Factors to Consider When Comparing Costs of In-House and Outsourced SEO

Business enterprises, whether big or small, involved in internet marketing recognize the importance of search engine optimization for overall success. Hence entrepreneurs often compare and evaluate SEO services that are done in-house or outsourced. Most commonly, comparison is done in terms of costs and quality of work. In this article we’ll analyze the different factors to consider when deciding whether you want in-house SEO or outside SEO.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of in-house SEO and SEO outsourcing. As in-house SEO experts know everything about the business, it becomes easy to know the market and overcome challenges efficiently. Moreover, in-house SEO experts can concentrate on a single website to generate the best results. Also, in-house SEO gives complete control of the SEO strategies to the company executives.

In the case of SEO outsourcing you can benefit from the service of a professional team with great experience. This SEO service also caters to the diverse needs of clients without time lag using advanced infrastructure. Thus your business can save resources and time and maintain an edge over competitors.

In-house and Outsourced SEO – A Comparison

Infrastructure with advanced technologies – Overhead charges to set up and maintain an in-house SEO facility is comparatively very high. On the other hand, an SEO agency already has an infrastructure with the latest tools and techniques.

Professional qualification of SEO experts – A professional SEO company has a team of experts with a wider perspective and experience.

Cost for hiring employees – Cost for hiring a full-time SEO expert sometimes becomes a great burden for the business. But in the case of SEO outsourcing, often rates are quoted depending on the type of project. Hence it is necessary to compare the relative costs of in-house SEO and outsourced SEO depending on the business budget per annum.

Budget – Affordable SEO services provided that stay within your budget.

Time – Time-bound SEO services enhance overall business success.

Accuracy and quality of work – Research of suitable keywords and phrases, website design with dynamic content, link building, directory listing and website review come under SEO services. Delivery of projects with precision helps to place your website at top positions in search engine result pages. A professional firm can help you achieve this more easily.
Other influential factors that determine the cost of SEO services are market value, research of popular keywords, brand promotion and requirement of various social media marketing strategies.

Search for an Established SEO Company

A professional SEO company can assure trustworthy services to satisfy your requirements. Choose an affordable SEO firm that offers customized services to associate with you and help you achieve business targets effortlessly. Consider important factors when comparing costs of in-house and outsourced SEO and this will help you decide on the right option that will work best in your favor.

A Catch-22 In Selling SEO

Any good SEO Internet marketing firm will tell you there are many challenging factors that need to be overcome in selling search engine optimization and social media types of services in today’s market place.

The most challenging factors reside in demonstrating the technicality of the SETUP process along with the necessity of ONGOING SERVICES concerning the positioning and ranking of websites to the Generation X and Baby Boomer’s. It isn’t that these particular folks are any less wise or don’t employ current marketing techniques necessary in structuring their specific corporation(s). What is more likely a possibility is:

These business owners are dead set against change.
They need much more education concerning SEO, SEM, Mobile and Social Marketing services.
Local small business owners or mid-sized company decision makers whom are within — the ladder era of Baby Boomers as well as those folks whom were born in the beginning years of the Gen X age — have been doing business for ten, fifteen even thirty years with what we refer to as Traditional Marketing Methods. Using sales methods, profit methods, marketing methods and methods of developing databases by way of telemarketing, cold calling and classic networking techniques, etc.

Throughout the past fifteen to twenty years, marketing and sales have been slowly shifting to the digital dominion with the creation of Internet marketing, search engines as well as the relationship that’s begun with regards to being able to develop associations through social media sites, which is taking people away from using the traditional methods of marketing.

To be visible to the entire target market today including all of the demographics and age categories – you must compete on the multi-functional playing field which includes the combination of Internet Marketing, SEO, Local Listings or Google Maps, Social Media, Mobile Applications mixed with some of the above mentioned traditional marketing techniques. Bundled together in such a way as to produce prospects and conversions.

Impediment Of Selling SEO to Baby Boomers!

As powerful as Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media might be, demonstrating these awesome tools to more mature decision makers (i.e. Baby Boomers) is usually a complicated task. Especially being that we as (SEO-ers) are in an intensively growing market with the continuous flow of new IT-SEO and Social Media type businesses popping up everywhere.

Not to mention the part-timers attempting to supplement their income and international SEM businesses that vow to provide similar outcomes at a percentage of the price. Without divulging the truth that they have no intentions of attempting to rank for good keyword phrases and social media conversions.

This is one of the main reasons why you now have an intrigued but doubtful audience. An audience remaining faithful to their very own conventional ways of marketing and is in desperate need of being educated regarding the Online advertising, marketing and conversion probabilities of SEO, social media and mobile applications.

