What is Search Engine Optimization?
More commonly referred to as SEO, it is the way that webmasters build their site in order to receive better results in the search engine rankings. Although there is a lot to it, that is basically all it is.
Why should I consider using SEO techniques when I build my website?
If you want people to see your site then the best way to do that is through search engines, and without using proper SEO techniques you will be a lot less likely to get search engine traffic. Granted, if you don’t use SEO on your site you may still get some search engine traffic, but it will be minimal.
How do search engines see my website?
Search engines have machines referred to as spiders that search through all of the information on the web and categorize it. These spiders look through your website and record all of your content and links. They also keep track of how many other websites link to your site. Based on their search they determine how relevant your site’s pages are compared to other sites for the keywords and content contained on your site. Then when words or phrases relevant to your website are typed into a search engine your website will be ranked according to it’s relevancy for a particular search.
It seems so arbitrary. How do I know how my site will do for a particular search?
It is arbitrary in the sense that you won’t be guaranteed of getting ranked for any particular search and the search engines won’t tell you exactly how their ranking algorithm works because if they told us exactly how it worked then it would be exploited.
That being said, there is a method to the madness. Search engines have a goal of delivering useful and relevant results to search engine users so if you organize your website in such a way as to make it friendly to search engines with lots of relevant content and links then you will have an excellent chance of success in getting search engine traffic to your website.
In the development of my site, at what stage should I consider SEO?
Every stage of website development should have SEO in mind. Even the act of choosing your domain name is important for SEO. You can go back and optimize your site if it’s already built, but it’s much easier and more effective to use SEO throughout the entire development of your website.
Should I hire a professional to do SEO on my site or should I do it myself?
Hiring a professional to optimize your site can cost anywhere from $500 up into the $1000s of dollars. For most people, hiring someone to optimize your site is just not within the budget. However, if you have a lot of money to spend and no time to learn how to do it yourself then hiring professional help is a good option. We’ve never hired a professional SEO company so we can’t really recommend a good one, but we can tell you to do your research before you make a decision because there are a lot of very shady SEO companies out there that use unethical and illegal techniques that can actually get your site banned from search engines. To find a good SEO company we recommend typing SEO services and similar phrases into search engines and finding several companies that offer these services. Call them and ask them questions about what they do and try to get a feel of how trustworthy they are. Also, try to find out if the companies have been accused of any scams. If the company name is XYZ Corp just type XYZ corp scam into Google or another search engine and see what comes up. If a lot of people are claiming this company to be a scam then there just might be something to these claims.
Hiring a professional is too expensive. If I do it myself, where can I find the information I need to do it?
There is plenty of information out there for you to learn SEO yourself. Some of it is free while some of it you will have to pay for, but the price of educating yourself is only a small fraction of what it would cost you to hire a professional to do it for you.