Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What is SEO?

SEO (= Search Engine Optimization) is a range of methods for trying to get your website to rank as high as possible in the search engines, with Google being the most important one.

Google uses “algorithms”, they are kind of like formulas, in order to decide which websites should rank the highest when someone puts in some words, also known as keywords or key phrases, in the Google search.

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What is involved in SEO?

There are many, many factors that come into play to optimize a website successfully.

1. Keywords or Keyword Phrases

The first thing to decide is for which keywords a website or a webpage should be found with. This requires quite a bit of research. Say you rank high for a keyword for a niche product you invented. It’s called a bullet jar (I’m just making up a word here).

That is great but if nobody knows of this product or has even heard of the name before, and therefore never enter that keyword into Google, then you are not going to get a lot of traffic despite ranking high.

So what is important is to first decide which keywords to use that are also fairly popular. This is called keyword popularity. That takes research as well.

2. Keyword Popularity

Well, some keywords are so popular that you have very little chance of ranking high because millions of other websites optimize for the same keyword.

This is where you need to become very creative and think of keywords that are less “generic” and more specific, by adding another keyword to it.

3. Use a usage word or a brand name with keyword

For example, I had a customer who sold scissors on his website. Not just ordinary scissors but hair salon scissors and at pretty high prices.

If I had optimized his website just for the word “scissors” it would have been too generic because it could also be sewing scissors or craft scissors or just ordinary scissors.

So instead we needed to optimize his website for more specific keywords/phrases, such as “hair salon scissors”, “barber scissors” or even better yet, use the brand name of the scissors as well.

Now do a test to see what I’m talking about, enter “Washi Scissors” in Google and see what happens. Naturally, the company that makes these scissors, pops up first, but right below the first listing are two of his listings (staysharpshears.com). If you noticed that the title of the page that came up also has the word “hairdresser scissors” in it, you can see the page is optimized for that keyword as well. Which brings me to the next subject:

4. Where to put the keywords

Keywords can be put in many different places on a website. the most important one is in the title of your website (this is the line of text you see when you open your website and you look at the very top of your browser, above the address bar. (Browser s can be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome).

The next important place for keywords is in the content of the pages themselves. Why?

Because when someone looks for a certain item in Google, Google wants to make sure that this keyword is not just put there in the title to catch traffic while the rest of the website has nothing to do with that keyword.

That would frustrate any web visitor and Google wants to please, not frustrate its users.

There are so many other ways and places to put keywords in a website, but one thing to keep in mind is to do it carefully without overstuffing a website with keywords.

Not only does the content become too hard to read for your visitors, but Google thinks you are “spamming” the search engines. That would result in dropping in ranking for sure!

You have to have the right knowledge and experience for SEO because you can literally make or break a website!

Optimizing Local Business Websites

These websites are a bit easier to optimize because what you do with any local business is use the geographical location of the business as part of the keyword phrase. For example, a plumbing website located in Venice, Florida would do well if the website was optimized for: “Venice FL Plumber” or “Venice Florida Plumbing Service” or Venice FL Pipe Leak Repairs”. You see how that works?

Depending on how many plumbers there are in the Venice FL area, it is either easy or hard to rank at the top.

I know there are tons and tons of AC companies in Florida so optimizing for that industry is much harder than say for Venice FL SEO Services (such as what I offer).

The more competition there is, the harder it is to rank high because everybody else is trying to do the same thing to rank high… or maybe not… ?

Because there are so many ways of optimizing a website, the more knowledge you have, the more you can do and the higher the chance of success is. Some tricks are very little known and will give you a real edge!

I enjoy optimizing websites for the search engines because it’s a real challenge and kind of a competition as well.

Getting a website to rank higher than its competitors, is like winning a contest, and who doesn’t like winning?

What is included in an SEO job?

A lot of research! Researching for the right keywords, researching the competition, and much more. Then optimizing every single element on your website, not just text and images. I  install Google Analytics code on your pages, I use Google Webmaster Tools to submit all your pages and a site map (= page with links to all your other pages). Add your business to Google Map and Google Businesses. I use 301 Redirects in your server file to redirect any old page names to the new ones (super important).

To give a new, as well as an existing website, a good kickstart, I write in my blog, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and some other places about your website with a link pointing to to your website to create a bit of a buzz.

There is much more that I do besides all that, but competitors don’t need to know this. Just know I will do the best job possible and it will definitely make a difference in the amount of traffic you get.

What is the Cost of SEO – Search Engine Optimization?

The price is very dependent on how big your website is and how competitive your industry is. But for me to do a really thorough job and using all the tricks (ethical methods, don’t worry) I have on my sleeve, the cost of SEO starts out at $750 and is just a one-time fee. Exceptions may apply, for example if you only have a one-page website which is much less work. I recommend contacting me for a quote, because it’s hard to put a price on something I haven’t seen before.

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Ongoing SEO Maintenance

Due to my job as a web designer, I don’t offer monthly SEO services. That’s a whole different field than building and optimizing websites. A big focus with monthly services is on using social media and directories to your advantage as well as a linking strategy.

I will be happy to refer you to someone who does this type of work, but I recommend to first wait and see how your website is performing after I do the SEO ground work.

Lots of traffic but no sales or calls?

This means you have a low conversion rate. The conversion rate is the amount of visitors divided by the amount of people performing an action on your website (call, email, buy or something else).

What needs to be done to your website is a study and possible redo of your home page and maybe of some other important pages, too, to include, edit or get rid of elements there that influence a visitor’s behavior.

That is not really part of SEO but I can give you a quote for doing both, if you like.

As you can see, there’s a lot involved in Search Engine Optimization and in making money from a website.