Organic Search Engine Optimization
If you’re in the market for a new website, or need to spruce up an old one, you might see the term SEO tossed around quite a bit. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your website more visible to potential clients by increasing your ranking in search engine results. Greater visibility leads to more traffic, which generates more business.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing rely on complex algorithms to yield organic (non-paid) search results that best meet a searcher’s needs. That is, when someone searches for a specific term or phrase, known as a keyword, the search engine algorithms attempt to provide results that consist of the most relevant authoritative content online.
Essentially, a SEO marketing campaign involves two parts. The first part involves a process of tweaking your website’s content and coding to make sure that search engines see your site as being relevant for the right search terms. The second part of the process involves a strategy to help ensure that your site is seen as an authority on those targeted keywords. At Subtle Network Design & Marketing, our experts will formulate a personalized campaign that will increase your business’s visibility, directing targeted traffic to your site.
It’s important to differentiate between “natural” or “organic” results and paid advertising. Organic search results are generated based on keyword relevance and other factors, and are non-paid. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a different type of SEO marketing strategy that involved paying to appear in designated advertising space on search results pages. PPC may be used in lieu of or in conjunction with organic search marketing, depending on the needs of the business.
Advantages: A successful organic SEO campaign offers high return on your investment. Also, there aren’t any cost-per-click fees for the traffic your site receives, so you don’t have to worry about calculating a monthly budget. SEO can be an affordable, long-term marketing strategy for businesses that compete locally, as well as for those on a state or national level.
Disadvantages: SEO takes a time and, often, a significant investment. Small business with a tight budget or larger companies looking for immediate results may want to consider other types of marketing strategies.
There are a lot of people claiming to be SEO experts these days. In my experience the vast majority of these people are extremely under qualified or blatantly dishonest. There is an aura of a “get rich quick” mentality in much of the online marketing community. This results in a lot of smoke and mirror over promising under delivering borderline scams being peddled as SEO. This is unfortunate and something I strongly disagree with.
Simple Rules to Follow When Hiring an SEO:
Stay away from guaranteed rankings. These are usually services that stack the deck and use clever phrasing and technicalities to push ineffective marketing strategies.
Don’t Respond to Email Solicitations. There is software that can go onto the internet to scrape contact information from thousands of sites and then send automatic emails to as many people as possible. Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to do business with people who would use this type of tactic to find customers.
One size does not fit all. Every niche and keyword group is different. The competitive landscape for a plumber in largo and a personal injury attorney in Tampa are light years apart. Any flat rate SEO service is essentially garbage. There are no prepackaged solutions and the only truly effective strategy needs to be custom tailored to each client. Period.
Beware of Secret Tactics. While all self respecting SEO’s have a few tricks up their sleeves, the vast majority of the strategies are similar between firms. If a firm is unwilling to be transparent about what they are doing, it is likely that they are not doing much. Any secrets worth protecting are worth protecting from Google and the competition… not your customer.
Don’t Buy Very Low Prices. We all want a bargain. The cold truth is that effective search engine marketing takes creativity time and work. There is no way around this. Any service that is surprisingly low cost can not possibly be legitimate. There are many shell games and tricky tactics used by supposed SEO providers to try and create lower price points. In the end, wasting money is never a good deal no matter how low the price.
Leave it to the Experts. There are a ton of products and services out there aimed at taking advantage of people with a minimal understanding of SEO. These things include things like offers of thousands of backlinks or hundreds of facebook fans just a few bucks. In each of these products the goal is to manipulate people with a partial understanding of SEO into thinking that they are getting something valuable. In truth there is never any value in these types of services. Worse yet, many of them can actually hurt your sites rankings if done to excess. A wise man once said… “Know karate yes. Know karate no. Know karate so-so… squash just like grape.”
Avoid One Time Payments. SEO is a slow ship. It takes months if not years for a quality campaign to reach fruition. Impatience can be a dangerous impulse in the SEO game. It is much better to find a firm you trust than to try and buy services one at a time. Any one time service will not be able to be held accountable and will likely be nothing more than a flashy con. Trust me, if there was a magic button… Everyone else would be pushing it too.