"SEO" is the acronym for "search engine optimization," which is a process that is part art, part science and all about competition. What this means is that a website that exists on the internet can only be found by a few methods, either driving traffic to the site through referrals, through outside mediums like television, or by having it ranked on a search engine for a phrase that describes something on the site. In the case of a business, this means the products or services that are described on the site cause the site to be placed at a certain position on a search engine for a descriptive phrase. The process of search engine optimization is to manipulate the information on the site so as to make it more friendly to a search engine, and therefor increase the ranking position that it is given for certain phrases. Even though the process of seo changes every year there is a constant that remains and always will remain in place, that the websites that engage in the process in an effective manner will benefit from higher rankings. Conversely, those that engage in seo in an ineffective manner will be punished through lower rankings. SEO itself has changed over the years as search engines have grown smarter, and the old "tricks" that gained high rankings no longer work, or will result in punishment. SEO itself is now very easily summed up as "the process of making a website the best in it's field, with regards to the information it presents." This means that if you rent jump houses for children's parties, and you want to rank well on Google for "bounce house rentals in Las Vegas" then your approach should entail sculpting the website to have the best information available about renting a bounce house within Las Vegas. Simply presenting your products and saying you are from Las Vegas is fine, but it will not get you a better position than someone who provides better information on the subject. While you concentrate on your business, your SEO is concentrating on what is necessary to get you that higher ranking. This means they are sculpting the information on the website to be better received as an authority on the subject.
With all that said, there are a few serious mistakes that you can make with regards to SEO, and you probably do not even know you are making them. The only way that you will know you are making mistakes is if you do not rank for the targeted terms, and by then you have probably already lost money. Here are a few serious mistakes that people make with regards to SEO:
- Do nothing and expect results. When you put up a website and put content into it, either yourself or your designer, you have taken only the first step in the process. Google will find your website eventually, and will read through the content and assign you a ranking. After a few weeks, you can Google the term you wish to rank for and notate where your site has landed. If nothing else is done to change that ranking, then you are not going to improve. The only way that your site goes up in rankings is if someone else goes down. Your ranking is based on a comparison of your site to others. The rankings are done by deciding where the information on your site ranks compared to others. If they are doing things to improve their rankings, you can only go down.
- Expect immediate results. With regards to seo, you need to trust the process. The people doing it for you (provided they are a real company with an actual history of doing this) have a process that sculpts results for their clients. Your choice in seo company should be based upon analysis of their successes and failures. If they can do it for someone else then they can do it for you (as long as they were not relying on black-hat techniques in the past) but expecting results the moment that you hire them is not realistic. The process will probably take at least three months, if not more. Google only visits your site about once a month anyway, so chances are all the changes that are being seen have only been recorded a few times. SEO is the process of looking at the results that were gained from the last batch of changes, then taking a strategic approach to influencing them more. Google does not send you from page ten to page one overnight, they make you show consistency in the release of good information. This process will play out over months or even years, not days. Firing your seo company for not providing immediate results is like throwing that money away. The next person is going to have to start from scratch on the same process.
- Micromanage the process. Hire the best seo company you can find, and trust them to do their job. Constantly questioning everything they do will cause them to mold their process to fit your expectations, so that they can make you happy as a client. This will cause them to deviate away from what they know works and give you what you are asking for. This will slow the process of rankings development down just to make you feel good. It is understandable that you are not comfortable not being able to see them work, but if they are providing you with some form of documentable hours spent, then they are working towards the goal. Calling them every day to ask why the rankings went down one place does not assist the process, it only wastes time that you are paying for. Then explaining everything to you is also figured into the time spent on the project, so consider that your education on the process is not free.
- Try to do it yourself. SEO is a process that takes hours to do in an ongoing basis, just like any other job. It additionally takes training and understanding of the aspects, like any other job. An seo expert knows their craft better than you do, so trying to do it yourself only gets you the results that an amature can achieve against professionals. Anyone can drive a car, but you aren't going to beat Dale Jr. on your best day.
- Try to use the seo company to learn seo. If you are figuring that you are paying them long enough for you to figure out the process enough to teach your secretary how to do it, you are probably best served to just buy a book and hand it to her. You cannot get consistent results without continual, ongoing education on the subject. You will only figure out the basics, which will only get you average results.
- Try to get it cheap. You are paying for hours worked. When they provided you with a proposal, it was based on the amount of time they expect to have to spend in order to get results that will make you happy. If they tell you they need 10 hours every month, and you tell them you would rather they work 5 hours, you are only going to get half the results. Do not expect to rank highly for a competitive term if you try to only have minimal work done. If the competition is working then you need to be working more.
SEO is about getting a website positioned against competition. You are running a race, and if you do not place in at least the top six results you have completely wasted your money. Beware anyone who tells you that they guarantee results, as there is no way to give that guarantee. Hire the best seo company you can find, trust the process, and allow them to work. It will benefit your business in the long run.
Raymond Santopietro - President Focus Internet Services