and often many firms later they are still struggling to make any return on investment from their website. Be sure to find the right SEO and design firm before you spend any money. Make them prove their SEO capability with current high ranking websites. Examine their designs carefully to make sure they are clean and easy to navigate. This is one investment you cannot afford to go cheap on. Get the best.
Think of it this way: With regular, everyday advertising, you are only reaching the area within the boundary that you advertise in. With search engine optimization of your website, you are literally advertising to the world—an endless opportunity for success!
It is important to understand that even the best search engine optimization cannot help you if your website is poorly constructed, difficult to navigate, or the content does not contain and maintain fresh, up-to-date information. A major part of overall search engine optimization lies within professionally written and fresh marketing text. And, unfortunately, not all businesses will see such a huge turn-around after search engine optimization. However, considering that regular marketing can be substantially more expensive than SEO, it is safe to say that SEO is a more cost effective way to approach marketing where your business website is concerned. And as we stated earlier, with search engine optimization you are marketing to an entire world of potential customers.
Fresh Traffic Optimize can help bring the world to your website. Call us today for a free consultation and website analysis at 204-942-4200
A potential client recently asked a good question. She regularly reads various search-engine-optimization websites, and she was confused as to the current meaning of the term “SEO.” What, she wondered, was the difference between SEO and online marketing?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is constantly changing. As the major search engines update their algorithms and redefine how their search results will be determined and displayed, the SEO industry must adjust and redefine to follow those trends. But there is a new trend as well: Search optimizers going well beyond search engine results and into other marketing areas but still calling it SEO. It gets a bit confusing.
By definition, SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website with the goal of having major search engines (primarily Google, Yahoo! and MSN Live Search) return pages from that website in highly-ranked search engine results. SEO is almost always employed as a form of marketing, but it is a very specific form of marketing that takes place within the search engines.
Lately, some industry blogs have suggested that SEO has grown beyond its primary parameters, suggesting that successful SEO includes expanding into other realms of marketing. I don’t think that makes any sense. By definition, SEO – search engine optimization – does not include any form of marketing that goes outside of search engines. The use of the term SEO in such a way is disingenuous and confuses many webmasters and owners of ecommerce sites.
Let’s be clear: Online marketing (also referred to as web marketing and Internet marketing) is a term that includes SEO as one marketing aspect among many and not the other way around. It may be a matter of semantics, but as there are well-defined terms to describe the wider practices of marketing on the Internet, why is there a need to redefine SEO to reflect that process? It’s a very useful term as is!
Some SEO professionals may be recognizing that search engine optimization is moving away from a stand-alone industry and towards being one arrow in the quiver of the online marketing industry. They are compensating for this by simply including more forms of online marketing under the SEO heading.
But SEO practitioners shouldn’t fear this move. If the natural path of SEO is to interact with other forms of online marketing, so be it. One can hold this SEO position quite confidently because SEO is not going away. Or, SEO practitioners can expand their boundaries to become more general online marketers – and call themselves just that. But, it should be one or the other; there is no point in redefining terms.
What does this imply for ecommerce sites that are simply trying to employ some SEO to boost sales? Well, first and foremost, a well-optimized and usable site is still priority number one. The best bang for your buck (or your time) is addressing the basic SEO assets of an ecommerce site because natural search engine results are still one of the best ways to drive traffic and sales.
If the SEO is solid for a website, look to augment it by incorporating other forms of online marketing, especially social media. Get involved in the blogosphere whether you do it yourself or hire an outside firm. Taking into consideration a website’s focus and demeanor, consider using YouTube and other video sharing sites to promote a website and drive traffic directly. Remember that PPC (pay per click) search advertising, while often overpriced, can augment a natural search campaign.
But don’t be confused by those who are twisting terms. SEO is still SEO – search engine optimization. Make SEO the skeleton of your online marketing efforts, but don’t be afraid to hang a little muscle and meat on those bones. If your optimization is strong, other online marketing avenues may be a natural – and logical – step towards more sales.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the SERPs where they are (for now)
Grant me the courage to change the tags that I can,
And the wisdom to update my pages daily.
A search engine optimization tip that I know helps me sometimes through the day.