What Should I Get for My Monthly SEO Payment

If you are thinking about signing up for SEO, then you need to be sure that you understand exactly what you are going to get. Many business owners are afraid of SEO because they don’t understand it. It is true that it might be difficult to understand exactly what you are getting for in exchange for that monthly payment. It is pretty obvious when you buy a TV ad where your money is going. You can see it in action. It would be nice to say the same thing about SEO, but the truth is that you can never know exactly what your SEO company is doing. However, if your company is doing things the right way, you should be able to see the results. While it may be satisfying to see your TV commercial or your newspaper ad, it should be even more satisfying to see your website at the top of the search engines.

Of course, there is still that elusive question regarding what exactly you are getting for your money. A good SEO plan will typically cost over $500 per month (and much more for the most competitive markets). Even if your company is doing well, throwing away $500 per month probably doesn’t sound too appealing, Therefore, you want to know exactly why you have to spend so much money. What is your SEO company giving you in return?

Regardless of what your monthly SEO budget, here are some general SEO services that a good company will provide:

  • Link building – this should be the center point of any good SEO campaign. If an SEO company doesn’t have link building anywhere in their plan, then you don’t want them. One of the most consistent ranking factors is your website’s banklink profile. In reality, this is the number one reason why you need an SEO company. They will know exactly how to build those links for you. If you try to build links yourself, then you will probably end up with a big fat Google penalty.
  • On-page optimization – you want to be sure that your SEO company is doing something in terms of making your page ideal for the search engines. Yes, the link building is the most important thing, but if you don’t have everything in order on your website, then those rankings won’t last long and they won’t matter anyway. A good SEO company will either tell you what’s wrong and how to fix it, or they will incorporate the changes directly into your site. This will require you to provide backend access to the site, but it’s worth it to make sure that everything is done correctly.
  • Weekly reporting – your SEO company should be able to give you reports every single week on the progress they have been making. SEO reports will vary, but you should be getting information about where your site is ranking. If the company can’t tell you that, then they either don’t know or just don’t want to say because it isn’t what you want. Some SEO companies will also give reports about weekly traffic and other factors, but this will require additional work on their part. Make sure you understand exactly what type of report you are going to get. You want to be comfortable with the reports they are providing.
  • Content writing – this one will vary based on your cost, but it is a big factor in rankings. Ideally, you want to hire an SEO company that will be writing content for you. While you may think you can write your own content, there is an art to writing good web content. It’s not all about keyword density either. SEO experts know exactly how to write content so that that it will be ideal for the readers and for the search engines. If you don’t understand how to reach both audiences, then you need to leave this in the hands of your SEO company. You may have to pay a little extra to get the content writing. You should also make sure the content is unique and 100% handwritten by native English speakers. This will help maximize the value of that content. It’s best to get 2-4 blog posts per month, ranging between 500 and 1000 words. Don’t bother paying for blog posts that are only 300 words or less.

There are other things you may want from your SEO service, including social media management or Adwords. However, the four things above are they key. If you aren’t at least getting that, then you need to look around.

Was My Site Penalized? Now What?

One of the worst things that can happen to any website owner is to find out that your site has been penalized. In today’s search world of Pandas, Penguins, and Hummingbirds, a Google penalty seems like it can happen at any time. Once you’ve been penalized, your site seems to drop off the face of the earth for months. Your search traffic goes away. You stop getting new leads. You wonder if your business will even be able to make it. Most of all, you wonder how this could have happened to you. Why is Google picking on you of all the millions of websites out there.

If you think your site has been penalized, one of the things you need to do is make sure before you take action. The most surefire way to tell is by checking the rankings. Check to see where you are ranking in the search results for your big keywords. Start with the ones that were ranking the highest. If your site dropped from the first page and is now on the twentieth page, then that is a good sign that you have been penalized. If one of the sub pages comes up before the home page, that is another sign that your site might have incurred a penalty. However, these aren’t the only signs, and they aren’t guaranteed ways to determine that you have a penalty. It’s possible that Google is just doing its dance, which means that sites are jumping around all over the place.

