SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
13 Questions and Answers
- What is SEO?
- How does it work?
- Do you use software to submit my site?
- Will you submit my website to search engines every day or every month?
- I already have a sitemap. Why do I need this XML sitemap?
- Do you guarantee I will be #1?
- But there are some SEO Companies guaranteeing I will be #1.
- If there is no guarantee that I’ll be #1, why bother?
- I’ve heard about keywords, what are those and do I need them?
- I heard you can hide words in my web site that will help my rankings. Will you do that for me?
- Why do you focus on Google so much? There are other search engines.
- I have a lot of hits. Why aren’t I getting more sales?
- I need to show up better in search engines next week. How fast can you make this happen?
- You’ve told me what you won’t do for me. What will you do for me for search engine optimization?
SEO is a process used to increase the number of visitors to a web site, arriving via search engine. Many have begun to lump all efforts to increase site traffic under the umbrella of SEO.
SEO is done by setting your web site code a certain way, assisting you in improving written content, modifying your website structure and improving the names of web pages, working with you to obtain more links to your web site, and researching any paid directories and yellow pages for your industry that you may wish to join.
No. Google, and many other search engines, determine your rank by the quality of the other sites linking to you. High quality sites help you, while too many poor quality sites in “bad neighborhoods” can drag you down. Too many of these programs don’t want to tell us where they will be submitting the site to before we buy the program. We aren’t interesting in buying software where many of them may be submitting to sites that are questionable that can hurt your ranking. Additionally, search engines determine your ranking if the site seems relevant to yours. Submitting to random websites that have no relevance to yours will hurt you. We tailor each SEO package to meet YOUR site’s needs and we manually inspect each site for quality and relevance before gaining a link from them to your site. Also, software that submits to many search engines has grown increasingly useless as many of them pull their results from other search engines, most frequently: Google.
This is a no-no! Search engines consider frequent submission of websites to be spam. In other words: if you bother them too much, they will boot you out of their search results (blacklist!). Then you would have to wait a long period of time while you petition them for re-enlistment. Once you are in, there really isn’t a reason to keep resubmitting. After all, your site is already there! Constant submission does not improve your ranking and is a waste of time. However, as your site content changes, you can create XML sitemaps and submit those search engines, which is a well-accepted practice.
Sitemaps created in XML are made specifically to be read by search engines. The one created for your site’s visitors is ignored by search engines. Many search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask are specifically looking for a file called sitemap.xml. We use software to scan your site and create a sitemap that will live on your server for search engines to read. This tells the search engines about all the pages you want them to be aware of.
Do ad agencies guarantee the number of sales you’ll make? Do your radio, television and newspaper businesses guarantee the amount of sales you will get from their advertising? Of course not. Honest web advertising can not make that guarantee any more than those other businesses can. I can guarantee your site will be seen. I can likely even get you on the first page. Anything beyond that depends entirely on your own time and/or financial ability.
Think of it like this: they are telling EVERYONE they’ll be number one. There’s only room for 1 at the top. Do you really think that ALL of their customers get to be #1? And if they have a client make it to number one, how much money does the client keep spending to stay there? Number one may be a possibility…if you have the financial resources. Most organizations should not assume they’ll be number one cheaply, if at all.
Because it still helps your business, and every bit counts. Your web site is a form of advertising. Like all advertising, it takes repeated exposure to the audience to begin to be effective. Like all advertising, it may take months or a year, depending on your budget, to draw in new customers. No one ever won by not trying. Even if your business is not #1 listed, the higher the ranking, the better the odds that you’ll have new site visitors and new customers. Additionally, not all of your site visitors will arrive via search engine. We want to expand the ways people find your site, and that is part of our service.
Meta tag keywords are words in a part of your web site code, unseen by most visitors, that are words people might type into a search engine to find you. However, most of the larger search engines these days no longer use them, or place little emphasis on them. It is good to go ahead and have them, but do not base your entire web marketing campaign around meta tag key words. The keywords you want these days are right there on every page of your site, in your written content. If you want a certain word or phrase to pull up your site in search engines, those words MUST be on your site or it will not pull up with those keywords or keyphrases.
Absolutely not. This is a form of search engine spamming. If a search engine catches you, your web site will be removed and banned. Can you imagine how bad it would be for business to be banned from Google?
- Many search engines pull their results from Google (surprise!)
- Most search engines copy Google’s practices (sitemaps, webmaster tools, local listings, link popularity & relevant linking, and more)
- Many of our clients and potential clients specifically mention Google
- Most search engines, including Google, expect to see your HTML structured a certain way
Ultimately, if it works for Google, its going to work for the other search engines too. We focus on adhering to the guidelines Google has put forth because you will do better with them and other search engines if you mind those rules. We engage in White Hat SEO, not Black Hat SEO (where people try and game the system to improve rankings, but in the long-run, this tends to hurt you and not help). Doing things on the list of things Google says not to do will only hurt you in the long run.
Hits are not an accurate measurement of the number of visitors to your web site. Hits only tell you how many items on a page were downloaded (for example, 1 page with 3 images is 4 hits). Page views are a more helpful method of determining site traffic, but bear in mind as you examine them that there is no 100% accurate reporting method for page views. One thing to keep in mind: lots of traffic that doesn’t result in sales may mean it is time to change your site, such as content and/or layout and design. Analytics software can be helpful in determining trouble spots.
Forget what people have told you about getting you to the top in a month, tomorrow, or next week for no extra cost. Honest SEO can not say exactly when your rankings will improve. It certainly won’t be fast. It will definitely not be free. Submission software won’t get you in faster. Some think submitting sitemaps for search engines can speed things up a little, but this is still debateable and there is no guarantee that your ranking will improve in a week, or even a month. Search engines index millions of websites and billions of pages. The only way to get to the top in any time frame that approaches “fast” (few days to a week or so) is to pay the search engine for top placement.
14. You’ve told me what you won’t do for me. What will you do for me for search engine optimization?
All SEO packages get::
- Search Engine Submission, if needed
- Sitemaps submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo, & Ask
- Customized Error (404) pages to reduce customer bounces from your site
- Site Search (on your site)
- Submission to Google & Yahoo Local Business
- Submission to InsiderPages.com, YP.com, Local.com, & any other relevant directories and review sites
- Keyword research and submission to any relevant sites to improve ranking for those keywords
- Recommendations to improve keywords on your site
- Research into where your competitors are linked to determine if they are linked to sites that could benefit you
- Site pages renamed to improve SEO (for example, instead of services.html it would be web_design_services.html)
- Redirects to from old page names to new ones to prevent page errors that result in customers leaving the site.
Rewriting Your Site’s HTML for SEO Purposes
If you need your site’s HTML overhauled to make it more search engine friendly, we price that on a case-by-case basis. This will depend entirely on the size of your site, how the HTML was written, and just how extensive the changes need to be.
To learn more details about the steps we take, you can read articles we have written such as Search Engine Basics: Three Things All Site Owners Should Know and 10 Steps for Improving Google Ranking. You can view all of the articles we’ve written on SEO here.