Guest Post by Jonathan Harrison, Infaweb.
Time after time I hear people say they need it, I hear people say they are doing it and I hear people saying “How Much?” But the SEO educated people say bring it on…
First things first. “SEO” is Search Engine Optimisation, mainly focused on Google these days due to its dominance. It’s a shame I know but Bing and Yahoo still have a way to go to catch up.
Secondly “Search Engine Optimisation” is all about improving the number of visitors you get from the search engines to your website. This is done in the organic section of the search engine not the paid section (the paid section of the search results has “Ads” at the tops of them in Google, generally a couple at the top of the page and some down the right hand side of the page).
So you can see from the start it’s not as simple as it first seems. The page is split into segments and each one needs a separate process to get listed and the listings work on different rules. For this post I am just going to talk about the Organic section. On the image above it shows Organic listings and then Google places. I have tried to give you a shot with everything possible in, most search results have much more in the way of organic listings in that size snapshot.
Once the places listings finish, slightly further down the page the organic section continues. It’s worth noting that every search result brings up different quantities and sections on the page. Some results have no Google places others have several, for example.
How to get listed in the Organic results
There are many rules that the search engines follow to decide who to rank number one and who to rank number one hundred; that said there are some key elements that you can follow.
Key elements to SEO;
- Inbound links
- Social media interaction
To explain this more I have broken it down further as follows.
This is the whole point of it all as it’s what the search engine was built for. Its core function is to take a search term and to return pages of content relevant to it and an order based on the most relevant to the user. So without content you don’t have anything. Some key things about content; say no to duplication, always strive for perfect grammar and spelling, ensure it’s useful to the end user and make sure it’s broken down in a way that makes it easy to read.
2. Inbound Links
“What are those?” I hear you scream! It’s always easier with a picture;
An inbound link basically acts as accreditation. It’s one website saying this website is good and giving it a reference (a link). The more you have the more chance you have of getting good traffic from the search engines.
Due to lots of abuse from people trying to trick the search engines over the years there are lots of rules about links. Some are more harmful than good so you have to know what rules to follow if you are going to go and start building links yourself.
3. Social Media Interaction
This works a little bit like links, having mentions of your website and pages on it in the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter shows the search engine that other people are talking about your website. All good stuff!
I don’t just mean using the best or most up to date, what I mean is making sure it’s working as it should. This includes;
- Clean website code
- Making sure your website can be viewed on different browsers (internet explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc)
- Making use of mobile platforms where needed
- Making sure your website is accessible to all (using alt tags so people who are unable to use images can read/listen to the alt text
There are lots of scam artists out there and people that promise the world and cannot deliver. So to avoid upset follow these golden rules;
- Do not go with guaranteed results
- They do not exist as no SEO professional that will offer you services works for Google
- Be very careful with pay on results SEO as they normally get you into a contract where you end up paying far to much for the service. That said there are some good companies offering nice packages in this area
- Any SEO package less than a couple of hundred pounds per month is not worth having, and that’s for non competitive keywords. Think about it – you are paying for people’s time and to do this job properly you need to spend time doing it. If you are only spending £35 per month that’s about an hour’s work (depending on which company you go with.) That will not get you a return on your investment as it takes that long to do a decent monthly status report.
- Check some of the service provider’s existing clients and ask for their main keywords. Then type into Google “Keyword Tool”. Click the first link, log in, put the keywords into the box, click “exact match” down the right hand side and then click submit. See how much traffic the keywords get monthly, if its 0 or anything close to it then find another company. There is no point a company getting you in the search engines for keywords that have no traffic.
- Try to calculate your return on investment. How much traffic are you likely to get for the money you put it? As long as you are going to a company that is ethical they will have this covered but just be mindful. There is no point spending £500 + per month and only seeing 10 visitors and 1 sale, if that sales only brings in £20 of profit.
- This type of project takes time; depending on the competition it could take 3-18 months to achieve goals. But once you are there and seeing the extra sales it’s well worth the investment. Don’t let a company tell you they can achieve your goals in a week, 99.9% of the time they cannot.
Alternatively pop me an email , my name is Jonathan Harrison and I am the writer of this article and SEO consultant at http://www.infaweb.com/. I am open to any questions about boosting your search engine efforts – ask in the comments or send me an email.