What is SEO, and How to Select the Right SEO Company
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multifaceted, scientific discipline. SEO is hard to do, and even harder to sustain. It must always align with the search engine rules. You are always walking a thin line, risking to lose free traffic to your website, overnight. It requires a lot of highly specialized skill sets that takes years to hone. Somehow, every corner of the Universe is filled with SEO “gurus” and “specialists”. If you are as skeptical as I am, you are probably right.
You see, I’ve been toying with SEO for over 20-years. It started as a hobby and slowly turned into paying gigs. Still, every day I learn something new. The more you experiment, the more you learn. Over the years, the concept of search engine optimization has not changed. The search engine rules did, a lot, making it harder and harder to keep the free traffic flowing to a small business website. Since larger businesses produce enough organic buzz to stimulate the free traffic, SMBs need to work extra hard to achieve similar results.
Can an SEO Company Guarantee Results?
A few years back, we could guarantee SEO results and deliver on our promises, 100%. Back then, major search engines embarked on a journey of hoarding the advertising revenues, and the changes to the search algorithms became more and more frequent. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the changes are being implemented, and fully support search results relevancy, or at least their attempt to be as relevant as possible.
Despite every attempt to achieve search result relevancy, and billions of dollars spent on research and development initiatives, traditional consumer search is still far from perfect. That however, does not bother the major search engines as long as pay per click advertising revenues keep increasing, keeping the shareholders happy.
Now back to the SEO.. Relevancy is a tricky thing. You can have the best, most compelling website content in the world, yet you won't rank as high as you should in the search results unless you follow the search engine rules. When I say “follow”, I mean it. Google, as an example, published and keeps updating webmaster guidelines. Anyone who reads those guidelines, immediately fires their SEO guy in an attempt to save money and that’s where the trouble begins. Alright, I’ve exaggerated a little.
To conclude, if a SEO company guarantees fast results without hesitation, run, and run fast. Search Engine optimization is a long term strategy with many unknowns which are beyond the control of your business, your webmaster and/or the consulting company.
Dissecting Google Webmaster Guidelines
While Google’s guidelines are a great starting point for webmasters, it assumes that the webmasters reading the guidelines are very experienced, and have enough experience to understand the depth of Google’s messaging. For example, Google insists that link building in any way, shape or form is frowned upon. They also suggest that if you have unique, quality content, the Internet community will find and disseminate it organically. It would be true, if anyone would look for your content on page 10 of Google search results. Another example is using the keywords in your content that no one is searching for. Thanks Google, and good luck with that.
When you are starting out, or introducing a new product or service, search engines don’t want you to be on the first page getting a ton of free traffic. They want you to use pay per click advertising to generate more revenue for themselves. It’s their business model, and it won’t change anytime soon. In fact, pay per click traffic, while follows it’s own rules, is by far a more stable source in comparison to organic traffic.
The Best SEO Strategy
It appears that the best strategy for any business is to embrace a combination of organic and pay per click traffic. So, instead of giving up, you must optimize your website to be in line with Google’s guidelines. I would not recommend doing it on your own, unless you have the necessary expertise. How many times you have done a home improvement only to later realize that you should have hired a professional? You get the gist of it.
While solid, sustainable website optimization does rely on unique, high quality content, many SEO professionals got it down to a science. They also keep up with the latest changes implemented by the search engine, and react accordingly in a timely manner, to protect the flow of the free traffic to your website. The main issue business owners have is finding the right SEO “guy”.
Here is How to Select the Right SEO Company
The following may help your selection process:
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