SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO has evolved significantly over the years because of the immense rise in the use of the Internet to do just about anything. The Internet is not only where people go to learn information, but they also go there to shop, find products and services, and make purchasing and other important decisions.
This makes the Internet as significant of a marketing arena as traditional methods (print, radio, television). SEO includes building and optimizing websites, creating unique, optimized content, link building, implementing social media marketing, managing PPC efforts, and tracking relevant data and generating reports to increase conversions for your site and business.
Imagine building a house with your own two hands, without help. Then imagine having to do all the ongoing maintenance on that home, without help. Many people think that SEM could easily be a DIY endeavor, but there’s a reason we employ a dedicated, knowledgeable team at Best Rank—it takes this whole team and several different skill sets to complete a successful campaign.
On that note, why shouldn’t your graphic designer or programmer friend build your site? While they surely know a great deal about good design and coding, only SEO professionals know the proper way to optimize and maintain websites and whole campaigns in an SEO-friendly way. We want your site to look great, and we also want your site to be seen.
Unfortunately, there are some bad apples out there. Best Rank is not one of them. We stick to strong white-hat ethics, and would never do anything that could garner links or traffic but harm your site and reputation.
Here are some red flags to look out for from a bad-apple SEO company:
- Their prices seem too low, or too high (unusually low prices mean low-quality effort, and probably black hat methods).
- They guarantee specific results such as the number-one spot, or that results will only take X amount of months. Nobody can control the search engines.
- They promise to garner you thousands of links in a short amount of time—this means the use of Google’s pet-peeve, link farms, and will penalize your site.
- They won’t answer your questions or offer face-to-face meetings.
- They solicited their service to you.
We are fortunate to work with many businesses across many different industries. This provides us aggregate insight as to best practices with SEO and allows us to perfect our methodology. However, it is not necessary to have experience in an industry in order to create a successful SEM campaign for it. The process, regardless of industry, is somewhat similar. We work with you to develop the keyword strategy and then back up those decisions with data and metrics.
For our SEO campaigns, the investment is highly variable. How competitive are your industry and targeted keywords? How big and technically complicated is your website? Are we building a 6 month or 12 month campaign? With this information and an analysis of your site, we can provide you an SEO estimate.
Best Rank services clients starting at a monthly budget of $1500. We do our best work once we’re heavily engaged with our clients, learning as much as we can about our clients’ businesses to help them succeed online. Smaller budgets (e.g. a few hundred dollars) don’t allow us to spend the necessary amount of money on your website and marketing efforts to see tangible results.
Our campaigns have 2 major components: 1) The on-site, technical optimization which includes the optimization of the website itself (keywords, content, URLs, titles, headers, etc.) This is typically completed within the first 30 days. 2) For the remainder of the campaign, we then perform ongoing link building and promotion off-site (and in the case of company blog management, on-site as well). This link building is crucial to separating yourself from your competition to build success.
No, we do not guarantee rankings. While we provide great success for our clients, our guarantee is that we provide the work, service, and effort in our agreement. We ultimately do not have control over the search engines.
SEO is not a quick fix. You must be committed to a long-term strategy. If you are expecting quick results, you may want to consider other services such as pay per click management. Your ROI in SEO is also going to be dependent on the revenue you generate from your website relative to the scope of the campaign. Before you embark on a campaign, you should have an idea of your average value of a sale, current conversion rates, and other metrics such as traffic, cost per conversion, etc.
Link building is a very important part of the search engine optimization process and the amount of traffic to your site. In the unequal democracy of search engines, links to your website are like votes for your website. Therefore, getting a large quantity of quality links (not to be confused with link farming; see “Why did my website lose rankings?”) to your website is a highly effective component of your Internet marketing strategy. Simply put, having your URL posted on various sites increases the rank of your site and its relevance to search engines. The higher the page rank of the pages that link to your URL, the greater value to your site’s success.
Some of the ways that you can have your URL listed are:
- Article Submission
- Press Releases
- Forum Submission
- Directory Submission
- Link exchange
Keyword Targeting is the process of finding which sets of keywords (e.g. words you type into Google) are most effective at bringing up your website’s content on search engines. The goal is to find keyword words that will allow your site to:
- receive high levels of quality traffic
- convert visitors into sales (conversions)
As a general rule of thumb, a shorter set of keywords is very broad and more competitive (e.g. “toys”) will bring up millions of results on Google, which means many sites contain this keyword by default. But targeting a longer, more specific set of keywords (e.g. “kid toys in San Diego”) can be more effective at driving traffic because there is less competition and can result in a higher conversion rate.