If you use Google Web Master Tools, you should be able to determine if you have been penalized by logging in and looking for any notifications. If you have a message about suspicious linking behavior or duplicate content, then you can be sure that you have been penalized. However, just because there are no messages waiting for you from Google does not mean that you have dodged a penalty.

You can also check to see if you have been penalized by seeing if your site has been de-indexed. Do a Google search for your domain name (for example, just type http://sandiegoseoranker.com/ into your Google search box). If your site doesn’t pop up at the top of the search results, then there is a very good chance that you have been penalized and even de-indexed. If you have been de-indexed, then no one will be able to find you unless they type your web address directly into the address bar. Not very many people do this these days, so you don’t want to resort to this.

If you have been penalized, the first thing you need to do is figure out why. Use internet tools to see if there is duplicate content on your page. There are many tools out there that allow you to compare your content to other content on the website. It may be possible that someone stole your content and that Google is penalizing you for it. If this happened, then you need to contact Google and you need to contact the person who stole your content. It should be pretty easy to find out who that person was.

If it wasn’t a duplicate content thing, then the next thing you need to do is check your backlinks. If you haven’t been creating your own backlinks, then it is possible that someone has been doing negative SEO to your site. If that is the case, then you will have to try and remove these links. This can be a dangerous practice because it gives Google more insight into what you are doing in terms of SEO.

Google penalties certainly aren’t fun, and the cost can be big. The best way to avoid a penalty is to hire a reliable SEO company that has a history of getting pages ranked high and keeping them there. If the SEO company you are considering shows you that their client has been at the top for 6 months or more, then you know for sure that they are using reliable methods that aren’t going to result in a penalty.

SEO Company Tricks

There are hundreds of companies that perform search engine optimization services today. Even some news outlets are adding what they refer to as “SEO services” to their range of advertising possibilities. A recent episode of the popular television show Shark Tank even mentioned SEO as something that businesses should be doing in order to sell their product online. After all, how is anyone supposed to be able to learn about your new business if they can’t find you?

Using an SEO company definitely brings huge advantages. However, there are also many problems when it comes to SEO companies. If you hire the right company to perform your service, you should see a return on your investment of at least 200%. If you choose the wrong company, you will just be out the money you spent on the campaign, or worse, you will lose a lot of potential future customers who won’t ever be able to find you on the internet because you were hit with a Google penalty.

In order to get some idea of the tricks of the bad SEO companies, here are some things that you need to know before you hire any SEO company.

The first trick that SEO companies will use is offering a rock-bottom price. The price is just unbeatable. You have called a dozen companies and heard numbers from $500 to $5000, but this one company says they can do it all for $89 a month. Of course, as a savvy business owner, you want to save all of this money. Therefore, you sign that contract locking you into a full year of $89 per month. A few months go by and you notice your site hasn’t moved up at all in the rankings. That’s because, you guessed it, the SEO company just took your money and plans to do nothing with it. It’s such a small chunk of your advertising budget that you just pay the rest of the contract and hire someone else.

Another trick that SEO companies sometimes use is offering you tons and tons of services. They will list everything they do for you using bullet points, and they’ll put into a list that goes on for pages. They’ll mention things like “submitting your site to hundreds of search engines” and other things of this nature. They will list edit title tags, meta tags, header tags, alt tags, header 2 tags, and so forth, rather than just telling you that they will make the necessary backend edits in order to optimize your site. While it might seem better to see all of the things they will do, it’s actually worse because it just gives the illusion that they are doing tons and tons of things for you. And that “submitting your site to hundreds of search engines” thing that we mentioned before? That’s meaningless. Your site is automatically indexed by the search engines, and there are only a handful of search engines that mean anything in terms of selling your product or service.

A third trick that an SEO company might use is guaranteeing results. They say they will have you on the first page by the end of the month. You wonder how this can be when everyone else has told you that SEO takes patience and has no guarantees because the search engines can adjust their methods at any point. But you are suckered in with this guaranteed line because it sounds so wonderful. After all, this is your money and you want to be sure you save everywhere that you can. A month later, your SEO company tells you that you are not only on the first page, but that you are number one. Your phone doesn’t ring. You aren’t seeing any search results in your analytics program. Yet they insist that you are at the top. Then you find out that they ranked you at the top for a search terms that yields zero monthly searches. The reason you are number one is because no one is competing for that spot. They have your money and they fulfilled their promise, but you are no better off.

