Choosing the Right SEO for Your Small Business Needs

SEO could benefit many businesses who are looking to increase their online presence and drive more targeted traffic to their websites. Unfortunately the SEO industry is not known for its transparency and this can be confusing for businesses that are wondering just what exactly they will be getting in return for their investment.

The SEO industry has also attracted a lot of cowboys who employ “black-hat” techniques that go against the policies of Google and the other search engines. You should make sure that your SEO will be done using ethical “White Hat” techniques.

Businesses that unwittingly employ an SEO that uses these techniques may see short term results until Google discovers the footprints left behind by these techniques, at which point they will see a negative effect on their search engine rankings. The black hat SEO offers quick fixes and is usually long gone by this point!

What’s With all the Hats?

The term “Black Hat” comes from the old western movies, the bad guys always wore black hats! The good guys wore white hats, you will hear ethical SEO referred to as “White Hat” SEO. Remember the bad guys always got their just deserts!

What Should your SEO be Doing for Your Business?

It is important to know exactly what your SEO will be doing for you and how they will provide you with measurable results. Be wary of any SEO who offers a guaranteed ranking, it is impossible to guarantee a ranking with Google or any other search engine!

Any SEO who can guarantee results without even knowing which keywords you want to target is using this as a marketing ploy, how could they guarantee results if you wanted to compete for keywords like “Apple”, “Google” or “Facebook”?!

Without conducting keyword research it is impossible to tell how likely the success of an SEO campaign will be and how long it is likely to take. SEO is an ongoing process of research, testing and analysis. It takes careful planning to identify the best keywords and to then put a solid strategy in place to rank for those keywords.

On-site and Off Site SEO

SEO takes into account factors that are both on-site and off-site. On-site SEO entails an analysis of your website. It involves looking at many factors including the site structure, use of keywords, the sites content, page loading times and the HTML and CSS that the site is built with. Good on-site SEO benefits the end user and also helps to avoid any technical “Gotchas” that search engines don’t like, such as duplicate content.

A good SEO will start by analysing your site and making recommendations to improve an optimise the site for both users and search engines. Off site SEO involves creating relevant backlinks from other sites to yours.

Each backlink is counted by the search engines as a vote for your site. Websites are given an authority score called Page Rank. Each time a site links to you it shares a little bit of its page rank with you, links from high authority sites share more of this page rank than lower authority sites. Incoming links to a site are known as backlinks.

To Follow or to Nofollow…

Some links carry no authority at all, many links carry a nofollow attribute that tell the search engines not to count that link as a vote. Webmasters and bloggers might add this attribute themselves if they don’t their link to be counted as a vote for the external site or it could be automatically added by the platform they are using to publish their content, this is often the case when a site offers its user to add comments or content and the webmaster has little control over what links get created by the sites contributors.

Links without the nofollow attribute are termed “dofollow” and pass page rank from your page to the linked page. In HTML there is no actual dofollow attribute, dofollow happens by default in the absence of a nofollow attribute. You should never nofollow internal links as this will cause any page rank that would have been passed to that link to just evaporate!

Where Did You Get Those Links?

You should ask your SEO how they will create backlinks, a good SEO will try to build a varied backlink portfolio for you. This portfolio should include high value links that are found in bodies of text such as blog posts. These usually carry the most page rank but also require the most work as the SEO will need to build connections with blog owners and often provide the content themselves.

Any good SEO will look for quality over quantity, anyone promising a high number of links is probably best avoided. The search engines like to see “Natural Links of Love”, a few high quality links will go a lot further than many low quality links.

Other linking strategies include using quality business directories or commenting on blogs and forums as well as using social media and social bookmarking sites.

Link exchanges are best avoided as these two way links don’t look like natural links. Search engines can see the Internet as a series of connected nodes and easily detect unnatural patterns like this.

Your Business, Your Needs

Your SEO should talk with you about your business needs and goals and also try to understand as much as they can about your target audience. If they don’t do this then they are unlikely to pick keywords that will attract and convert the right audience for you business. They should conduct extensive keyword research and be able to identify the keywords that will bring in more of the right traffic. Traffic is useless if it doesn’t convert!

Added Value

Your SEO should also be able to research your competition and tell you what keywords they are targeting and also how much time it is likely to take to compete for the same keywords. They should also be able to come up with alternative strategies if those keywords are far too competitive for your budget or to bring in traffic while you work towards competing for the main keywords.

