Search Engine Optimization SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic (“natural” or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs) by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. A successful SEO campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully selected, relevant keywords. The on-page optimization is designed to make the keywords prominent for search engine algorithms. Search engine optimization is broken down into two basic areas: on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. Off-page optimization refers, predominantly, to backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites).
For Whom Is SEO Suitable?
Search engine optimization should never be the sole means of marketing any business, since search engine algorithms are in constant flux. On average, any daily changes can impact a website’s ranking negatively, to a point where the entire business can be put in jeopardy. So organic rankings should never be the sole source of traffic for any business website. With that said, search engine optimization can contribute greatly to almost any online marketing campaign.
As mentioned above, search engine optimization is not suitable for those who are looking to save money by getting away from other forms of online marketing. SEO is a long-term process, especially if it is to contribute in a tangible fashion to the bottom line of an online marketing effort. It is a mid- to long-term solution which does require a significant investment of time and treasure in order to bear fruit. So if you have just started an online business (or one that has an online component) and are looking for a way to jumpstart your website traffic, search engine optimization is not for you.
Is SEO Suitable for Me?
I just started a website and need quick traffic and don’t have much money to invest.
No. Your effort should go into exercises which will produce short-term results for your business.
I just started a website but have an SEO budget for at least six months.
Maybe. As long as you are not looking to rank for the most competitive keywords in your niche.
I am looking for an SEO company that can get me the same exact links that my competitor has.
No. Doing exactly what your competitor is doing will always keep you one step behind him. Even though your competition should be in your crosshairs, in general, their success in rankings should not be the benchmark for yours.
I understand content is important, but I like my website exactly the way it is.
No. If you are inflexible when it comes to changes to your website, the chances are that your site will not be able to improve rankings by much. If you keep doing what you have been doing in the past, you’ll keep getting the same results.
I just started an auction website. I want to outrank my competitor (the leading auction site) for the word ‘online auctions’.
No. Just like the corner grocery store that just opened is not going to be able to compete with the supermarket chain down the street by offering the same exact thing at higher prices, your new auction site will not be able to unseat the industry leader through the magic of SEO.
My friend just signed up for an SEO service, and he is getting 500 directory submissions per month. I want that too!
No. Search engine optimization is not about volume. No matter what price your friend is paying for those directory submissions, he is overpaying. Cheap SEO is worse than no SEO.
I know I don’t sell shoes, but the word ‘shoes’ has a very high volume of searches, so I would like to rank for that keyword.
No. Even if you did rank for shoes after spending a fortune on search engine optimization, you would still have abysmal conversions since the people who search for ‘shoes’ tend to be searching for…you know…shoes! (And not the blue widget you are selling that no one wants.)
Types of SEO
As the colors of the types of search engine optimization suggest, there are stark differences in the approach and long-term results of white hat and black hat search engine optimization. Though both types of SEO have their proponents, most companies/websites with long-term, stable, and sustainable goals will tend to stay away from the dark-colored variety. Here is a quick overview:
White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO
|Definition||White hat SEO utilizes techniques and methods to improve the search engine rankings of a website which don’t run afoul of search engine (mainly Google) guidelines.||Black Hat SEO exploits weaknesses in the search engine algorithms to obtain high rankings for a website. Such techniques and methods are in direct conflict with search engine guidelines.|
|Wholesomeness Level||High||Very Low (not wholesome at all if you ask those in charge of cleaning search engine result page spam)|
|Techniques||Some white hat SEO techniques include: high quality content development, website HTML optimization and restructuring, link acquisition campaigns supported by high quality content and manual research and outreach.||Some black hat SEO techniques include: link spam, keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden text, and hidden links.|
|What to Expect||Steady, gradual, but lasting growth in rankings.||Quick, unpredictable, and short-lasting growth in rankings.|
The work of most search engine optimization companies, however, operate in a gray area, aptly named Gray Hat search engine optimization. Whether by design or pressure from clients to deliver results, many search engine optimization companies try to deliver solutions and results for customers by utilizing techniques which don’t quite cross the line into black hat SEO, but are well outside of what would be considered white hat search engine optimization.
In the end there is really no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do search engine optimization, but those shopping for SEO services should be aware of the different types and approaches so they know the level of risk they are taking on.
What Results Are Possible Through SEO?
Search engine optimization is not magic, nor is it an exact science where an action will have a specific and completely predictable reaction. With this in mind, no search engine optimization company can produce high rankings for its clients by simply offering directory submissions.
Things SEO Can DO
- Improve the search engine friendliness of your website.
- Improve your website’s ranking for a well-researched group of keywords over a period of months or years.
- Improve your website’s rankings by utilizing a well planned and executed search engine optimization campaign, which will cost more than you would have guessed.
