Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process by which a website is slightly changed to make it more attractive to search engines.  Search engines, like Google or Yahoo, are successful only if they please their customers – the people who search and the people who pay for advertising within those searches.  To be successful, the search engine needs to produce lists of results that accurately reflect the phrases used by the searcher.  These lists are ranked from top to bottom according to the degree the phrase matches the content of the displayed site page.  The sites themselves are also ranked by how valuable they are to the community.

Consequently, your site will be selected into the list and ranked according to how many of the  “key word phrases” appear on each page of your site and how much your site is likely to serve the needs of the searcher.

In order for our firm to get you ranked highly, we need to assure that your site is as helpful as possible and that it contains as many appropriate keywords as possible.

Even when we achieve good results, the victory is temporary, because your competitors are also trying to put their sites above yours.  Additionally, the search engines are continually changing what they consider “helpful” as their methodology adapts to SEO techniques.

SEO is a moving target.

Before reading further, it is important to decide if you can afford SEO.  If you do it yourself, it is going to take about 4 hours a week to do it right – after you learn the techniques we outline below.  If we do it for you, it’s going to cost between $500 and $2000 a month, based on the services you require.  Can’t afford either?  Consider this:

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1. Baseline Level

If we are applying SEO to a site we are designing from scratch, we build certain assets and features into the content as part of our normal design process.  If the site is one we are being asked to improve, we do not change anything at first.   In either case, we prefer to discover the baseline level of web activity as soon as possible.   This is done by inserting invisible text characters into each site page that allow us to track the behavior of visitors who enter the page.  After one to three months, we will produce graphs and tables of how each page performs.

This baseline study produces a lot of fascinating data that will become driving force behind our custom SEO strategy.  I will also give us a benchmark with which you will compare the results of our campaign.

2. Keyword Phrase Research

During the time we are waiting for the baseline study to produce data, we compile a list key words and phrases.  We want to know which keyword phrases are likely to produce the best results.  We begin our Keyword Research by discussing what words you feel would be appropriate and then we test them to see what websites are listed highest.  If your words were correct, the sites should all be your competitors.  If not, we continue to change the words until the results are optimal.  These words, then, are the best with which to start.  We can also how many people search for a particular key word or phrase each month, and how many other websites currently rank for these keywords.

Based on the Keyword Research, we’ll find clear evidence defining the most optimal keywords with which to begin.  Then we’ll pick the top five of that group as our first phase.  Considerable work is required for each target keyword phrase.  Therefore, we prefer to focus on five at a time to produce results as quickly as possible.  Then we move on to the next set of five keyword phrases.

Once the first five are selected, we begin to reverse engineer your competitors’ websites. Based on this reverse engineering of the top ranking sites, we are able to make a rough estimation of the amount of work necessary to place your page above each competitor.

3. SEO Structure

The structure of your site has a great effect on its attraction to search engines. There are many pitfalls and damaging errors site designers regularly make, such as:

designing an entire site in flash or images
having the same title across all pages
using frames
using mirror sites
improper javascript & CSS file management
aimless internal link structure
password protected content
Adobe PDF-based content
inappropriate keyword content

It may be that your website will require significant restructuring to be successful.  If so, we’ll inform you early in the process.

4. Analytics Reporting

This is a monthly service that produces a report of your website’s activity.  The report is based on the invisible analytical code we embed in your site during the Baseline Level period.  The code allows us to track the geographic origin of every site visitor, the first page they visit and every page they visit thereafter, how long they stay on each page, the keywords they used to find your site and many other useful data.  Together, we decide which data would be most useful for you to see every month and then we prepare an Executive Briefing with that data.  This service also includes periodic reviews of the reports to decide on long-term SEO strategies.

5. SEO Content

Once your site structure is maximized for SEO succes, it’s important to ensure that you are regularly creating new content on your site.  Most companies create content every day as a natural byproduct of doing business.   Other companies cannot seem to create a work all year!

We can create content for you, which is full of keywords and which also has links to other sites that will enhance your helpfulness to the community.

6. Backlinks

Backlinks are Google’s way of determining how helpful your site is to the community.    A backlink is when another site has a link pointing at your site.  Google counts each backlink as a vote for your site. The more backlinks you have, the more votes your site gets.

For example, if two sites have the same exact content, but one has 10,000 backlinks, while another has 100, Google will give much higher weight to the site with 10,000 backlinks, because that site appears more useful.

This service builds backlinks to your site on a regular, ongoing basis, on average between 50-70 backlinks per month.  Your site receives a constant growth of backlinks, which build long term ranking dominance.

7. Social Media Influencing

The most sophisticated form of SEO isn’t really SEO at all.  When the text of a social media stream mentions your site, that drives traffic and increases your ranking.  We can monitor the social media and insert content that mentions your site, making it part of the community conversation.  Or, if you prefer, we can supply you with the locations of the
freshest and most valuable conversations and you can enter them yourself and promote your website directly.