Search Engine Opitmization is one of those silver bullets that everyone wants but nobody really understands.
We’ve taken a stab at explaining it to the common man without the fancy geek talk. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the concept of influencing your ranking with the leading search sites (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.).
What the user sees
SEO usually falls into two categories: on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization includes everything you can do on your own site. Page load speed, meta tags, content relevance, etc. are typical examples. We deal with this sort of optimization daily and happily help our clients get things right. The strategy is focused on being authentic and providing great value to your website visitors. In other words, if it’s useful for them, it’s worth doing.
What the user doesn’t see
Off-page optimization is far more powerful and an entire industry in and of itself. There are service providers that specialize in placing inbound links on industry relevant sites and come up with viral methods to spread the word. Sadly, in many cases it involves gaming the ever-changing algorithms of Google. Many SEO-optimized sites will have identical clones to their content, will be filled with tons of irrelevant links and uncountable pages of content which have been scraped from other sites.
What search engines favor beyond anything in the world is content combined with credibility (links from reputable 3rd party sites). Creating original content is hard work, and most small businesses can’t commit the resources to write posts, shoot videos or come up with engaging ways to draw people in. For this reason small businesses are looking for the easy button. In other words: a company that they can pay to do it for them.
Here’s where you decide how much of your resources you are willing to spend
HINT: Answer should be more than zero.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are reputable companies out there that will do a great job at placing you on relevant, trusted sites by contributing to them in a meaningful way, but you will pay according to effort- and it’s a ton of effort.
We offer a great SEO Checklist to our clients that offers step-by-step instruction to improve SEO themselves…. but it’s important to realize that the silver bullet takes either time or money, or both. If you don’t dedicate the time to this, then you will need to pay someone to dedicate their time to your site…
Can’t you just do it for me?
When we sit down with a new client to define the scope of our project, a client often requests that “SEO be covered”. I know they are asking for the silver bullet to magically place them at the top of Google ranking the next time they go to search for themselves… Thus, my attempt here to clarify exactly what options lay before him or her.
For the Pro Package, options include suggesting a service provider that will automatically provide monthly SEO help. I can prepare the site with all basic online optimization. I can provide initial content for the blog, and build a phenomenal killer Facebook Fan Page that connects your blog directly to your fans. I can create and implement an initial marketing campaign, and send you on your way with a master plan and a fully equipped arsenal.
And, yes, I offer ongoing support and monthly maintenance that ensures new valuable content and connections will take place.
But, this is only the beginning of a long online relationship the client will be initiating with his audience, and there simply is no substitute for the real thing: YOU. It’s the difference between being greeted at the restaurant door by the owner versus the hostess… no matter how cute she is.
There is simply no silver bullet for long-term SEO support.
At the end of the day, we say, Get Real and Forget About SEO.
Focus on spending what time you do have to creating authentic valuable content, getting to know your audience, make a few new friends, and inspire some genuine sharing. This will accomplish 3 highly important functions:
1. Creates the habit of spending some time each week on your online business.
2. A single word of mouth endorsement is more valuable than anything else you can do.
3. While it may take longer, your site will be building value recognized by Google that is ranked much higher in the long run. Be patient. Be consistent.
Now do me a favor, and share this article!
This article was contributed in part by Chris Vogel.