SEO could benefit many businesses that are seeking to increase their online presence and drive more targeted prospects with their websites. Unfortunately the SEO industry isn’t known for its transparency which is confusing for businesses which are wondering just what exactly they will be getting in return for their investment.

The SEO industry in addition has attracted a great deal of cowboys who employ “black-hat” techniques that go against the policies of Google and another search engines. Factors to consider that your SEO will undoubtedly 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, of which point they will visit a negative effect on their search engine rankings. seo 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 criminals always wore black hats! The nice guys wore white hats, you will hear ethical SEO referred to as “White Hat” SEO. Remember the criminals always got their just deserts!

What Should your SEO be Doing for Your Business?

You should know exactly what your SEO will be doing for you and how they will offer you measurable results. Be skeptical 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 is able to guarantee results without even knowing which keywords you intend to target is by 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 really is impossible to inform how likely the success of an SEO campaign will be and how long it is likely to take. SEO can be an ongoing process of research, testing and analysis. It requires 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 considering many factors like the site structure, usage of keywords, the sites content, page loading times and the HTML and CSS that the website 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 duplicated content.

A good SEO will start by analysing your site and making recommendations to boost 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 various search engines as a vote for your site. Websites receive an authority score called Page Rank. Each time a site links for you it shares a small amount of its pr with you, links from high authority sites share more of this pr than lower authority sites. Incoming links to a niche 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 various search engines not to count that link as a vote. Webmasters and bloggers might add this attribute themselves should they don’t their connect 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 developed by the sites contributors.

Links without the nofollow attribute are termed “dofollow” and pass pr from your own page to the linked page. In HTML there is absolutely no actual dofollow attribute, dofollow happens automagically in the absence of a nofollow attribute. You should never nofollow internal links as this will cause any page rank that could 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 quality value links that are found in bodies of text such as blog posts. These usually carry probably the most page rank but additionally require the most are the SEO should build connections with blog owners and frequently provide the content themselves.

Any good SEO will look for quality over quantity, anyone promising a higher number of links is most likely best avoided. The search engines prefer to see “Natural Links of Love”, a few top quality links will go a lot further than many poor links.

Other linking strategies include using quality business directories or commenting on blogs and forums along with using social media and social bookmark creating sites.

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

Your Business, Your Needs

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

Added Value

Your SEO should also manage to research your competition and tell you what keywords they are targeting and also just how much time it is likely to take to compete for the same keywords. They should also have the ability to develop alternative strategies if those keywords are much too competitive for your budget or even to bring in traffic while you work towards competing for the primary keywords.

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

Many SEO’s may also be in a position to promote you via social media marketing and advise you on other Online marketing techniques such as building e-mail 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! Your small business should be able to look for a decent SEO for around 300 a month, this depends upon the amount of service required but 300 should buy you an excellent campaign targeting 5 keywords.

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

Some SEO’s offer a really cheap service, you get everything you pay for and keep in mind that SEO takes a lot of time as it involves a great deal of research, analysis and article marketing.

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