Selecting the most appropriate SEO for Your Small Business Needs

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION could benefit many businesses who are looking to increase their online presence plus drive more targeted traffic to their sites. Unfortunately the SEO industry is not really known for its transparency and this can be complicated for businesses that are wondering just what exactly they will be getting in return for his or her investment.

The SEO industry has also attracted a lot of cowboys who utilize “black-hat” techniques that go against the policies of Google and the various 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 till Google discovers the footprints left out by these techniques, at which stage they will see a negative effect on their search engine rankings. The black hat SEO offers quick fixes and is generally long gone by this point!

What’s With the Hats?

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

What Should your SEO be Performing for Your Business?

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

Any SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION who can guarantee results without actually knowing which keywords you want to target is using this as a marketing scheme, how could they guarantee results if you wanted to compete for key phrases like “Apple”, “Google” or “Facebook”?!

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

On-site and Away from Site SEO

SEO takes into account aspects that are both on-site and off site. On-site SEO entails an evaluation of your website. It involves looking at several 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, like 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 like google. Off site SEO involves developing relevant backlinks from other sites to yours.

Each backlink is measured by the search engines as a vote for your site. Websites are given an authority score called Page Rank. Each time a web site links to you it shares a small amount of its page rank with you, links through high authority sites share associated with this page rank than lower power sites. Incoming links to a web site are known as backlinks.

To Follow in order to Nofollow…

Some links carry simply 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 them selves 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 every time a site offers its user to include comments or content and the website owner has little control over what hyperlinks get created by the sites contributors.

Hyperlinks 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 lack of a nofollow attribute. You should never and you get no internal links as this will cause any page rank that would have been passed to that particular link to just evaporate!

Where Do You Get Those Links?

You should inquire your SEO how they will develop backlinks, a good SEO will try to create 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 take the most page rank but also require the most work as the SEO will need to develop connections with blog owners and sometimes provide the content themselves.

Any good SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION will look for quality over amount, anyone promising a high number of links is probably best avoided. The search engines love to see “Natural Links of Love”, a few high quality links will go a great deal further than many low quality links.

Other linking strategies include using high quality business directories or commenting upon blogs and forums as well as making use of 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 simply detect unnatural patterns like this.
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Your Business, Your Needs

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

Added Value

Your SEO should also be able to research your competition and inform you what keywords they are targeting as well as 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 when those keywords are far too competitive for your budget or to bring in visitors while you work towards competing for the main keywords.

SEO takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Your SEO must 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 capable of run PPC campaigns on your behalf as well as create content and copy for the site.

Many SEO’s will also be able to promote you via social media plus 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 up to 1000 a month! A small business should be able to look for a decent SEO for around 300 per month, this depends on the level of service necessary but 300 should buy you a good campaign targeting 5 keywords.

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

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