SEO (Search Engine Optimization) may be the most powerful service we offer and yet also the most poorly understood. It is perhaps so poorly understood because it is so hard to define concisely. In plain English, it is the name given to activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings. The results a search engine displays is essentially an ordering of how relevant and authoritative it considers those pages to be to the search terms.
When we’re asked about search engine results the questions that usually come up are centered around how a search engine determines these things and that’s when we’d ask you how much time you have and if you want a cup of coffee. It’s a simple question but the answer is complex, lengthy and technical. In a nutshell though: algorithms.
Black hat vs white hat: The SEO keyboard cowboys
The wold of SEO is a bit like the old west. It’s a frontier technical science that’s poorly regulated. As a result, it has garnered the trope of classifying those of us who work in it as either black hat or white hat to parallel the old western films (or more modern works that follow the archetype such as Westworld).
There’s a whole industry of people selling proverbial snake oil with some going so far as to suggest they can make you rank right at the top of search results (for a substantial fee). If that sounds too good to be true that’s because…it is. In the industry we refer to this as “black hat” and it is famous for “churn and burn” practices that leave the site owner in the penalty box with Google.
Genuine “white hat” SEO work takes time, hard work and lots of data. Ultimately though it improves the quantity and quality of traffic. There are no shortcuts in this game. Trustworthy services (like ours) inlude: website structure analysis, content analysis, off-page analysis, optimizing code and site structure, optimizing content and optimizing off page factors. After all of that there’s continued analysis to get data and refine further. Hiring a reputable organization to perform ongoing services is an investment in the long term. SEO is a long term strategy. It ensures you are getting the most out of your online presence and helps you compete at the highest level.
Are SEO services right for you?
If you’re not sure committing to a long term strategy is right for you consider simply hiring for an audit. This essentially gives you the initial analysis portion of the strategy as a one off expense. This is a highly valuable source of information. The audit can help you decide if it’s worth pursuing a long term strategy. Additionally, it can be informative as to which marketing channels are ideal for your business. Essentially, it gives you real data to make informed decisions on how to move forward. It’s also a good way of having a 3rd party check the work of your existing web developer.