Avoid these tricky SEO companies and only go with the ones that are reliable and can show quality past results.


SEO Tip: Why Does My Site Keep Moving Around

Search engine rankings can be fickle things. You might check on Tuesday and find your site ranked number 1 on page 1. On Wednesday afternoon, you check again and your site has slipped to number 3 on page 1. You start to worry. Your competitors are going to crush you. On Thursday, the site is gone from the search results. You panic as you click through ten pages of Google. Have you been penalized? Will customers ever find you again? google seo

Nervously, you check again on Friday. Much to your surprise–and relief–you are back at number 1. You let out a relaxed breath but wonder when it will happen again.

So what exactly is going on here? Why doesn’t the site just stay put?

First off, let’s give this a name. We’ll call it the Google Dance. This happens quite often. Pages move around all the time. If you search twice within an hour, you might notice a handful of differences on the first page. Or everything might look exactly the same. With the search engines, particularly Google, things move around a lot. This is especially true for new sites and for sites that are having SEO work done for the first time.

No matter what your SEO strategies are, or if you are even using specific SEO services at all, things in the search engines are never set in stone. Being on the first page one day makes no guarantees about even the top ten pages on the next. That’s why it is so important to find a good SEO company that delivers consistent quality services. Take San Diego SEO Ranker, for example. Their SEO experts react to every change in the search engines and adjust their methods accordingly. That is precisely what an SEO company needs to do.

Here is the most simple truth with SEO: nothing is guaranteed. Search engine optimization is a constant on-going process that requires patience and dedication. Hearing all this, you might think you’d be better off just paying for Adwords. However, there are no guarantees there either. You might decide to pay $50 per click only to have your competitor bid $51 per click. All of a sudden, you are showing up beneath your competition again. No form of advertising or marketing can deliver guaranteed results. However, if you choose the right SEO team, you will get the best results possible for your website.

SEO is never a sure thing, but if you use patience and a company with solid past results, you should eventually see a big return on your investment.

Choosing the Right Keywords for Your SEO

Every SEO campaign needs target keywords. If you don’t target any keywords, then the search engines won’t know when your website should rank. Choosing the right keywords can be a difficult task. As a business owner, you know what you sell, but do you really know what people are searching for to get to your site?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing your keywords. You need to keep in mind who your target audience is and where they are located. Are you targeting the entire country, a region, or just a small city? If you don’t know how big or how small to target, you might end up way over your head. If you just want to sell a service to a small city, then you are drastically reducing your competition. If you want to sell throughout the country and only focus on one city, then you are losing out on tons of searches. When it comes to keywords, you need to know as much as possible about your searchers.

Another thing business owners need to know in terms of keywords is just what exactly a keyword is. Many SEO clients are under the mistaken impression that a keyword is just a single word. So, for example, if a client is running a photography studio for Seattle, then she might give this as a list of 10 keywords:

photos, pictures, portraits, wedding, children, family, boudoir, Seattle, photographer, photography

Looking at those keywords, any SEO expert should start to see some problems that this Seattle photographer is going to have. First off, the odds of her ranking for photos, pictures, or children (or any of those keywords for that matter) are pretty much zero. The competition is just too big, and the pages already at the top of Google for those very general words have too much authority to be displaced by a small photography studio.  best seo keywords

Besides, imagine this client actually was ranked for photos or for children. What are the odds that someone typing “children” into a Google search is looking for someone in Seattle to take picture of kids?

Therefore, instead of choosing these single generic words, that client needs to pick more specific keywords that will actually bring in traffic.

Here are some examples:

Seattle photographerwedding photographer in seattle
family photographer
family portrait photographer
boudoir photography in seattle

And so on.

These keywords are specific and will capture the audience that might actually convert to customers for the photographer.

However, the work isn’t done yet. Next we need to check to make sure these keywords actually get searches. There isn’t much value in being ranked at the top for a search term that no one is looking for.