- Leverage well written, useful, helpful, entertaining, or otherwise interesting content to mount a successful link building campaign which will result in ranking improvements.
- Optimize your website’s textual content by incorporating a select number of keywords into the text (not keyword-stuffing), and utilizing the new text to develop an internal link structure which helps magnify the importance of those keywords for the search engines.
Things SEO Cannot Do
- Make your website irresistible to search engines so that it will rank for any keyword you desire.
- Improve your rankings for the most competitive keywords in your industry within a few weeks.
- Improve your website’s rankings by using run-of-the-mill services such as free directory submissions and “article writing,” and doing so while keeping the cost no higher than your monthly budget for your morning coffee.
- Leverage low-quality content that your nephew “wrote” (i.e., copied and partially reworded from Wikipedia articles).
- Optimize your website’s content by using a secret keyword density (that only SEO’s know) and help your site shoot up in search engine result pages for your most desirable keywords.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services
There are a variety of search engine optimization services which offer solutions for a wide range of ranking issues and deficiencies. Depending on your goals and needs, one or a combination of the below services may be right for your website. For more information, please visit our SEO division’s website www.2seo.com
Website SEO Audit
A search engine optimization audit can come in a varying levels of detail and complexity. A simple website audit can be as short as a few pages and address glaring on-page issues such as missing titles and lack of content. On the other hand other end of the spectrum, a comprehensive website SEO audit will be comprised of dozens of pages (for most larger sites it will be over one hundred pages) and address even the tiniest of website elements which may be potentially detrimental to the ranking ability of a website.
Code optimization is a service you can expect at the highest levels of search engine optimization services, as it involves an overhaul of your website HTML. The optimization of your HTML can impact search engine rankings in two ways. First, it can help alleviate code-clutter and present your content in an easy-to-understand (for machines, that is, search engine algorithms) format. Second, it can help reduce the load-time of your website pages, so that search engine spiders don’t have to wait around while your page loads (because it’s too long, has too many images, etc).
On-page or on-site search engine optimization refers to SEO techniques which are designed to implement the problems and potential issues that an SEO audit uncovers. This is something which should always be part of all worthy SEO packages. On-page SEO addresses a variety of fundamental elements (as they relate to SEO), such as page titles, headings, content and content organization, and internal link structure.
As with a website SEO audit, there are basic as well as comprehensive services when it comes to on-page search engine optimization. At the most basic level, an on-page optimization campaign can be a one-time project which includes recommendations developed through an audit and the implementation thereof. This type of on-page optimization would generally target the homepage and a few other important pages on the website. More comprehensive on-page search engine optimization campaigns will use the findings of a highly detailed website SEO audit and monitor results to guide ongoing changes to the on-page optimization.
Link Development (Link Building)
Link development is one of the most controversial and often talked (written) about topics of the search engine optimization industry. Since backlinks are the most vital component of any search engine optimization campaign, and at the same time the most time-consuming and consequently most expensive part. This is assuming they are good quality links and not just random directory submissions or blog comment spam. Inevitably, there are many service providers who offer inexpensive link building services in order to attract and impress potential clients. Such schemes include large volumes of directory submissions (e.g., 200 directory submissions per month), worthless blog and forum comment spam (e.g., 100 blog links per month), or article writing and submissions which result in extremely poor-quality content published on equally low-quality article directories which contribute in no positive way to ranking improvements. So if someone is quoting you a $500 per month search engine optimization service, which includes large volumes of directory submissions, blog posts, articles, blog/forum comments and so on, all you will be doing is throwing your money away. This is not to say that you can’t get link-work for $500 per month; however, it won’t be for a large volume of links.
Good quality link development work focuses on quality rather than quantity. A well-researched and relevant, good-quality link is worth many times more than hundreds of free directory submissions.
The fundamentals of link building have always been and always will be based on good quality (i.e., useful, interesting, entertaining, educational) content. Because if there is no good content on your site that people can link to, it will be very difficult to convince them to do so.
SEO Content Writing
SEO content writing is somewhat of a misnomer – it really should be replaced with high-quality and well-researched content writing. The term “SEO content writing” implies there is a secret writing formula which turns plain, everyday text into something magical that gets the attention of the search engines. This could not be further from the truth.
If you are looking for content writing services which will help your website attain higher rankings, what you are really looking for is high quality and well written content – NOT SEO content. SEO content is what you would get from a writing sweatshop or someone who cannot afford to write good content because they are only charging you $12 per “article.”
SEO content writing as a service can be useful, if shortcuts are not taken and the content is not expected to perform magic. Well-written, interesting and useful content will inevitably be found and get attention on its own merits; however, it also helps lay the foundation for a successful link development campaign.