Search Engine Ranking

Ranking!

Despite what the spam emails will tell you, getting to the top of Google, Yahoo!, MSN is going to take time. And staying there is going to require a continual investment. Anybody who promises you top ten (first page of search engine results) rankings on Google, Yahoo! and MSN for all of your target keywords in 24 hours, or even a month, is selling ‘snake oil remedies’. The razzle-dazzle ads tell people what they want to hear, making wild promises that cannot be delivered upon. The pricing for these too-good-to-be-true offers are usually very attractive - $29.95, $49.00, $199.95 - and the ads lure in many ‘something for nothing’ website owners.

SEO is not a one time ‘quick fix’ band-aid you can apply to a web site with little or no traffic or return on investment. SEO is a moving target, with search engines constantly changing the algorithms they use to rank your site and competitors aggressively making their own bids for the top ten ’holy grail’ listings for your industry. I constantly have to remind our clients that when we topple a competitor from the first page they are going to be emailing their SEO (search engine optimizer) within a few days demanding to regain the lost positioning. SEO is war and the battle is an ongoing one.

In sharp contrast, effective SEOs and online SEM (search engine marketing) companies are interested in building a long-term relationship with you. (We have SEO clients that have been with us for more than 4 of our 7 years in this business. They stay because they get results. We don’t lock in clients with long term contracts.) If you invest $10,000 in an SEO/marketing plan from a reputable SEO firm, and your website’s sales increase by $250,000 in your first year or two, you have made a brilliant business investment. If you invest $250 in a “Be at the Top in All The Search Engines in 24 Hours” scams you will lose the $250. But that’s not all. If they list your site on FFA (Free for All) sites or place your links with link farms, you could lose the rankings you already have, or worse, find your site permanently blacklisted. (Incidentally, there aren’t 5,000+ search engines you need to be submitted to.)


Is Do-It-Yourself SEO for You?


Is it possible to do your own SEO and search engine marketing (SEM)? Absolutely. However, effective SEO is a lot of work and I have rarely heard of a website owner with the time or commitment to learn how to do it properly and actually see it through. Having said that, if you choose to embark on this path I suggest you first consider purchasing Get to the Top on Google: Tips and Techniques for Get Your Site to the Top of Search Engine Rankings — and Stay There, SEO: Search Engine Optimization Bible or the SEO Book ebook. Read them through very carefully, cover to cover, with a highlighter, making copious notes on how you will apply the techniques to your own website. You should have several pages in your SEO ‘To Do’ list. Once you fully understand what is involved you can decide whether you’re going to do it in-house or leave it to a professional.

1) Keyword Research: It all begins with the selection of the right keywords for your website’s topic. Most of our customers are looking for top placements for very generic keywords (ie: ‘cell phones’). Depending on your website’s topic and the competitiveness of the industry you’re involved in, gaining top ten rankings for very generic keywords can take years of carefully planned ongoing labor. We do target very generic keyword search terms, where we’re competing against hundreds of thousands or millions of other Google listings, but as long term projects. Our objective is to provide a return on investment for our clients as quickly as possible, so selecting the right keywords is critical. Targeting a dozen highly competitive keyword search terms is not likely to achieve the search engine rankings you want, the traffic or the sales your company needs; at least not on the short term. There are many software and online tools that can help you select keywords that will yield far quicker returns. We use WordTracker and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, among other proprietary tools, to select keyword phrases that are being searched frequently, yet are not extremely competitive. The chances of gaining top rankings for less generic keywords (ie: ‘samsung phones vancouver’ or ‘toronto cheap cell phones’) is considerably easier in the short term and can deliver very noticeable traffic increases in a few months. You want to be picking up all the easy-to-get low hanging fruit before you attempt to pick the apple at the very top of the tree. Gaining top ten rankings for some impossibly competitive generic keyword search term may provide a much needed ego stroke and revenue for some SEOs, but it is unlikely the effort or cost involved will provide a return on investment. Spending a day or two at the outset of your SEO/SEM project to select the best keywords to target can greatly increase its effectiveness and yield significant dividends.


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