There is no substitute for SEO expertise when it comes to hiring experienced SEO help for your website. If you want to make money with your online business, whether through direct sales, or lead generation so you can nurture and convert your prospects into sales, you simply must have experienced search engine optimization skills at your disposal to get a website that performs well on the search engines. It is a competitive space, but fortunately, quality SEO work stands out amidst all the spam content out there. Experienced SEO with search-engine-friendly website content and organization (called on-page optimization), and is carried through to all aspects of your site:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Search engine friendly Content Management System or CMS
- Expertly written title tags
- Savvy heading tags, written with an eye for both search engines and humans
- Article content strategically planned for both search engines and humans
- Other meta tags to improve either placement or click-through
- Internal linking
- Inbound linking
- Social networking promotion
- Social bookmarking
Experienced search engine optimization is mission-critical and is a worthwhile investment--in fact, it pays for itself, when approached with our tested and proven techniques. It is a waste of money when website owners just throw money at it–which happens a lot out there! If you have a serious business that your livelihood depends on, don't make the mistake of relying on someone who doesn't have real-life business experience when hiring an SEO. You want someone who knows something about the business world, and your industry in particular.
Common SEO mistakes
Often, it is the website owner's lack of experience that allows an unethical SEO professional to take advantage of his or her clients. Whatever you do, if your SEO advises you to use the following strategies, run. Avoid these common SEO mistakes and scams:
- FFA links (free for all link farms). When links to your site are put in place with no human review or editing, who knows what kind of site you'll end up on. If you end up linked from a "bad neighborhood" like porn or gambling sites, this could actually hurt your rankings. Especially now, with Google's so-called Penguin/Panda "quality filters," it's imperative to be linked from quality sources.
- Offshore SEO outsourcing. The last thing you want to do is put your business performance in the hands of untrusted companies and individuals overseas with uncertain qualifications and potentially unethical strategies that could damage your rankings in the long term. Non-native-language barriers will kill the quality of your SEO campaign, and you'll be embarrassed as a business professional by the content you see published in your name. Don't go there!
- Hidden keywords on the page. I find this frequently when I do a website analysis for a new client who has used inexperienced SEO help. It does not help you to have hidden keywords on your site. All content should be useful to humans while being presented in a way that search engines will reward with a high ranking.
- Keyword stuffing in the meta tags or body of the page. This is also a common mistake that newbie website owners and inexperienced website designers make. There is no value at all in stuffing your meta tags or the body of your page with keywords. All keywords should be in the context of useful content. That useful content should be written by a professional SEO copywriter who can make sure your targeted keywords are neither over-represented or under-represented in your copy.
- Site-wide titles and meta tags. I tell all my clients the analogy that Google's index is like a recipe card index. If you named all of your recipes "Recipe" or "Dinner" you wouldn't be able to find a specific recipe when you needed it. The uniqueness of each page's title and content is a key part of good SEO.
- URL cloaking. The is a big SEO no-no and consists of making your page look one way for search engines and another for humans. Note: Rewriting the URL to be search engine friendly (for instance, to make your content management system search engine friendly) is not URL cloaking. Cloaking involves deceiving the search engines about what's actually on the page.
- Set-it-and-forget-it schemes. There are few shortcuts to getting a high search engine ranking, despite what some unethical SEOs might say. Some SEOs will tell you what you want to hear in order to get the short term business. But in the long term, you will pay more, because set-it-and-forget-it strategies simply don't work for long.
Allocating Your SEO Resources
Frankly, optimizing your website for the search engines can be a never-ending task. As such, it is important to prioritize your SEO strategy with specific tasks that will produce the best results most quickly for you. This has to start with an in-depth SEO keyword analysis of your site. This important SEO keyword research is critical to your SEO success because it will provide a road map for your SEO strategy in coming months and even years.
Your initial keyword research will help you allocate your resources so that you get the most bang for your buck for every dollar invested in your website SEO. This research should include a detailed list of keywords and keyword variations you would like to target for your search engine optimization. This is important, because a page that is #1 for Arizona Real Estate may not be #1 for Real Estate in Arizona. What you want to do is have a list of several hundred keywords and phrases to work off of when you are blogging and optimizing your pages for the search engines and the humans who will ultimately be reading those pages.
This doesn't mean you need to write pages for every single one of those keywords, but it will give you a good idea of what pages you need to write, and how you can come up with creative internal linking strategies to those pages. For instance, if you have a page called Real Estate In Arizona, you might want to blog about Flagstaff Real Estate with a link to your Real Estate In Arizona page using the anchor text of Arizona Real Estate. You can even put these keywords in the title attribute of your anchor for additional keyword value. This will make the same page a little more likely to show up for both keywords, rather than just the one it's titled after. And with newer Google anchor text ratio penalties, it's important to vary the anchor text links pointing to your pages to achieve a more natural link profile. It's even okay to throw some "Click Here" anchor text links to your pages in a post-Penguin/Panda world.
Rank Checking Software
An experienced SEO will use keyword rank checking software to perform extensive keyword research and track search engine rankings for your website. You can download rank tracking software I use to track my client's website rankings. This is the best software for starting your keyword research, and is the first step in truly understanding your website's performance on the search engines.