Three basic things can help Joe the Plumber with search engine optimization: consult an expert, give internet users and search engines what they want, and perhaps invest in premium placement.
- A specialist with direct access to the back end of your site can make improvements aimed at increasing your searches and search engine placement.
- Both search engines and humans want original, relevant, dynamic content. Blogging is at the heart of this. Do you blog? If not, you’re missing out on free marketing. Blog, and share your posts in social media.
- You can also contact the search engine itself and pay for a service like Google Adwords to ensure high placement in particular searches.
All of these are recommended.
Myths to Watch Out For
What about services that promise to increase your rankings but don’t need username/password access to your site to do it, and don’t plan to make changes to your site? Frankly, for the most part, these are just smoke and can actually reduce the human traffic to your site, while increasing hits from automated software robots, and even driving spam. All these telephone representatives can really do is type your domain into a software program, let a computer submit your pages to hundreds of search engines (most of which aren’t even relevant), and submit individual pages to the big ones like Google and Yahoo (which actually can cause your rankings to be lowered).
Companies that pretend they don’t need administrative access to your site:
- cannot do back-end optimization – building a truly competitive set of meta-tags (the hidden tags behind each of your pages)
- cannot insert the special file and header that are required for Google and Yahoo to map your site properly
- cannot do front-end optimization of your content for search engines
- cannot optimize your navitation, marketing content, lead capture, and visual design to convert hits into contacts, so your money isn’t wasted
Take a fraction of the expensive fees you’d spend on these promises and have a web builder do a one-time customization/optimization of your site. Keep it updated frequently (asking an internet marketing consultant to explain what’s effective). Then invest in the far less expensive Google Adwords service and, in our experience, you’ll really get your money’s worth.
What about services that promise to get you on the front page, or guarantee a certain ranking?
It’s mythology. Anyone can get you on the front page if you search under your own company name. How many companies are named exactly the same thing? But that’s for people that already know you. If you’re trying to grow your business, what matters is coming up at all in a variety of searches that real prospects will do, like “Macon, Georgia Home Loan” or “Condo in South Beach” or “Appraiser Las Vegas”. That’s a whole different ball game. And the truth is that no one except the search engine itself can guarantee you a certain ranking in a certain search, because no one controls that except the search engine itself. In fact, Google so closely guards it’s formulae for determining rankings that anyone who promises to have it down pat would have to stolen the most closely guarded secret of our time, and how long do you think they’d really be in business?
The truth is there is a lot of MYTHOLOGY out there, and a lot of outdated knowledge. It’s important to have someone who stays up to date and doesn’t promise you the moon, but still can deliver a high level of optimization and make valid recommendations for what changes need to be made. You really can climb the rankings, if you follow good advice. But instant solutions often don’t last a month, if they last a day, and more often than not don’t work at all.
Real Help with SEO
- Content is King. The more unique, relevant, original written content (text) you have, the better.
- Blogging generates content. Getting your blog off the ground is a powerful way to improve search engine optimization, and attract people to your services.
- Social media. If you’re blogging, you’re creating short snippets of original content on a regular basis. Take excerpts from these and post them with a link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Twitter will mostly manage itself, if you don’t hide your profile. With Facebook, add any contacts you make, as you make them.
- Conversion. It’s not just getting people to your site (traffic), it’s turning those site visits into contacts (calls, emails, online applications, etc). You need effective marketing material and lead capture. A solid internet marketing consultant can help.
- Photos actually can help. In the case of photos with links, there are three hidden tags that can actually help it improve search engine optimization. However, you may need an SEO expert to fully optimize and achieve the value you need from images on your site.
- Inbound links (people linking to you) helps tremendously. You achieve these by producing consistantly interesting content, and sharing it in social media.
We’re Market Moose internet marketing. If you need expertise in any of these areas, we’re happy to help.