Basic SEO for the Beginner
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most rapidly growing forms of internet marketing. SEO companies spring up almost overnight, and in the volatile world of the internet, most of them die away just as fast.
Why is SEO doing such booming business? Is SEO important for your website? How can you choose a good company to handle your SEO needs? Is SEO something you can do yourself? This article looks to answer some of those questions.
Why is SEO doing such booming business? As more and more commerce moves online, from shopping to wholesale to banking and investing, it’s only natural that marketing should move with it. SEO is, at the moment, the most effective form of online marketing. And, arguably, since billions of people use search engines every day, being found by search engines is certainly one of the more important aspects of online marketing, if not the most important aspect.
So is SEO important for your website? The answer is a resounding Yes for commercial and informational websites, a hesitant Probably for personal sites. If you want people to find your site, SEO is important. If you plan to make money from lots of people visiting your site, whether directly, through selling them something, or indirectly, from click-through advertisement profits, then SEO becomes not only important, but essential. The only website that doesn’t need SEO in some way or another is the one that doesn’t really care if it gets hits or not. In other words…every site should have some basic SEO.
With so many companies out there, and so much misinformation about SEO floating around the web, how can you choose a good SEO company? Well, the best way to start is simply to input “SEO” or “search engine optimization” into a search engine. The first 20 companies are clearly doing something right. If you want a company to be able to place you in the top 20, you must find a company that can get itself there, first.
But don’t stop there. Go to each company’s website and look around. What do you see? Confusing articles riddled with so many keywords that there’s almost no content? Confusing navigation and misdirection? Or do you see informative, easy to read blurbs about the company, their mission, and, most importantly, a concise layout of the services they offer and the prices they charge? Choose a clean, easy to read site with good information about the company and its services and charges, even if it doesn’t show up first in the search engine results. You don’t just want customers or viewers to find you; you want them, presumably, to come back.
Finally, is SEO something you can do yourself? That depends. SEO requires basic knowledge of a website’s META tags (something you’re already familiar with if you built your own website; if not, work closely with your webmaster on those), an ability to learn which keywords and keyphrases to focus on for your website (for example, which one are people most likely to input into a search engine: “SEO” or “search engine optimization”?) and, of course, the ability to incorporate those keywords into rich, informative articles and blurbs. It involves the ability to get backlinks from reputable companies — an important part of SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
There are hundreds of free resources on the web to help you walk through the steps; what you need to do, how you need to do it, etc. In the end, though, your ability to perform the work and your willingness to spend the time required to get good rankings determine whether you should do it yourself or hire an SEO service to help you. If you have the time and the willingness to learn, an ability to put together a good article, and the ability to research to find out which keywords to fill it with, then you can do your own SEO.