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SEO Frequently Asked Questions

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Most Frequently asked questions in regards to Search Engine Optimization, Website Development and what does "Google" advise.

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SEO Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1. Frequently Asked Questions: What is SEO? Answer: SEO in its purest form is the optimization of your website, so that the search engines prefer it, to the way it was in its pre-optimized format. In reality it involves improving your websites rankings so that it outranks its competitors. Question: Why SEO? Answer: 84% of online users will not go past the first page on a search engine. 82% of online shoppers follow up with a phone call 61% of online shoppers follow up with a purchase! 71% of the searches done on the internet are “Local” searches. Yellow Pages online accounts for less than 2% of searches done online. Source: Nielsen 4/2010 Question: Why Organic vs. Ads or PPC? Answer: Only 10% of the population clicks on PPC or Ads to find their search results. Question: Can’t my niece who is a graphic designer do the SEO? Answer: She probably can cook as well but you probably would go to a restaurant nonetheless. Designers in most case underestimate the importance of SEO and misunderstand it. They assume that the designer should be able to decide how a website should be build and when the site is done, they, or rather their clients realize that they’re not even indexed by Google. SEO should be part of website design not just an add on. An open minded designer can provide a good findable site architecture that works for SEO as well. S/he in most cases needs an SEO expert to accomplish that task. Can’t my nephew who is a web developer do the SEO? Many old school SEO professionals have started out as web developers. Nonetheless they had to focus on other non-technical SEO techniques. A good web developer can provide roughly one third of the skills you need for SEO. Sadly most web developers are clueless about SEO beyond the most common basics. Question: Why should I outsource my SEO? Answer: SEO is a full time job for a person or requires a whole team with several skills ranging from web development, content creation to marketing. Unless you have at least one experienced full time SEO inhouse it is strongly advised to seek assistance from a SEO compnay or consultant. Question: How do I know if I have a good SEO company? Answers: Does the SEO firm or its principals have marketing experience background? Do they have detailed case studies to show you with results of search engine positions they've achieved for clients? Will they perform an analysis of your competition's websites to understand why the other sites rank highly? What will the SEO company base their keyword recommendations on? Keyword research is a necessity to determine relevant, targeted keywords in order for a SEO campaign to succeed. What are realistic traffic expectations for your site? Obscure keyword phrases may bring top ten or #1 ranking positions but if only a trickle of people search for the term each month, it likely won't result in increased sales. Does the SEO differentiate between "traffic" and "qualified" traffic? Bulk unqualified traffic arriving at your site for irrelevant keywords is unlikely to convert to a sale or new customer. Does the SEO Company adhere to search engine's posted best practices and a strict no-spam policy to avoid your website being penalized, possibly indefinitely, by search engines? What methods will the SEO Company use to increase traffic? Will they make changes to your existing web page coding or will they just be adding or revising Meta tags? Will they be performing search engine optimization copywriting and editing to add relevant keywords to your visible page text? Will they be adding new pages, or possibly redesigning your navigation to make it more search engine friendly? How many pages will they be optimizing in your website? Will they optimize your photos, videos and PDF files? How much, if any, of their strategy relies on pay-per-click advertising and how much will that cost? Remember, pay-per-click is like leasing vs. buying a car. When you stop paying, the traffic discontinues. How will your web site traffic be monitored and measured? What type of reports will you get and how often will you receive them? If the SEO Company is offering high ranking guarantees - how is that possible when no-one can control or influence the search sites? Even Google's own published guidelines states: "No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google” Beware of SEO's that claim to guarantee rankings, or that claim a "special relationship" with Google, or that claim to have a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google."
  2. 2. Directly from Google’s Website SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizer." Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including: • Review of your site content or structure • Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript • Content development • Management of online business development campaigns • Keyword research • SEO training • Expertise in specific markets and geographies. Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted by the heading "Sponsored Links") as well. Advertising with Google won't have any effect on your site's presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search. Many of these free sources, as well as information on paid search, can be found on Google Webmaster Central. Before beginning your search for an SEO, it's a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here: • Google Webmaster Guidelines • Google 101: How Google crawls, indexes and serves the web. If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site. Some useful questions to ask an SEO include: • Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories? • Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines? • Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business? • What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success? • What's your experience in my industry? • What's your experience in my country/city? • What's your experience developing international sites? • What are your most important SEO techniques? • How long have you been in business? • How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them? While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider: • Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue. Amazingly, we get these spam emails too: "Dear google.com, I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..."
  3. 3. Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for "burn fat at night" diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators. • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever. • Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they intend to do. Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site. • You should never have to link to an SEO. Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of "free-for-all" links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don't affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines -- at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive. • Choose wisely. While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html. While Google doesn't comment on specific companies, we've encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.

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