As powerful as these new technologies are: Common myths, thought patterns and unsure feelings, are directly involved when buying SEO and Social Media services by these misinformed Boomer and Generation X clients.

Taking in to consideration that not all Boomers and Gen X age entrepreneurs fit this mold but the following are everyday concerns that have been emerging within the SEO, Social and Mobile Media product sales procedure.

SEO and Conversion progression??

SEO – Some prospects have been known to say something like -“I could find a small Off Shore Company to get these tasks done for around $400 per month as well as getting my business high rankings. Why should I fork out a premium price to your SEO Company that can perform a similar outcome?”

Local business owners or any business owner for that matter, is flooded daily with unwanted telemarketing calls and emails. These days a few of these email messages and random calls are from off-shore or mom and pop type SEM and/or Social Media companies offering “The best page rankings” for about $300-$500 per month.

They take advantage of unsuspicious company owners with unrealistic Internet perceptions offering proposals cleverly disguised as PPC or promising second-hand services such as Internet search submission. And unfortunately the fact is a lot of the techniques used by “low-end” companies are considered to be using bad SEO techniques.

Meaning that the final outcomes they produce through their “almost illegal” methods could actually do more harm then good by having their client’s website penalized by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

And if these companies are following methods approved by the search engines then another trick they try and pull is showing #1 rankings for queries like “auto repair shops in Denver Colorado.” Which has no Local Monthly Searches and no Global Monthly Searches according to the reliable Google AdWords Tool.

To some business owners “auto repair shops in Denver Colorado” may appear to be a good keyword phrase since a portion of their clientele fit this category and can view them ranking 1st for that key phrase. The issue is that — that phrase has NO search volume PERIOD. Instead they should use a SEO service like 1st Page Success LLC that can get them ranked for a phrase like”Auto Repair Denver” which brings a much, much more potent 1st page ranking result – having an exact word search of approximately 720 Local and Global Monthly searches. The dilemma here is that they, (as Local Entrepreneurs,) do not understand queries have different quantities.

Which reminds me of another issue concerning small business owners. Some are still under the opinion that they cannot be positioned for top level phrases in any case,so the wise action to take is pinpoint the very long particular keyword phrase which only produces a few or as seen above zero searches each month.

This is one of the reasons why there are Local Small Business Owners out there today claiming that SEO and Local Business Listings Do Not Work. When in reality if a Small Business Owner invests in an SEO Company that can rank them on the 1st page, in one of the top 4 positions, for at least 3 quality keywords it is going to double or triple their business and change it forever.

The Other Side Of The Coin, Are You A Victim?

So, now lets look at the other side of the coin, ??where there are several companies getting extravagant sums of money for SEO and Social Media products and services which usually victimize non technically educated local small business owners.

There are many businesses around today still charging extravagant fees and one business in Denver comes to mind charging $2895 just to submit a website to top search engines like Google and Yahoo.

These days this type of service is needless mainly because sites are already indexed. And if for some odd reason your business wasn’t indexed then the indexing task could be completed in as few as 10 minutes. It is in fact just about sinful but I know of small business owners who have actually purchased these services lacking the understanding of the value associated with what they were actually receiving. This is a shame and justifies the importance of educating the business owners in our markets.

What is considered to be a good online consumer experience?

Some still believe, if their website has a form somewhere on it along with a “contact us” page that has their address, email and contact number then they are providing a good online consumer experience.

Even though some would consider this to be a beginning. In general web sites are developed inadequately or are built on non-sufficient themes,which impede their clientele’s navigation. Another needed aspect of any good website is the call-to-action. A lot of websites out on the World Wide Web do not incorporate even one call-to-action.

In addition to all of this, small business owners with websites, a-lot-of-times do not have an understanding of their specific click through and conversion-rates.

What some still think in regards to Social Marketing.

With regards to Facebook some people believe:

“Young people information, it’s stuffed with games and social events and it’s not something to be used for company promotions.”
With regards to Twitter some people believe:
“Tweeting is filled with boring data, that I can do for myself all day long, why would I buy from you?”
With regards to LinkedIn some people believe:

“Why would I have to insert people I know or that are current customers or business acquaintances?”
Influencing Baby-Boomer and Gen Xers to shell out for social, Internet, SEO, SEM and/or Mobile products and services can be a bit of a struggle because frequently these entrepreneurs do not utilize Internet and Social Media Marketing. And by chance ifthey actually do use these services on a rudimentary basis they don’t usually understand the extreme sales potential, of these powerful avenues.

Several people who run businesses still observe social media marketing to be complicated and a time consuming task that target audiences outside their specified market.