There are many ways to check the amount of search traffic, and if you are the Seattle photographer we’ve been talking about, then your Seattle SEO company should be able to do this for you with ease. When you sign up with any good SEO company, they should ask for a list of your keywords. Once you provide that, they should respond with more data about those keywords, including some additional keywords or even some better keywords. If you ask your SEO company how much monthly search traffic you should expect based on your keywords, then they should be able to give you a pretty good answer.

Deciding on keywords might be the most difficult decision you make in your SEO campaign. If you hire the right SEO company, it should be about the only work you have to do in terms of SEO. Other than that, you should just be worried about answering the phone when it rings a lot more than it used to.

Three Optimization Mistakes You Are Making

In today’s world, every business needs a good website. However, just having a good website isn’t enough. No matter how great your website works, if your potential customers can’t find you, then you won’t be able to grow your business. The key, of course, to getting customers to your website is by making your site visible. There are three basic ways to bring people to your site: Paid ads, organic searches, and referrals. Organic searches typically will provide the most exposure and the most leads. To get those organic searches, your site needs to be optimized.

If you aren’t ranking high in the search engines for multiple keywords, then you are probably making one of (or all of) the following optimization mistakes.

1. Having Too Little Content

When you look around your website, what do you see? Is there a lot of blank space? How many words are on your homepage? What about the rest of the site? In terms of rankings, content heavy websites almost always outrank the competition. As the search engines say again and again, “content is king.” Having lots of (relevant) written content, along with smartly placed videos and images is key to getting your site ranked. 600-700 well written words of content placed on the home page is ideal. You might be able to get away with less, but having this written content has more than just search engine benefits. It also gives your potential customers more information about your business. The more your customers know, the more likely they will be to actually purchase your product or use your service. If your customer doesn’t know exactly what you provide, then he or she won’t spend much time on your page. When it comes to content, as long as it’s relevant, you can almost never have too much.

2. Having No Inbound Links

Another important factor in search engine optimization is link building. This is a topic that confuses many website owners. This doesn’t mean that you want loads of links to other websites on your web page. Instead, you want people linking to your website. There are many ways to get these links, but it’s important to make sure you are getting quality links. You should never buy links, especially not for a cheap price. Sharing your website on social media sites is seo-process6always good, but you also want other sites to have links back to you. When you have a good link profile, this shows the search engines that your site is relevant and worth visiting. When it comes to developing a link profile, it’s best to contact an SEO specialist who is well trained in linking to websites.

3. Ignoring the Little Things

There are a lot of little things you need to do on your website to make sure it is optimized. When you build your site, it might be tempting to take shortcuts and ignore things like title tags. If you do ignore these important aspects of your site, you will find your site struggling in the search engines. There are a lot of little things involved with making your website, and contacting an SEO specialist is always a good idea. If you are using WordPress to build your site, you can download one of the many SEO plugins. It’s important to understand that the plugin itself won’t get your site ranked high. Rather, it is a tool to help guide you through the process.

If you are wondering why you haven’t gotten the web traffic you expected after launching your expensive website, then you need to look closely at how optimized your website is. Don’t take shortcuts when building your site, and make sure your content is relevant and thoroughly developed.

How to Check Your Rankings for Real

Many website owners think their sites are doing much better than they really are. As an SEO specialist, I have heard prospective clients tell me that they are already on page one of Google for one or all of their search terms, but they aren’t getting traffic. If that truly was the case, then the problem would be obvious: their keywords just don’t get many monthly searches. However, most of the time it is an example of skewed search results. search engine rankings

If you are running a business online, or just promoting your business through your website, then you need to have some understanding of how the rankings work. Here are some things to understand:

1. Search results will vary by location. If you are conducting a search for “widgets” in Louisville, KY, you will likely see different results than a person looking for “widgets” in Omaha, NE. There will likely be some overlap on the first page, but Geo-location is a big factor in what your particular search results look like. Even if you are searching for “widgets in Louisville” from your Louisville IP address, you may see different results from your friend searching for those “widgets in Louisville” from her Omaha computer.

