How do I get on page one of Google?
That is the phrase every web designer will hear at some point during the design and configuration of a website. It is an honest question, usually asked without the client understanding the work involved to get there.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of having your page rank high in search engines naturally – often referred to as organic search. This means you are not paying money to gain visibility through advertising. Sounds simple and straight-forward, but it is truly a process that literally changes daily.
The standard method of achieving organic search results requires a properly structured website with current and quality content. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the algorithms change frequently and staying current takes a focused effort that most website owners do not have time for.
Many businesses rely on metrics to measure the success of their marketing efforts. Google provides an analytical tool to measure those statistics. With the introduction of Google’s new encrypted search algorithm, some of those key metrics are no longer visible. Now what do you do?
The terminology and methodology can be overwhelming. The methods employed today may change tomorrow. It is important to find an SEO company that stays current and knows how to get access to the information needed to evaluate your website’s performance.
Who Needs SEO?
The simple answer is: Anyone who wants their website to be found. If you have launched a new site, or had a website rebuilt, or if the website you own has been on page 30 of Google searches since it was launched, then you need SEO. Tread cautiously when someone offers quick-fix packages that equate to buying performance. If someone wants to sell you 1,000 inbound links, turn and run the other way. Quality content always trumps quantity.
There are many ‘free’ tools on the internet that may tell you how well your site performs. They may tell you if there are errors, or if your structure is broken. They will not tell you how to fix those problems and how to move toward a higher search engine ranking.
Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous methods used to attempt to achieve a high Search Engine Result Page (SERP). These methods are known as ‘black hat SEO’. Google and the other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to weed out the bad guys. If you employ these methods, you risk the possibility of getting banned by the search engines. It is a long and painful road to come back after being banned. In many cases, you might be better off to buy a new URL name and start over.
SEO requires ongoing research, evaluation of methods, monitoring and updates based on those findings. SEO is not something you can do part-time. Find a company that will work with you to analyze your goals, evaluate your website and your positioning on the web, and offer a strategy to help you get where you need to be.