To some business owners, one hundred calls is much more valuable than a hundred or so fans, internet connections or brand new followers. You should understand that some business owner’s idea of social interface is actually the traditional method of networking events, BNI groups and door-to-door visits which is not what people current with social media would consider social interaction.

While you can easily calculate SEO and Social Return on investment, there are some whom still are skeptical of this avenue of advertisement. Even though those out dated strategies could easily get decent end results, they may be more expensive and take longer to execute.

What most do not understand is that one could endure an enhanced likelihood to convert more prospects if they were to connect with them on-line before they made or scheduled a sales appointment?

?The Fear of Change & Fear of Inadequacy.

Pride – There are many Local Business Owners whom have been in business for 10, 15, 20 years and have been running their businesses using traditional methods of marketing since they began. These business owners are usually under the impression – “If it aint broke, why does it need to be fixed?”

This creates an issue that needs to be addressed and overcome before you can successfully market SEO and Social Media products to this older generation. The traditional marketing and sales techniques worked for the past X amount of years and these methods even continue to keep performing at a reduced percentage today. However it is the reduced performance of the traditional marketing methods like the plummeting size of the Yellow Pages that has begun to worry these owners.

Fear – Some wander – “What would happen if their company were to pay all this cash for Internet and Social Marketing and end up receiving little to no consequences?”??

One of the worries entrepreneurs have concerning SEO and Social Media marketing is that they are afraid of receiving a poor ROI. This is a legitimate dilemma particularly if they have heard of company’s whom went with a cheap SEO provider producing inadequate results, infrequent up-dates and so on and so forth.

Efficiency of Selling SEO Services.

So taking into consideration the above obstacles, what is an efficient way to sell SEO services?

First and Foremost it is absolutely imperative to make it a priority to educate the clientele.
Glazing over topics that your particular prospective client might not seem to comprehend is an injustice. It is vital that you show definite relationships between Web optimization / social media marketing as well as sales.
Be ready for “so what?” Do to mis-representation or lack of due diligence, some small business owners still may disregard the fact that when it comes to SEO and Social Media, “There is No One Size Fits All.” This same group will assume they can get SEO and Social Media at a discounted rate.
The fact remains it takes experts hours of time to rank for competitive keyword phrases and once ranked it takes experts hours of time to keep a company ranked for those phrases. And this isn’t even taking into consideration research and development for the best phrases or SEM, LBLO, Social Media development and so on. So if you are not prepared for the “So what” attitude, and your only reply is, “You Get What You Pay For When It Comes To SEO and Social Media.” Then you’ll lose and you will close very few sales.??

Also be prepared to come across business owners that want something for nothing. They will want you to promise them you will get them conversions. Since this is just another form of marketing and advertising it is no different than the newspapers and yellow pages of years gone by. Conversions are the business owners responsibility. Getting the site to have a decent CTR is the responsibility of the person or company selling the SEO service.

The Legitimacy of SEO and Internet Marketing.

A good SEO Company can guarantee they will be able to get a certain percentage of keyword phrases for any Internet campaign ranked on the 1st page of a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Nor can any legitimate SEO company guarantee conversions. Why? Because conversions are the responsibility of the small business owner to convert the leads generated by good Internet rankings into customers. Not the responsibility of a SEO company.

Legitimate SEO Company’s like 1st Page Success have 90 day guarantee’s stating they will get 1, 2, 3, 4 good keyword phrases with good competition ranked organically or for local maps in top search engines depending on the size of the campaign for each of their clients.

They also have in place other guarantees for social media and mobile applications. Again, if you don’t have legitimate guarantees and are not prepared to properly address these types of concerns then you’ll lose and close very few sales.

White Label SEO – Beneficial for Both SEO Providers and Resellers

White label SEO is a business agreement between two parties in which an SEO reseller up-sells the SEO services offered by a SEO service provider, by not revealing the identity of the provider. In many cases, the SEO reseller is an Internet marketing (IM) company. Here, there will not be any contact between the SEO provider and the client, only the SEO reseller deals with the client.

Many IM companies that provide various IM services to their clients, will buy SEO services from SEO providers and resell those services to their clients, when they do not have sufficient expertise to provide SEO services. As white label SEO is beneficial to both SEO resellers and SEO providers, it is gaining popularity. In this article, let us check how white label SEO benefits both of them.

Benefits incurred by SEO resellers

• Can expand the scope of services offered to their clients
There are many IM companies offering a wide range of Internet marketing services to their clients. But some of them may not have enough or no expertise at all to offer SEO services. Due to the ever increasing demand for search engine optimization (SEO) to websites, it has become an important service to be offered. Thus, SEO reselling enables the Internet marketing company to expand the scope of the services they offer to the clients.

