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How To Find A SEO To Work With

Jun 8, 2008
Once you have set the goals for what you want your website to achieve, whether it is attracting a certain type of visitor or determining where you target market is, you are now in a position to look for professional help.

To aid you in determining whether a SEO can help you you will need to know some basics about how the Search Engines work and what startegy needs to be implemented to achieve the end results you are looking for.

The first thing to recognise is that the Search Engines that people use on the internet are offering a service in the hope of selling advertising. The multi-billion dollar price tag recently paid by Google for the website company 'You Tube' was not an indication of the profitability of the company. Its video upload service was and still is free. What Google was paying for was the audience of 100 million viewers every day and the advertising revenue that could be extracted because of it.

The search service that Google provides is 'the carrot' to attract the audience. The better the service they provide to the consumer, then the bigger the audience and the bigger the revenue they will make from their advertisers.

Because of this Google are very serious about providing the best search results that they can, so that people feel secure that when they look for information on the internet, they find what they are looking for as quickly as possible.

With this in mind, along with the fact that Google represents about 70% of all search traffic, be assured that if you employ under hand tactics or 'get to the top' quick methods of SEO, then you will be found out and more than likely your website will be banned from the Google Index. Once this occurs, your investment is lost with very little chance of re-instatement.

I make the point to ensure that when looking for a SEO, statements like 'I will get you on Page 1 in a matter of weeks' should start to raise flags and such companies should be avoided.

From the Google/You Tube example there is also another lesson to be learned. Traffic is important, but unless you are considering making all your income from advertising revenue, it is not the only consideration.

It can be said that traffic is the first important step to achieving your end goals. To make sales you need customers and to get them from your website, you need visitors or traffic. Once achieved, (and this is no mean achievement), the work is not done. From here you must test and tweak your website so that your traffic produces an end result. This may be an enquiry form completed, a telephone call made or a sale.

In the Real Estate industry it is more likely to be one of the first two. This action, the completing of a form or the making of the call is called a conversion. The conversion rate of your website, the number of enquiries to the number of visitors is a measure of the effectiveness of your website.

Remember this. A website that is no.1 on Google and has great traffic is still a failure if it fails to achieve conversions.

This brings us full circle back to traffic. One of the determing factors to your conversion rate will be where you derive your traffic from. What search terms and phrases are your visitors using to find your site? Which terms and phrases are producing conversions and which are not? Your strategy at outset to optimize your site for certain keywords and phrases must be constantly reviewed in light of the data that your website produces once it starts to gain traffic.

This must be done in conjunction with the ongoing process of amending your website and the information it provides, so that once a visitor arrives at the site, you have a site that is easy to navigate leading the visitor to the end goal, the conversion.

To a Sales and Marketing major this may all sound familiar. It should, because many of the marketing strategies found in the conventional fields of advertising and marketing need to be applied. What differs for the SEO is the implementation of these strategies to produce the result.

Many of the initial steps mentioned above are ideally tackled at the design phase of your website. However, it is usually not until the site is up and running that the questions arise. In some cases, where a website has been designed completely with what is known as 'flash' images, you may need to start again from scratch. For most though, a website should hold enough flexibility in it to be amended to meet more flexible needs. An analysis by your potential SEO consultant should be something he or she should provide free of charge and should explain reasons for change and more importantly the whys behind the changes they are recommending.

So when interviewing your SEO candidates ask the following questions.

Does my website need changing? And Why? How do I get traffic to my site? Once you have achieved traffic to my site, how will you monitor and improve its conversion rate?

The answers to these questions will help you decide who to employ. Whether they are able to achieve the goals they set before you must be then be measured. In answering these question you may also get varying answers. We will set out some of these potential right and wrong answers in pieces that follow.
About the Author
Neil Ebsworth is co-founder of AMLAspain.com, The Spanish property MLS, including a blog for SEO for Estate Agents .
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