There are essentially two ways to get on page 1 of a Google or Bing search: PPC paid advertising and organic search engine optimization. With PPC (pay per click advertising), your ad is displayed each time someone searches for the keyword that you’ve chosen. You could be drawing customers from page 1 search results to your website within a few hours. Although it is an advantage to only pay for people that click on your ad, at a dollar or more for every click, it can add up to some pretty serious money.
Most companies invest in organic SEO (search engine optimization), either instead of paid search or in addition to it. Search engine optimization may take one to six months to get meaningful results depending on how competitive your search terms are. Throughout this time you will be paying for SEO services. However, once you have gained results, it takes much less effort and expense to maintain your keywords at that level. As a result, search engine optimization is more cost effective in the long run than paid search advertising.
What is SEO?
There are two types of search engine optimization: on page SEO and off page SEO.
On page SEO refers to all the things you can do to your website to make it search engine friendly. You want the search engines to find compelling and unique content that you created, and as a result, recognize your webpages as an authority for your selected keywords. Although this is a prerequisite to achieving high search engine ranking, it only represents about 10% of what is needed to achieve those high rankings. Basic on-page optimization services are available on Marketing Outfield starting at $150.
The heavy lifting is done by off page SEO.
SEO is Link Building!
If you want to rank high in the search engines, 90% of your effort must be applied to off page SEO, often referred to as just SEO. SEO is about increasing the authority of your website and webpages in the eyes of the search engines. The more authority your webpage has, the higher it will rank on the search page for a given keyword. [A quick Tutorial: The link is called a hyperlink – an underlined keyword that when clicked, takes you to the specified URL webpage of your website. When a keyword or phrase is used as part of a hyperlink, it is called the anchor text. A backlink is a link that points back to your website. For example, you could have 5 backlinks to your website, each pointing to the same webpage and each having the same anchor text. ]
Each time an article has a link that points to a specific page on your website, with the appropriate keyword, it is in essence giving a vote of confidence that you are an authority for that specific keyword. In simple terms, the webpage that receives the most votes will rank number one in the search results for that keyword. Of course, in reality, it’s not that simple. Yahoo or AOL would have a much stronger vote then a small blog site, for example. In addition, having votes from 50 different websites is generally much more powerful than having 50 votes from the same website.
In the end, SEO is all about link building. The goal is to have lots of websites have a link back to your website.
White Hats and Black Hats
The Internet often feels like the US Wild West of a century ago, with Google as the sheriff, the good guys wearing white hats and the bad guys wearing black hats. Google establishes the search rankings of websites with a complex algorithm. They are often pretty vague about their rules because they don’t want people to easily ”game” their system. Those that try to do SEO according to how Google wants it to be done are generally called white hats. Black hats are obviously using methods that Google frowns upon. There are even grey hats, but even within the SEO community, there is no general agreement how to classify certain techniques into good or bad.
Generally if you are using black hat methods, you risk getting your website de-indexed; removed from Google’s search results and essentially disappearing from the Internet. If you are using white hat methods, eventually you will rise in rankings. However, things are never that simple on the Internet.
Every time Google make changes to their algorithm, a few hundred white hats get accidentally shot and lose their website businesses. Algorithms are never perfect, but in cases like this, it is often futile to try to get Google to manually change the ranking of the website. After all, probably a few thousand black hats got shot as well.
A year or two ago, JC Penney dominated the search rankings for several hundred consumer terms. It caught the attention of the media somehow, who determined that JC Penney had been using “grey hat” methods to earn those high rankings. There was an uproar that eventually forced Google to do a manual change to JC Penney’s rankings. Since they are a major advertiser with Google, they were probably able to get that ranking penalty reversed in time. JC Penney apologized in the press for having a rogue SEO agency do it without their permission. Since they attained the rankings during the holiday season for a full month or two, they didn’t apologize for making millions of dollars in sales and having a massive SEO ROI!
In the past year, Google changed some fundamental rules in its algorithm. SEO practices that used to be considered safe and acceptable suddenly became penalized. As a result, millions of websites were affect and thousands of website owners woke up to a drastic drop in their rankings. Most have yet to recover, even months later.
SEO can get very complicated, very quickly, even for Internet savvy folks with a solid technical background. So what is a typical business person or marketing person to do?
Manage Your Business Risk
SEO decisions are analogous to making decisions about your 401(k) retirement portfolio. If you run a sole family business, you’ll probably put most of your money into bonds and treasuries (i.e. white hat method). If you can afford the risk, like the JC Penney example, you might put most of your money into stocks (i.e. grey hat methods). If you run a pornography business, you’ll probably put most your money into options and derivatives (i.e. black hat method).
An even smarter move, regardless of what method you want to use; you probably should NOT put everything into the stock market! Invest in other wealth creation investments such as buying property or buying businesses or buying commodities to spread out any risk.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify!
If your plan is to use white/gray hat methods, then don’t rely too heavily on one particular technique. Some techniques work great today but terrible tomorrow. So diversify your link building techniques.
There are a wide variety of diversified SEO Services to choose from on Marketing Outfield. A basic SEO package from TLB Marketing will get you guaranteed results for just $397 per month. An advanced SEO marketing package from Think Big Marketing can get your business on page one within 90 days for $1750 per month. Of course, a la carte services are also available, such as a diversified package of 150 backlinks from Fairground Marketing starting at $134.
Regardless what method you use, you can never rely 100% on maintaining a certain rank. Therefore, do not rely solely on SEO (or more specifically, Google or Bing). They literally change their algorithm constantly, and any tweak could be advantageous for you, or potentially disastrous.
There’s multiple ways of getting traffic to your websites including paid search, social media, e-mail marketing and others. So diversify your techniques for driving traffic and revenue.
Never build your company’s long term success on just one or two marketing strategies.
Marketing Outfield provides a wide choice of marketing services at competitive prices to help you generate traffic to your website. Outsource your search engine optimization efforts to a specialist, you can focus more of your time and energy on other aspects of growing your business. At Marketing Outfield, you have a choice of fixed-price marketing services that will allow you to assemble the most cost effective marketing campaigns for your business.