• Can grow their client base
If a company is not in a position to offer SEO services, and there is a huge demand for that service from clients, the company may lose many existing clients and also miss out many opportunities to acquire new clients. By becoming a SEO reseller, companies without the expertise of SEO can capitalize the expertise of SEO providers. They can provide SEO services along with other Internet marketing strategies and thus can grow their client base.

• Increased profit without increasing resources
Another important benefit of SEO reselling is, a company can provide the services without recruiting new people as they need not develop these services on their own. This will save the expenditure of recruiting new people and giving salaries to them. Thus, a company can increase its profit without increasing resources.

Benefits incurred by SEO providers

• Gets business without any business development effort
In the present highly competitive world, it is not easy for a business to acquire new clients and grow their business. A great deal of business development activity is required to acquire new clients, which will cost the company in terms of finance and usage of resources. Whereas through white label SEO, an SEO provider will benefit because the reseller takes care of acquiring clients and doing business with them. Thus, we can say that this is one of the most important benefits that an SEO reseller program will offer to a SEO provider.

• Increase in business size
As the company sells its services to new clients through a SEO reseller, it will increase its business size. It can offer its services to its own clients and to the clients of SEO resellers which will help in increasing its business size instantly or within a short time span.

• Increased revenue
An increase in business size will automatically lead to an increase in revenue. In the present recession-hit economy, it is not an easy task for a company to increase its revenue. Many companies are facing decline in revenue. Under this situation, SEO reselling program offers an excellent opportunity for SEO providers to increase their revenue without keeping much effort.

White label SEO is thus mutually beneficial to the SEO provider and the reseller and offers the benefit of staying anonymous (for the provider) while doing business as usual.

Benefits of SEO Training Courses

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a collective term for an array of techniques designed to assist websites rank high on search engines. For any business, it is vital to understand SEO as ultimately this is what can drive traffic to your website. Search engines serve as incredible tools to locate information on the web. Moreover, they offer your potential clients a way to reach your products and services. Therefore, it is vital for you to understand search engines specifics that may prove to be beneficial to your company. These benefits are equally beneficial for individuals planning to be SEO providers. Whichever field you are interested to join, SEO courses should be part of your future plans.

SEO techniques

SEO training courses will equip you with many optimization techniques necessary to undertake a successful SEO. SEO is an industry with a number of acronyms as well as industry specific jargon. These training courses will help you understand jargon and therefore develop your company’s SEO campaign. Even if you want to outsource your SEO requirements to SEO service providers, it is beneficial to understand the jargon so you can pick the right SEO provider for all your needs.

Tailored courses for every participant

SEO training courses are designed in a way that will meet all your requirements. In others words, the course will focuses on the purpose of your SEO campaign. For example, if your work in a company and is to take care of their website, the course will teach you how you can do that. Different people have different requirements and this is why tailored training courses are imperative for your success in SEO.

SEO courses are held by experts

These courses are held only by experts with proven record. This is a crucial benefit of these courses, because these experts are always up to date regarding the latest SEO updates and they teach you effective SEO techniques. Additionally, experts can also caution you about the negative impacts of bad SEO practices like duplicate content, cloaking, and keyword stuffing. These bad SEO techniques will beyond doubt affect your ranking and these experts will teach you how to avoid them.

You will learn how to use Webmaster Tools

Besides learning important techniques such as link building, keyword optimization and etc, you will also learn how you can use advanced Webmaster tools such as Google Analytics. These tools will greatly help you improve your website and they will enable you to track the efficiency of you SEO campaigns.

Cost effective

Companies offering SEO services are expensive and this can be tough for small businesses. By developing a company’s understanding of SEO, you will minimize the cost associated with outsourcing for your SEO wants. SEO is not an area that a business can neglect and therefore finding a cost effective way to deal with all your SEO needs is crucial.

These are five important benefits of SEO training courses. They are a great investment for your business in the long run. It is more convenient to pay for the course where you will get all the information you require to do SEO yourself rather than paying for SEO services to optimize your site.

Benefits of Outsourcing SEO Services to a White Label SEO Service Provider

With increased competition, constantly changing algorithms and search engine rules, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) now requires much higher expertise to handle it.

Having realized this fact, many marketing companies like web developers, PR firms, web hosting companies, etc. – all which used to carry out their clients SEO processes (along with their specialized services) by themselves, now agree that SEO is a process that is better left to the specialists in the industry, thus, relieving the burden off their shoulders. This has given rise to SEO reselling.

A firm that wants to resell SEO services often hires a white label SEO provider, to perform the entire SEO process for its client on behalf of it. While doing this white label SEO provider remains anonymous, thus keeping the brand image of the reseller intact.

Following are the key benefits of reselling SEO services from a white label SEO provider.