SEO takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Your SEO should be able to provide you with a monthly report that shows how you are progressing through the search engine results for your keywords. They should also be able to run PPC campaigns on your behalf and also create content and copy for your site.

Many SEO’s will also be able to promote you via social media and advise you on other Internet marketing techniques such as building mailing lists for email campaigns.

The Bottom Line

The rate for an SEO varies an awful lot. Some agencies will charge upwards of 1000 a month! A small business should be able to find a decent SEO for around 300 a month, this depends on the level of service required but 300 should buy you a good campaign targeting 5 keywords.

The first month is usually a bit more expensive as this is the month that the on-site SEO takes place as well as the keyword and competitor research.

Some SEO’s offer a very cheap service, you get what you pay for and keep in mind that SEO takes a lot of time as it involves a lot of research, analysis and content creation.

If the price seems too good to be true then it probably is! Don’t risk falling foul of black hat SEO techniques for a cheap price!

Mike Escott has been involved in web design, SEO and Internet marketing since 1998. Over the years he has helped many businesses startups to grow and develop their on-line ventures. He enjoys combining his experience in multi-media and marketing to create innovative solutions for his clients. Mike shares his small business SEO [http://www.uk-small-business-seo.co.uk] knowledge on his blog at [http://www.uk-small-business-seo.co.uk] and is always happy to hear from those who need a helping hand with starting or developing their websites an on-line marketing strategies.

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What is SEO Anyway?

SEO 2Both pay-per-click and SEO are targeted to get your website placed as close to the top of search engine results as possible. Marketing and SEO are different, yet very, very similar. SEO are considered as the main factors in enhancing the traffic of one’s website. The concepts of good SEO are hardly a secret. The people who least understands issues with URL structure and SEO are the very people who create them: web developers, programmers, and software developers.

Many long-time SEO’s are now looking at the big picture and working with usability analysts. Some SEO are scam artists. I find it interesting that so many newcomers are given the wrong impression that there is one almighty answer to doing well in search engines. SEO are specialized techniques used to optimize your web site, to be Search engine friendly and increase your chances of placing well in searches. But SEO can also be the most profitable methods of driving leads because any leads you receive from SEO are free leads.

There are a large number of companies that adopt a fast and unethical approach to SEO known as Black Hat SEO. They employ unethical techniques that are against search engine policies. The best results from SEO are rarely achieved overnight. Black hat SEO are the techniques used to fool the search engines in order to bring in more traffic to websites. Website owners who unknowingly utilize black hat techniques of SEO are more vulnerable to changes in search engine algorithms and faced being banned.

Most hardcover books on the subject of SEO are best viewed as a vehicle to help the beginner understand the process of search engine optimization. This is because the principles behind SEO are not easy. They are very informative and most webmasters are involved in SEO and using it. White hat and black hat SEO are two opposing views of how to do search engine optimization. In a nutshell, SEO are methods that aim to improve the position or rank of a website in the listings produced by search engines. The benefits of SEO are almost unlimited.

Watch out for SEO Tools and software that is outdated and totally useless. Always research before you buy any SEO software because the search engine Algorithms are constantly changing thereby improving their search technologies to provide the most relevant results for their users. SEO tools for Google, MSN and Yahoo are numerous. SEO tools for press release optimization were also launched by PRWeb at the end of June called SEO Wizard. Search engine optimization is not easy, but with the right SEO tools, your website promotion task just got a lot easier. Blogs are one of the best SEO tools around and some like WordPress are free. Google Sitemaps’ are a powerful SEO tools which you can get free by visiting my website.

MSN has launched a suite of SEO tools to go with their Pay Per Click product Adcenter. There are many SEO tools available on the internet, some are better then others, and some are not. Header tags, proper Keyword density, proper text formatting fonts, start text key-phrase as whole phrases, alt image tag text, links pointing to your site and each page and your domain name itself are some things to pay attention too. Many specialized SEO tools can help you determine the popularity and the competitiveness of your possible keywords and can help improve your search engine ranking particularly in Google.

Writing fresh content for SEO plays a large role in keeping visitors on a web site. Let’s talk unique web page content and SEO content strategy. Finding a good SEO content writer is easier than you think. Just run a Google search or checkout elance.com. What is good SEO Content? It is unique, quality information that your visitors can use and is helpful to them. RSS feeds are an invaluable tool in the SEO content toolbox. If you scrape SEO content and end up scraping a couple spam pages, you may get noticed even more because someone is investigating the other spam pages.

