SEO. Search Engine Optimization.
It’s important to have a good understanding of what this is and why it’s important. Simply stated, SEO is the process through which your website receives free traffic, commonly referred to as organic traffic. When a user jumps on google.com and enters their search criteria, the end user is more likely to visit search results on the first page and less so on the second page or subsequent pages. SEO consists of the processes used to get your website to appear on the first page for any given set of keyword searches. Most businesses understand the value of this. More website visitors to your website results in more sales.
These processes that are used by search engines are referred to as algorithms. They are secret formulas used by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. No one knows the exact formula but there is a general understanding of the majority of factors that make up these algorithms. For obvious reasons, search engines such as Google, want to serve end users good results so they can’t allow people to manipulate rankings.
There are some techniques out there referred to as “black hat SEO techniques” that can potentially generate quick results but in the long run they can penalize your website or even worse, get your site banned from search engines. The reason for this is because they try to manipulate the algorithms by using methods that violate a search engine’s terms of service. You may be familiar with a company called Overstock. They offered discounts to schools that placed specific backlinks to Overstock on their websites. The problem is that this was a less than ethical approach of getting backlinks and violated search engine’s terms of service. As a result, Google penalized Overstock and they disappeared from the first page of Google’s search results for a couple of months. It’s estimated that Overstock’s revenue was impacted by as much as 5 percent as a result of this Google penalty, all because of an overnight drop in website traffic.
On the other spectrum of “black hat SEO” is “white hat SEO”. These are approved methods that can increase your ranking in search results, they will take a little longer for your website to see results, but they are legitimate techniques.
The price tag for good SEO is always fairly substantial
If you want something done right, it’s going to require a skilled SEO professional. They will have to be able to do a lot of things, none of which can be offered at cheap rates. Some of these skills include content writing, programming, data mining and analyzing, marketing and project management. Add to that list tools which must be purchased to discover backlink data, rank tracking, website crawling, keyword research and more. The tools alone can cost a minimum of $200 each month!
SEO work never really ends.
Search engine rankings, algorithms and tactics frequently change. What worked today may not work tomorrow. Factors which impacted your SEO on a large scale, may have little to no influence tomorrow. And you still have to think about your competition. Did you add 10 new quality backlinks to your site this month? If your competition did the same thing it can feel like your not getting anywhere with your efforts!
Effective SEO isn’t minute-rice, it’s labor intensive.
Sometimes clients come with a stigma of previous SEO consultants that they have worked with. Companies which have used automated solutions to provide a “quick-fix” SEO result. The problem is that often times these are black hat SEO techniques which will eventually cause a penalization in rankings or total exclusion from search engines. Sustainable search engine optimization strategies are performed by real people, real elbow-grease, putting in hours of real work. Search engine algorithms are getting smarter every day and are able to identify the difference between content created by a real individual or content created by computers or automated bots.
Unfortunately, what many business owners don’t understand is why SEO can be very expensive. Effective SEO takes a lot of effort, a lot of time, and a lot of skills, all of which cost money. The million dollar question comes down to is SEO really expensive? That depends. The truth is SEO isn’t that expensive when you look at the bottom line. If you’re getting a big return on your investment, SEO is worth every penny.
Interested in learning more? Contact us or give us a call, and we’ll be in touch to get you started!