Better quality of service: White label SEO services are offered by specialist providers, who have skilled team of professionals dedicated only to SEO. The expertise of these providers helps in developing methods and steps that strengthen the online presence of your client’s business. They monitor and track the industry trends, competitor’s strategies, check for the targeted keywords – all which are needed to improve the organic search result listings of your client’s website.

Addresses your client’s requirements: White label SEO providers are specialists in SEO and understand the nature of your client’s business and implement appropriate SEO techniques that build-up online reputation of your client’s business. They also understand that your business’s reputation is also at stake, should any error occurs from their side.

Offer full-fledged SEO services: White label SEO providers offer comprehensive solution for all your clients SEO needs. They offer both on-page and off-page optimization techniques to improve the search engine results.

On-page optimization techniques include – development of title and meta tags, keyword rich content on home page, URL mapping, website design, image optimization, etc. On-page optimization are directly related to the usability of a website, that greatly affects the web page listing in search engine rankings.

Off-page optimization techniques include – link building, copy writing, online reputation management, content marketing, searching for relevant key phrases for the business, directory listings, submission of write-ups, etc. Off-page optimization techniques indirectly promote the client’s website. They contribute more to the rankings of a website in search engines.

These tactics help in improving online visibility and generate higher profits for your client’s business.

Offer more services: White label SEO providers offer many other Internet marketing services that can complement SEO strategies and give more desirable results than expected for your client. Therefore, you can get relief from the burden of developing a functional, comprehensive digital marketing strategy for your client. They have staff ready for performing all these additional services too, like pay per click (PPC), display advertisements, E-mail marketing, etc. These when coupled with SEO give higher ROI.

Handle technical work: SEO is a continuous process. For your client’s website to get continuously listed in first pages, the SEO team has to continuously track and monitor the performance of the website in SERP’s. This needs much higher level skills such as acquiring more links, creating content with targeted keywords in particular frequencies, continuously creating good quality content, etc. All these activities which can be an additional burden on you can be handled by the white label SEO provider easily and efficiently.

You can concentrate on other essential aspects: As the provider takes care of all the technical marketing details, you can focus more on the customer service activities than on maintenance of projects. You can spend your quality time on addressing various other aspects of your client’s business like, tracking the number of sales, providing back-up for the client, efficient and regular reporting of the regular progress, following him up on various other services, preparing invoices, etc. all which can improve your client’s experience of working with you.

Stays anonymous: A white label SEO provider acts as a confidential associate for you. He remains anonymous while offering good quality SEO services for your client, which thus, helps you maintain your credibility. In the end, your client is satisfied and so are you.

Saves costs: As SEO gets more complicated, you need to employ more talented individuals or train your existing resources to offer better services. By outsourcing SEO needs to a white label SEO, you can eliminate these training and start-up costs of forming a technically proficient team. This also reduces your labor costs and other overhead costs that incur from deploying additional human and technical resources.

If you are a firm who used to do your clients SEO strategies, but are unable to cope with the load and changing search engine algorithms, the services of private label SEO provider will be a good option. SEO being the key area of focus for white label SEO providers, they continuously monitor the SEO strategies, employ advanced offline and online techniques that can bring higher profitability to your client’s business.

How Do I Get Visitors to My Site? (The Truth About SEO)

Think of your site as a physical location. How would you get people to come and see you? Direct mail, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, word of mouth, flyers, business cards, T-shirts, packaging, FaceBook, Twitter, email campaigns, banner ads on websites – traditional advertising works for websites too.

Then there are those methods you can only use for websites: click through advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). Click through advertising costs either by the ad, like traditional advertising, or by the click – each time someone clicks on your ad to get to your site, you pay. As with other advertising channels, the more people who are known to view the page where your ad resides, the more you pay. Ads can appear on various web sites, or at the top of search engine pages. The most popular pay per click app is Google AdWords. Click through advertising may be a good option for you.

This article will focus on the other online only method: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is all about getting your site to the top of the list when someone does a search in Google, Bing/Yahoo or another search engine.

Watch out for Snake Oil

Many claim that search engine optimization (getting your site to the top of that list) is science or magic or some other sort of mystery that only a few very special people have the brains to understand. – NOT TRUE! Effective search engine optimization is a lot of work. And it does take some technical knowledge. But the basics are just that – basic.

The purpose of this article is to demystify SEO so that you can select an honest SEO firm. Or if you have a bit of tech savvy you can see that it’s not impossible for you to do on your own. And even for those of you who love to browse, but aren’t so comfortable with the technical details, there is a lot of the SEO job that you are more qualified to do (or at least supervise) than any SEO firm.

How much SEO do you need?

