What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
If you’re a business that relies on leads or traffic to your web page, you need to be aware of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is a collection of best practices, tactics, and web design philosophies used to improve the ranking your page has for particular keywords on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. To achieve this, your web site needs to be optimized from the ground up. It needs to both appeal to users of search engines and to the search engine algorithms. The result of good SEO is your page will come up earlier in a search for relevant keywords; being listed before your competitors. The result of bad SEO is your website will come up later or not at all.
Why does my rank matter?
One might ask: Why is my search rank important? If you’re hosting a private blog or site for close friends, it doesn’t. But if you’re hosting a blog that relies on ad revenue or a business page intended to generate leads, it is extremely important. Showing in the list before your competitors gives you a competitive advantage over them – you will receive more organic search engine traffic, which translates to more clicks and more sales leads.
Another option is to simply pay the search engines to put you on top for a small fee (or not so small, depending on the keyword). But the beauty of organic search engine traffic is that people find you simply by searching; without you paying for the lead. This can provide a much better long-term value, and can be used in addition to paid search traffic for even better results.
So how do I do optimize for search engines?
Good SEO changes as search algorithms evolve. In the past you could do things like stuff a bunch of meta keywords into a site and rank good. Then Google and other search engines changed, and that no longer works. Today, good search engine optimization is mostly about content. To rank for a particular keyword, you need original content optimized for and related to that keyword. You also have to make sure that search engines are crawling your page well and indexing all the right pages. Some of my clients never even realized they had their search engine traffic effectively turned off by telling search engines not to index them.
Another thing that’s important is good inbound links. Your site needs to be linked from solid, popular pages that aren’t flagged as spam. It also helps to be linked with anchor text including the keywords you’re trying to target. So ideally you want to get people talking about your site and linking to it with anchor text that includes the keywords you want to target.
How I can help you
A lot of this is going to be on you – a web designer like me more than likely doesn’t know your industry any more than you know his. So content creation is mostly your job. But optimizing that content, properly setting up your site, and monitoring search ranking is something I do know. I can set up your site for proper SEO. I can help you optimize your content for the keywords you want to rank for. And I can help you choose good keywords to optimize for. And good keywords matter – if you optimize for something nobody searches for it doesn’t do you any good. Finally, I can stay with you as your site’s webmaster and keep tabs on your site’s search performance.
I charge $60 an hour for all of my web design and consulting work, including search engine optimization. I also offer monthly webmaster maintenance packages with hefty discounts, depending on how many hours you need per month. Some SEO companies charge per keyword and just go in and slap some keywords in your articles and leave it at that. I choose to charge hourly and work within my client’s budgets. If your budget is huge, I can optimize every detail. If your budget is small, I can focus on low hanging fruit and get you ranking as cheaply as possible. I try to cater equally to all my clients’ needs – big or small.