Reno Search Engine Optimization & Search Engine Marketing Firm
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is one of the most important aspects to consider when developing your business' website. Part art, part science, search engine optimization, or SEO is the practice of optimizing a website's content and source code so that it will rank well on Google, Yahoo! and other search engines. One of the most widely misunderstood aspects of website development and promotion, SEO is often viewed as some mystic and incomprehensible procedure that will magically propel your company's website into top rankings.
The importance of website optimization can't be denied. Obviously, if your website can't be found by your potential customers there's really little point in going through the effort and expense that it takes develop and maintain it. Volumes have been written on the subject of search engines and how gain those elusive top positions within the rankings. Still, few business owners and managers have a firm grasp of what it takes to get there. In fact, even very few web designers are familiar with the methods by which to ensure a steady climb to the top.
The Problem with SEO Firms
First, it is important to be aware that there are scores of "SEOs" out there, who simply make a few adjustments to a site's meta tags and load its copy up with keywords. In the early days, while search engines were a fledgling industry, a site could achieve high rankings this way, but that standard is over a decade old and not only won't work, but in extreme cases can get your site removed from the search engines altogether. There is an entire Internet subculture of unscrupulous individuals who put enormous effort into trying to fool search engines into ranking sites well that really don't offer the visitor anything of value, or worse, promote the infinite variety of scams that exist on the world wide web today.
Without getting into so called black hat methods, there are a few things to watch out for when selecting a professional to handle your search engine ranking strategies. Topping the list is guaranteed results. Don't believe it when an SEO firm tells you that they will guarantee that your site will achieve top rankings. It is one thing for a firm to offer your money back if it is unable to reach your goals for your site, but this is generally not the nature of such promises. The reality is that search engines adjust their ranking standards continuously. So too do competitors tweak their sites to remain on top. In short, there are a lot of factors that lead a website into those top positions-none of which can be guaranteed.
Search Engine Submission is another sure sign that an SEO is either in the dark about current practices or is simply full of it. These days, if a URL (Domain Name) is valid, search engines will find it. Next time you see a claim for submission to "thousands of search engines," see how many you can name. Even if there are thousands of search engines, virtually all web searches are made using Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL, none of which require submission.
Even the legitimate practice of search engine optimization needs to be carefully examined. The standard practice in SEO circles is to charge monthly fees, usually thousands of dollars per month, to optimize specific pages for selected key-phrases and to monitor their position in the rankings. The service usually includes some kind of "back linking" campaign as well. Many of these firms produce fantastic results, but for smaller companies, the cost can be overwhelming.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Optimization one element in the broader area of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which includes, among SEO, paid inclusion or pay-per-click campaigns, like Google Ad-Words. Such Internet marketing campaigns often employ blogs, affiliate programs and other methods to build links and further promote traffic to the site.
Paid inclusion plans differ from SEO in that the latter is focussed on the "natural" or "organic" results search engines provide for a given keyword search. The advantage of high, organic or natural rankings is that they tend to be more permanent. Paid links disappear once the campaign has run its course.
Conversion Rate: The Real Measure
Ultimately, the real measure of an Internet marketing plan's success is in conversions. Any time the visitor performs the desired action of making a purchase, filling out a form, etc., it is considered a conversion. In other words, the visitor was "converted" to a customer. Monitoring your site's conversion rate is critical. The site owner must know the value of conversions and divide that into the cost of the campaign to determine his or her return on investment (RIO). This is especially true for campaigns utilizing paid inclusion tactics.