2. Search results will vary by browsing history. If you’ve been looking at your website a lot, your site will typically come up higher in the search results. If you’ve been looking at your competitors’ site a lot, your site will likely come up lower in the results. Your browsing history can play a big factor in the search results. Remember, the search engines are trying to deliver the search that is most meaningful to you. They are trying to show you what you are trying to find.

3. Search results will vary by browser. If you are using Firefox and you are suddenly shocked to see your site at #1, check your site in Internet Explorer or Chrome. Even with no search history, the rankings might be significantly different.

4. Search results can vary for no good reason at all. Sometimes two people using the same browser on different computers in the same network will see very different search results. Sometimes a site doesn’t show up at all for a search term one day even though it was there yesterday and will be there tomorrow. The search rankings don’t always make sense, and you have to be patient when it comes to your search position.

If you want to get the best gauge of where you are ranking for a manual search, then you need to make sure your browsing history is completely cleared. Get rid of all your cookies, all your temp files, all your history. Empty it out and check the rankings again. I like to set one browser aside for nothing but checking search results manually. I never click on any sites or do anything else with that browser. It’s only for checking rank.

There are also automated tools for checking rank, but even with these there is room for error. There are multiple data centers for the search engines, so your tool might tap into a different data center than you would, leaving your search result looking much different.

If you use an SEO company, you should get weekly or monthly ranking reports. It’s important to do some cross checking on these, but getting different results doesn’t mean they are lying to you. The search engines can be quite fickle, so you need to be sure you are aware of all the facts. The good news is this: if you are showing up as number one somewhere, than someone is going to find your page.

When To Drop Your SEO Company

If you are feeling less than satisfied with your SEO company, then you need to consider your investment closely. Rather than just trusting a gut instinct, it’s best to evaluate the situation carefully. SEO is a big investment that takes patience. If things seem headed in the right direction, you don’t want to jump ship too soon. Here are some factors to consider if you are unsure about your SEO company:

1. How well do they communicate with you?

If you find yourself asking questions that they won’t answer, then you should start to be concerned. An SEO company may not want to give away all of its “secrets,” but they should be upfront about their work on your website. Frequent communication with your SEO company is a good way for you to know what they are doing. If you haven’t noticed results, then ask what is going on with the services. You should also expect reports from your SEO company. At the very least, your SEO company should send out monthly reports. Weekly reports are even better. If the company you hired for SEO won’t communicate with you, then you need to look for someone who will.

2. Have your rankings improved?

Tracking where your site stacks up in the search engine game is a big indicator of your SEO company’s success. For the most part, when you hire someone to do SEO, that should be your primary expectation. Their job is to move you up in the search rankings so that more people will find your site. If you have gone from the tenth page of Google to the third page, then something is obviously going in the right direction. However, if your site seems stuck on the same page for a very long time, then it’s time to start being concerned. If you see months with no improvement and your SEO specialist can’t explain why, then you might want to look for someone else.

3. Is your web traffic improving?

No matter how good your rankings are, if your web traffic doesn’t improve, then it doesn’t mean a whole lot. In order to measure this, you should have a good analytics tool installed. Once you have that, you can track just how much search traffic your SEO company is bringing to your site. If you aren’t getting visitors but your are showing up at the top of the search engines, then you need to reevaluate those keywords. If you are ranking for keywords that don’t get any searches, then you might want to consider looking for an SEO company that will run a better campaign for you. Part of your SEO person’s job is to find the right keywords for you. If your SEO company can’t bring searchers to you, then you need to find someone else to run your campaign.

4. Are you getting more phone calls or sales?

If your SEO service has passed the first three tests (good communication, better rankings, more traffic), then it’s time to ask the big question: is it actually paying off? If you are getting hundreds of new visitors to your website but you aren’t seeing any more sales, then perhaps there is a larger problem at work here. Maybe your website isn’t good enough. Maybe your product or seo companiesservice isn’t something that people want. Or maybe something about your website just isn’t functioning properly. Of course, it does take time for SEO to pay off. You don’t want to quit after a month or two. But if you still haven’t seen enough sales after three or four months, then it’s definitely time to rethink your marketing strategies.

Having an SEO company can really help boost your business, but you have to make sure they are doing the job the right way. With these four evaluating factors, you should be able to make an informed decision about what to do with your SEO service.