Studies also show that longer keyword phrases make up most keyword traffic that websites receive. As another general rule: shorter keyword searchers are “shoppers” and longer keyword searchers are “buyers” – and most of the time it makes more sense to target “buyers.”
Sites’ positions in search engine results pages (SERPs) are determined based on a number of factors designed to provide end-users with helpful, accurate search results. The 4 primary factors that help to determine rankings are:
SEO companies can improve the rank of their clients’ sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages. For more information about improving your site’s visibility in the search results, we recommend reviewing our Webmaster Guidelines. They outline core concepts for maintaining a Google-friendly website.
With plenty of rumors and black hat methods of increasing Google rankings (not to be confused with Google PageRank), many companies are unaware of the harm done when participating in poor choices for SEO. Search engine optimization is important in promoting a website, but making the wrong choices can land you in Google’s blacklisted category. Black hat SEO is popular because it brings a large amount of results initially, but a few months later, website owners lose their index level. Depending on the severity, Google may even delist a website, leaving an extreme loss in revenue for the company.
Here are some common reasons you may have lost rankings:
- Duplicate Content – Unique content does not mean taking chunks of material from several websites and placing it on your web pages. If the content is plagiarized, then Google will use its own algorithm to determine authenticity. Plagiarized content pulls your website down the index, ruining SEO attempts. Google’s search engine goal is to provide users with the newest and most useful information available, so providing the freshest content in your target niche will garner favor with Googlebot.
- Domain Farms – There is an unfortunate SEO rumor that many domains with the same content and niche target bring more traffic. This rumor is false, and it’s referred to in the Google world as a domain farm. Many website owners start several domains with the expectation that they can interlink them, bringing more traffic. This black hat technique has been detected in Googlebot’s algorithm. Many domains interlinked by the same website owner are sure to lose rankings in the Google index.
- Spammy Link Exchanges – Having a page that is filled with advertising links in exchange for a link on another unrelated site is a huge red flag for Google and the Googlebot algorithm. Google is notorious for devaluing sites that participate in spammy link exchanges. In the past, many people blindly added link exchange code to their sites, which was picked up by the Goolgebot as a spam directory webpage. Do not participate in link exchanges that would bring no value or benefit to your human visitors. They are one of the top reasons websites are removed from Google’s index.
- Programming Errors – If your users can see errors when they access your webpage, Googlebot sees the same problems. Google de-ranks sites with poor programming on web pages that returns errors in results. Google’s goal is to bring quality sites in search engine results, so it’s important to make sure your website has no bugs. Have quality control processes when implementing new code on a website.
- Malware – Have you ever clicked on a search result and the page listed has a “beware” message? Googlebot detects malware on a website and places a warning to search engine users in their search results. Undoubtedly, this affects SEO tremendously. If you find your website hacked, clean the malware off your site, change passwords, and run antivirus software on computers that access the source code of the website. Additionally, you need to notify Google and request a reevaluation of the site for it to be returned to the index.
Ensure that your SEO techniques follow webmaster guidelines. Keep content fresh, new, and unique and your website will increase in Google’s search engine results.
Performance-based SEO is still in its infancy. For that matter, SEO is still in its infancy. Many companies are actively trying to figure out how to accurately structure a performance-based SEO model. However, there’s one inherent flaw—all of the predictions in the world are based upon the fact that you must get the client’s site to the first page of major search engines in order to drive the traffic. There is no accurate model that can predict the exact timing and effort required to get first page results. Thus, there can be no accurate performance-based pricing model. SEO is complex in nature and it takes a lot of up-front work in order to do it properly. The benefits of this work are ongoing for the client’s site. So, until a solid software platform is developed where SEO companies can accurately map out the revenue they can expect to receive (based on performance), retainer-based models will continue to be the norm.
Our methodology is designed to consistently increase your online presence and drive increased volumes of relevant traffic to your website. If you are new to the industry, you should know that for most websites the process of SEO is not a one-time task with instant, high rankings. Effective SEO is a long-term, strategic initiative that takes time, investment, and expertise. Generally speaking, a good SEO campaign can get you ranking results in 3-5 months. That said, we have some clients who have seen significant results in 1-2 weeks.
Best Rank SEM is located in Solana Beach, CA. Please visit our contact page for more details.
Contact us by visiting our contact page.