31 Mar 2012

5 Things You Need To Know About SEO

SEO PLanMany people jump head first into SEO without first learning the fundamentals. All to often we see customers come to us from other SEO Agencies, disillusioned by the whole SEO industry after investing hard earned money with little to no lasting return.

We’ve put together a quick list of essential things you need to know about SEO before you commit to a campaign.

You dont have to be an expert to benefit you just need to be prepared to do a little ground work to get the best results for your website.

1. There Are No SEO Ranking Guarantees

This is probably one of the most common questions fielded from potential clients. The answer here is simple; there are no ranking guarantees in SEO.

The exact factors (signals) that Google use as part of the Algorithm that ranks websites is a protected business secret. Google goes to great lengths to protect this, it is the core of their search business

Combine that with Googles ever evolving algorithm, approx 550 public changes per year! And you can clearly see its not an exact science (which guarantees should be made of).

Google themselves, confirm its not possible and advise users to steer clear of providers offering this guarantee.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a special relationship with Google, or advertise a priority submit to Google.- Google SEO Starter Guide

Don’t fall victim to the agencies that offer a ranking guarantee that simply isn’t possible.

2. It’s Important To Do Preliminary Research

Its pretty easy to do some really basic SEO research. Know what your getting yourself into so your prepared to work with and support your SEO supplier.

Keyword Research: Use tools like the GA keyword tool to get an idea of the search numbers in your area.

Google Search: Search for your main keywords, this will give you your online competitors their numbers.

Once your armed with a little knowledge, you will feel more comfortable approaching an SEO agent.

3. It’s OK to Ask Questions

When your selecting an SEO agent its a good idea to take the opportunity to ask some questions. These will ultimately aid you in the selection process.

Some essential questions to ask include:

  1. What SEO / Ranking experience do you have? (examples)
  2. Do you adhere to Googles search quality guidelines?
  3. Do you guarantee SEO ranks? (run for the hills if they do)
  4. What is the expected time-frame for results?
  5. Do you have experience in my specific industry?
  6. Do you have experience ranking on a Geographic basis (local SEO)?
  7. What are some of your standard SEO techniques?
  8. What communications channels are open?
  9. Are there any minimum commitments?
  10. Do you provide regular, detailed reporting?

4. Reporting Is Essential

Ultimately the goal of an SEO campaign is to rank highly; increasing traffic to the website or online asset. To gauge and understand  its overall effectiveness regular reporting is essential.

SEO Reports should reference a benchmark & include information such as:

Rank Data: how rankings for specific keywords are changing over time
Top Keywords: Which keywords are the major traffic drivers
Visitor Statistics: Organic visitor statistics
Traffic Breakdowns: Breakdowns of where traffic is coming from

5. SEO Is An Investment

SEO is a solid investment for any website, a properly executed SEO campaign will provide a significant ROI.

Its important to understand that in the long run there are no shortcuts to the top. If everyone could get top rankings so easily the whole search engine concept would be destroyed. Its in everyone’s interest (especially Google) to enforce strong quality guidelines. So don’t be tempted by unreal offers that are only going to penalise your ranking and online marketing efforts.