Even if you have a great web site, it won’t bring you any business if people can’t find it!
That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. Today, the way most web site visitors find out about you is through the use of a search engine. At the present time, Google has about 60% of the search engine traffic, with Bing, Yahoo, and AOL sharing the remainder with a bunch of smaller players. So it’s clear that you need to optimize for Google, but not forget about the rest.
Search Engine Optimization is somewhat of a black art because nobody knows exactly how search algorithms work, and they’re not saying. But there are some important principles that have to be paid attention to, and we can assist you with those.
Search Engine Optimization involves two types of activities: on-page and off-page optimization.
On-page optimization involves a whole range of techniques, including the following:
- Proper selection and use of titles and keywords on each page of your site
- High quality content for each page
- Proper use of coding techniques
- Good, clean code
- Web pages that load quickly
- Good navigation and site maps
Search engines like Bing and Google want to help users find the content they’re looking for quickly and accurately. So again, having quality content is very important. Having it well-presented and organized in a way that is friendly to visitors and search engines alike is also very important. Thus you can see that proper web site design is a key element in Search Engine Optimization.
Off-page optimization is also a key element in getting good organic search engine positioning. Off-page optimization mainly involves building links to your site; known in the trade as “back links”. In the past some SEO companies used questionable techniques such as “link farms”, which are worthless sites that just have a vast number of links on them. Nobody would ever find these sites of any use; they were just created to boost search engine results. Recently, Google and others have started to penalize these techniques by de-rating sites that used them, so we don’t recommend that approach.
There are other, legitimate ways to build back links. In general, they involve significant expenditures of time and effort. What is needed is lots of links from relevant, high quality, high traffic sites to your site. You cannot just pay people for these links; you have to build them legitimately (Google penalizes sites that pay for back links)! Building back links is more like a marathon than a sprint. You have to put in the effort over an extended period of time (months and even years), and then you’ll reap the results. Anyone that promises instant results is not being honest with you – or they are setting you up for failure in the future.
That said, there are definitely things we can do that will help your site get found more quickly and move up in the organic (non-paid) search listings. How high will depend on a number of factors, not the least of which is how competitive the search results are and how unique your business or organization is. We have one site that consistently ranks at the top of organic search in Google that has had almost no SEO done on it, but it is a special case. The more competitive the market, the more work it will take to rise to the top.
What if you can’t wait for the results of a long link-building campaign to take hold? In that case, we recommend the use of paid search; for example, Google “AdWords” (other search engines have similar programs). This approach involves a stream of revenue from your check book (or credit card) to the search engine, but you get to choose how much you’re willing to spend. Designing an effective advertising campaign also takes some specialized knowledge and hard work. We can help you with that.