Content, Content, Content
Effective, professional, keyword optimized content is the single, most important factor in any SEO campaign. Search engines will index websites based on the content they find found on each page of the site. With a thorough understanding of language and grammatical syntax, combined with intensive research, to find and exploit the market focus, and the resultant original quality content, you can get your website to the front pages of the “SERP’s” (Search Engine Results Page) in a methodical and ethical way.
Analyze Your Web Logs
Review everything, at least twice, and then check once again. While I would be the first to admit that many of the procedures that comprise search engine optimization are more art than science, you still need to take a very scientific or methodical approach to the task. This can be assisted by keeping a record of your web logs and analysing them. There are some specialized software available which makes the job easier but at the very least, you need to keep a close eye on your site visitors and their activity while on your site. No matter how well planned your strategies are, it is largely theoretical until it is substantiated by results, which can only be measured by the logs, and a thorough analysis of their content.
No one can realistically guarantee a #1 ranking on Google, or any of the other search engines
Anyone who does promise such results will either optimize for such vague or obscure search term phrases (such as, “green stunted widgets with red stripes and icing”) that no one will ever be searching for, or they are making a false claim, which they have no intention of keeping, or they have some sort of inside edge at Google – something that they will lose very quickly when the folks at Google find out about it. The other option is that they will take the money and run should also be mentioned.
Some things are just plain ridiculous
You don’t need to submit your site to thousands of search engines. Advertisements that offer this type of service are suspect, at best. Over 90% of the search results on the Internet come from just four (4) search engines. As for any supposed benefit which you may receive from being listed in some obscure search engine in Botswana which specializes in safaris to the Kalahari Desert and receives 7 hits per day; well, you work it out.
SEO is not the same as Pay-per-Click
While no one would argue with the effectiveness of getting increased traffic and sales, through a well planned, pay-per-click campaign, however, the realiy is that the conversion rates are generally low and they cease the moment your daily budget is reached. While the results from a a well planned and executed SEO campaign may take a bit longer, they will continue to produce, and in fact grow, long after the work is done ( and paid for). Quite often only minor adjustments are needed on an ongoing basis for a well optimizated of a site, mainly in regard to new content and/or new items of sale or service.
SEO is not witchcraft or magic
And neither does it require any special chants, ceremonial fires, or rituals, though some of us do like to howl at the full moon, on occasion. There are no “Top Secret” practices which a reputable SEO can not tell a client, due to some sacred oath with his fellow brethren. The very nature of the Internet has always been one of cooperation and there is nothing about SEO that can’t be learned over time or for a fee. A reputable SEO firm will be able give you an itemised breakdown of just where your money will go. Be skeptical if you sense a secretive atmosphere or any unwillingness to answer all your questions. While there are some technical areas that might need some background knowledge to fully understand, if you have a solid overview of the entire situation, then a simple explanation should be easy enough to come by.
Yes, you can easily do your own SEO campaign and/or find a reputable SEO firm to help you plan and organize it. Discuss the goals and aims of the business/website, do a thorough website analysis, comprehensive keyword/search phrase research, and thorough research into the latest ways and means of achieving high SERPs. These preliminary strategies should then be followed up with a detailed program of suggestions and methods which you can implement yourself or hire others to perform. You would be able to save around 30-40% of the cost by doing the implementation yourself.
All incoming links are not created equal
Both the relevance to your business and website subject matter and the PR value of the incoming links will determine how valuable they are to your own PR ranking and SERP. Google started this the trend, nothing new there, and most of the other search engines followed close behind – the old days of grabbing as many inbound links, in any way possible, are long gone. Not only will low ranked and/or irrelevant inbound links not help you, but they may in fact harm you. Link farms, free-for-all link schemes, automated link accumulation software, or any other unnatural methods that don’t carefully screen the links and websites they are coming from will, in the long run, do you/your website more harm than good.