The primary factor that will determine whether your SEO content is “good enough” is the content provided by competing websites. You need unique content that nobody has in order for it to pass duplicate content filters. That’s why it is important to get your content articles indexed before you submit them to the search engines. I think nowadays though search engine algorithms can trace back the content and see who published it first, so at least make sure you publish it to your website or blog before submitting it to article directories.

To strengthen the theme of your web site, you need keyword rich SEO content. SEO content writing tips content writer’s main aim is to create a new written piece which is original, simple, informative and also to the point. Write specific targeted SEO content for the independent pages. Unique SEO content remains king. Showing your visitors you can really write unique, compelling content, your traffic will grow very fast. Earlier it was just content writing but now it is widely known as SEO content writing. However there are some strict rules enforced on SEO content. Once you have visitors, your SEO content should be converting them into customers. With effective SEO content on your website, half of your search engine rank optimization work is done.

Ethical search engine optimization is a must or you will get banned. It’s not if, it’s when. Search engine optimization was and still is fascinating to me. Search Engine Optimization is a crucial part in a websites success. The objective of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to achieve high natural search engine placement for relevant keywords or keyword phrases. Hiring an ethical search engine optimization company to rank well in the natural results is essential to long term success.

Your white hat Search engine optimization (SEO) campaign will provide you with a long term increase in targeted traffic and qualified visitors to your Web Site. Visit my site often and add it to your favorites as I update you with the latest news and rumors in the search engine optimization industry everyday. The effects of bad search engine optimization are devastating and very depressing. Each website is unique in its own way and hence your (SEO) plans differ from website to website.

My site has some tips on how to perform search engine optimization (also know as SEO) on your website. I have a free, comprehensive guide to the practice of search engine optimization for those unfamiliar with the subject if you send me an email. There’s a lot of hype out there about search engine optimization (SEO) services. Some are good and some are bad. Read through Google’s terms of service as they have some information on their site about it.

Too often, visual design and SEO are perceived as a mutual sacrifice. Pay-per-click and SEO are targeted to get your website placed as close to the top of search engine results as possible. Pay-per-click cost money, but the clicks from SEO cost you nothing. SEO are considered as the main factors in enhancing the traffic of one’s website. Both, PPC and SEO are important. The truth is, the most rewarding part of SEO are often the slowest to reward. PR and SEO are based mostly on editorial credibility and relevance, not a direct payment for exposure.

SEO are specialized techniques used to optimize your web site, to be Search engine friendly and increase your chances of placing well in searches. There are a large number of companies that adopt a fast and unethical approach to SEO known as Black Hat SEO. The main components of on-page SEO are optimization of the title tag, the headline tag, the body text and the Meta tags. Companies interested in SEO are occasionally not very happy with how their website looks. Programmers with an understanding of SEO are in high demand. As a matter of fact, sites with excellent Search Engine Optimization are making giant leaps in rankings and getting a major boost in free traffic with Google’s new update.

Great web usability and SEO are wasted if folks who visit your web can’t tell that you are worthy of their trust. Those who specialize in SEO are in the unique position of understanding the web in a way that no traditional marketing agency can hope to. White hat and black hat SEO are two opposing views of how to do search engine optimization so if you use one, choose with great care. The second most important aspect for high SEO is the headers. Use H1, H2, H3, H4 headers.

Many of the techniques that can be used for SEO are banned by the various search engines. The benefits of SEO are almost unlimited. Bad techniques of SEO are a strict ‘NO’ – Like same color text as the background and Doorway pages can get your website banned. The five forces of SEO are relevant Keywords, unique Content, clean Code, relevant Links and proper use of Technology. Designing for users and designing for SEO are not mutually exclusive goals. There will be compromise. White hat SEO are techniques that follow precisely the rules and guidelines provided by search engines stand a better chance of receiving traffic and higher rankings than black hat techniques.

For this reason it is important to try to stay updated as far as new SEO are concerned. The off-page elements of website promotion and SEO are just as important. The majority of issues with SEO is very basic and just takes time to be picked up on search engines. Web design and SEO are two very different disciplines, but a certain degree of collaboration is required. It’s easy to see why effective SEO are now very much in demand. Black hat SEO is techniques used to trick or manipulate search engines for higher rankings.

If done properly, the results of your SEO efforts are very impressive. Those who practice what some refer to as “ethical” and “correct” SEO are called White Hat SEO’s. The most important for SEO is to follow the rules and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Patricia J Tuley is a Technology research analasis. You can visit my site [http://www.seoarticlesonline.com] for more great information on search engine optimization and products.

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