The SEO game. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art, the industry, and the practice of making a website appear ‘important’ to search engines-facilitating higher rankings in search results. The players in this game are you, the searcher, and the search engine. You offer goods or services, when someone types keywords into the search engine-you want your website to appear high up in the search results so that you can be found. The game is simple, but playing the game is complex.
There is no secret to success, all of the ways to achieve high results have been stated and overstated, such as
1. article marketing,
2. online press releases,
5. social networking,
6. videos, and
The most understated and rarely stated tactic is to follow very closely the tactics of your competitors.
Quickly get your head in the game. The quickest and most intelligent way to jump-start your SEO is to follow your competitor’s lead. Either you, on your own, will become savvy enough to eclipse them or you won’t. The same applies if you hire an SEO firm. It’s that simple. Pretend you are someone looking for the goods or services you provide and begin typing in keywords to Google. Observe which companies come up on the first and second pages of the search results and study them. Study their page content, page titles, file naming conventions, meta descriptions, online advertising placements, and especially their back-links. It may take several hours of detective work for each website to do this, but you will find with great certainty what you are up against and the extent of hours and dollars it will take to compete for your relevant set of keywords.
The time commitment. The goal of SEO is obvious and it’s easy for anyone to write down the main tactics, but it is very time-consuming and complex to apply and master the techniques, so don’t be fooled by anything you read that claims to be a quick fix or will give you unbelievably quick results. Serious webmasters are deeply devoted to every nuance and tactic and pour hours and hours into Internet marketing. You will need to make a decision as to how much time you can devote or have your personnel devote to SEO. You may be better off using your time to expanding your client base, or developing new products, rather than spending tedious hour after tedious hour learning the minutiae of SEO. But if you have a longer timetable to allow for the learning curve, you absolutely can do it yourself. If you hire an SEO firm, but make sure you first become knowledgeable about SEO by reading a handful of articles.
My business as a case study. I recently built a new website for my company. After several years of business growth being on autopilot, I realized I needed to get back into the SEO game once again. I’m naturally very busy, so I got quotes from several SEO companies. The range was $4,000 to $30,000 per year to achieve results. For now, I’m practicing what I’ve preached in this article. After a few weeks of work, the daily visits to my website have, on average, tripled. Perhaps even more significant is that these visitors are coming for the services I most want to offer-they are targeted visitors. If I can sustain my efforts for about three months, it will give my web rankings a tremendous and lasting boost. It will have cost me about $1200 in links and ads, but numerous hours of hard work.
The truth about the truth. Do you know who most often boasts about dramatic SEO results? Individual web marketers and SEO companies. They know how the system works and how to work the system. You may hear, for instance that article marketing is what you need to do. But truth is that you will need to write hundreds of articles to dramatically increase visits to your website. You may hear that you need back-links to increase your rankings. But the truth is that it’s not a few dozen links, it’s many hundreds and better yet, thousands of links that make your business competitive. Each practice you’ve been told to do must be done well and in large portions to achieve success. That being said, any pledge or donation to each tactic you make will help, it’s simply a matter of how much.
Your decision. You have a choice to take the long road and do it yourself or to pay someone to do it for you. If you take the long road, you will be doing yourself and your company a favor by saving money and becoming an expert in something truly crucial and invaluable to your business. If you lack the time, but have the budget to hire a firm, find out what keywords they are targeting and how they plan to target them. If they are fuzzy about either answer or it sounds just too good to be true-find a company that gives realistic and concrete answers.