Choosing the Right SEO for Your Small Business Needs

SEO could benefit many businesses who are looking to increase their online presence and drive more targeted traffic to their internet sites. Unfortunately the SEO industry is just not known for its transparency and this can be complicated for businesses that are wondering precisely what exactly they will be getting in return for their investment.

The SEO industry has additionally attracted a lot of cowboys who employ “black-hat” techniques that go against the particular policies of Google and the some other search engines. You should make sure that your SEO will be done using ethical “White Hat” techniques.

Businesses that unwittingly employ an SEO that uses these types of techniques may see short term results till Google discovers the footprints left out by these techniques, at which stage they will see a negative effect on their particular search engine rankings. The black hat SEO offers quick fixes and is generally long gone by this point!

What’s With the Hats?

The term “Black Hat” comes from the old western movies, the bad guys always wore black hats! The great guys wore white hats, you will hear ethical SEO referred to as “White Hat” SEO. Remember the criminals always got their just deserts!

What Should your SEO be Doing for Your Business?

It is important to know exactly what your SEO will be doing to suit your needs and how they will provide you with measurable results. Be wary of any SEO that offers a guaranteed ranking, it is difficult to guarantee a ranking with Search engines or any other search engine!

Any SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION who can guarantee results without also knowing which keywords you want to target is using this as a marketing ploy, how could they guarantee results if you wanted to compete for key phrases like “Apple”, “Google” or “Facebook”?!

Without conducting keyword research it is impossible to tell how likely the success of an SEO campaign will be and exactly how long it is likely to take. SEO is definitely an ongoing process of research, testing and analysis. It takes careful planning to recognize the best keywords and to then place a solid strategy in place to rank for those keywords.

On-site and Off Site SEO

SEO takes into account aspects that are both on-site and off site. On-site SEO entails an evaluation of your website. It involves looking at several factors including the site structure, utilization of keywords, the sites content, page launching times and the HTML and CSS that the site is built with. Good on-site SEO benefits the end user and also helps to avoid any specialized “Gotchas” that search engines don’t like, such as duplicate content.

A good SEO will start by analysing your site and making recommendations to improve an optimise the site for both users and search engines like google.
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Off site SEO involves producing relevant backlinks from other sites in order to yours.

Each backlink is measured by the search engines as a vote for your site. Websites are given an power score called Page Rank. Each time a site links to you it shares a bit of its page rank with you, links through high authority sites share more of this page rank than lower expert sites. Incoming links to a web site are known as backlinks.

To Follow or Nofollow…

Some links carry no authority at all, many links bring a nofollow attribute that tell the search engines not to count that hyperlink as a vote. Webmasters and bloggers might add this attribute on their own if they don’t their link to become counted as a vote for the external site or it could be automatically additional by the platform they are using to publish their content, this is often the case if a site offers its user to include comments or content and the internet marketer has little control over what links get created by the sites contributors.

Links without the nofollow attribute are termed “dofollow” and pass page rank from the page to the linked page. Within HTML there is no actual dofollow feature, dofollow happens by default in the absence of a nofollow attribute. You should never nofollow internal links as this will cause any kind of page rank that would have been passed to that link to just evaporate!

Where Do You Get Those Links?

You should inquire your SEO how they will develop backlinks, a good SEO will try to create a varied backlink portfolio for you personally. This portfolio should include high value hyperlinks that are found in bodies of textual content such as blog posts. These usually take the most page rank but also require probably the most work as the SEO will need to build connections with blog owners and frequently provide the content themselves.

Any good SEO will look for quality over quantity, anyone promising a high number of hyperlinks is probably best avoided. The search engines like to see “Natural Links of Love”, a few high quality links will go a great deal further than many low quality links.

Other linking strategies include using quality business directories or commenting upon blogs and forums as well as using social media and social bookmarking sites.

Link exchanges are best avoided as these 2 way links don’t look like natural links. Search engines can see the Internet as a series of connected nodes and quickly detect unnatural patterns like this.

Your company, Your Needs

Your SEO should talk to you about your business needs and goals and also try to understand as much as they can about your target audience. When they don’t do this then they are not likely to pick keywords that will attract and convert the right audience for you company. They should conduct extensive keyword study and be able to identify the keywords which will bring in more of the right traffic. Visitors is useless if it doesn’t convert!

Added Value

Your SEO must also be able to research your competition and tell you what keywords they are targeting as well as how much time it is likely to take to compete for the same keywords. They should become able to come up with alternative strategies if those keywords are far too competing for your budget or to bring in visitors while you work towards competing for the main keywords.

SEO takes time, it shouldn’t happen overnight. Your SEO must be able to provide you with a monthly report that shows how you are progressing through the search engine results for your keywords. They should also be able to run PPC campaigns on your behalf and also create content and copy for the site.

Many SEO’s will also be able to promote you via social media and advise you on other Internet marketing techniques such as building mailing lists for email promotions.

The Bottom Line

The rate for an SEO varies an awful lot. Some agencies will charge up to 1000 a month! A small business should be able to look for a decent SEO for around 300 a month, this depends on the level of service needed but 300 should buy you a great campaign targeting 5 keywords.

The first month is usually a bit more expensive as this is the month that the on-site SEO takes place as well as the keyword and rival research.

Some SEO’s offer an inexpensive service, you get what you pay for and keep in mind that SEO takes a large amount of time as it involves a lot of research, analysis and content creation.

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