When it comes to search engine optimization there is a wrong way and a right way to do it. Doing things the right way will increase your rankings and exposure. Doing things the wrong way might get your website penalized by search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, and Google. Many businesses choose to go with national search engine marketing and optimization firms, but you can oftentimes save money by going with someone local. Just be sure that they’re methods are on the up and up. Here’s what you need to know to make your choice.
What Are Their Methods?
When it comes to SEO there are a few different popular methodologies. They are classified into categories with nefarious sounding names. They are typically described as Black Hat, Grey Hat, or White Hat. And while the descriptions sound like the difference between good and evil, many of the methodologies are the same.
The more aggressive techniques are typically described as Black Hat. And the slower and safer techniques are known as White Hat. When it comes to ranking a site you generally have to get the search engines to notice it. This is done by creating great content and by getting links from other relevant websites. The content tells the search engines what your site is about. And the links from other sites let the search engines know that other sites out there consider your site worthy enough to link out to it.
How Does Local Search Work?
Let’s say you have a business in New Jersey. You perform a search to find the best Jersey City SEO agency. Search engines take this information and compare it against a database of sites that have relevance both from a content perspective as well as from the perspective of authority. The algorithms involved in this process are incredibly complex, but essentially they are attempting to return the best result for your specific query.
The rankings displayed are a measure of how well the sites in your area conform to how well their sites are optimized for that particular search. Of course the search engines aren’t perfect. There are plenty of results that don’t necessarily make sense based on the information you entered. But for the most part they have become pretty consistent.
How To Make Your Choice
When meeting with potential SEO firms here are a few things you should keep in mind. For starters, because of the competitive nature of search engine optimization many firms are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This means that you might not be able to see a great deal of their work beforehand. While this is often the case, any firm that is worth their salt should have a few clients that have allowed their results to be displayed.
Accurate keyword research is key. Before kicking off your campaign you should have a very targeted list of keywords for which you are trying to rank. These should be as specific as possible. It only increases the liability that your site will rank well. You also want to make sure that these keywords make sense for your business. Certain keywords are much more ‘buyer oriented’ and therefore potentially more profitable.
Make sure they offer regular reporting. While progress in the world of SEO often takes many months, you should receive regular monthly reports that show you that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Contracts are typical, but are certainly not required. Just keep in mind that just like any other type of marketing like magazine ads or radio spots SEO is a pay as you go service. If you break your contract or stop paying, your results will reflect this relatively quickly.
If you keep all of this in mind you should be well prepared to choose the right company to handle your online marketing.