Is the effort put into SEO optimization worth it? The time spent adding title tags and headers, researching keywords, and making unique and interesting content? The simple answer is YES!
But let’s back up. What is SEO? SEO is short for search engine optimization, and it’s all about making specific changes or additions to make a website more search engine friendly and more likely to come up in a search. When a user searches for something on the internet, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines look for web pages, videos, or articles and rank them based on relevance. This ranking is different than paid search ads, but it is influenced by the SEO work done on websites.
SEO is important if you want to get traffic to your website. Fortunately, a lot has changed since the early days of SEO, where tactics like black hat SEO abuse of link building made it easy to feel like SEO wasn’t really worth it. While SEO cannot promise any company a front page spot on Google, utilizing legitimate white hat SEO techniques will help get your website to the desired audience.
According to Smart Insights, nearly 6.6 million searches are performed every day worldwide, and 81% of users find websites through search engines. Clearly, businesses big and small need presence on search engine sites. Unfortunately, search engines are not always forthright about their page ranking algorithms and they tend to change them frequently. This can make SEO for your website challenging and time consuming. Updates and alterations must be done on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis.
Legitimate or black hat?
When hiring an SEO expert, it is vital to know your SEO provider is credible. When reviewing different companies or entities, do your research and always negotiate. It's important to meet with them and review previously successful campaigns and to ask for references.
If an expert is offering immediate, or even very fast SEO results, you should be cautious. Page ranking, even on the second or third page, can take months or sometimes years. If your SEO expert is providing quicker results, you may need to worry that black hat techniques are being used. After Google has penalized a website for black hat SEO tactics, that page becomes difficult to locate even when searching the branded name. Think of it as an online scarlet letter. You will also incur additional costs to continue using your website, with a Google Penalty Recovery Service.
Is SEO right for you?
While SEO should never be ignored, shelling out thousands of marketing dollars is not an easy task for small businesses trying to make a name for themselves. The type and size of your business matters greatly when deciding to acquire SEO services. If your business is solely online, making up the vast majority of your sales, quality SEO should be one of your highest priorities. However, if you own a little toy store in a small town and sell most of your products at your store, the money you would spend on an SEO specialist could better be used in more traditional advertising.
Check out our Beginners Guide to SEO.