Don’t Wait Until Your Competition Outranks you, get SEO now!
Seriously? Search engine optimization is an extremely important tool for your business online and your website. This isn’t even a question anymore. Back in 1999, when there were a handful of websites and Google was starting, search engine optimization was meaningless or rather, you only needed to have the right domain or the right keywords tag. In 2011, launching a website that is not search engine optimized with clean code, proper tagging, well written, inbound linking, etc, will only mean your website will be a pretty brochure that only the people you give the domain address will see. It’s not bad, you can use it in your printed materials to have people read more about you by visiting it directly. However, most businesses want their websites to be a strong sales tool that gets them prospects and customers by itself too.
If you want your website to be found online by the people who can buy from you, this isn’t even be a question.
Ok. So, how does it work?
Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) use algorithms to determine if a website is relevant to a specific search term. What they are really trying to accomplish is guess what the person wants by reading the search term used. Search Term and Keyword Phrase is what you type in the search field (see image below).
When you click Search the Search Engine reviews the database of sites in the servers nearest to you and determines which are the most “relevant” to your term. Relevancy is a big thing for Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization. When a website is “relevant” enough the person searching is happy. If the person is happy, said person uses the search engine more often driving up possible sales of advertising for the SE (Search Engine) and importance.
You can attain high relevancy by ensuring the content on your website is readable by the “spiders” or programs that register the information displayed and in code. Flash is a big issue here. Flash is what some designers use to make sites dynamic and animated. Some designers use it for menus and other page elements and this is a problem. Spiders “crawl” your menus and links and find the other pages. If the menus are Flash, then the spider sees it as an image and nothing gets found. Spiders only read text. Google and Adobe (the owners of Flash) have reported working hard on improving readability of Flash content, but it has been years and it still is not very good. So, for the time being, stay away from Flash if what you want is a website that ranks. I do know ways of getting ranked with Flash and have successfully ranked 100% flash websites in the past, however, it is expensive and most of the time, not worth it.
Another element is Links. The activity of generating links pointing to your site from other sites is called Linkbuilding. By far the most tedious and time consuming task of search engine optimization. You may find software that does the job automatically, but results are usually very low. The links generated are of poor quality and most are garbage. The best linkbuilding is manually done by an expert SEO (Search Engine Opimtizer).
Generally speaking, that is Search Engine Optimization in a nutshell.
It sounds rather simple, is it really necessary to hire some expert to do it?
In principle, it is simple. However, in each element there are many other little factors that affect the effectiveness of the work. Moreover, doing it wrong can get your site banned from search engines (its happened to some big corporations in the past). A ban in a search engine means you will NEVER be found, no matter what and that is much worse than not doing anything at all.
Hiring an expert search engine optimizer is an investment worth your money. Good optimization will land you on top of the competition and it may even open markets you were not even aware of resulting in more sales and better business for you.
Also, doing search engine optimization is a time consuming and sometimes tedious job that most people don’t have the time or patience to do. Requires a lot of research and manual labour to be done right, and the average business owner can’t spend all day sitting in front of the computer figuring out how to optimize a website and where to create links that benefit the overall linking structure.
Should I hire a student for search engine optimization?
If you are ready to invest a lot of time learning the ropes of Search Engine Optimization and tracking his/her work while not paying attention to your business, go ahead. If you don’t want to become an expert yourself and teach someone to do the tedious part of the job, then don’t. You’ll probably get subpar results or even negative penalties up to a full ban or at least end up paying salary with no real results.
Be weary of newbies and wannabes too. Many people instead of looking for a job, think that providing web marketing services is a very easy and comfortable job and try to start a business doing web design and SEO. As soon as you see these guys, run for the hills! Most are experimenting on you and will probably not give you the results you need while taking your money.
Hire professional SEOs with experience, preferably with international experience (doing search engine optimization in different countries) as these people would normally know a bit more than local SEOs and have proven experience with Search Engines in many different ways. Also, highly recommended, hire content writing for your website, which is better obtained from the same SEO firm as they will ensure the content is optimized for humans AND search engines.
Of course, we are bit biased, but Search Engine Optimization by SearchEngineOp is done by internationally experienced SEOs who have helped businesses in Canada and other countries.