What to expect from an SEO expert

I’m constantly asked by site owners, “How can I get better ranking on the search engines?”.Well, you can study up on SEO yourself and devote some time to tweaking (if you know how) your web pages, AND you can take advantage of the pay-per-click services out there. There are plenty of those–Google’s Adwords is outrageously popular. If, however, you’d rather spend time running your business than learning a new skill, there is something called an “SEO service” (SEO standing for Search Engine Optimization).Okay, there are a lot of scammers out there; and yes, it’s a relatively new industry, but taking a look at outsourcing your online marketing can and often does pay off.I’ve researched SEO (search engine optimization) firms, and the costs vary–some into the thousands of dollars; other individual SEO “experts” will quote hourly rates, but that doesn’t really tell us anything.Here’s what I tell clients to expect from their search engine optimization expert:

  • A keyword analysis–what keywords or phrases do you most want to link to your site when searched? I’d keep this to 10 or less.
  • An analysis of the competition. Are their links appearing in the “sponsored links” section? If so, they’re paying for placement for that searched term or phrase.
  • A report of your site’s current linkage on Google, Yahoo, MSN.
  • A report of current rankings for your most coverted keywords.
  • A check of the spiderability of your site. Can the search engine find and “spider through” your site content?
  • The addition of a site map. An important step that helps search engines parse your content.
  • A review of robots.txt file. Yeah, it’s that hidden stuff within your web page.
  • Key word recommendations.
  • Title, description & keyword tags optimization. (Even more stuff hidden within your page)
  • Content optimization. This means tweaking script, the text on your home page to make it “search engine friendly”.
  • Regular updates and ranking reports.
  • Finally, some proven success–can they provide an example of a site whose keywords put it near the top on any of the major search engines?

While there’s no guarantee for top placement, and it can take several weeks or months to see results, these are proven steps that increase ranking and traffic. You might decide to handle the pay-per-click programs yourself, but if you like the results you’re getting from your SEO provider, you can typically continue their service for a set fee per month.Remember, the only guarantee of your site appearing at the top for a particular search term is to pay for that ad spot. So don’t believe any SEO guru who says they can guarantee top ranking for “organic” (not paid for) searches.

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