Is your site for your school and everybody who will ever want to find it on Google already knows it exists and will look it up by typing in “Peoria Middle School”? Then you need just the tiniest bit of SEO.

Is your site for your family car dealership and the tri-state area sees Uncle Joe on TV every spring hopping up and down in a bunny suit inviting “y’all” to “come on down to the Kalamazoo Kia Kangaroo Sale”? Yours is not the only car dealer in town and when people search for car dealers they will probably type in something like “Kalamazoo cars” rather than “Kalamazoo Kia”, although if they really like Uncle Joe’s bunny suit, well you never can tell. This situation calls for a little SEO.

Is your business is entirely online? Say you sell remanufactured camera parts that you refurbish in your garage nights and weekends. Then pull out all the stops. You need lots of SEO.

Put Yourself in Google’s Shoes

Look at SEO from the perspective of the search engines. What’s their objective? The same as yours: lots of visitors. How do they attract all these visitors? They put the most useful sites at the top of the search results list. How do they decide which sites are most useful? They look for the most popular ones.

That’s right. SEO is not rocket science. It’s a popularity contest.

So then, how do you make your site more popular? First let’s define popularity in search terms – links from other sites to your site. Think high school. Popularity equals friends. So you want lots of friends, and not just any friends, you want popular friends. But well, when push comes to shove, not so popular friends are better than no friends at all. Translation – friends equals links and you want lots of links, but not just any links. You want links from sites that have lots of other sites linking to them. And those sites should have lots of sites linking to them and so on and so on and so on. A link from CNN.com is going to get you a lot more popularity points than a link from your local newspaper website. But then a hundred links from so-so sites might be better than one link from CNN. It’s hard to tell.

And that’s where the mystery/science SEO legend takes hold. The search engines are not going to tell you exactly how they rank pages. If they gave away all their secrets the cheaters would fake everything necessary to get to the top of the list.

There is a subculture of SEO gurus who spend their entire lives trying to unravel the precise algorithms the major search engines use to rank pages. And then they figure out how to use that information to their advantage. It’s a trial and error process. Eventually they get sites to rank high. Then the major search engines catch on and tweak things a bit so the SEO gurus have to start over again. It’s a never ending game of tug of war.

Not all these gurus are bad guys. Most are honest business people working to get the edge on the competition. But how much careful tweaking does your site really need? And how much money do you want to spend? It’s one of those diminishing returns things. Up to a point spending more time and money will yield a greater and greater ranking, and then, boom, a huge amount more will yield almost nothing.

Is there anything to SEO besides links?

Yes. KEYWORDS. These are the words and phrases that are typed into the search bar. In order for the search engines to find your site these keywords must be coded into almost every page on your site.

The nitty gritty

I am going to show you:

How to pick keywords and
Where to find sites willing to link to yours.
That’s it. That’s the gist of the whole SEO thing. No big mystery.

Keywords

These are the words (and/or phrases) that people type in the search bar when they are looking for sites like yours. They also tell the search engines that your site exists and what it is all about.

You need to pick words that people will use to find your site, but that will yield few enough results that you are more likely to appear near the top of the list.

Let’s use the example of Kalamazoo KIA. You don’t want to use “car” for a keyword. I tried that and Google gave me 4.9 billion results. What’s the likelihood that Kalamazoo Kia is going to be anywhere near the top of that list? Zero. Kia” would be better, but still too broad. “Kalamazoo cars”, “kalamazoo kia”, “michigan kia”, “kalamazoo new cars”, these would all yield a smaller pool of results. So how many keywords do you need? 10 or 15 is good. Too many gets us to that diminishing returns thing again. So I’ve thought up four words on my own and now my imagination has run out. What other words might potential Kalamazoo Kia customers type in? I can’t read minds, but I can find out. There is this cool tool, Google AdWords, and it is free. Once you register you can type in various keywords, “Kalamazoo Kia” for instance, and find out what related searches people have used and how popular those search terms are. Da! Da! – more useful key words. I found “kalamazoo kia dealerships”. After doing a Google search for “kalamazoo kia” I found out why it was necessary to add the “dealerships”. Kalamazoo has “kia’s” that are not even cars. Who’d a thunk?

So you’ve got your key words. What do you do with them? Use them in your url (site name – http://www.mykeywords.com ), have your web designer add them to the title and description tags on your web pages, and use them liberally, but not too liberally throughout your site copy.

Now that you have your keywords entered on your site pages, the search engines can categorize you by these keywords. Next you want to make sure that people searching for your category find you and not your competition.

Links

You want to be popular. You have got to get links. It’s time to pound the cyber pavement. SEO professionals can do this work for you but if you’re on a budget you can do most of the work yourself.

