Have you ever consulted a search engine optimization (SEO) expert for Google search optimization tips, but after speaking, you end up more confused about how SEO works? Or you still cannot understand what SEO experts do? In this article, we will try to demystify SEO for you with some basic Google Search Optimization Tips.
“Search engine optimization doesn’t need to be such a mystery” says Blue Fly Web Marketing founder Robert Weil, and a good SEO professional should be able to explain how it works, in a way that their customers will understand.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #1- If your SEO professional cannot clear things up for you when you speak, this is yellow flag #1.
SEO consists of two different things – on-page and off-page optimization. On-page (also called on-site) optimization consists of setting up your web site in a way search engines can easily recognize it. Your site needs to have information indicating who you are in the title, meta tags, headings, keywords, image tags, and body text.
For example, if you are a personal injury lawyer in New York City, your site should contain those terms in the site headlines, titles, body text, and the internal meta tags that search engines read. Those items should show consistency to indicate that you are who you say you are. Otherwise, Google and Bing won’t know what to make of you when their automated crawlers come to read your site.
Your SEO professional should be able to explain to you exactly how on page optimization works and what types of things you would need to do. You can also read up on this in any book on basics of SEO – on site optimization is fairly straightforward and if you follow some basic rules, you will more or less be in good shape. You can also check out our article with some good basic Google Search Optimization Tips.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #2- We recommend you get a little educated on basic on site optimization. It will go a long way and is fairly straightforward. A little knowledge will also help you determine if the SEO professional you are speaking with knows what he/she is talking about.
Google Search Optimization Tips #3- We find about 95% of graphic and web designers these days say they will set your site up in SEO friendly manner, but we find this to not be the case. Be wary when a graphic designer says this, and if you have read up a bit, you can ask them some questions and get a sense of whether they are really up to speed on best practices.
In our opinion and in most cases, on-page optimization accounts for about 15% what is needed for high rankings. If you’re optimizing for a very obscure search team (otherwise known as a “keyword”), it might take you all the way to page 1 and it will be all you need to do. But in most cases, on-site optimization, while a necessary precondition, is not sufficient to get high ranking SEO results. You will also need to do off-page (also known as off-site) optimization.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #4- In most cases, simply changing your site will not get you good rankings for any competitive keyword/search terms. You will need to do off-page SEO as well.
Off-page optimization is mostly the practice of building links to your site from other web sites. Links can come from directories, press releases, articles, blog postings, other people’s sites, etc.
Depending on how competitive the market is for your keywords, you might need hundreds or even thousands of outside links to your site. The more competitive your business, the more links you will need. SEO is tedious and a few links won’t do it for anything competitive. It is about steadily and consistently getting good links until you are doing better than your competitors. Different links have different value in Google’s mind. The more relevant and authoritative the site and page you are linking from the better. Also, if 100 other people have links on the page you have a link on, that is less powerful than if you are the only one.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #5- Off-page SEO is tedious and takes a lot of time, effort and expertise. Unless you have a real drive to learn SEO and want to spend a lot of time on it, we recommend you outsource this part of SEO. Most people we meet who try to do this themselves, eventually come to the same conclusion.
So how do you know what it will take to get to page 1 for your web site and keywords? A good SEO expert should be able to look at types of links your competitors have and give you a sense of what it will take to get your site on the first page of Google search results for any keyword. If the expert doesn’t, or if they claim it’s a mystery as to how Google determines who it puts on Page 1, that isn’t a good sign.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #6- If you ask an SEO professional to tell you what it will take to get you to page 1, and they give you the old “we don’t know, it is up to Google”, we recommend finding other options. A good SEO professional should be able to analyze competition for you and give you a good sense/ballpark of what it will take from a time and cost perspective.
And don’t be lured by the SEO professional who tells you he will optimize hundreds of keywords for you. Depending on your budget, it may be completely unrealistic to rank for so many terms. Remember you are going for page 1, which is where all the traffic is. If your SEO gets 100 keywords on page 3 it is not going to help you too much. It is better than being nowhere, but there will be few dollars coming in from this.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #7- If your SEO professional wants to go for lots and lots of keywords, make sure he/she feels (preferably based on real analysis) he/she can get them all to page 1 based on your budget in a time frame that works for you, otherwise consider focusing on fewer keywords that will actually get to page 1 inside of your budget.
An SEO expert should be able to give you an estimated number of monthly Google searches there are for the keywords you’re looking for. The SEO person ought to also be able to give you an estimate on how much traffic those keywords will get you, give you Google search optimization tips, and tell you how long it will take you after optimizing for those keywords to get you on Page 1 of Google search results.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #8- Use Google’s Keyword Tool to get traffic estimates, but make sure settings are set to “Exact Match”. This will tell you how many searches are being done for the exact phrase you are optimizing. Depending on what position on page 1 you get to, you will likely get somewhere between 3% (position 10) and 30% (position 1) of the clicks.
One way to optimize particular keywords or search terms for your site is implementing off-site optimization, with anchor texts with links. For example, if you have an executive coaching site, and many other sites and directories link to your page with the anchor text of “executive coach,” it will do much more for your SEO than a “click here” anchor text will.
So how long will it take to get results? If you have a non-competitive search term you want to optimize for, you could be on the first page of Google search results between one and six months after hiring an SEO expert. If your term is more competitive, and has many more businesses trying to optimize for the same term, it could take between four to ten months to get to Page 1 of Google. An even more competitive term could take up to a year or more for the Google results you desire.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #9- Be patient, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. If it were quick and easy, everybody would do it. But if you have persistence, SEO will almost always pay off handsomely. If an SEO professional tells you he/she can get results quick, consider if it is a non-competitive keyword (i.e. little or no traffic) that is probably true, but if there is any real traffic/competition for this keyword (more than a couple hundred searches per month), we would ask a few more questions.
Some SEO experts don’t give realistic timelines on how long SEO will take, perhaps because they are afraid that potential clients will not work with them if they do. Ask your SEO professional to give you their honest assessment.
Some SEO experts bill by the month, which may mean that they could drag out improving your search results (sorry to be cynical). In that case, it might be better to use an SEO company that bills you one time based on a particular result.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #10- Ask your SEO professional for some guarantees or assurances of results. Maybe they will say no, but can’t hurt to ask.
SEO is not such a mystery. Build a well optimized site and a better link profile than your competitors and you should be on your way.
If you hire an SEO expert you should ask how many links they are going to build for you, and how strong the links are going to be. Some companies may promise 50 links a month. That would mean it will take 20 months to get to 1000 links. But if your competitors on page 1 have average of 2000 links, then you can expect to be on page 1 in about 40 months (assuming competitors do not keep building which is not realistic). So the reality is you do not have a good plan.
Google Search Optimization Tips- #11- Make sure your link building plan will get you more links (and of similar quality) than your competitors on page 1 in a time frame you are happy with, or you will likely end up disappointed with results. Do the math.
We hope we have helped to demystify things a bit for you. If we’ve confused you more – we’re sorry!