The hottest topic in web design right now is Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing. There are a ton of books and a million websites on the topic with everyone claiming to be the expert. Anyone with any knowledge in how the Search Engines work now claims to be an expert in Search Engine Optimization. It sounds easy enough. All you really have to do is make sure that your website has the right information, you have a ton of backlinks and you pay the most amount of money for Google Adwords. That should get you to the top, correct? Wrong! I’ve put together a few frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization.
Can anyone Guarantee 1st Page Listings?
The easy answer to this question is no, there is no way to guarantee 1st page listings. According to Google, any company seeking help with Search Engine Optimization should be careful to avoid companies that promise 1st page (or #1) rankings on Google. The reason for this is simple. No one actually knows what the exact algorithm that Google uses is. There are over 200 different criteria that Google uses in order to determine the relevancy of your website to the search being performed. SEOmoz gets a panel of experts together every two years and they have come up with what they believe the ranking factors to be. This report is shared through their website and is available to those interested in reviewing the data.
What types of Search Engine Optimization are there?
For the purpose of this article, we will just talk about the two different types of Search Engine Optimization that can be performed for your website. These types are On Page SEO and Off Page SEO.
On Page SEO
On Page SEO is any optimization done to the actual website. This includes optimizing the content of your pages so that the key words are found on the site. The optimal amount of keyword density is 4%. Anything over 4% could cause your website to be penalized by Google for keyword stuffing. In addition, you want to make sure that your keyword appears in at least one of the heading tags on your site. Does your page contain pictures? Make sure that all of the pictures of alternative text associated with the pictures. At least one picture on your page should have alternative text that contains your primary keyword.
Off Page SEO
Off page Search Engine Optimization is exactly what it says, optimization that is done off of your specific web page. This includes such activities as directory listings and additional backlinks to your website.
What are backlinks and why are they important?
A backlink is any link from another website to your website. Think of a backlink as a recommendation from one site to another. Google uses these “recommendations” to determine your website authority and place in the search results. The more quality backlinks that a website has, the more likely it is to rank higher in the search engines.
When creating backlinks, make sure that your website is not being listed on what is referred to as a link farm. These websites exist only to create a lot of low cost backlinks to different websites. Google has blacklisted these types of websites and will penalize your site if it is listed on one of these sites.
Beginning this year, Google has also began penalizing companies using comment spam to create backlinks to different websites. Comment spam is referred to as the practice of commenting in forums and websites and including a link to your website. There are applications that will search the web and add these comments to hundreds of sites a day. This practice is typically a part of Black Hat SEO.
Backlinks are important to Search Engine Optimization but they are not the only important factor.
What Directories should my business be listed in?
There are a certain directories that every business should be listed in. Not only do these directories create authority backlinks to your site but their listings have high search rankings as well. Here are ten different directories that every business should be listed in:
- Google Local
- Yahoo Local
- Bing Maps
While I have provided a list of ten directories here, there are hundreds of online directories that are available. If you are interested in learning more about the different directories, let us know!
Should I set up a Google AdWords or PPC campaign?
The answer to this question isn’t as simple. Some businesses benefit from setting up a Google AdWords campaign while others don’t. If your business is already ranking highly in the search engines then it may be a waste of money. Creating a Google AdWords campaign means that your website will appear in the paid advertisement listings to the right of the search results. If someone clicks on your ad, then you will be charged a set amount that you specify when setting up the campaign. It is important to make sure that you set a maximum dollar amount in this campaign as pay per click campaigns can get quite expensive if not managed correctly.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is important to the success of your website. You can have the best looking website in your industry but if can’t be found by potential clients then you have wasted your money. If you are attempting to do your own Search Engine Optimization, make sure that you have studied the latest information. You will need to stay up to date with any current Google Algorithm updates to make sure that your website isn’t penalized. And most importantly, understand that nothing happens overnight. The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” can be applied to website optimization as well. Rankings take time depending on the popularity of the keywords that you have chosen. If you find that you are getting overwhelmed, seek out a professional.