Get listed in industry directories. If you are selling necklaces you could search for “jewelry directory”.

Pursue reciprocal links. Look for sites that may be willing to link to your site, so long as you link to theirs. Continuing with the necklace example you would search for “jewelry add url”.

If you have a physical location, get your site listed on local directory/yellow page type sites.

Participate in industry forums, and if the forum allows, work a link to your site into your advice.

If there are any events associated with your site, list them on online community calendars.

Get an article, listing or mention about your site on the sites of any industry associations you belong to.

Write a press release and submit it to free press release sites like freepressrelease.com.

Try to get the sites that link to yours to use your keywords in their link.

BAD – Click here to find out about refurbished camera parts.
GOOD – Click here to find out about refurbished camera parts.
Don’t hide from the search engines

DO have your web designer generate sitemap.xml and robots.txt files add them to your site. The search engines look for these files when they are trolling the internet for sites.

Do NOT expect the search engines to find your keywords in the sections of your site that use: keyword links in images or javascript, frames/iframes, Flash or dynamic pages.

Don’t make the search engines mad

Playing dirty tricks, in an attempt to make your site appear popular, can get you blacklisted. Yep, the Search engines will turn their heads and pretend you don’t exist. You will not appear anywhere in the listings. If this happens you can appeal but your chances are not good. Your best hope if you are blacklisted is to start over with a brand new site.

So what are these dirty tricks? Some are simple, and some are complicated, but make sure your SEO firm doesn’t do any of them. They include repeating your keywords multiple times, keyword stuffing (hiding keywords by making the text the same color as the background), using keywords that don’t relate to your site’s content, automated programs that generate fake links just to make you look popular, robots that create zillions of pages for your site that are really just copies of your existing pages with a few changes here and there, to make you look important and popular. There are many others, but generally speaking, anything that attempts to make you look more popular than you really are is bad.

Putting SEO to work

Let’s go back to our 3 examples from the beginning of this article. How do we apply SEO to each one?

Peoria Middle School – a few keywords – “peoria school” “peoria middle school” and for those who can’t seem to get it right “peoria intermediate school” should do it. That way people who look you up on Google rather than by typing in your url http://www.peoriamiddleschool.com will be able to find you.

Kalamazoo Kia- most of your potential customers already know who you are. They’re “either looking for a new car or a new KIA car. They’re looking for deals, pictures of the latest models, or they want your phone number or customer service hours. There aren’t too many car dealers in town so you are popular among car dealers by default – not too much need to worry about links. You’ll need your keywords. Then you can list with the “local directory” sites and the car dealer and KIA directories. Are you participating in this year’s food drive? Make an announcement on your local online community calendars. A couple of popularity points won’t kill you but you don’t have to work too hard.

Cal’s Re-engineered camera parts – you are a needle in a haystack. You need all the help you can get. You’ll need keywords of course. And a comprehensive linking campaign. You might not have much money to spend on an SEO firm so you must work like the tortoise: slow and steady. Do a few press releases, check out all the industry sites and camera buff sites and organizations. Respond on forums – become an expert. Find some reciprocal links. Get listed in directories. Do a little bit everyday. Eventually you will become known to those who are looking for refurbished camera parts.

Who can help me get the job done?

Help! You said SEO wasn’t rocket science. This is getting complicated. I can’t do this all on my own – who will help?

Well it’s not rocket science and it’s not magic; neither is styling hair, but you won’t find me anywhere near anyone’s head with a pair of scissors. SEO does require specialized knowledge. If you have that knowledge, great, you can do this on your own if you choose, but for those who don’t the purpose of this article to get you to understand the basics, show you which parts you can do on your own (I can’t cut my own hair, but I do wash and brush it every day), and to help you find an honest vendor for the rest.

SEO firm – as long as they have access to the back end of your site they can do it all for you. Refer to this article and ask questions. Make sure the firm is above board.

Web designer – Your web designer should be able to put your keywords into your pages and create and upload your sitemap.xml and robots.txt files. Beyond that their ability and willingness to help with SEO will vary greatly. You may prefer a web designer who specializes or one that does it all.

What you can do on your own if you choose – you know your business/project better than your web designer or SEO firm. You are in a better position than they are to figure out your keywords and to determine which sites you want to link back to yours. You can also do a lot of the leg work if you choose – contacting sites and asking for links, writing press releases, making announcements on community calendars, participating in forum discussions, etc.

If you do all of the above, tailored to your specific situation of course, you will be ahead of the SEO game. Use common sense. Spend the time and money you need, but don’t go overboard and reach the point of diminishing returns. And remember, SEO takes time to yield results.

