September 21, 2009

More About SEO

SEO Defined:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results for targeted keywords. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results or the higher it “ranks”, the more searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.  As a marketing strategy for increasing a site’s relevance, SEO considers how search algorithms work and what people search for. SEO efforts may involve a site’s coding, presentation, and structure, as well as fixing problems that could prevent search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a site. Other, more noticeable efforts may include adding unique content to a site, ensuring that content is easily indexed by search engine robots, and making the site more appealing to users. (source: Wikipedia)

Why hire an SEO Firm?

SEO – Search Engine Optimization is a very important part of digital marketing and it is a very labour intensive specialty.  It involves researching keywords, competition, on and off page content, link building, keeping abreast of current trends and other optimization techniques. Although a website owner could realistically learn and execute search engine optimization by themselves it would be very time consuming and involves a steep learning curve.  Hiring an outside SEO agency is very cost-effective and most often results in a long term increase in earnings of many multiples of your investment.   Plus why take the chance of having your website banned from the search engines because of a lack of knowledge.

What to Look for When Hiring an SEO Agency:

Just like any service sector the SEO industry has many good solid companies providing valuable services, but there are also many unscrupulous fly-by-night firms that will promise you the world but deliver very little value for your investment. You should be extremely wary of any SEO company that offer guaranteed search engine placement or money back guarantees. The reason for this is simple, it is impossible to guarantee placement in the organic search results because they have no control over the search engine algorithms nor can they control how your competitors might react if they begin losing search engine rank position to your website.  Hiring an a Digital Marketing company with the right combination of expertise and integrity is paramount to your success.  Take a look in our SEO scams category to learn more about the types that are being propagated these days and make sure to protect yourself.

Here is a quote taken from Google’s own Webmaster Help Center:

“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.  Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a ‘special relationship’ with Google, or advertise a ‘priority submit’ to Google.”

White Hat, Black Hat, Grey Hat:

Years ago it was easy to fool the search engines into ranking your website high in the SERP’s by using sneaky, black hat techniques like hidden text and spam.  Nowadays the search engine are much smarter and can detect these ‘cheating’ techniques quite easily.  Grey hat techniques are also not highly recommended because they will put your website at risk of penalties and banning.  Be wary of SEO firms that offer unrealistic guarantees and/or are secretive about their methods because they may be using black hat SEO techniques.  White hat SEO is the only type we practice and the results we get for our clients are secure and long-lasting.  Don’t fall prey to empty promises that will get your website banned from the search index.  When it comes to search engine optimization, slow and steady does win this race, short-term trickery will cause your website to be penalized and possibly banned.