Most Las Vegas business owners do not understand SEO (search engine optimization) and what are the components that make one website rank higher than another. As a result of this lack of understanding of the process, many business owners in Las Vegas make poor decisions with regards to the seo company they hire, the amount of money the seo campaign costs, and how long the seo campaign lasts. Basically, all of these elements will play crucial roles in the success of the seo campaign itself, and will essentially dictate the rank positions that your website achieves. By understanding the process, Las Vegas business owners can make better decisions that will make the seo process pay off for them through more customers and more sales.
The first step towards a business owner understanding the process of search engine optimization is deciding the reason that you want to achieve rankings for your website. If it is simply a decision based upon ego, and the fact that you do not like your competition to be presented higher than you, then you already may be going down the wrong road. SEO is a method of advertising your business, basically very much like the Yellow pages used to be. People find businesses on search engines because it is convenient for them. When they are looking for a product or service in the local Las Vegas area, they go to Google and search for that product or service with the words "Las Vegas" after them. This gives them a list to choose from, and essentially makes their lives easier by presenting a short list of businesses to choose from. Even though nearly every business that provides that service or product and who has a website will be presented, people will generally only choose from the first page of results, or the first ten listings. This is just because going to pages past the first one is counter-intuitive to the process they are using. They requested a short list to choose from, so everything presented beyond that short list is ignored by most people. They trust that Google has used some form of filtering in order to choose the best businesses to present to them, when in reality Google is choosing from the best websites. What this means is that even though your business might be the leader in your local field, you are still not going to be presented first on Google unless you have the best website, presenting the best information. This is where ego-driven campaigns fail, when business owners want to be presented ahead of a competitor because that competitor is not as good at the service as they are. This type of business owner does not understand the main concept of search engines, which is that you must "prove" that you are the best in order to be considered the best. This means that you need to find out what are the methods of proving yourself and do them. In the case of the internet and search engines, this means creating the best information and putting it on the best website. When you have achieved a good position on the first page of the search results, then people will choose your business to patronize, it is exactly like any other form of advertising in that the end goal is to get people to notice that your business exists....the difference is that the methods to get noticed take more work than other advertising forms. So why should you do it, if it takes more work than simply putting up an ad somewhere? This is decided by how much search traffic your business has, and the value of a good position. If there is a lot of searches for your services within the Las Vegas area, for example if you were a Las Vegas plumber and were wondering if an seo campaign would work for your business, then you consider how many potential customers are looking on Google for "Las Vegas plumber" in a month (about 320 on Google) and then determine how competitive the landscape is and how hard it will be to get a good ranking. The seo company will tell you how much they believe they will need to do every month to get you there, and you will need to determine how much the new customers that gaining a good position is worth. If it makes sense for the money you will spend, then like all forms of advertising you should do it. If it doesn't make sense, then you shouldn't. How would you know if it makes sense for you?
When determining if an seo campaign is going to be good for your business, you need to consider the potentials of the value of a good ranking. Just like a billboard on a busy street in Las Vegas costs far more than one on a deserted street, there is going to be a higher cost to pay in order to provide Las Vegas seo services that get better positions than others. If one seo company says that they can do it for a small monthly price, and another quotes you a very high price, you need to consider the track record of the seo company itself at providing good results (ask to see their client list and contact their clients) and you also need to consider the value of the keywords they are telling you they will try to get you rankings for. Here is the oldest trick in the book for seo companies, and one of the ways you can determine if you should choose them. If an seo company tells you that they will optimize your website for a small price, ask them to provide you with a list from Google of alternatives to those keywords. You might be surprised at what you find, and here is an example. "Las Vegas plumber" is searched for around 320 times per month on Google, where "Plumber Las Vegas" is searched for over 1000 times. This means that if you gained a top position for "Las Vegas plumber" you would probably get about 40% of the clickthroughs (this is a statistical average) resulting in about 128 visits to your website. Lets say that about 20% of those visitors actually call you and 10% become clients. If your average profit from each customer was $100 you would then be seeing about $1280 in new profit per month. If this number is higher than the price that was quoted in order to get you there then the campaign makes sense....but what if another company stated that they would be trying to get you "plumber Las Vegas" and it was going to cost a little more to get you that position, as it is more competitive? Using the exact same conversion ratio a top position on that search would bring you in more than $10,000 in new revenue. If the other seo company said it would cost twice as much as the first company, but it results in ten times the revenue, then it makes far more sense to pay the higher price. This is the nature of seo, companies are trying to get the most bang for their buck, but ultimately if you can gain a good position for a higher traffic word, it is worth the money spent as long as your profit margin sustains it.
The next thing to consider when you are choosing a seo company from Las Vegas is the methods they are going to use. Many companies use automated methods of submitting your website to blogs and directories in order to gain the inbound links that drive rankings. This method is against Google's terms of service, and if you get caught doing it they ban your site, or penalize it severely with lower rankings. If you are penalized, there is a good possibility that all of the work that was done and all of the money that was paid to the seo company is lost, and you will need to start over with a new website and address. The lure of quick and easy rankings must be considered against the potential punishment for doing so. If you don't mind losing everything long term, then there is no problem using these methods, but if you are concerned about the rankings of your business long term, then you should find another company. Rankings are developed by creating content on your website, then getting links to that content from other websites. That is it. Anything else will potentially ruin your business.
This brings us to the final question. How long should you use an seo company, and how long should your seo service last? The answer to this question is "probably never." If the industry is competitive, there is always another business who would love to take your spot, and your business. They are doing more than you are in an attempt to make it appear as though they are better than you are, and if you stop then sooner or later they are going to catch up and outrank you. There are literally thousands of plumbers in Las Vegas, all trying to get that number one spot on Google, so once you have made it there if you think they are just going to give up then you are wrong. To sum up, if the campaign that is providing the seo services costs less on a monthly basis, then the campaign should not be stopped. If it is generating more money than it is costing, the seo company should be constantly figuring out new keywords to target while doing enough work to keep your site in the top positions for the main searches. If they continue to expand the keyword list and get you more and more traffic, then seo works for you and it should be continued.
The takeaway from this information is to understand the process and define your goals before you hire your Las Vegas seo company. Choose wisely, because the wrong choice is just wasting your money. You will probably see mediocre results instead of those top positions, and as a result you will make less money than you should.
Raymond Santopietro is lead strategist for Focus Internet Services.