Twelve Points to Consider Before Hiring an In-House Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Consultant

When a Small, medium or big sized business needs a competent search engine optimization (SEO) consultant, there are four options available:

1 – Assemble a team of in-house webmasters, programmers and marketers to do the job.

2 – Contract the job to a specialized SEO company.

3 – Post an advertisement to hire an SEO consultant to work as an employee in the company.

4 – Get an in-house SEO consultant from a specialized company to work with their staff without being an employee.

So, what is the best option for your company? There are many points to consider before taking your decision.

1 – Assembling your in-house team of webmasters and marketers will never work: From my long experience, assembling a team of in-house webmasters, programmers and marketers to do the job will never succeed as none of them has enough experience in optimization. Moreover, they do not realize what are the challenges that they are up against or the hidden problems from which their website is suffering.

2 – Applying the best SEO practices: When starting any online project, the in-house SEO consultant will work with your managers to ensure that the Best SEO Practices are applied to every project, which will make it much faster to get your new web pages and other internet promotional advertisement to the first pages of Google and other major search engines.

3 – SEO training seminars and workshops: An in-house SEO consultant will be able to organize SEO training seminars and workshops for different departments and different levels of employees on how to apply and include the Best SEO Practices in every online project.

4 – Getting more profitable and productive ideas: The daily discussions and the direct communications between an in-house SEO consultant and the company administrators, managers, directors, programmers and webmasters will spark many new ideas on both sides. A simple idea or a suggestion in such an atmosphere can make a huge difference in starting a new campaign or modifying and existing one to be more profitable.

5 – Creating the most SEO friendly websites: An in-house SEO consultant will be able to work more easily with your managers to apply any necessary modifications or redesigns to your websites in order to convert them into the most SEO friendly websites in the shortest possible time and with the least efforts. This will ensure that your websites will rank in the first pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other major search engines in the shortest time.

6 – Detailed SEO audit: working with your webmasters and programmers, an in-house SEO consultant can more easily perform a detailed SEO audit to list all the points that need correction or modification in your website and in your different online advertising campaigns.

7 – Selecting the most effective and profitable keywords to use for optimization: Having a direct contact with your staff in different departments will enable the in-house SEO consultant to finish the process of selecting the most effective and profitable keywords in no time, so the whole process of optimization can start quickly and become more effective and productive.

8 – Adding social media marketing as an integral part of your internet marketing strategies: The in-house SEO consultant will have a direct relationship with a few selected employees in different departments to train them on how to establish a solid presence in different Social Media platforms. Maintaining a healthy presence on different Social Media platforms is a costly and time-consuming process. Having the in-house SEO consultant start and only supervise the selected company employees doing the daily Social Media Marketing activities will significantly reduce the cost involved in the process.

9 – Publishing press releases: Being in direct contact with different levels of administration, it is much easier for an in-house SEO consultant to find dozens of ideas for new press releases every week. He can coordinate and publish many press releases every month to promote the products and services of the company, enhance branding and create hundreds of high quality back links which will post the positions of many keywords to rank in the first pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other major search engines.

10 – Blogging: An in-house Consultant will have better chances to get many blog posts from different departments to post in the company blogs every week. An outside SEO company will not be in a similar position to contact different experts in the company to write blog posts. Every well written and optimized blog post is an asset and a testimony for the company. Blog posts will create hundreds of high quality back links in addition to promoting the products and services of the company.

11 – Saving your time and money wasted on interviewing and hiring: Hiring an experienced SEO consultant is not an easy task. Hours are wasted in evaluating and interviewing many candidates. The interviewers usually do not have enough knowledge to enable them to pick up the most qualified candidates. On the other hand, getting an In-House SEO Consultant from a specialized SEO company will ensure having an experienced consultant without wasting any time in the hiring process.

12 – Full-time or part-time: An In-House SEO Consultant from a specialized company can work one or two days per week, one or two days per month or five days a week. Depending or you needs and the turnover of your online projects, the in-house consultant can work one or two days in one week, five days the next week and one day in the following week. This provides you with flexibility which is not always possible when you hire an employee and save your business a lot of money when there is not much work for an SEO consultant.

In Conclusion:

Hiring a competent SEO consultant is never easy especially if the hiring managers are not proficient enough in SEO to identify and pick the best candidate.

An in-house SEO consultant will work wonders for any business website by establishing clear standards for the Best SEO Practices in all company departments involved in the process of launching, modifying, improving and maintaining the many websites of your company.

Getting an in-house SEO consultant from a specialized SEO company is the most productive and cost-effective option. Many companies have realized the value and the cost savings involved in getting an In-House SEO Consultant. These companies have achieved their goals in getting higher returns on their investments in web optimization and internet marketing.