No one can be an expert at every aspect of online business, and one of the most confusing things for some people is Search Engine Optimization for organic search engine rankings.
Some sidestep the issue by focusing on generating traffic from Pay Per Click (PPC) sources, others from building links. Still others leverage the knowledge of a Search Engine Optimization company like Search Engine People and outsource the job.
But just what can you expect from an SEO company, and what can you learn from them if you decide to tackle SEO yourself?
- A good SEO company won’t use tricks or gimmicks to try and manipulate the Search Engines, but will study Google et al’s guidelines and follow them so your pages won’t suffer from the “Google Slap” and suddenly disappear from the rankings after an algorithm change.
- They will understand that the success of your campaign will focus on your choice of keywords, and choose them for a balance between conversion potential (how closely the keywords align with your business), search volume (you’re not just ranking high for rarely searched terms) and competition (so it’s relatively easy to get those high rankings)
- They will look at your existing site, and identify anything that’s sabotaging your success (like files search engine spiders can’t access, poorly structured pages and ineffective use of page tags.
- They will first optimize the existing site, then identify gaps in your content that needs to be created to target the remaining keywords identified in the research. They will focus on creating, or helping you to create, quality content that ranks well, but is also designed to be human friendly, and adds value to your site.
So, if you want to have a go at optimizing your own site, there are a few lessons to be learned. First, don’t try and fool Google, instead, use the resources they offer to figure out what they want from you, and then provide it.
Second, look for keywords that attract a reasonable amount of traffic, without too much competition, but don’t go after a keyword just because it looks profitable. Remember you have to provide page content that’s relevant both to the search term and your business, so targeting a ‘good’ keyword that’s off base could do more harm than good in the long run.
Third, work with what you have first, then build on that with a structured plan. Remove flashy intros or demos that don’t add value. Provide a text transcript with any video content, and avoid graphical navigation.
Follow the blogs of an SEO company for a while and see what kind of tips you can learn, even if you plan to outsource. The frequency and content of the blog will be a good indication of the quality of the work the company provides, so you’ll be able to decide whether you want them to work for you, or whether you need to look elsewhere.