Search Engine Optimization, Every business knows they should have an SEO strategy, but many still do not understand the importance of SEO, or how dramatically the SEO landscape has changed. Gone are the days of spending a hundred dollars or less on SEO. Matt Cutts, with Google, as well as Duane Forerster from Bing have been very clear about what will get you in trouble when implementing an SEO strategy.
When you engage in purchasing a large quantity of cheap links, posting low quality articles with a large number of back links, posting little or thin content on your web site, over optimizing your site, the chances are strong your site will be adversely affected. Today, good on-site SEO is expected by the Search Engines – it is simply raising your hand and identifying yourself to the search engine and saying I’m here and my site complies with on-site SEO best practices.
In fact, Google and other search engines are placing a much greater emphasis on off-site SEO. I have seen some experts discuss how 60% of your rankings are directly influneced by your off-site SEO while others estimates it can be as high as 75% of your off-site SEO will determine your rankings. Regardless of where it is now, off-site SEO will continue to have a much greater influence on your search ranking.
While on-site SEO is important, which is why for our clients we go through an extensive on-site SEO checklist to make sure their site is currently using the latest SEO industry best practices, off-site SEO plays a much greater role in determining your rankings.
For SEO their are factors you can control and others that are out of your control and you have no influence over. The spheres you have control over is your on-site SEO and off-site SEO strategy. What you do not have control over, is what your competitors do with their off-site SEO or the search engine algorithms.
Your Offsite SEO and the Work Required for an Effective Off-site SEO Strategy
1. For your off-site SEO to matter you have to create great content. To be ranked high requires building your authority. Building authority starts with creating great content that users find useful, educational, entertaining or a combination of all three. Simply put it is anything your users find meaningful and valuable enough to spend their time consuming and sharing. To create great contents requires using talented writers, creative personnel for infographics, videos and other content. In addition all of this content has to be placed on quality, relevant sites. Creating great content and finding the right sites to place it on is time consuming and can be costly.
2. Be recognized and understand Social Media matters. Simply putting good content out there does not mean that users will find it. It needs to be promoted and disseminated. Building a strong loyal social sharing network, helps disseminate and promote your content and business The importance of social media continues to grow and is becoming directly incorporated into the fabric of search engine results. Interactive maps, displaying reviews when a customer is searching for a business is here to stay. It will continue to grow in prominence as search engine place greater weight on your social influence. Businesses that understand this and how to leverage social media will benefit greatly.
3. Link building still matters. Yes, links still matter, but not quantity. Now it is all about building quality links. High quality links to your site from other sites with relevant topics to your site are what search engines are looking for. An area that will raise a red flag with search engines quickly is if you go from having a handful of links to thousands of links over a short period of time. It is a very strong signal to search engines you are engaging link building strategies they are trying to prevent. It’s a great way to have your site adversely affected very quickly. To build out good quality links is time consuming and can be costly.
What You Cannot Influence
Competitors – You are in direct competition with others fighting for a top placement. If there are 4-5 companies out-spending you by a factor of 4, why would expect to be at a much higher placement than those companies. Consider the Yellow Pages or an ad in a magazine: If you place a 1/8 page ad in a periodical verses three of your competitors who all have a 1/2 page ad or larger, who do you think will get more calls? SEO is no different, if two companies have equally good on-site SEO but one company spends $200/month while the other is spending $1,400 per month, who do you think will rank higher?
Search Engine Algorithm – The search engines algorithm is that other area that you or no SEO company has no influence over. Yes, you can implement best practices, control the SEO budget and build out great content,. But no one can guarantee a top ranking. Rankings are determined by hundreds of factors that go into building the search engine algorithm. No SEO company can fully influence or alter what those factors are other than the programmers and project managers at these companies. If a company promises or guarantees a top ranking, it typically means they will have some long tail low search volume keywords or they plan to implement a black hat SEO strategy. It may help you achieve a top ranking, but it will be short lived and more than likely adversely impact your site long term.
As a marketing SEO consultant in Charlotte we would love to hear from you about the challenges you face and your cost of SEO.