SEO, Simplified

Strong Superhero Businessman SEO Concepts

The entire concept of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, may seem like an extinct fad comparable to “pogs” (remember those?!) but dismissing this internet marketing strategy would mean passing up on the most effective way to raise brand awareness to a targeted, pre-qualified audience. You don’t have to know everything about SEO, but you should know enough that you can make an informed decision about:

 

  • If SEO would benefit your website, and if so…
  • How important is SEO for your website, so you can budget accordingly. More importantly…
  • How to choose an SEO provider you can trust to get the results you expect.

 

So first of all, why is SEO so controversial with internet marketers?

The truth is, SEO started to leave a nasty taste in the mouth of many SEO specialists when it became an extremely difficult challenge to stay proactive and keep up with the game-changing curve-balls thrown by Google over the last few years. 

Without going into in depth detail about specific algorithm updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, etc.) you can still appreciate the frustration felt by business owners who were suddenly forced to back track and start over from scratch because their websites suddenly lost a significant amount of traffic after being blacklisted by the search engine giant.  Above all else, that is why every business owner should have the most basic understanding of how SEO works.

How can you avoid making the same mistake?

There are essentially three different types of SEO providers and an uneducated hiring decision could result in a bad investment.

1. The most aggressive approach to SEO focuses on getting results as quickly as possible. The end goal is to rank on the front page of Google search results for targeted, high value keywords. This is referred to as black hat search engine optimization, and it is the riskiest approach to take because the strategies used often backfire in the long run. 

2. The most sustainable approach does not focus on SEO as a priority. Instead, certain strategies (such as carefully using specific words and phrases because they have a higher search value) are implemented naturally and ethically. This is referred to as white hat search engine optimization, and is the safest but can also take a very long time for results to be accomplished.

3. Everything else—a combination of using risky strategies in an ethical way—can often be  described as silver or grey hat SEO. This is the most common approach taken.

Take into consideration how important your website is. The one and only appeal of black and silver/grey hat SEO methods is the speed and efficiency of achieving a top ranking in Google search results. However, these approaches are only appropriate for a disposable website… usually in the affiliate marketing industry. The strategies used to accomplish the desired results are usually spammy, and it just isn’t worth the risk if your website actually matters.

What to look out for:

Most SEO professionals are set in their ways and that’s the way they know. It is unlikely that anyone other than a white hat SEO provider will work to establish, maintain, and protect the credibility of a brand that matters to you. (Anyone else is only going to focus on SEO as a priority.) So if you want a specialist who will take the big picture into consideration, interview multiple candidates and compare.

  • Do they have a portfolio showing their experience? Look at the results for former clients, as well 
  • as the industries or niches they may specialize in.  
  • Ask for references. Actually contact the references. 
  • Ask for specific details on how they would optimize your website for search engines. 
  • If a candidate offers: buying backlinks, seo article writing, “guaranteed” results and/or fast results, 
  • a “secret formula” or tools, or a one-size-fits all approach… run. Run!
  • Rates. Believe it or not, cheaper rates could be a bigger red flag than anything. Everyone likes saving money but this is an investment that can make or break your business. However, that does not mean that higher rates are evident of a quality service provider either. With that being said… a bigger fee might be evident of a company or service provider with enough professional experience to know what their services are worth.

The One Question That Can Save Your Website From Risky SEO

Even though you are investing on an SEO provider for the convenience (so you don’t have to deal with that stuff yourself because you have better things to do with your time) and their experience/knowledge/skills, it’s still a good idea to remain involved and ask your SEO guy or girl for updates. For information. 

You should know what they are doing before they do it because the consequences will affect you. They’ll still get paid if something backfires. That’s a pretty good reason to stay informed.With every SEO strategy used, you need to ask this one question: “Does this put search engine ranking as a priority above {insert anything else that matters}?” 

Raising brand awareness, relationship building/brand loyalty, and increasing sales are your biggest goals and SEO should work to complement those goals… not contradict or interfere with them. That is why content should be quality (topic oriented) instead of quantity (10x keyword articles/month). SEO is not some trend of the past, and never will be. It’s simply evolved… and it can help you grow your business if done properly. That’s the keyword though. If not done properly… trying too hard to get on the front page of Google can actually screw you over. Unless your website or business is disposable and you really don’t care…