SEO - Truth or Lie?

First off, what is SEO and how does it affect your website and the traffic to it? Well according to Wikipedia "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as 'natural' 'organic' or 'earned' result. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engines users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines."

What this means for you is SEO developer finds a way by means of code to promote your website on Google and Bing. This done in many different ways, submitting to the search engine, optimizing the code for search engines, and the back-links.

For this exercise lets say you sell blue cheese or otherwise knows as smelly cheese. The website is developed and goes online. It looks great, with all its special effects and colours, images and fonts. Now you sit back and wait for the hits to come rolling in. But does it? Nope - nothing happens. Why? Other than the usual clients that already know about your website you get no new activity. So what now? Post a link on Facebook or Twitter? Maybe some other social media. Hey look you get a few extra visitors to the site but nothing major. Did you waste all your money and time promoting your brand on the internet? What went wrong?

Nothing really! Its just that the website isn't actually finished and ready for publishing. People may love cheese, and especially the kind you are making, but when looking for it, for your brand, the search results are many and that's why your website get lost in the thousands of cheese websites and blogs. You now have 2 main options. Contact a developer that specializes in search engine optimization or contact a marketing company like Marketing 4 Us which in the end also recommends the SEO for your website.

How can these 2 different options, yet in the same field, help you? The marketing company will draw up a plan to assist you in direct advertising of your brand and new website. Things like putting your website link on the company letterhead and invoice, branding decals on the companies transport, branding on the office building or factory, and even embroidered on your uniforms. They will help you draw up a newsletter to all your clients, unavailing your new website. All of these marketing directives are correct and have to be done. The problem with them is that but the website would still only get seen by a select few. How do you get the new website seen by the many, by other countries, by the world around? You need to realise that your website is a product that needs to be sold just the same as your cheese.

This is where the search engine optimization comes in. You site is submitted to Google and Bing with authentication codes placed in the back-side of the website. An analysis code is also placed in the back-side of each page. Now when someone searches for you or your cheese on Google or Bing, your website is available to be found. Most times the problem is that you are found on page 826 of 1000 pages (oh and I am being kind). Your only option is to contact a SEO developer. They promises you page 1 and who wouldn't want to be ranked that high. They require large sums of money and makes it sound like you can't live without it. Reality is that Rome wasn't build in a day, and if you truly believe your website can be ranked in a day, then you being lied to.

So then how do they manage to rank your website? How can they make such promises? When you think of your cheese and searching for it you use words like 'blue cheese' or 'cheese cape town'. The problem is that there is already 50 other websites ranked under those exact words. So what the SEO guy does is research. He has to find a word or two that isn't well used yet still fits in with your brand. He tags your website pages with those words like 'special' and maybe 'brand'. He then shows you that when a search is done using those words, 'special brand blue cheese' you website is on page 1. You happy thinking all is well and they have done their job, you happily hand over the money and recommend their services to all and become a believer.

The problem is that no one else searches those key words and that's why you ranked so high. While not all SEO developers have such ethics of misdirection, some do. Yes! your website most definitely needs the correct SEO done on, otherwise you have spent thousand of Rands (or $) on a website for nothing. Before accepting a quote from a SEO developer first see what is being offered. False promises are no promises. In reality Google ranks a website on its importance, its uniqueness and its value to others (as in back-links). If your website has those features build in already its just a matter of time before you are found and grow to full potential. However, if your site is the same as all the rest then its time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan to sell yourself. A marketing company like Marketing 4 Us is just what you would need.

Whatever direction you decide to move in the future, make sure you spend your money wisely with educated decisions and not that of a 'no-it-all' friend that you think may know something. Even if you have to contact 10 different people that advertise SEO before selecting the one that matches your budget and offers something believable, its worth your while.

NB - SEO developers are all different and offer different services. Most are honest and reliable, but like with all things in life there are those that aren't.

Back-link is a link that refers back to you website from another.
Marketing 4 Us can be found at www.marketing4us.co.za and has the Twitter handle of @Mrkting4us.

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By Warren M. Walker - 05 July 2015

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