Business owners have better things to do, than be concerned about search engine optimization (commonly known as: SEO). As a business owner, you really have three options:
Don't worry about it, and hope it takes care of itself.
Learn about the science and art of SEO, and craft your site so the search engines will love it.
Hire a professional agency or consultant to handle this for you.
Hiring an agency isn't as daunting and Fortune 500 expensive as it sounds. For costs from under $100 per month to a few thousand dollars per project, a professional will help drive significant traffic to your site, and help you know where the traffic came from.
There are two types of SEO Agencies:
A fully outsourced solution, where all you need to do is pay the fee and they will do everything.
A more hands-on option, where you will either:do all the work, using their tools, or be more actively involved in monitoring and overseeing the campaign and execution.
What about "Guaranteed #1 Ranking in Google"?
When a tool, agency or consultant promises a number one ranking for your site - you know that they are not honest. First of all, its impossible to guarantee. Second, what about their other clients who also want the #1 ranking for the same keyword? Is it even logical to think that two companies can own the #1 ranking? When they promise, or even hint at, #1 ranking - run away. They are dishonest and don't even understand basic industry concepts.
A common expression in SEO is Black Hat / White Hat. Whats the difference?
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat essentially refers to all underhanded and deceptive means of driving traffic to your site. An example of a black hat SEO tactic is to create a landing page that a visitor will never see, but exists to attract search engines and tricking them into showing your page. The result is that visitors will land on another page that is totally unrelated to the link they clicked on.
Traffic gained by this method is irritating to visitors and dangerous to site owners. Expect to be either penalized or banned by the search engines if you (or your agency) are promoting a site by these techniques.
What is White Hat SEO?
These techniques are all above board, and acceptable both to search engines and your clients. When a visitor clicks on your link in Google, they will actually see what they expected. The best agencies will only use white hat methods.
Anything less than honest promotion of your site is counterproductive. While you will gain traffic, it is going to be untargeted, because the visitors were tricked into clicking. And eventually you site will be blacklisted resulting in your traffic numbers taking a freefall. If your agency suggests that you use these underhanded techniques - bid them farewell, and quickly.
What can you expect from your SEO Agency?
The basic answer is: a significant return on investment (ROI). Hiring a SEO Agency is really no different than from hiring an Ad Agency. Would it make sense to spend any money that you knew would simply be lost?
Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from your SEO agency:
Increase traffic to your site
Show you where the traffic came from, including: keywords, referral links (other website that have linked to your site), location of clicks (this can be broken down by city, state and country)
Which campaign was most effective, and which one to drop.
Creation and maintenance of your sitemap.xml file. This file tells search engines exactly what's on your site, and where to find it.
Keyword Optimization both for your site and for specific pages, including your blog.
Now with this information in hand, it's time to choose an agency to help you optimize your site for search engines, and to increase your site traffic.
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